#DailyWritingChallenge Day 97: Challenge

noun. a call to someone to participate in a competitive situation or fight to decide who is superior in terms of ability or strength; a call to prove or justify something.
verb. dispute the truth or validity of; invite (someone) to engage in a contest.
The global pandemic has been a challenge. The challenge has been complying to lockdown. The way we choose to live our lives has been challenged.
We have been challenged personally and professionally. We have been challenged individually and collectively. We have been challenged mentally, physically and emotionally.
What have we learned from the challenge? How have we grown as a result of the challenge?
A challenge:
Different people respond to different challenges in different ways. As a competitive person I like rising to the challenge, but in areas where I know I can potentially excel. Challenge me in an area out of my experience, my expertise or my comfort zone and I might not be as up for it.
A challenge is a situation we find ourselves in, posed to us by someone else. To receive a challenge is to have an opponent, someone to compete against. Sometimes a challenge is posed by ourselves to ourselves, we compete against ourselves.
Who are we a challenge for? How much do we allow ourselves to grow when a challenge is given to us? How selective are we in each challenges we take on?
A challenge can be learning a new skill or flexing an old one.
“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow”.
Ralph Waldo Emerson  
A challenge can make us look at things differently.
“Challenges are what makes life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful”.
Joshua Marine
A challenge I have recently faced is having a lodger, and his partner, trapped in my house with me during lockdown. I have lived by myself for a few years, I love my own company and my own space. Having not one, but two people, in my space, all day every day had its challenges, but we made it work.
As a result of this challenge I have reflected on how my lifestyle serves me. 
The Challenge:
We face challenges day in and day out. We rise to them consciously and sub-consciously. There are challenges with a small c and there are challenges with a big C.
The Challenge is an obstacle or a barrier. It is something bigger than us. It is something out of our control.  It is something to fight against.
The Challenge is systemic. It is structural. It is societal.
The Challenge is limiting. It is the double standards. It is the inequities. It is the injustice. It is the missing rung on the ladder. It is the reinforced ceiling.
How aware are we of the scale of the challenges we face? How often do we compare our challenges to the challenges of others? Do we check the privilege of the challenges we face?
The challenges we rise to enables us to learn and grow.
“Don’t limit your challenges; challenge your limits. Each day we must strive for constant and never ending improvement”.
Tony Robbins 
The challenges we overcome empowers us.
“Accept the challenges so that you can feel of the exhilaration of victory”.
George Patton 
The Challenge I am committed to taking on via my work with and for Diverse Educators is the challenge of diversity, equity and inclusion in our school system. The challenges faced by people from diverse backgrounds in our teaching workforce and experienced by the children from diverse backgrounds that we teach, need addressing. The challenges are societal, systemic and structural. The challenges need collective agency.
As a result of this challenge I have reflected on my own privilege and I have scrutinised where the power is above and around me. 
To be challenged:
To be challenged relies on us to be humble.  To be challenged requires us to be resilient. To be challenged needs us to be receptive. To be challenged compels us to be vulnerable. 

