The Take Five questionnaire is going to be a series of guest blogs where I ask people working in the creative industries to answer five questions which will take you five minutes to read. The point of the questions is to find out a little bit about the person, get a couple of bits of advice and have some fun. So, before I can ask anyone else to answer the questions, I thought it would only be fair to answer them myself!
In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?
In my work as a coach, I am an enabler, helping people to find their own answers. The single best bit is that moment when I am working with a client and either the penny drops and they find their own answer to a problem, or they re engage with their vision. There is often the furrowed brow of concentration which suddenly dissolves into a look of delight as the light bulb goes on. Nothing beats it!
Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?
Vincent van Gogh. The more I read about him, the more his passion and intelligence fascinates and inspires me. But even without any knowledge of the man, his paintings connect with me at a purely visceral level. When I went to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, it was practically a religious experience and I found myself moved to tears at several moments. His soul is in every brushstroke - and then there are all those glorious yellows!
What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?
I wish someone had told me that just because everyone else does something one way, that doesn't mean it is the only way to do it; trust your instincts and do it your way. Also, nothing you do in your work life is a waste of time - everything is an opportunity to learn and develop. I read an interview with Steven Berkoff in The Stage where he said, "Even the lowest points are like tests. They make you gather your resources to say 'this will never happen to me again'."
If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?
I have lots of tips, but my favourite is to look for new creative possibilities by asking "what if..."? What if it were bigger, smaller, greener, made of clay. Then go without limits - what if dogs flew, what if humans grew like flowers, what if an accordian sounded like a trombone... Combining unexpected elements often produces exciting effects. I will also step away from the desk and practice a few tango steps!
And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?
I would be a red sparkly Doc Martens - bright, fun, colourful and cheerful on the outside but underneath, solid, hardworking and reliable.