I’m Giving Up Nothing for Lent

Christine Miller

Rising from the ashes – still crazy after all these years?

(with credit to Paul Simon) 

The French House

The French House

I found this blog post from 5 years ago – interesting to reflect on how much has changed – writing this in France, in our dream home, for one thing – how much is the same – the actions I was choosing then I choose now, so perhaps they are perennials which keep life moving and us growing.

buy Pregabalin online And, yes, definitely still crazy, and delighted to be so.

Ash Wednesday

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent for those who follow Christian traditions.  I’m not a churchgoer any more, but I still recall the walk up the church aisle to experience the scratchy feel of ash being marked in the form of a cross onto my forehead by the priest.  I guess it must have happened for each of the 14 years of my schooldays, and more.

I was brought up in a devout Roman Catholic family, and my childhood memories of Lent are about loads of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday prior to ‘giving up’ something I liked on Ash Wednesday for the remaining 40 days and 40 nights in preparation for Easter.  It was usually chocolate. It probably still should be chocolate. Or wine. Or cheese.

Anyway, I haven’t given anything up for Lent for more years than I care to recall.
And I’m not about to start again.

http://1844house.com/tag/chickens/ Not Giving Up

I’ve decided to follow that hackneyed quote from Winston Churchill: ‘never, ever, ever…give up’.

But I am going to do something.
Not penance, but productivity.  
Not denial, but delight. 

I am going to do more.

No, not more chocolate, wine and cheese. Not more of anything material. But definitely more fun. More stuff that delights, surprises and stretches me. Maybe even more stuff that’s good for me like – walking and water.

Being pragmatic, things and actions I’m in control of:

  • Meeting more people, online and offline
  • Launching my leadership and transformation retreats at my new home in SW France 
  • Creating more crucial, constructive conversations
  • Writing at least one blog every week
  • More exuberance and fun
  • More kindness and love

People Ideas Action

So I’m not giving anything up.

I’m keeping hold of what I have that I love.

But I am expanding my life with fresh people, ideas, and most crucially, actions. It’s going to be a fascinating forty days, for sure.

Spring Talks

And as part of the action –  crucial, constructive conversations – if you would like to share your experiences I’m also doing a series of 5 minute ‘Spring Talks’ interviews for publication so contact me for more information and let me know if you want to join in.

Leave a message here or contact me via christine at christinemiller dot co (and no, the ‘co’ isn’t a typo, it’s correct)

Empathy and Compassion in Society Conference

Christine

Christine Miller

Christine Miller

Those of you who know about my long-term research project into Love –  Love in the Boardroom and Love in Organisations via www.Loveworks.co  – will understand exactly why I was attracted to the ‘Empathy and Compassion in Society’ conference which took place in London’s South Bank on October 24th as  the subject matter fits perfectly with many aspects of my work in the field of human potential for ReSource magazine.

This piece is a quick snapshot of the event; every part of the day was valuable, and all will be included in  fuller pieces to follow. There was a stellar line up of 20 speakers including guest of honour, Karen Armstrong (Charter for Compassion), Daniel Goleman (of Emotional Intelligence fame), Adam Grant (leading US business school Wharton’s youngest tenured professor and highest rated teacher) and Jo Berry, Founder of Building Bridges for Peace.

The conference offered a rich and varied feast of ideas and practical suggestions for increasing compassion in society, from schools to workplaces, in healthcare and homes, from the individual to the collective, with great sign posts to research from Stanford’s Emma Seppala and enthusiasm shining throughout.

The day began with a message, courtesy of David Rand, Executive Director of The Tenzin Gyatso Institute, from HH the Dalai Lama, who said there should be many more conferences dedicated to compassion, as loving kindness is such an important quality and way of being. This was  followed by a moving talk from Karen Armstrong about the great need for compassion in our world. Karen is currently working with TED on a major international project to propagate the Charter for Compassion, which was crafted by leading thinkers in six of the world’s religions.

Engagingly com-passionate Associate Professor of the University of Texas, Kristin Neff treated us to a range of techniques for being compassionate to ourselves as well as to others, so that we gave ourselves permission for self-compassion, Kristin’s area of interest and outstanding expertise.  Kristin is author of the internationally acclaimed book Self-Compassion (2011) and is also featured in the bestselling book and award-winning documentary The Horse Boy, which chronicles her family’s journey to Mongolia where they trekked on horseback to find healing for her autistic son.

