020 76393028
07946 044936

Catching Fireworks

Deborah Henry-Pollard: Creative Coaching

Blog

view:  full / summary

Happy Valentine's Day

Posted on 14 February, 2019 at 3:30 Comments comments (0)



"Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world."

Lucille Ball


Wherever you look today, there are Valentine’s Day cards, chocolates, menus, flowers, champagne, meal deals, jewellery, perfume, … all the things you need to declare your love for your partner.  (Although I’ve found a big hug and “I love you” works just as well as baubles, but then I’m not trying to sell a product.)

 

In the middle of all the proclamations of love to others, are you remembering to love yourself?

 

I don’t mean loving yourself once you’ve lost that weight, got that promotion, found that man, sculpted those abs.  I mean loving yourself now, even with all those little flaws that probably only you see or care about.  It is about treating yourself with self respect, compassion, kindness, affection, tenderness, all the qualities you would bring to your relationship with your best friend.

 

Sometimes people have problems with loving themselves, thinking it is selfish or arrogant.  But in fact, it will make you more confident and happy and that can only impact positively on those around you.  It can help you to achieve your goals and dreams.

 

So how do you do this?  Well, better people than me have written countless books on this, but for starters, you can take a leaf out of Queen Latifah’s book: “When I was around 18, I looked in the mirror and said, 'You're either going to love yourself or hate yourself.' And I decided to love myself. That changed a lot of things.”


And yes okay, why not buy yourself some flowers to celebrate loving yourself?

The Begin Book

Posted on 7 February, 2019 at 7:25 Comments comments (1)


I have a ‘Begin’ Book which I use to start my day. It started by accident.


When I was going through the coaching process to find a route to my new career (leading me to where I am today), my late coach, Cherry Douglas, encouraged me to find and keep anything which set me thinking about possible new careers. These include postcards, images from magazines, phrases from job descriptions, feedback from colleagues, headlines from articles. There were thought provoking, inspiring or just things I liked the look of. The idea was to keep them with no judgement and every so often, pull out 2 or 3 at random to imaging possible new careers.


When the exercise of collection was over, I was left with a couple of box files of material. Some I was happy to let go of and it went into the recycling bin. But other pieces had a longer lasting resonance and I wanted to keep them. They would help to remind me of my aims for my new career and focus me on a daily basis.


I bought a spiral bound scrapbook with hard covers - at first, this was just from the aspect of longevity and ease of use, but I soon discovered another purpose. I could open the book at any page and stand it up on my desk. The book also has a ribbon tie and that has added to my daily ritual.


When I get into my office every work day, I undo the ribbon tie and open the book at random.


I stand the book open at those pages next to my desk and these pages create the context for my day.


If I lose my rhythm or motivation, I can look at the pages and remind myself of my daily context. It gives me a boost, a refocus. And if I am really stuck, I can flick through the book or check the pitch at the back of the book where I keep thank you letters from clients.

 

At the end of the day, I close the book and retie the ribbon. (As a solopreneur, this is also a useful physical reminder for starting and ending my work day!)


It is a simple tool, but one which helps to start my day and keep me on track.


If you need support in getting started and keeping on track, get in touch and see how we might be able to work together.

Life Lessons Over Lipstick

Posted on 31 January, 2019 at 5:00 Comments comments (0)



 

Who have been your major positive influences, who have helped to shape you in ways you never realised?


It is the late 1960s. I am sitting watching my paternal Grandmother, Victoria, putting on her makeup. This is the first time I have been allowed to do so. She will be dead in a few months, so unbeknownst to both of us, it will also be the last time. Grandma is the only woman in my small 8 year old world who wears makeup. She is in her late sixties, but has a timeless glamour with her brilliant red lipstick, hennaed hair, whip thin figure, style and elegance.


Her morning transformation is my first real encounter with what it is to be a ‘glamourous’ type woman. As she applies face powder and tea rose perfume (the aromas of which still conjure her up to me), I ask lots of questions, like why should women wear makeup and worry about their outfits?


“Because,” she says, “a woman should always be ‘finished’. You never know who you are going to meet during the course of a day. It could be the person who could change your life.”


"But," I ask, "why makeup, why stick paint all over your face?"


“Because to get on in this world, a girl has to be seen to be pretty or intelligent.”


Taking my chin in her hand, she looks at me intently and says, “And you, my dear, will have to be very intelligent.”