Challenge is a two-way process.
We challenge and we are challenged.
To be challenged can often feel uncomfortable. It invites us to raise our game, to justify our position, to explain our standpoint.
How do we receive being challenge? How do we process being challenged objectively rather than subjectively? How do we not let being challenged get under skin and respond with grace?
To be challenged is an opportunity to win or to learn.
“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional”.
Roger Crawford
To be challenged is an opportunity to learn and to grow.
“Embrace each challenge in your life as an opportunity for self-transformation”.
Bernie Siegel
I am challenged by those around me. I invite challenge and I am open to it. I have critical friends who I trust, who I seek challenge from. I am currently going through the branding process for Diverse Educators and I have sought challenge from people in the community to stimulate the creative process.
As a result of being challenged I can see situations from different perspectives.
To challenge:
To challenge takes courage. To challenge takes action. To challenge takes commitment.
We all have the capability and the capacity to challenge the people, the ideas and the things around us. But sometimes it is not our way, or it is not the way the team or the culture around us works.
We need to create cultures where it is safe to challenge. We need to cultivate teams where we can have fierce and courageous conversations that challenge us.  We need to create the conditions for challenge being delivered and received in an objective way, where we depersonalise the challenge from the person articulating it, where we can listen to and learn from the challenge.
How do we perceive challenge? How do we challenge others? How do we respond to external challenge? 
To challenge is to feel the fear and do it anyway.
“There are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise to meet”.
William Halsey
To challenge is to take a risk, despite the consequences.
“The greatest glory in living, lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”. Nelson Mandela
To challenge is in my DNA. I ask questions. I ask for detail. I ask for evidence. I ask  for reasoning. I encourage people to look at things from different perspectives.
To challenge does not always make you popular, but so be it.
To challenge is to have a voice and to use it. To challenge is to have strong values and to live by them. To challenge is to have a loud, positive inner voice and to listen to it.
As a result of this challenge I have reflected on how I have challenged in the past and how I will challenge in the future. 
A challenge… The Challenge… To challenge… To be challenged… Each reveals our true character.
How do we reflect on, capture and learn from the growth we have experienced by our resilience being challenged?
Martin Luther King Jr Challenges Quotes | Inspiration Boost

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 96: Knowledge

noun. facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject; awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.
To know. To be familiar with. To be aware. To understand.
We all know a lot… Or we like to think we do… However, the more we know, the more we realise what we do not know…
We all read a lot… Or we like to think we do… However, the more we read, the more we realise what we have not read…
We all reflect a lot… Or we like to think we do… However, the more we reflect, the more we realise what we have not reflected on…
Thus knowledge for me is a cycle, an ebb and flow. Moving in and out of knowing, being familiar with, aware of and understanding something or someone… to not knowing, not being aware and not understanding.
Knowledge is stepping into the light, out of the darkness, and then the lights being switched off, until daylight emerges once again. Knowledge is those light bulb moments, those epiphanies of clarity and sense making.
Our knowledge is constantly evolving, flexing and growing, it is not fixed.
“Knowledge is like a garden; if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested”.
Many people are obsessed with ‘knowing stuff about stuff’, humans, especially educators, legitimise themselves through anchoring their knowledge in theory.
Knowledge is often led by the head. Knowledge is intellectualised, theorised and academised.
Knowledge is knowing the facts, the information, the detail. Wisdom is knowing what to do with it.
Knowledge can sometimes become a regurgitation of what we know. When we truly understand something we explain it, we can paraphrase it and we can simplify it.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.
Albert Einstein
Knowledge is the theory. Wisdom is the practice.
Many people are obsessed with ‘knowing stuff about stuff’, but how well do we know ourselves? How much internal knowledge and wisdom to we focus on?
In the ongoing Diversity and Inclusion conversations I am in, we reflect on and discuss the need for the ‘inner work’ to take place to empower the individual, to enable the ‘outer’  work to manifest.
The relationship between the internal and the external can be paralleled to the relationship between theory and practice. Which comes first? Which shapes the other?
“The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand”. Frank Herbert
So how well do we actually know ourselves? How much kudos do we place on this aspect of knowledge?
How familiar are we with us? How self-aware and socially aware are we? How deep is our understanding of our internal worlds?
Knowledge could and should be led by the heart. Knowledge should be personalised, emotionalised and humanised.
Knowledge is important. Intelligence is important. But emotional intelligence is really important.
“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite
of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head– it is the unique intersection
of both”.
David Caruso 
This year it has felt at times that we no longer know the world we live in. The system we know has changed. The  society we knew has changed. Thus it is on us to develop our knowledge and deepen our understanding.
“Knowledge is power”.
Francis Bacon
What we know is important. What we do not know needs to be discovered.
Who we know is important. Who we do not know needs to be discovered.
“Knowledge without practice is useless. Practice without knowledge is dangerous”. Confucius  
Knowledge is power.
Knowledge is empowering.
Knowledge is enabling.
Knowledge is liberating.
Knowledge is progress.
“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premised of progress in every society, in every family”.
Kofi Annan
Knowledge unlocks us.

