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Gen Y – leadership through 2015

Hidden Talents:

Well the main reason hidden talents are thought of as hidden talents is because, when we are really talented at some things – not everything, but something that’s a real, real talent – it comes so blooming easy to us we don’t actually value it as a talent.  So in a way it is as if we are masked from it; if you are not sure about your hidden talents then ask people around you, “what is it I am good at?’ They will tell you some stuff and if you are not careful they your response could be, “yeah, yeah, but it’s easy!” And they are looking at you saying, “no it’s not. It might be easy for you but it is not for me.” It’s a hidden talent.

Embrace change.  So many people like to be in their comfort zone and are reluctant to change. I suggest you embrace it – it is in change mode that we grow.

Dare to dream – the world is good.  You, like everyone else are aware of negative things in the press. You have your concerns.  Can I tell you this is nothing new – look back through history, and look at generations – barriers have always been there all the time.  So dare to dream. Dream big. Think big – and when you are thinking check in the mirror to see if you are smiling… if you are not smiling then go back and dream again because you are not dreaming properly.  The way that helps you is by dreaming, and knowing what you want, means that you will end up getting what you want.

We always get what we focus on. So focus on those dreams and ambitions and that is where you will go. I loved it when I heard a politician say, and then a local businessperson, say, “Recession, what recession. I am not participating in any recession.” You can choose your attitude. I think the world is good – I think there is lots out there for us to be excited about  – smile, embrace it and dream.

Listen. You know, I was never taught how to listen – many of us have not been taught how to listen. I am not even sure how listening is embraced in education today.  For many of our clients – the biggest challenge for them, working within their staff and with their own clients, is learning how to listen.  If we listen to other people then we can be influenced by who they are, what they are saying and what their interests are.

Avoid the need to always be in control.  I think of Christmas and birthday presents.  Because it is very close to my heart, we even as a family have fallen into the habit of …, yes we ask people what they would like for presents, but then it is easy to say, “If we give you the money then you can go and buy what you want.”

I think part of finding hidden talents is being exposed to the influence of other people.  As a teacher I was given quite a few gifts. Over the years, I have been in our house for over 25 years, so I have things that have been bought for me by other people that I wouldn’t dream of buying for myself. But they have given me great pleasure and in themselves they have revealed hidden talents, or interests, that I would never have even know about if I was totally in control of things coming my way.

Another thing about hidden talents is to know that with no peace, you have no power. So always try to protect peace in your life – seek a peaceful life as it will help you be exposed and embrace external things.  This will help feed the hidden talent aspect of who you are.  Lastly I just want to share 2 hidden talents that I have used. 1 is music and the other hairdressing.

Our son at the age of 5 took up the violin. I was on the verge of selling my piano., I had learned to play the piano briefly at school – but could now barely play any notes…but decided to keep the piano realizing I could use it to tune the violin.

What happened then was at the age of 7 Daniel went on to take his grade 1 exam, I looked at paying for an accompanist and ‘couldn’t believe’ the extortionate price (that was my reaction back then) and then thought – they are not examining the accompanist, they are examining the violinist – so I decided to play for him.

What happened through this sense of service, supporting someone else (I wasn’t doing it for myself) was I played for him in his next 3 exams – he got distinction in all of them (including grade 1) – I then went onto teach music, to teach privately at home and even ended up playing for church services.  All because, my motive to begin with was, I started out helping someone else.

The other one was hairdressing. I was a girl who had everything – my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas – I said I have always wanted to be a hairdresser so why don’t you buy me a hairdressing kit. Which he did.  It came with a cassette, that’s how long ago it was, with the title, ‘How to cut hair’. It came with a pair of scissors with plastic handles, and he sat in the chair and said, “Cut!”.

So, I watched the little film. I stood there and put the apron around his neck. The first haircut wasn’t that bad because obviously I had a model of his previous haircut to follow. I can tell you, by the third haircut he looked like he’d had a fight with a lawnmower.