At the age of 8, none of this means a lot to me (although I know enough not to recount this episode to my mother.) For one thing, I am a tomboy whose greatest ambition is to be a cowboy, and cowboys have never struck me as needing to be either pretty or intelligent. However, as I grow up, reach my late teens and start getting interested in being female, subconsciously I start taking Grandma’s advice. I try to dress as well as my budget will allow and even when I’m being casual, always make sure that I am “finished”. This has stood me in good stead when I have been called to a job interview with 4 hours notice or have met someone at a casual event who turns into a future client. (By the way, I am not saying women 'should' wear makeup - it is about finding your own definition of what gets you ready to meet the world.)


I have also taken the intelligence bit to heart, keeping an open mind and a willingness to learn. When I got the results of the degree I undertook in my 30s, my first thought was for Grandma. I think she realised that I was like her in many ways. She was a strong, self-reliant woman who never let circumstances beat her, who was always looking on the optimistic side and who, if something went wrong, would brush it off and move on to the next thing. Abandoned by her husband and left alone with their baby, she went from crying on finding a coin in the gutter because it meant she could buy food for that night, to owning her own house. She never saw a reason why being a woman would have to stop her doing anything she wanted (although pragmatic enough to know that sometimes, it paid to play by 'the rules' of the time, hence the pretty or intelligent comment).


I think she was aware that I would not, as an 8 year old, get upset and take to heart, negatively, what she had said.


But I do wonder if she knew exactly how much what she said would shape my life and who I am.

Take Five with Zoe Whishaw

Posted on 23 January, 2019 at 7:00 Comments comments (0)



Zoe Whishaw is a Commercial Photography Consultant & Mentor who works one-to-one with photographers at all stages in their careers, across all genre, providing bespoke advice, strategic guidance and on-going mentoring support to help take their business to the next level. She has worked with and commissioned photographers for over 25 years analysing, developing and critiquing ideas and photography intended for commercial and editorial use across a broad spectrum of subject areas and genre.

Zoe comes from a family of artists and musicians enabling her to understand how creative minds cope and adapt to the trials and tribulations that are an inevitable part of their lives. She graduated as a scientist alongside developing a love for black and white photography and the magic of the darkroom. Her career then spanned 17 years at Getty Images from its earliest beginnings through to it becoming the global media content agency that it is today, before taking on senior creative positions at Image Source and Gallery Stock before concentrating on her work as a mentor to photographers.


In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

I help people gain confidence about their work. Specifically, it is probably the ‘ah-ha’ moment I get during a consultation with a photographer (during which we explore in detail their work and practice) when the jigsaw falls into place and the delight I see in their face as they see clarity in expressing their motivations and ideas behind their work.


Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

It would have to be my father, the painter Anthony Whishaw RA, who is so utterly dedicated to the difficult process of expressing his ideas and experiences through his paintings. His motivation, unswerving focus, independence, humility and need to understand himself through his work is an inspiration.


What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

After graduation, it would have been helpful to know that the quest to find my dream career would take many unexpected twists and turns with bumps and knocks along the way, but as a consequences I would become more robust and insightful… and ultimately more content.


I also wish I had not been so fearful of the term ‘networking’ and wished someone had just told me that being yourself and showing some vulnerability in a social situation was more important than any pretense at being someone you’re not.


If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

Do something different: it might be the place you usually think up ideas – go somewhere completely different; a place you have no association with, and give yourself a tight timeframe to think. Indeed, consider doing something opposite to what you usually do to see what happens. Getting out of the creative doldrums can often come from unexpected maverick behaviours so allow yourself to be playful and less focused on what you expect the outcome to be.


And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

I’d be a wellington boot; durable, reliable, unpretentious, wonderfully practical and not afraid to get stuck in!


Links:

http://www.zoewhishaw.com

Have a Good Scream!

Posted on 17 January, 2019 at 5:10 Comments comments (0)



I have a friend who screams under bridges.


This is not some kind of phobia, but something she does when needed as a stress buster. On her walk home from work, she passes under a railway bridge. If she times it right and there is no-one else about, she waits until a train goes over and screams. The noise of the train under the echo-y bridge is far louder than she could ever be, and she finds it a brilliant release of any stress she has built up during the day. Once the train has gone, she continues her walk home refreshed and ready for her family.


Another friend of mine say he gets the same release from going to football matches and shouting for his team (or at the referee!).


