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The Iceberg of Life

Don't think me going off into the metaphysical, but there's an iceberg to life which too few people seem to appreciate. 

I was asked this week to do a talk at a school, one of my favourite requests, as it hits right at the heart of my touch-feely doing your bit for the future thing.

(Hence the big smile in this school visit, earlier this month - thanks to all at Hinchingbrooke School for a great afternoon.)

Anyway, for this upcoming talk, I was discussing with the head the best topic to cover. 

Not writing, as some of the group wouldn't be interested, not journalism, for similar reasons, nor teaching... so was there something I could talk about which everyone would want to hear?

Yes, I thought so. There is a talk I do which I oh-so-very-modestly call The Secrets of Success.

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Write Soon

I was paid an unusual compliment this week. 

Partly because such warm words don't come along that often, but mostly because there's a useful lesson in it, I thought I'd give it a mention. 

The compliment was this - 

I love working with you because you always answer my emails quickly. 

Ok, it wasn't a tribute to my rugged, chiselled good looks, or snappy, sassy dress sense, my elegance or charm, not to mention my talent (unsurprisingly on all counts), but it was informative. 

I asked my colleague what he meant, and he said most people took between a week and a fortnight to reply to messages. 

Which I found surprising. Because - 

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The Big Shift

One thing has really surprised me since I left the BBC.

It's the number of friends and former colleagues who have been in touch, asking for tips on how to successfully make such a big life change. 

Another long standing friend posed that very question this weekend, making the total now seven. And that in only a year and a half.

They're an interesting mix. From doctors, to journalists, civil servants and lawyers. 

And all with that same thought - trying something new in life. 

Would I recommend giving it a go? You bet I would.

How else would I get to work with lovely people from around the world like this - just one brilliant memory from my last 18 months.

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The Beautiful Balance

There's a beautiful balancing trick which makes any talk, lecture, or public speaking performance work well.

It's something I think hard about when planning an event, and then analyse afterwards, to see if it was about right.

This week, I was lecturing in Social Media to some of the excellent entrepreneurs at Cambridge Judge Business School.

Given the importance of images online, part of the lecture was about how to take pictures. 

I could have just waffled on about the rule of thirds, the use of foregrounds, backgrounds, and angles, but it's a principle of mine that you learn best by doing. 

So... I generated an appropriate backdrop, and, as a jolly fun exercise, got the group to take photos of themselves in front of it. 

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Making a Plan... and Trashing It

I like plans. But then, most people do. They're kind of comforting. 

They can improve efficiency, and give you a sense of direction and purpose. Like a guide leading you through your project, or working day. 

But plans can also be dangerous.

They can constrain you, stop you being flexible and responding to developments.

I had a big event this week, talking to a group of civil servants in London about tricks for dealing with pressure. 

I'd planned the day, in my usual way. And all was going smoothly. 

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