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.

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.

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)

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The Importance of a Good Author Interview

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I recently had such great fun talking to my good friend Tom Evans, aka The Bookwright.

The topic was his two latest books, Flavours of Thought and The Art & Science of Lightbulb Moments

Tom wants to have quality video footage to help promote his books, and also to have the experience of being drawn out on his subjects.

That’s something I really love to do, and after so many years of having conversations with authors I’ve developed some expertise which gets really excellent results.

My vast experience of personal and business growth and development and the fact that I’ve interviewed hundreds of people have honed my abilities. One leading international multi-million seller employs me as his ‘primacy effect’ whenever he comes back from his lecturing and book promotion trips because it helps him centre and relocate after months away.

According to my interviewees, I’m an ‘agent provocateur’, a catalyst, a novel thinker and questioner who refreshingly reaches parts others do not – stimulating them into new areas of thought and ideas; it’s a brilliantly synergistic process that gets great results for all.  For a long time our authors have been asking me to offer them special expert interviews to promote their new books, courses and events, so I’ve decided to oblige.

You can find out more by emailing me on  interviews@resourcemagazine.co.uk  or Skype MChristineMiller for an ‘Expert Interview’ factsheet.

Read what Tom says:

“By far the best way an author can promote their work is through an interview …. but not any old interview. Both the questions asked and the manner in which they are asked and the interview is conducted is crucial to making you feel at ease and communicating your message.

I was doubly honoured last week not only to be interviewed by Christine Miller, Editor of ReSource Magazine, for both of my new books but also that, as a consummate professional, she had taken the time to read both my books so she could ask me just the right questions. I am thrilled too to hear she is now launching a service to interview authors in the Business Growth, Personal Development and Mind, Body, Spirit genres.

Don’t take my word for how good it is – see the two interviews below …”

You can find out more by emailing Christine Miller at  interviews@resourcemagazine.co.uk  for an ‘Expert Interview’ factsheet.
Skype:
MChristineMiller

Words from just a few of our interviewees:

“I love what you did with my interview…. I’m happy to work with you any time.”
Jack Canfield, “America’s #1 Success Coach”, Founder & CEO, Chicken Soup for the Soul Enterprises

“I feel your interview of ALL I ever did (maybe in my life) really GOT IT–who I am and why. Since then when we had the interview (in a very magical way) we found a funder, a wonderful Swiss guy, a business genius.”
Dr Candace Pert, Neuroscientist, bestselling author of ‘Molecules of Emotion’, and ‘How to Feel Go(o)d’

‘It is the most beautiful thing anyone has written about me and I honor you forever for it. It will be a permanent part of my press kit.’
Dr Barbara de Angelis, author of fourteen best-selling books which have sold over eight million copies

“Your questions provoke many new thoughts and creative ideas, you are an ‘agent provocateur’, and in our interviews and conversations you are able to reach parts no-one else does.”
Tony Buzan, Multi-million bestselling author of over 90 books, speaker and inventor of Mind Maps

How to Increase Your Business Success with Mind Maps – Tony Buzan

Tony Buzan, author of 100 best-selling books
Tony Buzan, author of 100 best-selling books

Tony Buzan, Inventor of Mind Maps and author of 100 best-selling books

Chris Griffiths CEO of Think Buzan

Chris Griffiths CEO of Think Buzan

Mind Maps for Business

We’ve used Mind Maps at ReSource since the very beginning – our first edition contained a hand drawn map of the contents, and Tony Buzan has been a regular contributor covering areas from business to creativity and poetry.  In a brief preliminary interview for an upcoming  ReSource feature, I asked Mind Maps® inventor Tony Buzan about his latest book, ‘Mind Maps for Business’, written with Chris Griffiths,   CEO of Think Buzan.

“Tony, what’s different about this book ‘Mind Maps for Business’? What differentiates it from ‘Mind Maps at Work’, for example?”

“There is a comprehensive difference – ‘Mind Maps at Work’ was a play on the word ‘work’ – it was a way of showing Mind Maps working, and how they are effective in people’s lives in a broad range of contexts, not just at work. It also served as an introductory text for people in any working situation, not only in business, which is completely different.  In a way, it was a gentle preamble to Mind Maps for Business, and it certainly generated demand for the business book. People had read Mind Maps at Work, and other books, and this led to many requests for a book totally dedicated to the business world.

“The Mind Maps for Business Book has copious illustrations, there is full colour throughout, and there are inspiring stories and case studies  gathered from around the world from major players using Mind Maps. Some examples are Nicky Oppenheimer, Chairman of de Beers diamond mines in South Africa, who describes Mind Maps as an ‘indispensable tool’, which he used to steer his senior management team during a time of refocusing to capture the essence of the organisation – where it had been and where it was heading.”

Mind Maps for Business

Mind Maps for Business

Packed with Stories and Pictures

It’s true the book is packed with accounts of success in using Mind Maps for business from many different people.  Stephen Lundin, author of the 5 million copy best selling  FISH! says:

‘Mind Mapping uses the brain in the way it was designed, saves time, improves results and is fun. How can any business person be without this powerful tool?’

Masanori Kanda is known as one of the most influential entrepreneurs in Japan today. He was named the top marketer in the November issue of GQ Japan (2006) and speaking of the radical reorganisation of his company to respond to change, says: ‘Mind mapping can play a pivotal role in the process of developing a sustainable organisation that is adaptable to rapid changes today. With open and transparent cross-functional communications in all directions, the organisation grows to become more fair, resilient and effective.’

