Learning to Ringmaster.



Being a creative or social entrepreneur is akin to circus performance. You are learning to balance on tightropes as you juggle all your plates. Sometimes you feel like a bit of a clown as you put ideas out into the world not knowing if people will laugh or cry. Then there is the jumping through loops and hoops as you preform miraculous acts holding on by the skin of your teeth. Not to mention battling all the lions and tigers which enter the arena and the acrobatics you have to do with limited resources. And there you find yourself as ringmaster learning to co-ordinate it all with flair while selling tickets at the same time. Yes, a circus.

Am I mad, I ask myself? There are frequent moments when I wonder why I ran away with the circus. Shouldn’t I just get a proper job and when did lion taming become part of my remit? But once in the arena there is a charm and a huge sense of gratification which keeps you showing up again and again.

Brene Brown speaks about the power of being in the arena in her recent book, Daring Greatly and hinges inspiration on this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man*who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

(*or woman, obviously)

The arena, I have learned, while a place of daring and rich learning, can also be a lonely and a hard place too. There are so many times I have wanted to leave but only with the support of friends, mentors, coaches and leadership training have I been able to stick it out. And I am glad I am here.  It is through the strength of support and having people to bounce ideas around and who offer insights into my blind spots that I have been able evolve and keep learning. Which is how my own coaching offerings have grown and why I am doing the work I am doing. I believe in the arena and I believe it doesn’t have to be such a lonely place. 

Creative coaching is a whole array of tools and processes I have developed and use for working in the circus (metaphorically of course). From visioning exercises, to branding and communications strategy I offer one to one support to keep you thriving in the arena. It is like having an accountability buddy to keep you on track and a fellow ringmaster to help co-ordinate a masterful performance. 

I’ve been working with a wonderful woman recently called Sharon Green, who runs a company called Queens of Neon. Sharon shared some words recently which captures some of the creative coaching process:

I have been feeling my way along for a very long time, taking creative projects that come to me through word of mouth and throwing myself into them whole heartedly.

But I always wonder how I can get more of the projects that I love, how do I word my website properly to reach out to clients that have the projects that really make me tick. I was recommended Clare by a friend and she all at once made sense of my confusion. She made me see that it is a waste of my energy always trying to change the copy on my website until I understand what my dream and my vision is. To start back at the beginning feels very freeing and exciting.

She asks the right questions and listens intently picking out the words and phrases that make sense and always paying attention on an energy level so notices when things excite you. She helps you see your dream scenario and gives you structure and homework to help manifest it. In my case she is also bringing me out from the shadows to feature prominently on my website, honing in to what it is that makes my business unique and that is me. Its true therapy for the creative business person. I would highly recommend Clare to anyone, who like me, feels like they are close to filling their true potential but for reasons just can’t seem to just get there.

Pow! Thank you Sharon.

So if, like Sharon, you have big visions, creative goals, dreams of possibility but you would like some support to help clarify your direction, perhaps some creative coaching is for you. I offer a number of tailored packages. You can find out more over here. If this sparks interest, I offer a free 20 minute Skype call where we can figure if we are a fit for each other and what areas of the arena to focus on so that 2016 will bring you closer to it all.

May the games commence… (*insert circus theme tune!)

END of circus analogy now, I promise!


The above photo was taken in Cambodia at a circus I went to. I had totally forgotten about this image until I used the new ‘Camera Roll’ feature on flickr. AMAZING. Any flickr users still out there? This tool is amazing…

Minimal Viable Commitment


minimal viable commitment blog


We have grand plans. We have huge visions. We are ambitious. There are so many things we want to do. At times it has a momentum all of its own, other times we feel overwhelmed and internally feel more like a deflated balloon than a rocket ship.

Reaching our goals, we know, is about sustaining momentum and building good habits. But how? There are many ways, but is little trick is one I have used with developing my home yoga practice, which applies across the board, to business and beyond. I call it, Minimal Viable Commitment. 

My promise to myself that at a minimum I must step onto my yoga mat each day. That is all. I must step onto my yoga mat each day. It is so little it is almost comical. But what happens when I do that. My yoga mat represents more than just a mat- it represents the mental and emotional space of practice, of calming of the mind and offers a safe space in which to explore and connect with myself. So when I step onto the space of the mat, I am also entering into the psychological space of practice. To me that mat is sacred, and my minimal viable commitment means that I get to enter that space each day.  And more often than not, I will do more than just step onto the mat; I’ll practice for 5 min, 10 mins, 30 mins, 60 mins, 90 mins… depending on the day, and depending on my mood. My commitment is easy to keep, and because it is easy, it means I do it. And if there is a day where all I do is step on my mat, I don’t go down a big guilt trip, because that is all I have committed to and it makes it easier to commit to again and again and again.

I’m all for big goals but I am also realistic. What does it take to break those goals down into smaller, manageable, bite sized chunks? What would your equivalent of ‘stepping onto the mat’ be for whatever goal you are setting? Maybe it is writing one line of your book a day, or picking your paintbrush, or taking one photo on your camera phone a day, or reaching out to one potential client each day. Something doable and something you can easily build into your daily routine.

What is your minimal viable commitment? … which before long will become a habit, which before long transforms us….


For those of you interested using an app to track your habits, my friend Mic Fizgerald has built a tool for you. Mic is a serial tech entrepreneur (he has also built One Page CRM)- he is an avid fan of habit keeping and so Habi.io was born to help you keep yours…

(only available on iPhone at the moment)