In both cases, it is as much about engaging the whole body as it is about the noise.


If you aren’t in a position to actually shout, but want to get the same release, an actor taught me a technique which can be used to quickly lessen tension.


  • Take yourself away somewhere private (a lavatory cubicle is perfect)
  • Plant your feet firmly on the floor so you are really rooted to the spot
  • Tense up all your muscles through the body as though you are going to unleash the most unholy scream you can imagine
  • Take a deep breath, open your mouth wide and “mime” a scream from deep in your diaphragm, expelling all the air
  • Basically, you do everything you would if you were screaming, except produce a noise.
  • Make the “scream” as prolonged as you need and then totally relax every muscle.

 

Repeat if necessary.


This may sound a bit bizarre, but I have used it myself in the past and taught it to many people who have found it a very beneficial quick fix.


If you want to work on the issues which are making you scream, perhaps I can help. If so, get in touch for a chat.

Abundance

Posted on 11 January, 2019 at 0:35 Comments comments (0)



Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.

Buddha


11 days into January and how are you doing with your New Year’s Resolutions?  That bad, huh?!

 

Last year, I made a list of things I wanted to do; create more work, learn as much as possible, make new friends and contacts, read, dance, visit galleries, exercise, etc, etc.  I had it all set up with goals, timelines, action points. Gosh, it was impressive, but in order to get everything I wanted done, it seemed I would have to timetable my life down to the last second. By 3 weeks into the shiny New Year, I realised there was no way I could keep up with my clever plans and all I had done was created about 30 sticks with which to beat myself.  


Now, goals and action points can be really useful, but sometimes they can become the focus rather than the tools. You can find yourself completing your actions successfully whilst losing sight of what you wanted to achieve in the first place. I would say that most often, what we ultimately want to achieve is a state of mind, such as happiness, balance, security, independence, well being, accomplishment.  


When I recognised this last year, I immediately threw out my New Year’s Resolutions and decided that I would concentrate on just one word, which for me was Abundance. This covered so much – abundance of time, friendship, money, energy, balance. I lived my life within this context during the year and at the end of it, I had had a successful business year; written a book; created new collaborations; made loads of new contacts and had new clients. By living in a mindset of Abundance, I felt I had enough of all the things I needed to achieve all the things I wanted. I didn’t get quite as stressed out by self imposed “oughts” and “shoulds” and found myself open to all kinds of opportunities which I never expected.  


This year, I am keeping Abundance as my word and adding Forgiveness – forgiveness to myself for the days when I get a bit too action led.  


What is the word which will inspire you this year? And if you can't find it, perhaps I can help.

Choose Your New Year

Posted on 2 January, 2019 at 5:55 Comments comments (0)



This is the time of year when people set their New Year’s Resolutions - getting fit, getting a new job, starting a new hobby, finding love…


A lot of people I have spoken with find New Year’s Resolutions a chore, things which most often fail, which we end up feeling bad about.


I was talking about this recently with a client and asking what they wanted for this next year. They were caught between two extremes. On the one hand, they had a goal which seemed to them too small - to be able to mediate for 5 minutes a day. At the other extreme, they want to write a novel, but they couldn’t see how they could do that alongside an existing and successful creative practice.


She had more or less decided to do neither meaning she would have got to the end of the year in more or less the position which she began it.


This particular client has been thinking about her book for a few years with notes written and a rough chapter outline. The only thing stopping her in this (and in her mediation practice) was her commitment, her choosing that this was something which was important to her.


With my support, she has reminded herself why these things are important to her, why she had wanted to do them in the first place, the changes they will make to her life and her well being. Out of that picture of a new future, she has begun to create a plan, a way of moving forward. She has blocked chunks of time into her diary when she can write, and put a reminder on her calendar to do one small thing a day towards her book.


She started ‘road testing’ some possible ways of working in December, to give her a head start on the year. We are only a little way in, but it is going well so far. She has changed her mindset from, “one day I will write a novel”, to “I am a novelist”. With her business as busy as it is, she possibly won’t have it finished or be ready to publish by December, but she will have it much further along the line that it is at present, a work in progress rather than, in her words, an “epic fail”. And her meditation programme will help to reinforce a mindset of calm and possibility.


How can you change your mindset to support you so that you can choose is important to you for the next 12 months, so that you can look back, on 31st December, having achieved your goals?

