Looking for Joy…

Sometimes my first client conversations go deep into the problem, the challenge or the desire my client is bringing to our work together. And sometimes they go high and wide, discussions about the meaning of life that don’t seem to connect to the immediate challenge, and yet explain everything.

My conversation yesterday was the latter. A highly successful professional, a famous name in his field, who felt like he’d lost his way, like his success had peaked and the only track was down. He wanted to recapture some meaning to his life and work, to feel fulfilled, to feel excited…

What would it be like to escape who you think you are?

Do You Have Preferences? Or Even a Personality Profile?

My dog took his ball out on the walk yesterday. He stood at the garden gate, chewed blue ball in mouth, a determined

I’ve got my ball and I’m bringing it with me,

look on his face.

We have lots of four-legged friends who are glued to their balls (one poodle pal in particular), others who insist on carrying the stick for miles (labradors usually!), but not our fella.

He’s the dog who will chase the dog chasing the ball because it’s a great game. The fun for…

The Narcissist and the Limitation of Labels


An article arrived in my inbox today calling out narcissists in leadership positions.

Yes, I get it.

Headlines. And me too, evidently.

The Shorthand

I understand the shorthand here-that (some) people in power (sometimes) seem to value the power more than the outcome or the people. Or worse, there is malign intent and there is a negative impact on people and performance that may run a spectrum from undesirable to intolerable.

We should talk about this. About culture, about checks and balances, about hiring and firing procedures, and, of course, about our own individual agency…

…without being a pushover

Thank you Andrew Martin and Pixabay for the image

This post comes out of one of the Leadership Sessions I host. It isn’t a read-out exactly, nor a summary, but a few ‘highlights’ from the session, distinctions and pointers I thought it might be useful to share. Places, perhaps, to pause and reflect on the landscape.

1. Can You Feel It?

My words may not be your words but I suspect we will both know ‘kindness’ when we feel it.

I don’t mind whether you have a definition in words. Sometimes that’s important-when you need agreements, when you’re in cooperation and you need a shared understanding. Your context is your…

A Custodian Approach to Ownership

Many thanks to Edi Nugraha on Pixabay for the image.


For many years we lived in an old house, ‘old’ by housing standards (500+ years), not so old by planet standards.

What I noticed for all the years I lived there was that I never felt as if i really ‘owned’ it. I mean, I had the mortgage papers and the stuff was mine, but I also felt the expanse of the generations who’d lived there before me, and who would after. …

What if there was a guaranteed, no-fail, simple technique you could use anywhere, any time? Interested?

Thank you to Caleb Woods on Unsplash for the photo


When it comes to motivating others what are you really doing?

This question has come up a lot in the work-at-home weirdness of the last year.

Motivating myself and motivating others — how do I rally enthusiasm and outputs?

A recent online group I led was a great reminder about what’s really going on here. The group was there for a purpose (the purpose wasn’t to talk about motivation!), we had a task, an agenda and a flow.

What was interesting though, at the…

Leadership in view — seeing it and getting better at it.

If You Can’t See It, That Doesn’t Mean it Isn’t There…

Youngest son, currently finishing his degree at home in his attic bedroom, was keen to talk through a chapter of his dissertation on institutional memory. Sometimes he likes to articulate the work he’s doing, talk, and make sense of it out loud… I always find him interesting and I’m happy to listen.

‘It’s not a ‘thing’,’ he told me, but I have identified, and I’m describing three effects of it and how they change over the period.’

I almost laughed, actually, because it’s exactly the language I might use…

The more choices we have the more likely it is we will be having a fulfilling experience of life and work.

With thanks to Ichigo on Pixabay for the image

As we approach my next Leadership Event, the topic of transitions and change is on my mind, how we can operate in uncertainty and how we move forward, or don’t with projects and transitions. It’s such rich territory to see so much about life and work, and this post is a one way we can conceptualise this area to make more visible the range of choices that we think we have as leaders and humans.

The Baseline and the Net…

One of the things…

…and the struggle to market meaning

Challenging the Core Concept of ‘Change’

I’m becoming more and more uncomfortable with the language I use around what I want to do with my projects. We (let me say “I” here) throw around words without always thinking about them, because they landed with me at some point, or because they feel ‘stirring’, or more meaningful or inspiring than other words.

Plus how would I enroll people if I said I was working on the mundane, the endless, the completely unsexy work of everyday noticing and small actions? Does that sound as saleable as ‘large-scale change’, ‘global challenges’, ‘sustainable difference-making’?

…and how a dusty needle can help you see something new.

Many thanks to Tama66 and Pixabay for the image.

From ‘I’m Stuck’…

I had a fun session with a client this morning bouncing ideas around and getting creative with a sticky problem he was facing.

As well as whatever we do in the practical, it’s very important for me to know that my clients are growing their understanding of how the mind works. Yes, there is magic in what we do, but I don’t just want someone to have the experience of magic, I want them to be able to do it for themselves, and for others.

Today’s conversation reminded me…

Cathy Presland

What if making an impact was part of your everyday? Stories to light up your soul. Read more and free courses: https://cathypresland.com/find-out-more

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