The 3 P’s: Persistence Passion Purpose

The HubSpot Growth Show is great: the stories truly inspiring and serve to remind us that success doesn’t happen overnight, it takes persistence, determination, a lot of pulling ourselves back up, following a path when we don’t know if and when it’s going to happen for us, while remaining true to our passion, gut instinct and purpose.

images-1At the weekend I saw the actress Denise Gough give what has been credited as the West End performance of the year in People Places Things. I read afterwards that in 2012 when she received the critics award for most promising newcomer, she respectively said she’d been around for 10 years. Despite the award she then went on to have a period of 1 year before People Places Things where she had no work. She applied for and didn’t get a cleaning job and was about to give up on her dream when it finally happened for her.

Was it a lucky break? NO, it was sheer persistence, determination, a lot of pulling herself back up, following her path and staying true to her passion, gut instinct and purpose.


Succession Planning

KevinSpaceySuccession Planning: In an interview with Harvard Business Review Kevin Spacey was asked if he accomplished what he set out to as the Old Vic Theatre, he said that the most important thing was succession and that he wanted to build a theatre company solidly, so that when he left, it would continue. Words from his closing speech as he stepped down as Artistic Director: “The best thing about The Old Vic is its future”

How to Deliver Bad News

imagesHow to Deliver Bad News

Sharing bad news is not easy, you need to be straightforward in saying the toughest stuff, then listen and work through people’s response and say what you’re going to do next.

The Steps:

Preparing Mentally

Prepare yourself mentally for sharing bad news, by understanding how you naturally respond to difficult conversations, you will be able to make small adjustments for immediate impact. To do this you need to recognise your emotional triggers, you can achieve this by:

Paying close attention over time to your reactions: journalling is a great tool for keeping track of your triggers, write down how you felt at the time, review and identify the emotions that provoked strong and intense reactions
Familiarise yourself with how your body reacts to your emotions, for example: your heart beating faster, your body tensing, a sick feeling in your stomach, you’ll then be able to manage those emotions before they manage you
Having this awareness of your emotional triggers will allow you to make changes in the moment: taking a deep breath, counting to 10 or calling time out are simple yet effective steps

Speaking Emphatically

Prepare what you are going to say from a place of empathy and humility. Don’t sugar coat the truth, instead say what you have to say and phrase it in a way that others know you respect their humanity and then say what you’re going to do next. To achieve this:

Have clarity on what you want to say, ensure you step into the conversation calmly by rehearsing the conversation ahead of time
Know the key points you want to communicate in case emotions highjack your brain, and remember your ‘time out’ plan
Prepare how you will respond constructively to whatever accusations, grievances, or upsets that may be brought up, you can do this by considering the range of possible responses and highly emotional reactions

Managing Emotions

The conversation you’re about to have will most likely evoke a strong reaction. Emotions are the most present, pressing and sometimes most painful force in our lives. Prepare to manage emotions by:

Setting the emotional tone: The more sensitive the issue, the more rapidly emotions can escalate
Learning how to see things from other’s perspective, not as “you in their shoes” but as them, by really listening to their response and allowing them to tell their story
Countering emotional reactions with humility, when you share something difficult it’s natural for people to have an emotional reaction

Following these 3 steps will help you to develop a straightforward approach in saying the toughest stuff, to be open and honest about bad situations, and to navigate difficult situations with dignity for everyone impacted.

Evolving Careers Players run Masterclasses in Courageous Conversations. Experiential learning which is fast, focussed and intense: Each masterclass last 90 minutes and gets you practising your new found know-how through role-playing every day work-based situations.

To find out more about our Courageous Conversations Masterclasses visit:


Interviews: The Opening Question: Tell me about Yourself

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The Opening – Setting the Scene – Steps to Crafting Your Inspiring Story

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” Oscar Wilde

Many interviews will start with the same prompt “Tell me about yourself”

Standard responses are along the lines of: “I studied (Major X) because I really wanted to make a difference in (Industry Y) and as you can see from my CV through my last job at (Company Z) I …

To move beyond this standard response to stand out from the crowd from the outset you need to craft “Your Inspiring Story” to show who you are as a person, not just a professional. To give meaning to what you will bring to the role and organisation.

The way your life has evolved, the things you’ve learned, your achievements, failures, dreams – these things are unique to you and make you more interesting than you perhaps realise. A good story is not a replication of your CV or LinkedIn profile, you need to go beyond that.

Steps to crafting your story:

Take an inventory of the chapters of your life – turning points that shaped who you are – what you learned, accomplished and experienced
Focus on memorable “aha” moments – vivid dimensions so people experience that moment with you
Uncover the themes in your story – what emerges as your passion – mentoring, research, relationship building, advancing knowledge …

How to Communicate with Power and Impact

imagesLeadership and change are driven by people who act and speak in a different way. Great influencers have always known the elemental role of communicating is motivating, persuading and gaining cooperation. But are great communicators born with those inherent skills or is it necessary to practice and develop techniques? The age-old nature versus nurture argument around trusting nature and acting by instinct as opposed to precision techniques and clear understanding to liberate hidden possibilities to learn the hard task of being true to the instinct of the moment.

Cicely Berry (renowned for her work as voice coach and director of the RSC) has based her work on the conviction that while all is present in nature, our natural instincts have been crippled from birth by many external influences and society at large. She goes on to say that while there is no one right way to speak, there are a million wrong ways that constipate feeling, constrict activity, blunt expression, level out idiosyncrasy, generalise experience, and coarsen intimacy.

So the work is about setting the voice free because life in the voice springs from emotion and speaking is part of a whole: an expression of inner life and awakening deep experiences which are seldom evoked in everyday speech. The voice is the means by which, in everyday life you communicate, and through of course how you present yourself – while your posture, movement, dress and involuntary gesture – gives an impression of your personality, it is your voice and the words you use that convey your precise thoughts and feelings.

Poetry in voice is an exciting way to explore moods in tone and voice to tell an emotional story and build confidence to speak more persuasively. Poetry presents a wide range of learning opportunities to include:

Offering examples of mastery of language and stocking the mind with images and ideas expressed in unforgettable words and phrases.
Training and developing emotional intelligence.
Reminding us that language is holistic and that how something is said is part of what is being said: the literal meaning of words is only part of their whole meaning, which is also expressed through tone of voice, inflection, rhythm.

To get started:

Find passages in poems which you find striking or memorable.
Imagine situations in which those passages might be put to use, whether to console, encourage, taunt, flatter, or otherwise make an impact on the listener.
Write a short story, letter, or speech in which at least three passages can be quoted effectively to move another character or the listener/recipient.

Poetry goes further than connecting with your voice because its also about connecting your head to your heart. Its an unique and dynamic way of getting back to the vocal pathway of instinctive expression through simple, practical actions that can empower you with the ability to communicate with power and impact.

Evolving Careers Players delivers 121 career coaching and group learning and development. We devise community forum theatre, corporate drama workshops and role-play scenarios to help individuals and groups develop their communication skills.

Get in touch to discuss your needs: