the secret myth revealed


You know when you’re looking for wifi and a whole host of wifi networks appear on you phone or tablet?

So, the other day, one appeared called ‘Hidden wifi’.

Not so hidden then!?

A few days ago, standing outside Pennsylvania Avenue, amongst the crowds, there were a dozen Secret Service operatives.

Is that what they’re called? Operatives? Or have I seen too many films? Agents maybe? No that’s definitely films.

Anyhow, the thing that struck me was, they were all wearing a vest, on the front of which were the words SECRET SERVICE. Capitalised and boldly displayed. Not so secret then?  If it says what you do on your t-shirt.

We like secrets. More though when we can reveal them. “Have you heard…?” “Did you know…?” Knowing a secret is in itself a currency we value.

What’s that about?

two ‘i’s in me?


Someone today said to me, “I tell myself I should…”

I’m always curious when I hear language like this…

Sentences like “I think I am…” or “I sometimes ask myself…”

In sentences like this we are implying two parts of ‘self’.
They beg the question, “Which I?” or “Who is speaking to whom?”

Not some weird illness generally, but rather a useful indication of some separation within us, often manifesting in an internal dialogue. Integrating these parts, or at least raising awareness of the value arising from their distinction might be useful?



if you could choose your ideal job…

life purpose as a job
Let’s abandon traditional job titles. Job titles that attempt to describe what you do. If instead your job title described your life purpose, what would it be?

I don’t mean a weird job title that tries to cleverly describe your role, what you do. Such as…

sheep shifter
domestic engineer
arboreal yoda
chief chatter champion

I mean a weird job title that describes your reason for being. Something like…

people grower
chief purpose finder
problem breaker
human cuddler
difference designer
balance wizard
planet protector
lightbulb moment illuminator
humanity harvester
purveyor of good
life lover
future planter
human story animator
dream alchemist
trickiness disheveller
peace percolator
imagination sparker…

What would yours be?

what you do, is not who you are

be do identity
What you do, is not who you are.

A friend of mine recently made a decision; a decision that has had significant ramifications for people in their life. It was a hard decision, not easily reached. They have been much criticised by those around them. Judged. Labelled.

Sometimes people view our actions, what we do, as a proxy for who we are. Maybe the smaller actions or behaviours go unnoticed, unacknowledged, but often the larger decisions or actions get assigned to our identity, through judgement. “He is a liar…” or “She is untrustworthy …”

In fact we are so much more than one choice, one decision, one action. There is so much more complexity, subtlety, richness in our humanity, in ‘the self’.

We can do this to ourselves too. Maybe you have done something and then reflected that wasn’t me, that was a bit out of character? Maybe you have done something and then judged yourself with a label too … “I’m stupid…” or “I’m a bad person…”

Making a mistake doesn’t make you stupid. Hurting someone doesn’t make you a bad person.

These judgements ignore context, they narrow our identity to one action, they lessen our humanity and they limit our potential. None of us is perfect, yet we are all perfectly human.

What we do, isn’t who we are. We are always so much more than one behaviour, action or choice. Sometimes we confuse these two. Separate them. Notice what you do and be curious about your motivations and rewards. But also notice who you are; the breadth, depth, richness and magic of you.

if I were a malteser…

what this says about me
A few years ago, during some training, I did this exercise. It proved an interesting learning experience and so I offer it to you.

Write down the first three things that come to you. The names of things, nouns, work best. Don’t filter them, reject them as ridiculous, decide to choose a ‘better’ one; just go with the first three things, however seemingly random or crazy.

Now, against each noun in turn, write down the properties of that thing. Whatever you are reminded of by that named thing. The qualities it is best known for. Write down just one or two qualities / properties for each.

Once you have done this, return to each quality and ask yourself, ‘what does that say about me?’ Work through each quality for each named thing.

Now look at what you’ve written, about you.

How much of this is true? How much was known to you? How much was known to those close to you? What is new, what have you learned? What else is true about you? What is missing?

When I did this, many years ago, the three things that came to me were an owl, the wind and a malteser. No idea why, but I’m guessing my subconscious decided those were what I needed.

Of course the properties I chose for those three items, were again probably a subconscious offering, after all I could have chosen many properties. Equally where that led me to, in terms of what that said about me, could have taken me many routes. In point of fact it took me to some things I already knew, deep down, but bringing them to the surface, to my conscious mind, was helpful. It also reminded me of something I had forgotten, or lost, in my journey of life. To see it again was like greeting a long lost friend. But perhaps of greatest use of all, was to see what I had written about me; all together, on the page.

We don’t often write down our most profound qualities. Our deepest truth.

Enjoy. Let me know how it goes – I would genuinely like to hear.

are you scared?

scared change
Are you scared?

Sometimes I am.

The world is changing at an unbelievable pace.

