The creative process of writing a book

I’ve written a book together with a friend/colleague of mine, Mandy Flint.

Mandy and I have worked together for many years, since 1997 in fact, first at American Express and then as owners of our own companies, finding projects to collaborate on now and then.

One day we were talking about how we spend so much time with individuals, teams and organizations around the world, and enjoying our work very much, but that we are always limited by time – there are only so many people we can work with.

We decided that we wanted to try writing a book to see if we could share some of our experience of leadership and teams in such a way. So one day we sat down in Mandy’s kitchen, inspired by the garden outside (yes, the picture is from there), with a laptop and a flipchart and started brainstorming ideas and then started writing, one word at a time. We found straight away that writing was SO MUCH FUN and that we wrote well together, it worked. Time just seemed to shoot by when we were writing. At first we weren’t thinking about the publishing of the book, we were simply completely caught up in the writing, enjoying the process and the creative way to explore what we do for a living. Over time, the story and the characters have developed and they now feel very close to us, like people we know. It’s worth mentioning though that the people in the book story are completely fictional, they are simply a summary of our business experience over the years.

What we have written is a fun business book which we think will appeal even to those people who wouldn’t normally read business books but still want to develop work skills and be successful at work.

The book is released 4th March 2013. You can check it out here


Inspiration from a 100-year old

100 years ago, in 1912, the summer Olympics were held in Stockholm, Sweden.

On Sunday the 14th of July 1912 the Olympic Marathon was run with 69 participants. It was a hot day and many runners suffered from the heat, only half of them completed the race.

One of the 34 people who didn’t finish the race that day was the Japanese runner, Shizo Kanaguri. His “disappearance” created the “myth of the missing Japanese” and I remember growing up with the tales of what happened that hot summer day. Apparently he wasn’t feeling well due to the heat and the long travel through Russia he’d had to make to get to Sweden. He was invited into a family’s garden for lemonade and buns (typical Swedish cakes, most common version is the cinnamon roll). He stayed there and rested for a bit and then returned to his hotel, checked out and went back home to Japan.

For years afterwards there was apparently talk about what could have happened to him. What happened was that he became a very influential person in sports in Japan and went on to participate in two more Olympics in the 20’s, but for some reason people in Sweden still just knew him as the “Japanese who disappeared”.

He was finally tracked down by some Swedish journalist and was invited back to Sweden in 1967 to complete the marathon! He finally entered the Stockholm Stadium after almost 55 years and crossed the finishing line, making his marathon race the “longest in history”:-).

Yesterday it was exactly 100 years since the 1912 Olympic Marathon, and a 100th Anniversary Jubilee Marathon was run. This time there were almost 9000 participants (including a great grandson of Kanaguri!) running the same race (well almost, roads have changed in 100 years so they had to make some changes to the course).

I went to watch the race as the runners passed us twice on their way north to the turning point and then on their way south into the city again. It was just a couple of hundred meters from our house. And close by, near to the house where Kanaguri was offered lemonade and buns (the actual house is not there anymore), great grandchildren of the hospitable family were serving lemonade and buns to runners and spectators (including Kanaguri’s great grandson). The circle was completed.

I got so inspired!

There was so much joy, there were so many running styles, there were people who seemed to be having a great time and those who seemed to suffer, there were people with hats, without shoes, men in dresses (1912 style!), people holdings signs, wearing wigs – there was even a women dressed as Superwoman!

Watching the race was exactly the kick in the bum that I needed to get myself properly back on track for my race. So what if I’ve missed a few weeks of training!

And who knows, maybe I’ve got a Marathon in me in due course…..

The clock is ticking

I’m trying really hard to not be stressed by the ticking clock.

I’m training for a 10K running race which will take place 1 September. When I started training early spring, it seemed like I had AGES to get ready, to get fit, to be able to run more than 200 meters:-).

But time goes really quickly, doesn’t it? All of a sudden I only have about 6 weeks to go and I’m behind schedule….

The last two weeks I’ve been down with a cold and I haven’t been able to run at all, so I’ve lost two weeks of very valuable time. I have no margins left.I mustn’t get another cold!

I’m trying not to get stressed though, mainly by telling myself that it all happens perfectly! (thank you wonderful Susan Jeffers for the best affirmation ever!) Maybe I’m not supposed to have a lot of margins. Maybe I am supposed to feel a little stressed about it, as it might help me keep focused.

More than anything, I am so convinced that I will do this, I will complete the race, even if I won’t be as fit or as ready as I could have been. Life is no “Sliding Doors” film after all, where we can watch the parallell story of what might have happened if we had done something differently. Thank goodness for that. That means it all happens just the way it should, the right way.

I’m relieved:-)

These shoes are made for running

And that’s just what they’ll do!

In my effort to train for a 10K race, I am learning new things every day. My latest fascination in the whole world of running is all the different shoes available. Yes, I realize that this is probably pretty obvious, but I just hadn’t given it much thought before. And any attempts at running I had previously made were rudely interrupted by bad shoe choices on my behalf.

My fantastic green running shoes are light as a feather and make my running lighter, easier, and more graceful (or so I would like to think:-)).

The fact is that the shoes make a HUGE difference. I love them! And I’ll keep on running as a result.


Slowly building a new self image

A self image, the way we look at ourself, is a powerful thing.

Whatever we believe ourself to be, with conviction, then that is what we are.

Sometimes, if it’s a strong, positive self image, it would work in our favour. But if it’s a limiting self image, one that maybe has been created over time without thinking about it’s negative impact, one that stops us from achieving something of importance to us – then it needs to be changed.

My self image when it comes to running, is that I don’t!

Specifically, I have always said “I’m not a runner”, and I may have done all sorts of sports in my life, but running has never, ever been on the agenda. Until now.

Now that I’ve decided to run a 10K race, it’s time to build a new self image, brick by brick.

It’s funny how it works though, the mind. Even as I had made the decision to enter the race, I kept saying to people that “I’m not a runner”. And I’ll tell you what, that’s not a helpful self image to have if you want to be able to complete a 10K race!

So it must be changed, this self image of mine. And the app that I’ve engaged to help me, helps me to do that too. The way the training programme on the app works is that it started me off running 30 seconds out of every 5 minutes on my 45-60 minute walk/run. And then it slowly builds. So now I run 1,5 minutes out of every 5 minutes.

I’m a 1,5 minute runner!

And it works, I am slowly building a new self image when it comes to running. I couldn’t start by saying “I’m a 10K runner” because I (my mind!) wouldn’t have believed it. But it’s worked to say “I’m a 30 second runner” (sure, I can do that, the mind thinks), and then “I’m a 1 minute runner” (if I can do 30 seconds, I can probably do 1 minute) and now “I’m a 1,5 minute runner” (Yes, why not, I am slowly getting more stamina, I can do 1,5 minutes now).

And the feeling is fantastic! Slowly and steadily I am building a new self image, and it’s working.

I’m a 1,5 minute runner! This is currently my running self image.

And next week I’ll be a 2 minute runner:-)

It works. Step by step by step, little by little. That’s how we build a new view of ourself. It’s really cool:-)