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 95: Influence

noun. the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.
verb. have an influence on.
As a verb, influence typically means “to affect or change someone or something in an indirect but usually important way.” Something or someone that influences a person or thing, then, has an influence on that person or thing.
Social influence refers to the way in which individuals change their behavior to meet the
demands of a social environment. It takes many forms and can be seen in conformity, socialisation, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales, and marketing.
Some questions to consider regarding influence:
How are we influenced to think and behave? How are we shaped as human beings?
There are so many things that influence us in our lives:
Society… Culture… Language… Word of mouth… Family and Friends… Community… Social status… Cultural Capital… Persuasion… Knowledge… Education… Experience… Profession… Storytelling… Media… Advertising… Propaganda… Arts and Music…
Each sector of our lives, each social sphere, each segment of our identity influences us.
But influence is not a one-way process. As we are influenced, we also influence others. So other question to consider are:
How do we influence others? How do we increase our influence as an individual?
As individuals we influence our friends and family.
As parents and carers we influence our children.
As teachers we influence the children we teach.
As leaders we influence the teams we serve.
As tweeters we influence who follows us.
As writers and bloggers we influence who reads us.
Quotes about Society influence (50 quotes)
We all have a sphere of influence. Whether we like it or not. The more established we are, the more senior we become, the wider the reach we have, the larger the following we have, the bigger our sphere of influence becomes. With influence comes responsibility and accountability.
But our ability to influence and be influenced, is also framed through biases. These biases come from the values instilled in us, the experiences that have conditioned us, the circles we move in. A bias is a frame, a lens, through which we see, hear, filter and interpret information.
Biases distort and disrupt objective contemplation of an issue by introducing influences into the decision-making process that are separate from the decision itself.
Emotional biases typically occur spontaneously based on the personal feelings of an individual at the time a decision is made. They may also be deeply rooted in personal experiences that also influence our decision-making.   
We often see what we want to see, and hear what we want to hear.
The confirmation bias is a cognitive bias that causes people to search for, favor, interpret, and recall information in a way that confirms their preexisting beliefs. The confirmation bias affects people’s thinking in every area of life.
So when we are thinking about influence we also need to think about power and privilege. When we are reflecting on who influences us we need to think about the subliminal and sub-conscious messages we absorb through the choices we make – what we read, what we watch, what we listen to, who we follow and who we engaged with. Each choice influences our thinking. We need to filter the dominant narratives and the loudest voices, we need to select our thought leaders carefully.
Robert Johnson quote: Leadership is the ability to influence ...
To influence others is to be the best version of yourself you can be.
“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why”.
Stephen King
To influence others is to be a visible role model with conviction in each action.
“The most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of they’ve taught me”.
Scott Adams
To influence others is to model the behaviours we want to see.
“If you want to help others and become a person of influence, keep smiling, sharing, giving and turning the other cheek”.
John Maxwell
To influence others is to lead by example, with integrity and authenticity.
“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority”.
Kenneth Blanchard
To influence others is to share a vision, a mission and values and to create a legacy.
“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence”.
Sheryl Sandberg 
To influence is to empower.
“Having influence is not about elevating self, but about lifting others”.
Sheryl Drew
To influence is to serve others.
Leaders with influence... | Leadership inspiration, Leadership ...
As leaders, we need to harness our influence and use it for good. We need to influence positive change. We need to influence values-led decision-making and ethical behaviours. We influence society as educators. As leaders we need to influence the system and the structures that inhibit progress and transformation.

