Sunny Day in France – Thinking about sales !

Business guru Tom Peters recently said:

“ You know what I do for a living? I sell. Pure, raw, unmitigated traveling salesman, as they used to call them. What do I sell? Passion, ideas. “

What does Resolutions (ie George R O’Neil) sell ? The answer is in the name – Solutions ! The answers you want when things aren’t going as you want them to ! The fixes you want to apply when things get broken! That’s the ‘counselling’ part of what’s on offer.

But simply getting things ‘back in action’ isn’t necessarily all you want. What’s the solution to making your dreams come true ? How do you make your life develop in the way you’d really like it to ? That’s the life coaching part of the deal.

And that model applies to individuals and to businesses:

Are your relationships all that they might be?

Is something keeping you awake at night ?

Do you have a difficult employee you don’t know what to do with ?

What do you really, really want in life or business ?

Do you have a detailed plan about the future ? I use tools from Family Therapy, Counselling, NLP, business management and Person Centred Planning to help you get to where you want to be.

It was my brother, many years ago, who said “You people in the public sector wouldn’t survive in business – you don’t have to sell your services!” I think he is only partly right – but I think it’s my ‘resolution’ this week to re-write my sales plan

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Too much support is stifling. It leads to over-protectiveness. It cramps your style. It is disrespectful.

This rant is prompted by discussions over the last few days about the question of people described as having a learning disability playing a part in any work I do on radio. I intend to present programmes for our local community radio station, Elastic FM. Do we need guidelines to ensure that vulnerable people are not exploited ? Are people with a learning disability a special case or should they have the same protection as other members of society such as older people, minorities and people who come from Essex ? (That is probably discriminatory but the stereotype does serve a purpose. Perhaps blondes should not be allowed to hold high office in society. We readily put labels on people !).

It was recommended that we should not have pictures of people with a learning disability without their written permission – a consent form, explained and signed.

But when she (wait and see !) comes on radio I won’t be talking to her in that special voice we reserve for the ‘aah bless!’ section of society. And if she badmouths any technology or shops I like she can expect an argument!

Eight fire engines raced on to the runway, at the airport as I waited to fly out to Montpellier. In the event of a crash landing would there be a special fire engine for people with a learning disability ? Of course not – there are times when everybody needs protection.

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So here I am sitting in a cold apartment in Malta.  It shouldn’t be cold – it’s Malta !  But today had spectacular weather.  Seldom seen rain like it !  Throwing it down, it was, as I stood beside the Presidential Palace as a fleet of cars arrived to deliver a visiting sheik / head of state.  Men with guns leaped from cars as the monitoring helicopter above swept away having finished its job.

I’ve had a wonderful two days !  Yesterday Matthew and I were on mid-day TV, talking about the question of learning disabled people having a bit of romance in their lives.  The interview was in Maltese, with my bits in English.  Claudette Pace (pronounced “Patch”) told of how she’d seen a moving video of a couple with Down’s Syndrome who fell in love.  I guess her words and the things we got chance to say would hold some sway with a few thousand people.  Powerful opportunity !

Then we went to the beach, to chill out and get fed.  A woman there with her husband (?) looked at us oddly.  Either they were tourists and recognised my British accent or she was saying “There’s those two guys off this morning’s TV programme !”

Then we travelled around, stopping a another beach.  Then we headed back to another town to collect friend Sarah.  Matthew stopped to talk to a farmer, first to ask what the weather was going to do (“ask a farmer !”) and secondly to get directions.  The farmer told him to go back the way he came, taking then the first turning.  “Look,” said Matthew in Maltese, “I’ve got a foreigner in the car with me !  I don’t want to look stupid.  How do I get there by keeping going in the direction I’m already heading ?”

We collected Sarah but discovered we were short of a lead for the projector.  So Matthew phoned a friend with a shop.  “Do you sell these leads ?” Yes “So I’ll drive past and honk the horn.  Just throw me the lead !”

We got to where the evening’s seminar was – at a cultural centre.  It lasted two hours and was full of interesting people.  Lots of them seemed to be doing research / writing papers / doing their Master’s on the question of sex and learning disability !  I filled the evening with Lisa quotes and stories about Wayne.  It would have been better if they (both people described as having a learning disability) had been there to speak for themselves !

Today we went to a day centre (very like a day centre in England) then on to a college to sign a certificate for a participant which had been missed last night.

Tonight’s meeting with parents was cancelled because there were too few participants.  So I sat in my apartment and took part in a streaming broadcast on the internet for Elastic fm, a local radio station for Clowne and Bolsover which I hope to be doing some broadcasting with in the near future

Isn’t life still exciting ?

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No Funny Voice !

