Somewhere along the way, you signed up to make good change happen in the world. In these unusual times, creating powerful solutions for the planet, means that you need to be more creative than ever.
The deal you make with the Universe, if you’re using the word ‘innovative’ anywhere in your lingo, is that you will need to step into the soupy mess for real and risk doing things differently.
And the moment you do is the time when revolutionary ideas will show up to challenge you on direction, choices, decisions…arriving unplanned and wilfully disrespectful of your status quo.
Often, our first reaction is to curate ourselves based on past hurts and seeming failures.
It plays out a little like the scene from Notting Hill, towards the end in the bookshop.
Your idea arrives and, like Anna, it says, “I was wondering whether you would let me see you a little…or a lot…”
Unnerved by the magnificent possibilities, you, like William, reply, “Can I just say No to your kind request? With you I’m in real danger…my relatively inexperienced heart, I fear, will not recover if I was once again cast aside…”
Startled by something that will take you out of your comfort zone, you haul out all of the old myths and stories to stay safe, all the reasons why not.
Both of these characters are you. Your unique blend of splendid creativity asks to be seen, inviting you to take the risk on something spectacular. The same you, who has chewed the dirt in the arena, as Brene Brown calls it, doesn’t want the agony of hitting the ground again.
And yet, revolutionary ideas are incorrigible in their persistence.
You may be tender-hearted but you are not faint-hearted; deep down you know that a seed of disruption has been planted that will change everything. After all, when you chose to play with the fire of walking the path less well travelled, you knew you were going to get at least a little singed.
What to do then?
As rule-breakers and change-makers advocating for people and planet, saying No to taking action makes us deeply unhappy. And yet, age and experience make us a little wiser than saying a ‘straight-over-the-cliff’ Yes.
What if you said, “Maybe!”
Allowing something extraordinary to unfold starts with, “Maybe…” so that time, tenderness and courage can work their magic, making space for the possibilities to be revealed and explored.
Letting go of past hurts, the fear of future failures and perhaps most of all, the terror that things might actually work out, means learning how to say Maybe.
This is the soupy space I like working with you in. It’s messy, human, real. It’s the necessary meeting point of love, wonder, joy which are essential for opening up your creativity to be innovative and entrepreneurial.
It’s where I get you to show up authentically, remembering how to take risks as unprecedented you, regardless of age or position.
You called yourself to action with your idea, I give you the tools to say Maybe so that you make massive positive impact in ways meaningful to you.
Get in touch. You can email me firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat about how I can help you and your team with coaching and workshops.
Oh…and watch the whole film to know the whole story. Bring your own snack, I don’t share my popcorn!
#flowinaction #flow #wellbeing #creativity #love #innovation #entrepreneurship #socialinnovation #socialenterprise #socinn #socent #responsiblebusiness #purposedriven #climateaction #sustainability #sdgs
I set up Flow In Action to be about showing you the pure joy of creating solutions for people and planet. And those solutions are all focused on increasing joy globally by designing around flourishing.
We are inextricably linked to Nature. This is my way of winning hearts and minds for climate action and a fairer way of living for all.
Playing with ideas, using your imagination, being curious and creative to fix real world challenges at a local level increases your wellbeing.
Being well increases your problem-solving creativity, which in turn opens up opportunities to be innovative and feeds your entrepreneurial mindset. You become empowered to be part of the solution as you turn ideas into projects, products and services.
Too often though we think that we are not enough or our ideas don't count or we don't feel that it's ok to be seen and heard. We are afraid to succeed or to fail.
It's no wonder that young people are struggling with mental health issues.
And yet all change starts with an idea...and all ideas start from knowing how to have them...and knowing how to have them comes from being in a safe space where you can show up fully as you.
That's the space I make for you and with you. These are the tools that I equip you with so that you can feel the pure joy of creating solutions in your life, your community, your world. This is how you start your march!
Get in touch. From 1-1 coaching, workshops, training and toolkits - there is a way to take a step forward and take action.
The moment when someone allows an idea to form fascinates me.
It is like watching the Universe tenderly kiss them on the brow and encourage them out into the spotlight.
Whether a child or an adult, it’s a moment so pure in its vulnerability, a splitting of light refracted as they surrender to that unique expression of their unprecedented self.
It is a moment of great courage, suspended between two shores; a choice to step past fear and shame and doubt to take the risk on what may seem impossible.
The fact that I get to see and share this moment with people of all ages, like the start-up entrepreneurs working in Capacity Zurich’s amazing entrepreneurship programme for refugees and migrants, is a great honour; or the students from British School India in my workshop at the UN last week.
I am filled with an urgency to create these moments with you, because we need to imagine a different future than the trajectory that we are on. We need to imagine it in order to create it; and we need to create it by designing around happiness.
With that in mind, I am prescribing ‘wonder’ for everyone as a fast-track approach for inspiring incredible ideas for doing more good for people and planet.
Diane Ackerman wrote, “Wonder is the heaviest element on the periodic table. Even a tiny fleck of it stops time.”