The introduction in 2006 of iMindMap, the Buzan technology for computer generated Mind Maps, developed in conjunction with Chris Griffiths, has also given rise to many more business applications. Major corporations, including Boeing, have used the methodology to envision and manage the multiple stages of complex projects from conception to delivery.

Says Mike Stanley, of the Boeing Corporation, USA:
“The use of Mind Mapping is an integral part of my Quality Improvement Project at Boeing. This has provided savings of over $10 million for my organisation.”

iMindMap Running a Meeting example

iMindMap Running a Meeting example

Timely and Comprehensive Guide

Now is the time when this book from Tony and Chris is most needed – we live in a fiercely competitive world, where global choice is greater than ever before, and customers and clients have broader options and market intelligence readily (and instantly!) available through the Internet. Agility in spotting trends, organising and managing multiple ideas and strategies, and smart implementation are key to success, something to which the use of Mind Maps is eminently well-suited.  They can help you sell, negotiate, plan, brainstorm, manage – and do so more effectively, saving you time and money.

Several people I’ve interviewed recently for ReSource (including top US business coach Marshall Goldsmith and New York Times bestselling author and consultant Marcus Buckingham) have suggested that ‘we’re all entrepreneurs now’. One unexpected current example in the UK is within the public sector, in tertiary education, where funding cuts are changing the landscape dramatically. Situations are arising where employees, some of whom have been in their jobs for ten or fifteen years, are now obliged to re-apply for their existing posts – and are consequently required to ‘sell’ themselves again as the best possible candidate for the job. This requires the skill of knowing how to best position yourself, not something most public sector employees have previously had to consider. The ability to identify and promote your key assets, talents and expertise as benefits to your organisation thus become critical to successful job retention, and Mind Mapping can also assist with this.

Transforming Business and Life

In this age of the changing world of work, when everyone, whether employed or running their own business, needs to adopt a more intelligently entrepreneurial mindset, ‘Mind Maps for Business’ helps fill a need for ways to develop clarity of thinking and effective methods to manage complexity and diversity. Mind Maps have been proven to achieve this –  over many years, across innumerable disciplines, and ‘Mind Maps for Business’ is an essential addition to the library of books we return to time and again for practical applications and guidance on being better in the business world – especially in the business of living productively and well.

You can get the book easily now at Amazon & WHSmith

Look out for a full article in the next edition of ReSource

Doing Well by Doing Good

Social Enterprise, sustainability,  and triple bottom line business have been a major focus for ReSource over recent years; we believe that personal and business growth and development go hand in hand – and we’ve been inspired and motivated by Muhammud Yunus and his Grameen Bank example, an enterprise which won Yunus the Nobel Peace Prize; by Lord Andrew Mawson who has been described as ‘Britain’s Social Entrepreneur’ – his groundbreaking Bromley-by-Bow Centre in one of London’s most deprived areas has transformed many lives and been a beacon for better ways of creating cohesive communities; and dedicated people such as Carole Spiers, Ida Horner, Getrude Matshe, who give their time, resources and expertise to projects around the world aimed at helping people to help themselves.

I recently heard Kevin Spacey talk about his projects ‘Old Vic New Voices’ at the Old Vic Theatre to help less privileged young people develop and grow through theatre training workshops and experiences -he described it as ‘sending the lift back down’ to bring up those not yet in a position to fulfill their potential and use their gifts and talents fully. It’s true that these days many people want a ‘hand up’ rather than a ‘hand out’ – and social businesses which offer an opportunity for gainful and worthy employment whilst creating social benefits are a proven way to achieve this.

Later today I’m attending a round table on ‘How to Change Lives with Good Business”, with Sally Reynolds of Social Firms UK giving a heads-up on her perspective as CEO of an organisation championing firms providing opportunities  to find sustainable employment  in the open labour market for severely disadvantaged people. My involvement with setting up our own humanitarian education and development organisation The ReSource Foundation as a social enterprise, and my recent partnership with a major network of Social Entrepreneurs makes this a highly relevant and topical event – I’ll be reporting with more information soon!

Here’s a brief video giving more information about Social Firms:

Happy Chinese New Year

Tiger, Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan, India in October 2008
Tiger photographed on safari at Ranthambore, India, October 2008

Tiger photographed on safari at Ranthambore, India

We at ReSource were thrilled to be able to visit India, and one of the highlights was our tour of Rajasthan: an amazing place of contrasts (like the whole of India!) where we were privileged to be able to go on a tiger safari. The entire three weeks we spent in India was a source of inspiration and joy – the sub continent has an uncanny ability to draw you out and encourage your personal growth!

About Ranthambore National Park

Once we knew we were going to India in Autumn 2008, we started to look for the most enriching experiences there – and something that really stood out as a must-do, must-see was to go on a tiger safari.


These big cats seen in their natural environment held great fascination, and we found ourselves heading for Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, a protected area, one of the few places in India where tigers are still regularly seen, even in the daytime, and are breeding.

Formerly a hunting preserve for the Maharaja of Jaipur, Ranthambore covers an area of 392 sq. km. and is nestled between the Aravali and Vindhya mountain ranges. This deciduous forest was once a part of the magnificent jungles of Central India. The rugged terrain, hills and open valleys with lakes and pools makes it a really romantic and picturesque place to be.


It seems we arrived at just the right time, and that we even had good ‘karma’, according to the locals, as we were able to see several tigers in the course of our three day safari. The excitement of being so close to these amazing creatures was almost indescribable, a real privilege – in fact, quite an emotional experience for all concerned, and something I would recommend wholeheartedly if you have the chance to visit.

www.ranthamborenationalpark.com