Christmas Greetings!

Posted on 20 December, 2018 at 6:15 Comments comments (0)

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.




Christmas Wishes from Catching Fireworks!



Thank you to all the clients, contacts and friends who have made this such a great year and I look forward to working with you all in 2019!

Take Five with Kim Youdan

Posted on 12 December, 2018 at 6:10 Comments comments (0)


Kim Youdan is an artist who uses her need for travelling around the world to photograph her temporary environments. She then takes these black and white photos and adds dynamic and bold splashes of colour which capture the atmosphere of each place. Minimalist but very striking, the images are of people, architecture, landscapes, textures which most represent the places to which Kim travels. Beautiful as artworks in themselves, they could also serve as superb reminders of your own travels when you are back home.



In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?

The way I structure my process allows me to live nomadically and work remotely, being free to travel and explore new places is definitely the best! It gives me so many opportunities to see new things, be introduced to different ways of life and experience culture at a deeper level. Having the freedom to travel ensures I have a constant source of inspiration for my art practise. To be inspired on such a regular basis is a huge part of my creative life, something that I try not take for granted!


Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?

I have many! When I was developing my technique a few years ago, Fabienne Rivory and Gerhard Richter really gave me a lot to think about. I also love the work of Sven Pfrommer. These three artists have been a constant inspiration for my work. They have all used photography in such different ways throughout their careers and they continue to be a go-to resource when I’m in need of eye-candy and inspiration!


In the last couple of years I'm beginning to become more and more influenced by the cultures and places I travel to, rather than specific creative people. I always explore the history and colour culture when I'm immersed in that country. These experiences have a big effect on me, something I want to capture in my work.


What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?

‘Don’t be precious’. I am still learning this. I grew up in a frugal household and find myself wanting to make the most of every piece of paper and photograph, not wanting to waste a scrap. I believe it’s a great value, but within my art practise I need to let go!


I have recently found a great way to help me discard mediocre work…”if it’s not a big YES then it’s a NO and it has to go”. From choosing imagery to print, and what pieces make the final series of works, this tag line has really helped me be decisive and progress with more flow, rather than fighting to keep everything on the table.


If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?

Change your state. Two things I tend to navigate towards are exercise and dipping into a creative book.

Exercise is an obvious one, it helps clear my head and such a great way to generate ideas. If I don’t have time for a gym session or to go out for a run -and I need something a little more immediate- I find flicking through a book really helps. I have a few in my studio that are great to dip in and out of when I’m a little stuck. Sir John Hegarty’s ‘Hegarty on Creativity. There are no rules’, Elizabeths Gilbert’s ‘Big Magic’ and ‘Show Your Work’ by Austin Kleon, are all to hand when I’m working and I need a little push to keep going.


And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?

Great question! I love shoes but with our current lifestyle (living out of a bag) it’s not conducive to having a big choice of footwear. I would be one of those high heeled Nike trainer shoes! What an invention…a sporty look with the feminine touch and if you ask me they actually look pretty comfy!



Links

https://www.kimyoudan.com

https://www.instagram.com/kimyoudan.art/


Making the most of December

Posted on 5 December, 2018 at 13:55 Comments comments (0)



December is a strange time for freelancers. On the one hand, you might be hectically trying to get work finished before the break or on the other, you are left waiting for work until the New Year as potential clients are winding down.


Whichever camp you find yourself in, December is a good time to be networking. Received wisdom will tell you that if you work alone, you won't have an office party. This doesn't mean you need to be sitting at home during the festive season like a Billy No-Mates.

 

If you have been busy during the year making contacts or going to events, it is surprising how many Christmas parties you will get invited to. They could be run by colleagues, collaborators, suppliers, venues, networking groups, professional bodies and of course, social groups. Whoever hosts them, they are great opportunities to touch base with existing contacts and make more.

 

Even for the most Scrooge like, it is worth getting involved with the seasonal jollity whether it is drinks at the pub or a sit down meal. If you have a product or service which can be packaged as a Christmas gift, you might get a chance to catch the last minute gift buyers. You can pick people's brains about their plans for the New Year so that you can be ready to get back in touch with them in January. As they look ahead, you may even start to sow seeds about ways they might need your work in the next 12 months. At the very worse, you will meet a bunch of great people to add to your network who may be very useful to know at some point in the future.


So, put on your party shoes, pack your business cards and get out there!


Rss_feed