I’ve been having some chats with Dr Vlad Glavneau, Director of the Webster Center for Creativity & Innovation Unit at Webster University in Geneva, and his working definition of wonder is: “Wonder and wondering deﬁne a particular type of experience whereby the person becomes (more or less suddenly) aware of an expanded ﬁeld of possibility for thought and/or action and engages (more or less actively) in exploring this ﬁeld.” (Glavneau, V.P., (2017) Creativity and Wonder. The Journal of Creative Behavior, Vol. 0, Iss. 0, pp. 1–7)
I love creating the spaces for wondering, as powerful, alchemic places of embedding wellbeing and resilience; as well as the tools for taking action.
Children and young people are so open and passionate in their creativity, it’s like watching a blizzard of butterflies emerge. As adults, you just take a bit longer to get to this place, because you’ve forgotten how to break your rules and take the risk on opening your hearts. Ah, but when you do, it’s a thing of great beauty.
We need more wonder and wondering. It is a reclaiming of being ‘fully human’ in our connection to the planet and each other which needs to happen rapidly. It is a groundswell of more love as a social mission, the start of change, the seed of incredible ideas. Me, I’m a Star Wars watching, wild mountain woman walking under the full moon, rebellious librarian-type of wonderer.
And you? What do you wonder? What do you find wondrous? Take a breath, open up to wondering today. Listen to the revolutionary response inside of you and roll with it.
I’ll wrap up with the wisdom of Alice Walker in The Color Purple, “I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ask. And that in wondering bout the big things and asking bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, the more I love.”
Young people need to know that life is worth living and that their actions can create a positive shift.
Why bother with hope?
Being hopeful is a key factor in wellbeing. Plus…
“Researchers have found that students who are high in hope have greater academic success, stronger friendships, and demonstrate more creativity and better problem-solving They also have lower levels of depression and anxiety and are less likely to drop out from school.” 
Make space for far-fetched ideas
Inspire hope in young people by getting them to have far-fetched ideas to change the world and save the planet.
“Hope arises in dire circumstances in which people fear the worst yet yearn for better…Hope creates the urge to draw on one’s own capabilities and inventiveness to turn things around.”
Before the innovation comes the invention. Before the invention comes the ideas.
We need every young person to know that having far-fetched ideas is the starting point of taking action to halt the current zero-sum game for people and planet.
Their hope starts with their creativity.
Global Citizens – The class of 2018
The GenZ young people that I talk to, as well as the Millennials, see themselves as ‘humans without geographic boundaries’ - a new era of global citizens wanting to take action on climate change, world peace and ending poverty.
We need our young people to be hopeful in their own capacity…not for someone else to swoop-in to save the day, but in their own capacity to take action for positive change, within their lives and communities.
NB: Do Things for Others sits in first place as Action for Happiness’ 10 Keys to Happier Living
What can you do on Happiness Day to inspire hope?
Celebrate every young person, regardless of academic ability, as an agent of change.
Appoint each one as an innovator able to save the world by taking action through their unique creativity and strengths.
Round off your Happiness Day by celebrating Hope as a character strength that every one of them has as a community of global citizens.
Wishing you a joyful, hopeful, awe-filled Happiness Day!
Someone asked me this week why I focus on getting people, especially young people, to play with ideas. It is a key part of my practice because it is a ‘change-maker space’ for building resilience, the capacity to adapt to challenges and continue to move forward in life.
In this space with me, everybody gets to build the ingredients that go into being resilient because everybody gets to play.
Why do I care about kids being resilient?
Because it is an essential part of their wellbeing, as well as the personal life-skills that they need to take action in making positive change happen.
…and we need GenZ to take action more than ever!
Giving them to passion to achieve the SDGs using their creativity, connects to a profound sense of their purpose in their lives.
Take 3 ingredients
Here are three of the ingredients that increase resilience; they are also character strengths that play a role in wellbeing.
> Empathy – Defined as the ability to understand and share other people’s feelings, we connect by exploring their everyday experiences and other people might be experiencing those things too.
> Risk-taking – When we play, we are adventurers and adventurous in our thinking and actions; we take incredible risks, adapting as we go and picking ourselves up when things don’t go to plan.
> Flexible Thinking – We change perspective, choosing new ways to see challenges, making sure that we recognise challenges as events that are ‘specific, external and temporary’ rather than down to who we are.
Play, play, play
And so, we play within our ethical framework: freestyling, iterating, dreaming up the seemingly impossible, saying the simple obvious things too; gently building our resilience, ready to adapt as we go.
We play as equals in our creativity, creating a prism of insights where everyone’s voice matters, because in that ‘space between’ the rules, is exactly where we will find our courage to do something different. And that something different, might be the very thing that changes everything.
To quote Picasso, “I start with an idea and then it becomes something else.”
It is breath-taking to watch the alchemy at work when young people are in this space. I see their joy and it is contagious.
Because of these resilient agents of change, I am hopeful for the world we are in.
 Reivich, K., 2003. The Resilience Factor: Seven Essential Skills for Overcoming Life’s Inevitable Obstacles. Crown Publishing Group.
 Zolli, A., 2013. Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back. Business Plus
When you feel more awe, one of the ten positive emotions for human wellbeing identified by positive psychologist Dr Barbara Friedrickson, you “open up to new possibilities and ideas.” 