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 94: Openness

noun; lack of restriction; accessibility; lack of secrecy or concealment; frankness.
Openness to experience is one of the domains which are used to describe human personality in the Five Factor Model. Openness involves six facets, or dimensions, including active imagination, aesthetic sensitivity, attentiveness to inner feelings, preference for variety, and intellectual curiosity.
I am naturally a very open person. I have an open mind, an open heart and I am quite open in what I say. My body language is usually very open too.
I was brought up in a home where doors and windows were always open. Conversations were very open too. Becoming a teacher, open door policies did thus not bother me.
My happy place is an open space, I love being at the top of the mountain looking out over the open vista or on a beach looking out at the open sea and the open sky.
The ability to be open relies on a number of things. Firstly, internally openness comes from a place of authenticity, a place of confidence and a place of courage. Externally openness comes from a place of truth, a place of honesty and a place of respect. Openness needs these conditions to exist and to thrive.
Being brought up in an open home, with open relationships and the value of openness being instilled in us has shaped who I am, how I am and what I do.
Openness Quotes. QuotesGram | Words, Inspirational words, Wise words
As a school leader I had an open-door policy for staff and students. My openness meant I was approachable and welcoming to my community and openness was part of our culture and our ethos.
As an educator on social media I am open to new ideas, people, connections, collaborations and opportunities. My openness means that people reach out to me and share things with me.
As a human being  I am open to different people, different cultures and different experiences. My openness means that people feel connected to me, trust me and often confide in me and disclose in me.
Openness also leads to the ability to be, and to embrace being, vulnerable. At a Big Education event earlier in the year I was asked to speak about vulnerable leadership and I blogged about it here. I quoted Brene Brown who talks about openness, and specifically open-heartedness, in her work:
“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people,
but we’re afraid to let them see it in us”.
Brene Brown 
This quote makes me think about the space we created with #WomenEd for women in education to be open and honest. The stories are often raw and painful as we share our journeys. Similarly in the #IamRemarkable workshops I facilitate, it is about creating a safe space where we can be open about our fears, our personal and professional barriers and become more open in celebrating our accomplishments and what makes us proud.
For me, being open, means that people see me and understand me. My openness encourages acceptance and creates a sense of belonging. By being open I give myself permission to be me.
For me, being open also means that I can heal by talking out my experiences and sharing my feelings. By modelling this to others, it also gives them permission to be open too. Through openness we heal from the hurts of the past, we become comfortable in the present and hopeful for the future.
Inspiring Quotes from John de Ruiter
Openness is inclusive as it reflects our reach and our relationships.
The openness of our hearts and minds can be measured by how wide we draw the circle of what we call family”.
Mother Theresa

Openness is insightful through the conversations that evolve.

“Honesty and openness is always foundation of insightful dialogue”.
Bell Hooks
Openness is revealing through the journey we begin.
“Openness isn’t the end: it’s the beginning”.
Margaret Hefferman
Openness is liberating through the lens of transparency.
“…approach change with an understanding of the process
and an openness to the pain”.
Elizabeth Lesser
Openness is empowering through the inner work we commit to.
“Openness doesn’t come from resisting our fears
but rather from getting to know them well”.
Pema Chodron

Openness is enlightening as it is a way of being.

“There is just some magic in truth and honesty and openness”.
Frank Ocean
Life Style Quotes : People who have no love, peace, or openness ...

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 93: Wonder

noun. a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar; a person or thing regarded as very good, remarkable, or effective.
verb. desire to know something; feel curious; feel doubt.


To wonder is to be curious. To feel wonder is to be stirred by something remarkable. To know wonderful people. To witness wondrous sights. To bear testament to the wonders of the world.

Wonder Quotes

As children we wonder. We are curious. We ask questions. Our wonder develops knowledge and deepens understanding. Wisdom is formed as our imagination is stimulated and our minds are formed.

I wonder…

As we get older and wiser, do we lose our sense of wonder in the world? Do we become accustomed to its magnitude and take for granted the things that evoked wonder in us as a child?

Wondrous people inspire us to be better, to do more, to fulfil our potential. Princess Diana of Themyscira or Diana Prince of the modern world (aka Wonder Woman) defies all limits placed on her by using her super powers. Auggie Pullman, the child in Wonder with Treacher Collins syndrome, defies all limits imposed on him by choosing kindness – his super power is his heart and soul.

I wonder…

Who inspires us by defying the limits? Who in our real lives rather in works of fiction are the Dianas and the Auggies? Who feels us with wonder as they unleash their ‘super powers’?

The Wonders of the World – ancient and modern – inspire us both through their natural phenomena but also through human actions.  There are places in the world that I have visited that have literally taken my breath away. I have sat in wonder for a prolonged amount of time to absorb the sublime beauty such as the immensity of canyon and the enormity of a mountain range.

I wonder…

Which of my travels to far flung destinations has instilled the most wonder in me? Was is Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids, Ephesus, Christ the Redeemer or the Colosseum? I wonder if I will get to Petra this autumn as planned or when in the future I will experience this wonder again?

As we went into lockdown, the natural world replenished a sense of wonder to our lives. As clouds lifted and as waters cleared, a wonder in the world around us and in the every day things we had been taken for granted was restored. Over the last few months, the oohs and the aahs of these occurrences have become normalised once again.

I wonder…

If we have deeply listened? If we have fully understood the message? If we have truly appreciated the wonder of the world? If we have wholly embraced the opportunity bestowed on us?

Wonder Quotes | Wonder Sayings | Wonder Picture Quotes

Reading the other blogs today has just triggered a memory that has meant I have come back to write more following this thread I posted on Twitter. The wonder of music and songs about wonder has encouraged me to reflect on my Headship. It is the last day of the summer term and perhaps it is not a coincidence that my sub-conscious selection of today’s theme takes me back to my first official day (I had done a year as a Headteacher Designate without a team/ without a building) and our INSET to kick of our opening.

Magnus Joenck | Director of Photography | Profiles | Promonews

I chose a song to frame our year, a song with a metaphor to give a message to the staff, a song to ‘nurture hearts and minds’ as was the mission statement I had crafted for our community. I selected ‘Wonder’ by Emile Sande as the music video is about a woman, leading a group on a journey, as they travel towards the unopened door, through the wilderness, colours explode around them.

Naughty Boy ft Emeli Sandé / Wonder - Nadia Marquard Otzen

I wonder…

How my old team are feeling? How the students are doing? How their families are keeping? What song symbolises their academic year? What song will frame their next year? 

The lyrics of Wonder are symbolic and I have copied them here for you to read and reflect on:


I can beat the night
I’m not afraid of thunder
I am full of light
I am full of wonder
Wo-oh, oh-oh, I ain’t falling under
Wo-oh, oh-oh, I am full of wonder
Though our feet might ache
The world’s upon our shoulders
No way we going to break
Wo-oh, oh-oh, we ain’t falling under
Wo-oh, oh-oh, we are full of wonder
This light is contagious, go, go tell your neighbours
Just reach out and pass it on, ooh, yeah
This light is contagious, go, go tell your neighbours
Just reach out and pass it on, ooh, yeah
This light is contagious, go, go tell your neighbours
Just reach out and pass it on, ooh, yeah
This light is contagious, go, go tell your neighbours
Just reach out and pass it on, ooh, yeah
Wo-oh, oh-oh, we ain’t falling under
Wo-oh, oh-oh, we are full of wonder
When everything feels wrong
And darkness falls upon you
Just try sing along
This is a message from Cabana
If your heart turns blue
I want you to remember
This song is for you
And you are full of wonder
Wo-oh, oh-oh, we ain’t falling under
Wo-oh, oh-oh, we are full of wonder
Wo-oh, oh-oh, we ain’t falling under
Wo-oh, oh-oh, we are full of wonder

There is much that we can make connections to for the journeys we have been on this year. Let’s leave the thunder and the darkness in this academic year and seek out the  wonder of next academic year. Let’s make the light contagious.

emeli sande wonder | Emeli Sande | Emeli sande, Song quotes ...

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 92: Contribution

noun. a gift or payment to a common fund or collection; the part played by a person or thing in bringing about a result or helping something to advance; a piece of writing submitted for publication in a journal, book, etc.
The gift we bestow… The part we play… The result we create… The help we give… The contribution we make. 
We are all capable of contributing. We can all show up. We can all lean in. We can all be brilliant. But we need to make sure that these contributions are seen, that contributions are acknowledged, valued and celebrated as some contributions are ignored, diminished or misattributed.
Michelle Obama quote: Value everyone's contribution and treat ...
We all contribute. Contributing gives us a sense of fulfilment. To contribute is to serve others.
“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfilment”.
Tony Robbins
We all contribute time, energy, ideas, money and resources. Contributing gives us a sense of purpose. To contribute is to be generous with what we have and to share it with others. 
“Life is not accumulation, it is about contribution”.
Stephen Covey
We all contribute by making a choice. We all choose how we spend our time and energy. We all choose what we prioritise. To contribute is a choice about the impact we have. 
“When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die”.
Eleanor Roosevelt 
We all contribute to our communities. We all contribute to society. We all contribute to the wider impact. To contribute is to set the tone and to affect change. 
“Every thought, every word, and every action that adds to the positive and the wholesome is a contribution to peace. Each and every one of us is capable of making such a contribution”.
Aung San Suu Kyl  
We need to celebrate the gifts we bestow… the parts we play… the results we create… the help we give… the contributions we make. We need to own these contributions as accomplishments we should be proud of.
Quotes about Making a contribution (48 quotes)
Some questions to reflect on as the academic year ends:
  • How have you contributed your time?
  • How have you contributed your energy?
  • How have you contributed your resources?
  • How have you contributed your ideas?
  • How have you contributed your joy?
  • How have you contributed your passion?
  • How have you contributed your money?
  • How has your contribution made a difference?
  • Who has your contribution impacted?  

Sheryl Sandberg - It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and ...



I love it when a plan comes together. I met Isa Buencamino a couple of months ago as we are both in the Resilient Leaders Elements community of practice. We are both passionate about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and we had a chat about what we could do to help move the conversations we are involved in on.

Isa had watched our virtual Diverse Educators event and asked if I would be up for starting a podcast. I liked the idea of it, but I was concerned that the audio market for thought leadership has become quite saturated, and I personally prefer watching than listening to things to provoke my thinking. We thrashed it out and decided to launch a webcast – a weekly livestream broadcast where you can visibly see the diversity of our guests as well as hearing their diverse voices. Moreover, the recordings can then become a bank of free CPD resources for future reference.

Our vision:

We believe that stretching our D&I orientation to a world perspective enhances our ability to empathise and understand the lived experiences of others; to do something personally about it in a meaningful way.  

Our mission:

We wanted to create a safe space to have courageous conversations about what matters. We are committed to holding a dynamic enquiry to deepen our understanding, to develop our learning and to determine our collective agency around Diversity and Inclusion.

Our values:

  • Courage – to be uncomfortable  and to encourage others to lean into embracing it too;
  • Curiosity – to ask the difficult questions and to give permission to others to do so too;
  • Authenticity – to be ourselves as we go on this journey and to empower others to be so too;
  • Vulnerability – to reveal what we do not know and our own blindspots, and to enable others to do so too.

Our purpose:

We have curated a series of conversations  that aim to  “fast forward” our D&I orientation, allowing advocates to build from what’s already been achieved, and take the agenda to new heights. We have brought our two worlds together – Isa has contacts in corporate organisations and I have a network in education and academic research.

Our guests:

Episode 1: Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi

Rhodora joined us from the Philippines and we reflected on her career in corporate D&I and the influence she has had in shaping this agenda.

Fast Forward Rhodora.001

You can watch our conversation with Rhodora here.

Episode 2: Elizabeth Wright

Liz joined us from the UK and we reflected on her life as person with a disability and how it led her to the Paralympics and to becoming an activist.