A round table discussion gave us great insights from some active advocates and practitioners of compassion including Richard Barrett, an author, speaker and social commentator on the evolution of human values in business and society. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Barrett Values Centre, a values-based leadership programme used in 60 countries to support more than 4,000 organisations. His recent publications include The Values-Driven Organisation: Unleashing Human Potential for Performance and Profit(2013) and Love, Fear and the Destiny of Nations (2011).

Another panelist was Maureen Cooper,  the author of ‘The Compassionate Mind Approach to Reducing Stress’, which is due to be published in the UK in September 2013.

Maureen is also founder of Awareness in Action, a consultancy dedicated to the secular application of mindfulness, meditation and compassion in the workplace.

 

Also on the panel was inspirational and entertaining Kevin Jones, headmaster of St John’s College School in Cambridge, who was awarded the 2013 Tatler Prize for Best Headmaster. One of the school’s many strengths is its mindfulness programme, part of the school’s emotions for learning project designed to strengthen children’s emotional resilience.

Paul Ekman, who is a leading clinical psychologist and pioneer in the study of emotions, came to us by video message and discussed whether compassion is an emotion and whether it can be cultivated. His 1970s research shows that emotions are universal and the facial expressions associated with some emotions are common to all humans.

The afternoon brought us a selection of valuable workshops, followed by examples of ways in which compassion is being encouraged in a number of organisations from Tesco, through The Reader Organisation and Jane Davis MBE  to hospitals in Australia, via Liz Lobb and Alexandra Yuille,  insight into the concept of  ‘Give and Take’ from Adam Grant, and Daniel Goleman’s wonderful speech about leadership and compassion, about which more to follow.

 

This conference offered such a packed and powerful schedule, it will take me a while to process the individual elements and report further, but in the meantime if you have some time this weekend, do register and go along to the workshops, you will be doing a great kindness to yourself by learning more. Do visit the link below and find out more. 

Empathy and Compassion in Society

 

Thanks to Sophie & Olivia at TPR-Media for your cooperation – much appreciated.

Tom Evans’ Soulwave – short, thought provoking read

soulwaveKindle

 

A Short Novel With a Fast Pace and A Wake-up Call For Us All

Christine Miller

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Soulwave is a short story about a possible fascinating future, which is designed to whet the appetite for Tom’s expanded and expanding visionary work in progress, and it certainly does just that.

The self-contained story is well-researched, fantastical and compelling, woven through with hints of possible plot twists, and gives just enough hints about the characters to encourage anticipation of what is yet to come.

And it just could be a future that is waiting to happen, hidden in plain view. Mind-opening and thought provoking.
Currently FREE on Kindle and I Tunes.
Highly Recommended.

Author’s Description

At only 7000 words long, you can read the whole book in a single commute on your iPhone or Kindle.

Soulwave tells of a fictional account of a possible near-future for the Earth and humanity. It is a sober reminder of how life on this planet is special and to be treasured.

It tells of a world where the ice caps have melted, the population has renormalised and of the cosmic joke to end all cosmic jokes – as far as humanity is concerned.

It’s written to inspire people to look up in wonder and amazement and to treat every day as if it is your last. We are only here and alive by the slimmest of chances and margins. This we must be eternally grateful for.

Soulwave is a future-history – that is something that might just happen It has happened to the Earth in the past and will undoubtedly happen again – we just can’t say when. It makes any fears about global warming seem trivial.

Although the message seems terminal, the story is really about how life propagates around the Universe that we are just one small part of. It will make you realise that we are only alive on this planet at this time by the slimmest of coincidences. Our planet and solar system are very special and we should cherish them and look after them.

soulwaveKindleSoulwave

Author: Tom Evans
Website: Tom Evans
Kindle: Soulwave
ITunes: Soulwave

 

 

One Step Too Far – Tina Seskis Book Review

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 See News of One Step Too Far Launch HERE

TinaSeskiscover27733-small

A Truly Compelling Read

Christine Miller 

“The heat is like another person to push past as I make my way along the platform. I board the train although I don’t know whether I should, after all.
I sit tense amongst the commuters, moving with the carriage and the crowds from my old life into my new one.”