We feel awe when we encounter “beauty or goodness on a grand scale”  or another definition, “Awe is the feeling of being in the presence of something vast that transcends your understanding of the world.”
We can feel awe in everyday life, as well as in the extraordinary.
I experienced it this morning when I was out having a walk. After days of monochrome, it is a jaw-droppingly beautiful, bluebird day. And, I am filled with awe. Breathing in awe. Finding stillness. All my senses opening up to the sunshine.
I wasn’t unhappy when I left the house, but I’m definitely happier as I slow down and allow myself to take in everything around me.
Awe as a Trigger for Sustainable Action
A key trigger for feeling awe is being in nature, exploring it, watching it, learning about it.
Surely then, creating opportunities for young people to feel more awe by connecting to Nature, is a crucial part of empowering them as agents of change, able to take action to solve sustainability challenges.
Why? Because it builds the point of empathy that they are part of an ecosystem, not separate from it. It connects them to their creativity as they explore the phenomenal interconnectedness of the world around them, inspiring them to be problem-solvers.
How can you build more awe?
I create ‘change-maker spaces’ where I get children and young people to play with ideas, taking a challenge from one of the Sustainable Development Goals and exploring how to solve it with them.
As they research, I’m getting them to connect to awe, to be amazed at the elegant solutions that Nature already has in place and getting them to use all of this to inspire their innovative problem-solving.
Experiencing awe then, allows us as individuals to feel more positive emotions. Not least, I think, because using it in the context above also inspires hope – another of the top 10 emotions - that we can take positive, affirmative action for the planet.
Protecting the planet is to be our best as humans and we need to give young people hope that they can and do have a positive impact.
Studies have also shown that experiencing awe, prompts greater kindness and “leads people to cooperate, share resources, and sacrifice for others, all of which are requirements for our collective life.”
When we help others, we feel happier. It is an ingredient in our own fulfilment. Action for Happiness identifies “Do Something For Others” as one of its 10 Steps for Happier Living.
Making awe the lens that you look through, placing each of the unique humans that you are with into the global ecosystem, opens up a sense of vastness and value for their problem-solving creativity.
Are you one of the purpose-people who doesn’t take good care of their wellbeing?
My invitation to you is that you start taking real care of your wellbeing and allow yourself to be truly, without a shadow of a doubt, overflowing with happiness.
Why? Because as an agent of change, you are a role-model of hope, optimism and living a life of fulfilment. Or are you?
If you, as a revolutionary advocating for others to lead flourishing lives and protecting the planet, don’t know how to create that life for yourself then how will you truly lead the way?
Break the rules keeping you stuck
When there is so much going on the world, maybe you’ve made a pact with yourself, “I can’t be truly happy until I’ve saved the world.”
Often, as agents of change, we fall into the trap of expressing our compassion through fear-based actions, staying in jobs, roles and relationships that are long over-due their sell-by date!
Sometimes, we harden our hearts and lose track of living our life values in the everyday. Maybe, we feel compelled to burn-out to show some impact, to demonstrate that we acted.
We act in these disempowering ways with so much positive intent, but we actually limit our capacity to make good change happen around us when we act from this space.
These rules are made to be broken. After all, you are a warrior of light.
You are unprecedented
Or maybe, you lost track of what actually makes you happy? Maybe you never really knew? Maybe you are still thinking that it’s someone else’s responsibility to make you happy, to rescue you?
As a rule-breaker and a change-maker, your first commitment is to know yourself, to own yourself as a whole person, to recognise and celebrate that you are unprecedented.
There has NEVER been anyone like you before this moment and there never will be again. You are a unique blend of you-ness.
For every moment on this planet, be ‘flow in action’ - the pure energy of creating, because your creativity is the gateway to living your life purpose.
Start owning your happiness
It is time to take a new perspective. In the exquisite words of Martha Postlewaite’s poem, Clearing:
“Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world so worth
It’s time to create a clearing and discover, perhaps for the first time, what actually makes you happy. Then, ask yourself how you can DO more of that every day.
How happy will you allow yourself to be?
How will you overflow with joy by taking back ownership of your everyday happiness, as your unprecedented self?
Living your flourishing life does not mean that you have abandoned compassion for ‘this world so worth of rescue’ – it’s the door that you open from the inside to make more and lasting change.
Our role is to equip our young people to take risks and have adventures.
They are so capable of making positive changes happen around them; we believe it for them until they go out into the world and believe it for themselves.
What is the biggest adventure in each day? For each of us, it is knowing that it is ok not to know the answers.
Where is the new, unusual and exciting? It is knowing how to start finding answers; and finding those answers, by creating solutions ‘with’ people, not doing ‘to’ them.
How do you find solutions ‘with’ people?
Ask them questions. Lots of them. Be open to the expertise of the person experiencing the need and what their insights will teach you. Listen, as Stephen Covey would say, to understand not to reply.
This is the richest adventure in every day as a change-maker – to put aside your need to be ‘right’ and take the risk on creating lasting positive change by discovering solutions with others.
Inspiration for opening up your unique blend of creativity to take action for people and planet