Presentation nearly ready, after several days work, for the workshops in Malta !

But there seem to be people in Malta already saying the kinds of things I’m likely to say:

  • people described as having a learning disability should be treated as full members of the community,
  • they are sexual beings just like anybody else, with the same rights and responsibilities,
  • don’t talk to people in that special, condescending voice, no matter who they are !

So what’s the advantage in having me, Johnny Foreigner, coming in to say the same things ?

And in a good, Catholic country, what do I say about me being trans and that the best sex education resource I know is published by the Family Planning Association ? I think I go ahead and do what I’ve always done. The point about me telling audiences about my female alter ego was always to let people know they are not the only ones in the country. I found Eddie Izzard and Esben Esther’s stance very helpful. I should do the same !

It does look like another exciting adventure !


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What a lot of adventures I’ve had in the last few weeks !

I went on holiday to France with friend Peter. Then I danced in a flash-mob style event on TV for the introduction to Britain’s Got Talent.

After that I spoke at a conference at Warwick University. Next week I am in Malta doing a couple of presentations and will be on afternoon TV there on Monday. I am in Scotland for a weekend after that then back in France. Between those two trips I am doing training on how to present a radio programme.

And those are only the highlights of what I’ve been up to !

So why is this happening ? I think my son Mark hit the nail on the head when he bought me a present of a session in a racing car. “Now you have retired you’ll have the chance to be more get-up-and-go !”

As the lyrics of Born to be Wild say:

Get your motor running
Head out on the highway
Looking for adventure
And whatever comes our way.

I think I keep ‘Looking for adventure’.

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Isn’t Retirement Strange ?

There’s nothing in the nature of humans that says it’s natural to work forty five hours a week, or thirty five, or ten.  The length of the working week is set by other factors.  But what about when the paid working week comes to NO hours ?  It’s a big life change !  And on this street, where I live, there are lots of people have gone through it.

It prompts questions about the purpose of life, one’s usefulness, the daily timetable, priorities and so on.

But it is exciting !  The television got turned on once this weekend, while I ate (yes, I know that’s not a mindful way to eat) – I watched half of Ashley Banjo’s Secret Dance Crew.  I’m planning to do a sample sound file for a pitch to be an agony uncle for a new radio station.  I’ve had to learn more about Photoshop and making video and using my projector (the size of my iPhone) and a hundred other new skills.  I’m doing a weekly life coaching theme on my Facebook business page (last week was ’embarrassment’, this week is ‘fame’).  I’m writing my journal most days and mapping out my first book.  And I find time for long conversations with friends by phone or in person.

And the time just races by !

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Another busy week!

I watched a video of Ged Smith at the last Association for Family Therapy Conference (available on Youtube).  He made many wonderful points, all done in the manner of a Scouse standup comedian !  What struck me most was:





What do you notice about the above statements ?

Don’t we always pay attention to the things that are wrong, often at the expense of the things that are right ?

The entire speech is on  this link.

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Start of 2012.

Doesn’t time go past quickly – December has come and gone !    One of the best bits of the last few weeks was the story a relation told about discovering the Virgin Mary moonlighting as a car mechanic !  Her son had taken the Mary figure from the Chrismas Crib and put it in his ‘wee garage’  (they’re Scottish !).  She also discovered Joseph working as a petrol pump attendant, filling a car driven by a camel and containing the Three Wise Men.

One of the worst things I heard was the mother at the checkout in the supermarket who said, taking her mobile out, ‘If you don’t behave I’m going to phone Santa !’  It got me to thinking about the song Santa Clause is Coming to Town ‘He knows when you’ve been good or bad, so be good for goodness sake!’

So what was being suggested?  Christmas morning when a child had NOTHING, when everybody else had presents ??  Because of a particular incident in a supermarket one wet Thursday ?  How cruel would that be ?

Is the threat of cruelty going to help children grow to happy human beings?

And have I ever, for my sins, said something similar ?

Lets plan for good things to happen in the coming year.

A ‘Guid New Year’ to all

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So here’s where we get started.

As Elvis said: “D’ye ever get one of thos days, boys?”  Well this seems to be one of those!  It’s a day when everything’s going right.  I made an appointment with a free business adviser, ordered my business cards and discovered I can start putting SOMETHING at least on my web site.

I’m learning so much stuff since I left work it’s just not true!  I spent time this morning also editing a photo with Photoshop Elements.  I’ve downloaded backing tracks to sing along to (at 24p each!).  I’ve discovered where to find music on the web to chill out to (Bach mostly).  I’ve been to a personal development group where I broke a plank of wood with my bare hand. And I’ve come up with lists of new ideas to follow up.

Isn’t life exciting ?

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