Tina Seskis’ forthcoming book absorbed me right from the beginning. Beautifully written and well-paced, it has an endearing, fascinating and realistic set of characters, many of whom we might recognize from our own lives, with a sense of mystery, sadness, joy and anticipation. The story is powerfully told, descriptive and vivid, with twists and turns which kept me reading, intrigued, until the early hours. And I didn’t see the very clever ‘shocker’ coming at all: a must-read and destined for great success.
Highly recommended 5* at least!

Publisher’s Description:

The book EVERYONE’S going to be talking about this summer – extract to be featured in The Independent soon.

An apparently happy marriage.  A beautiful son.  A lovely home.  So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life to start all over again?  Has she had a breakdown?  Was it to escape her dysfunctional family – especially her flawed twin sister Caroline who always seemed to hate her?  And what is the date that looms, threatening to force her to confront her past?  No-one has ever guessed her secret.  Will you?

Tina SeskisOne Step Too Far

Is running away ever the answer?
Author:
Tina Seskis
Buy on Amazon: UK       USA
Website: http://tinaseskis.com/
Publisher: Kirk Parolles
Pub Date: Apr 15 2013

How to fail your way to success

deepinthought

How to fail your way to success - why it’s good to get it wrong… sometimes

Failure, Fear, Feedback and Fascination

In business, venture capitalists know that only a small percentage of the projects they invest in will make it financially, hence they have an ‘if you’re going to fail, fail fast’ mentality so they can move on and support the companies that are succeeding and thereby recoup their investment.

The quicker you make mistakes and recover from them, changing what you do and how you do it, the more your chances of succeeding. In sales, collecting the ‘nos’ so you get closer to a ‘yes’ is a way of bolstering the spirits and confidence of the salesperson, helping them to persist and ultimately arrive at the closed sale.

There has been such a huge emphasis on ‘success’ in our world it has made it difficult for people to admit to failure, though it’s often the times we don’t achieve what we set out to that teach us the most, both about ourselves and our projects, and help us to be more resourceful. The idea of the ‘survival of the fittest’ is really more the survival of the most flexible and adaptable, fleet of thought and action. 

I have stories from my work with young people, where, gliding through the system with ease, with no failures or impediments until a sudden roadblock arises, has left a gifted and talented teenager devastated and unsure.  The doors that had always opened effortlessly are now suddenly slamming shut – and they have neither resources nor an alternative view of the future, nor means for coping with that upset and rejection.

They don’t know how to take the experience as a valuable resource in building resilience, and use it as a ‘set-up’ for future achievements, because they have never been taught how to manage themselves in such a way.  It’s not what our current education system does, and sadly it leaves a lot of casualties in its wake who feel branded and boxed as failures when it doesn’t need to be that way.

Failure

Adopting a different perspective, if we take ‘failure’ to mean simply not achieving the result we set out to accomplish this time, and acknowledge that we did achieve something even if it was unexpected or undesirable, it’s much easier to accept that failure is a temporary setback that can be corrected and adjusted. Moving from a position of ‘Trial and Error’ to ‘Try-all and Success’ makes a difference, and we can regroup, rethink and carry on.

Fear

If we can work with the idea that we are not going to improve with every attempt, or trial, (think experimenting and persevering, not tedium and stress!) then the fear of not achieving is removed, and we can feel more relaxed about finding new ways to approach whatever it is we want to accomplish. If we know that plateaus, dips and even troughs can occur alongside peaks and pinnacles, we can assimilate it into the way things really are, and it helps reduce the pressures.

We all know fear is a major inhibiting factor for success, but it is easier said than done to eradicate it in a world that revolves around constantly winning and being ‘right’.

Fear of failure, of being judged as in some way wanting, is something most of us have suffered from at some time and having the courage to push through allows us to go on to success.

Feedback

This is where Feedback comes in. If we can be gracious and accepting in failure, rather than sulking or quitting, we learn valuable lessons from what happens in the process, which we can take with us to the next trial. In NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) one of the presuppositions is that there is ‘no failure, only feedback’: your results tell you what you need to know to be able to move forward.

In a way, it is true, but telling that to someone who has just had exam results that definitely failed to get them into the school they wanted is a tricky business! The language around education demarcates ‘pass’ and ‘fail’ very clearly. The feedback is very clear; you didn’t answer the questions correctly.
Feedback from failure: Learn more; apply it better for next time. Getting to the point of accepting that maybe it was for the best in the long run takes time and sensitivity.