Did you know that there are now more people in the world with access to a mobile phone than access to a toilet?

That would have been inconceivable only a decade ago. If change happens that fast, what will be true in ten years time?

And will you cope?

The world is changing. Business is changing. Communication is changing. Your job is changing. Are you changing?

The irony is that at this time of unprecedented change, what we most need … is an ability to change.

To change ourselves.

Not to become someone else, but to adapt, to be more agile, to learn quickly and change our approach, change our behaviour, change our thinking, change our response, change our direction.

Put simply we have two choices. We can shoot the change. Complain. Try and stop it. Avoid or hide from it. Run away. Deny it.

Or … we can stop looking outside and look inside. At ourselves.

It starts with giving ourselves attention, building our capability to understand ourselves; this enables choice, agility, resilience, freedom, learning, growth, happiness.

Maybe in ten years time, more human beings will have full access to themselves than currently have access to a parking space?

How cool would that be?

dance like it’s your birthday

Why born
We celebrated a birthday in our family the other week. Some cake, some cards, a few presents. Nothing grand. I’m sure you do the same. Children’s birthdays are often more lavish affairs, as are so called important or landmark birthdays. These were decided by someone, once. 18, 21, 30, 40, 50 etc… I’m sure any of you celebrating some of these would like to have words with that person.

Our date of birth seems to be important. Yet it has a large element of chance. I wasn’t, but I’m sure if you were, born at one minute to, or one minute past midnight, you might wonder at the possible alternative? We are seldom born on the day we were ‘due’.

Yet our somewhat chance date of birth seems to be important. We are often asked for it as a kind of identifier or label as to who we are.

A relative of mine celebrated the wrong birthday for many years, until they were required to extract their birth certificate and realised they were born on a different day. It hadn’t changed who they were.

Many organisations such as banks, insurers, our employers even, use our date of birth as a key identifier of who we are. At my doctor’s surgery you can sign in on arrival using a terminal. The first question is ‘what is your date of birth?’  The system then presents a list of letters – the initials of surnames – presumably those people of that birth date, registered at the surgery or with an appointment that day?

At school we are batch educated, based on our date of birth. If you happen to be born late in August, you will be in one year group. Born a few days later, you will be in another. We even classify people by decade or period – child of the 60’s, generation z…

Yet our date of birth really says very little about who we are. It says no more than our job title does, or our place of residency, or the university we went to, even the name we were given.

Yet ask someone who they are, and this is often where they start.  “I’m Graham, I’m forty three, I’m a taxidermist, I live in Cippenham with my wife and three children. We have two dogs.” Labels, just like a date of birth, we use to describe who we are.

Try this.  Ask ‘Graham’ again. “Yes and who are you Graham?”  This time you might get something like ‘I’m a family man and I love nature and the beauty of the natural world around us’.

Repeat again. It takes time, but gradually you may find out about ‘Graham’. What matters to him, what he values, what he believes in, his motivations, his dreams and much much more. You might find out who he is.

One of my favourite quotes is by Mark Twain

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why

What if we celebrated that second day, not the first? Cake and party poppers for something more significant, more real, more impactful on our lives?

It seems to me that requires more celebration. Finding your reason for being, finding out who you are, is to be rejoiced over. Far more than the incidental day you began to breathe.


have you noticed who has control?



I am me.

In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me.
Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it – I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or to myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.

Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know – but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me.

However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded.

I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do.
I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me.
I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me.
I am me, and I am Okay.

A declaration of self esteem
Virginia Satir

what if people could hear your thoughts?

Inside me
What if the world was inside out?

Mostly our world is three dimensional.
An outside. A visible shape. An unseen interior.

I watched a young tree the other day blowing in the wind. I could see the sinewy branches dancing to the wind’s tune, waving in a frenetic chorus of communication. I could hear the wind rustling its leaves in an excited chatter. I could observe the trunk bending; flexing to ensure its very survival.

Yet I can’t see inside the tree. The stresses at a cellular level. Damage that might emerge later in life, with a fallen branch or twisted growth. I can’t see the break and heal process as leaves are stolen away by the wind.

Human beings are like this too.

What if the world were inside out?

What if I didn’t see the face you presented; the smile that cloaked the pain? Didn’t hear the words you spoke; the “I’m fine” you mask yourself with? Didn’t notice your visible actions, gestures and behaviours that consciously communicate a message, to unconsciously hide what you really need to say?

If the world were inside out, I might hear your thoughts rather than the words you say, feel your emotions rather than hear your label for them, experience your doubt, marvel in your strength, be transfixed by your beauty, know your vulnerability?

What if I could hear, see and feel your inner truth?

How would it be different?
How would I be different?
How would you be different?

Coming to the world as yourself, as an authentic version of you, requires huge courage and vulnerability. It demands you show a little more of your inside on the outside.

Image of body art by: Pastel-AI