From dark can come light

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Hello, its the first day of summer. I hope your enjoying the good weather. This is a quick post this week. I attended the Women of the Year Lecture recently, and was introduced to the most amazing woman. I was quite embarrassed that I had never heard of her, given all that she achieved.

Dame Stephanie Shirley had quite a challenging upbringing, having fled Natzi Germany during the war, she  was taken in by a British family, arriving with her siter as a refugee. She suffered great loss as an adult with the death of her only child. There were challenges in business as well for her. So much so, she used the name Steve in business correspondence.

Shirley achieved many things despite these setbacks. She became one of the pioneering female coders in the 60s, her company was responsible for coding the Concorde’s black box. And, when she floated her company she made many of her employees, alongside herself, millionaires.

I’m highlighting Shirley not only because of the amazing things she has achieved in tech, but because her story of challenges were equally important in forming who she became and what she achieved for herself and for other women. Her courageous, and heartfelt discussion was very moving and I recommend her book, check it out.


Feel motivated at work – the quick how to guide

What is it:

Dan Arley’s engaging talk unpacks what motivates us to labour, to work. Dan demonstrates work without end, with repitition and no purpose is the most de-motivating.  At the other end of the spectrum, work which has meaning (not the highest paid), is the most motivating.

How is it different:

This is one of the longer Ted talks at 20 minutes. That said it is well worth it. To illustrate his work, Dan provides engaging and charming examples. 

How it can help:

Dan’s very practical talk provides interesting food for thought about motivation in the workplace. Below are the stand out ideas for me:

  • It can be helpful for us to think about our work as something meaningfull.  Such as creating something, overcoming a challenge or as part of our identity for example.
  • Effort that leads to an outcome has more of a driving effect than money – think of the furniture you have self assembled that you love!
  • Morph your effort when things go wrong – even when things don’t go to plan, morph it to another meaning to keep your motivation up.


A little ‘magic’ goes a long way to making your more producitve


Why is this book different

This book is not about changing anything but is about appreciating what you have right now. In the personal development space where change dominates- getting different and being different -this is a refreshing change. 

How can it help

I have read this book a few times. I can say that it does what it says on the tin. Being grateful means that you are in a more  happy and resourceful state.  The simple act of moving from a place of scarcity to being grateful for what you have somehow by magic, this increases what you have now including your productivity. Try it and see!

How science can make us happier and healthier


What is this video about

In this video, Kelly McDonald looks at stress and drills down into how we might approach it in a more productive way. Kelly  is a Health Psychologist. She is from a academic background but she is vey much interested In how science can help us improve our lives in a practical way.  As she says  in the video, she is interested in, ‘how  science can make us happier and healthier’

Why is this video different

Kelly presents some interesting evidence.  She talks us through  studies that show  two groups with the same amount  of stress. One group  felt that stress was having a detrimental effect on them and another group did not. It is only the ones who felt that stress was ‘bad’ who had a shorter lifespan. The take home point from the study is, that the difference that makes the difference,  is the belief about stress, the ’internal game’, rather than stress itself has an impact.

That was enough there for me in terms of new ideas.  But Kelly goes on to tell us that under stress you release Oxytocin which urges you to seek support and love from others around you,   as well urges you to give support to others. Oxytocin also protects the body from the effects  stress. So not only is your body protected but you develop more courage and connection which, further supports your resilience.

How can it help me

Stress is a feature of everyday life. Exposure to large amounts on a regular basis is not seen as a  good thing. But avoiding stress altogether is quite hard. This video helps you think about stress in a much more productive way.  Which,  according to Kelly can help you lead a a happier and healthier life.


We are all human




Sometimes things go wrong

Yes, I know, I know, we looked at Marie Forleo last week. Bear with me  on this one- she shares some great insight on something that I think we all do: Beat ourselves up when we do something wrong.

We are human after all, although I know that there are some super moms out there. We all know that sometimes we make a mistakes, especially under pressure. Marie shares excellent tips on how to stop making avoidable mistakes and, what do to do when actually do make a mistake.

Enjoy this one – I know I did!