Fascination

So what happens when you don’t get what you want? How can you deal with it more elegantly? Can you become fascinated by your ‘failure’ so that you experience it from a position of researcher, observer, analyst, in the style of the scientific method, which always attempts to disprove its hypotheses and therefore acknowledges the process rather than the outcome? Can you extract the lessons with good grace so that you use them as a lever to propel you to success?

If you can get to the position where you say to yourself ‘How fascinating!’ as you fail, or fall or don’t get what you want, rather than swearing or sulking, you’ll gather more clues of what needs to be done next time to succeed. Fascination is more comfortable than frustration, and more likely to bring you the outcome you want, faster.

What fascinates you about failure? What experiences could you re-vision as a resource for your future success?

We’d love to know. 

 © Christine Miller

(Adapted from ‘Fail your way to success’, first published Sept 2011 at www.birdsontheblog.co.uk

How to write a book proposal

RECov solid

 

Your Ultimate ReSource Guide

11 Key Tips For Writing A Successful
Book Proposal 

from Author & Editor Christine Miller MA FRSA

 

As a published author, an editor and publisher with over 8 years experience, and more than 25 years in business as a consultant and business owner, I am often asked about the best way to approach getting published.

Of course, the publishing world is changing rapidly, and many writers are choosing to self-publish. However, whether your book is launched into the world via a publisher, or you decide to publish independently, it is still a very valuable exercise to set out your aims and intentions and do the research on the marketplace for your book. That’s where my expertise will help you.

Whatever method you choose, there’s going to be marketing and publicity involved in reaching your readers, and in order to create and present your book in the most effective way possible, you will need to be clear about its content, niche in the market, and what makes it special and worth the attention of your readers. A little time spent upfront can ease the path, and gives you a vision and structure to keep you on track through the writing process.

Following this simple guide will help you identify where your work fits in, then whatever you decide about your method of publishing, you’ve got a framework to work to get your words out into the world in front of your audience.

Cover Page

A nice optional extra. It can look like a book cover, or just contain the book’s title, your name and contact information, and the bookstore category under which the book will be shelved (e.g. Health/Self-Help)

Summary

Write this last. It’s the executive overview. Short, no more than two pages double spaced.
Purpose: if the editor reads nothing else, she’ll at least know what you have in mind. Ideally, it will be sufficiently compelling to make the editor read the rest.

Christine Miller's book proposal guideThe Market

This section shows that you have thought through the question of who will buy the book and why.

Audience

How many people would be interested in this book? Give demographics if possible, citing your sources. Show that you’ve done your homework.

Other Books

The competition: how many books are out there on the same subject and how your book will be different.

The Book

Take as much space as you need to give the editor a clear picture of what you have in mind. You might write this with an eye to using some or all as the book’s introduction. Set the stage for what you’re going to tell the reader, provide a bit of factual material (with references if appropriate.) Describe any features that will make the book unique.

Content Overview

Chapter by chapter, describe the contents of the book, one or two paragraphs per chapter. Give samples: e.g. if you’re going to use personal case histories, make up a couple and put them with the
appropriate chapters. If you’re going to use quizzes, make up a few sample questions. Indicate whether there will be appendices and what they will contain. Mention that the book will be indexed (if it’s a non-fiction book, an index is a must.)

Book Length, Illustrations, and Delivery

For example: “A manuscript of about 95,000 words will be delivered within one year after the signing of a contract. Illustrations will consist of line art. Colour will not be required.”

Marketing and Promotion

The publisher wants to know that you will be vigorous in promoting your own book. Here you tell what activities you intend to undertake. Spend time researching and writing this section. It, and the one on the market, are the most important parts of the proposal, from the publisher’s point of view. Show that you have the savvy, energy, and enthusiasm to make your book a success (even if you don’t always feel that way.)

Author’s Qualifications

Who are you, what have you written, and what motivates you to write this book? This is not the time to be self-effacing. Exaggeration is not useful, but an honest statement of your qualifications is essential.

Appendices and Supporting Material

May not be necessary. Depends on the nature of the book.

Download as a PDF here: YUR Book Proposal Guidelines

Provided courtesy of Christine Miller, Porto Publishing & Your Ultimate ReSource © Feb 2011

For details of Christine’s consulting services for authors who want to get published:

Contact Christine  

Comments or questions are welcome.

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