Fast Forward Flyer Elizabeth W.001

You can watch our conversation with Liz here.

Episode 3: Professor Paul Miller

Paul joined us from the UK and we reflected on his academic research into the experiences of BME teachers and leaders in the school system.


You can watch our conversation with Paul here.

Episode 4: Dr Fran Johnston 

Fran will be joining us from the USA to share her career leading transformation through inclusive cultures.

Fran Johnston July 26.001

You can join our conversation with Fran here. Note, due to time zones this webcast will be held at the later time of 3pm next week.

Our pilot series is 12 weeks long and it will run through until Sunday 20th September. If there is interest we will then plan a second series. We are working with UK Youth to curate two panels this season to ensure that we are all listening to the voices of the next generation of D&I advocates and activists too.

We hope that you enjoy the conversations as we unpack the world perspective on D&I through our guests’ expertise and experience in this field. We hope that you find the webcasts humanising, mind expanding and that they give us all permission, as global citizens, to reach outside of the box and to see our world through a different lens. 

Please do leave a comment on the impact these conversations have had on you thus far.

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 91: Spontaneity

noun. the condition of being spontaneous; spontaneous behaviour or action.
I miss being spontaneous.
The older I have become, the less spontaneous I have become. The more senior I have become, the less spontaneity I have in my life. The busier I have become, the less room for spontaneity has been left. This has been compounded by relocating and a lot of my friends living back in London. It is hard to be spontaneous when your friends are a few hours away as everything needs planning in advance!
During my 20s and early 30s there was lots of spontaneous fun and adventure. We would do things on a whim as we had less responsibilities. We took ourselves and our lives a lot less seriously. We had random adventures, random nights out, random fun. I was much more carefree than I am in my 40s.
I am a planner. Those who know me, know that I schedule and diarise everything in advance. Everything is in the calendar and colour coded. I have lots of different groups of friends, who live all over the place and we block out weekends months in advance to ensure we get to see each other.
Can spontaneity be planned in advance?
I think it is why I enjoy travelling so much. When I go away I plan when I will leave and when I will return but I leave the rest of it up to the adventure. I enjoy being free spirited and taking each day as it comes. We decide on the day or the night before, what we will do.
This will be the first summer I am not going away to do some travelling or a volunteer trip overseas, it is also the first summer where I do not get a school summer holiday. My relationship with time, energy, holidays is changing. I am hoping I can plan some spontaneity back into my life! When I say plan, I mean create some time and some space, then see what manifests itself as an opportunity.
Spontaneity is about embracing where you are, who you are with and what you can do in the moment.
Spontaneity is being present in the present”.
Wei Wu Wei
Spontaneity is about discovering the unknown and doing the unfamiliar.
“Spontaneity is the best kind of adventure”.
Spontaneity is about grasping opportunities and enjoying a sense of freedom.
Spontaneity is an infinite number of rehearsed opportunities”.
Peter F. Drucker
Spontaneity is about creating the conditions including being in the right headspace.
Spontaneity is a meticulously prepared art”.
Oscar Wilde
Spontaneity is about living in the moment and filling our lives with unbridled joy.
“If a person lives a spontaneous life,
then (s)he realises that life has only one meaning – life itself”.
Erich Fromm 
So as people break up, put down their planners, pack away their laptops and begin to come out of hibernation, I hope that we can all find some opportunities this summer to embrace the spontaneous, have some fun and some random adventure. Let’s remember to enjoy the being as well as the doing in our lives!
I, for one, am going to try harder to recapture being spontaneous and to rediscover that carefree side of my personality to bring a bit of lightness back into my life.
Put Spontaneity in Motion – Clarabelle

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

A silver lining is a metaphor for optimism as it emphasises the hopeful side of a situation that might seem gloomy on the surface. The common expression “every cloud has a silver lining” means that even the worst events or situations have some positive aspect. We seek positive meaning through the negative.

The origin of the idiom is  traceable back to the year 1634, when John Milton penned a poem called Comus. In it, the metaphor appears as: “Was I deceived or did a sable cloud Turn forth her silver lining on the night?”

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As we head into our summer break following a turbulent 4 months of crisis, chaos and uncertainty… as we recover from the upheaval of our lives as we knew them… as we restore from the intensity of being locked down… as we reenter the world following social isolation… as we recalibrate our emotions following the loss, the grief and the trauma that some have experienced… it is an opportunity for us to reflect on what we have learned.

Although our natural tendency as human beings is to list everything that was negative, to dwell on what went wrong and to discuss what could have been done differently, a positive reframe to reflect on the things we can celebrate, the knowledge we have gained and the experiences we have shared will benefit us more in the long run.Silver Linings 2

For 17 weeks we have lived differently. So I have challenged myself to find 17 silver linings from my Covid-19 experience:

  1. I have slowed down and enjoyed the step change.
  2. I have spent a lot more time than normal in my home.
  3. I have enjoyed my garden and watching the change in seasons.
  4. I have not commuted, I have hardly driven in fact.
  5. I have explored my local area and found new places to explore.
  6. I have been on lots of walks and enjoyed being outside.
  7. I have written every day and have a collection of 90 #DailyWritingChallenge blogs.
  8. I have had more time to think and reflect.
  9. I have reconnected with old friends and enjoyed hanging out, virtually, with them.
  10. I have made new connections and fostered new friendships.
  11. I have cooked daily fresh meals at home rather than eating out regularly.
  12. I have saved money by not driving, not eating out and not shopping.
  13. I have launched my own business and enjoyed developing my brand/  website.
  14. I have developed new partnerships for future collaborations.
  15. I have organised and hosted some successful virtual events.
  16. I have been coached and I have coached others.
  17. I have found inner peace after an up-and-down 12 months.

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We have experienced a lot of clouds over the last few months. We have lost things during Covid-19 but we have also gained things. We have struggled, but we have survived. We have also learnt a lot and we need to consider how we capture our new found knowledge. We need to record our experiences  and anchor our insights so that they are not lost. We need to imagine how we will share this part of our collective history in the future, to our grandchildren perhaps. We need to capture the #RainsbowsOfHope that cracked through the darkness and brought the light.

Some ways you could do this:

  • Start a journal over the summer to reflect on what we have experienced.
  • Write a letter to your future self to remind yourself what we have been through.
  • Create a memory box and fill it with key items.
  • Curate a lockdown playlist of the songs that will trigger memories in the future.
  • Build a collage of key images and words.
  • Record yourself describing what life has been like.
  • Plant something as a reminder as it grows.

If you struggle to find the silver linings in situations you may want to read this article and try this activity.  This article captures 5 global silver linings from the pandemic.

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As we head into the summer season let’s fill our hearts and minds with hope, positivity and optimism for what our futures hold. Let’s find and share our silver linings. Let’s focus on what has brought us joy and amplify the positives to drown out the negatives.


#DailyWritingChallenge Day 89: Strength – a blog by Flo Awolaja


She found her strength not so much in the pen..but in the words that flowed from within. The power to craft, refine and hone, a skill derived from hours if not days of work.

They say you only get out what you put in, muscles take time to develop build…she smiled there was some truth in that…her strength came from within…gratefully received.

Sat bemused by her new found skill, it had taken a while to find her rhythm…like riding a bike, there had been a few stop starts, yet she proceeded to get up and try again…tomorrow the naysayers whispered..no today she cried…and so it was…she say down and wrote the word.


Strength is when you’re too tired to get up..but get up anyway.

Strength is putting your best foot forward, strength is saying no when you mean yes… when times are troubling and the mind needs to rest…

Strength is support when all else fails, and you rail, and rise.

Strength is believing the truth when facing lies.

Strength is sorrow, despair and grief rolled into one.

Strength is the desire to overcome.