So I said to him, “For goodness sake, you are tax partner in a firm of chartered accountants, please go and have your hair cut properly, you are looking like your wife’s hacked at it”. But he refused telling me to keep practicing. So I did. I then started on the kids… Then the children from school, some of my pupils would come to the house for haircuts – I remember one year I did 150 haircuts. I know, and to begin with the joke was, was that I was so ill prepared,  that there were only 2 styles to choose from. You could either have a short haircut that looked like ‘this’ or a long haircut that looked like ‘that’. So you literally just had a choice of 2 haircuts, and that was it.

Anyway, I started to charge.  I remember being sat in a Marquee – Beach Dreams – years ago, donating cuts where anyone walking by could pop in – people donated. I raised a lot of money. I used it as a way of developing something I always fancied doing, I get great joy from doing it, but all the money that I earned or raised I gave to a good cause. Either the church or a charity… for me the poignant moment was when my grandfather was so ill in hospital. He actually looked quite bright on this day, but had come from the nursing home – I don’t know who had cut his hair but enough said… it was awful.

It was wonderful for me to tuck the paper towels around his dressing gown and tidy his hair up for him, making it nice for him. He actually died a few days later. For me it was just a wonderful gift – it was a hidden talent that I believe not only did I acknowledge it, but I think I ran with it.

So ask people about your hidden talents, be exposed to the influence of other people, find these talents and run with them – and share them.

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FF&Flow-02How it all began…

Songs of Praise is enjoying some of its highest viewing figures in its history, plus in the last few years there has been much more discussion and books written about happiness.

Social media has deceived the young into thinking they have many relationships, yet due to the lack of physically being in the presence of another the stats for loneliness and depression are scarily high.

Attending a presentation organized by Rix & Kay solicitors recently there were discussions around interviews with the elderly. The stats for our seniors, at times unwell, living on their own experiencing a huge sense of loneliness, were shocking.

I have been a Christian all my life – stumbling, falling and making horrendous mistakes along the way. But I have also experienced great joy, love, acceptance and peace.

I am definitely ‘in communication with God’ through Jesus, and able to talk about experiences that for some would trigger a call to tie me up in a white jacket.

When Latest TV was launched I was asked to put together a business programme under their scheme, ‘You make it, we show it” – at the time I declined.

Then months later I woke up one morning and thought, ‘why wouldn’t I do it for God?’ And so hatched the idea of Family, Faith and Fun… the happiness debate. I didn’t look back; I bought the remaining equipment I needed, turning my lounge into a weekly studio.

Additionally I wanted to form a ‘committee’ so we could plan together. I suggested a member of my church sit on the committee – I also applied for leadership training in Angmering.

At the moment my church have not moved forward on my suggestion nor taken me up on meeting for  a coffee.

I have just heard SMBTC/Angmering have viewed a few programmes deeming me not ready, so rather than full days, offering me instead an hour each session for an overview of the bible.

I have very informally approached Shoreham Churches Together asking if they would like a coffee to find out more, explaining I have reached a point where I am not looking for more advise, rather for people to help…

There is good news. Paul Joseph has been very interested and a huge support from the start.

So, leaders have spoken by their actions and I just keep doing what i am doing: attending church bible study and continuing my own bible reading / reflection and further reading coupled with viewing other Christians material. (June 2015)

Here is how Latest TV advertise the programme:

16:00 “Sarah Hopwood presents the happiness debate, a show looking at a different emotion, and associated behavours, every week and how they relate to family life, the Christian faith, and a sense of fun

Jason and David at Latest TV have been very supportive, coupled with biggest thanks to Paul Noble Photographic and Brighton College. Paul has worked tirelessly editing for me and Sandy Chenery at Brighton supplied the opening and closing music. Sandy taught both my children and Paul has known my husband Paul and I from our dating days.

I have been asked how I define emotion so here is my understanding; E – motion is Energy and Motion.

The energy can be internal or external – and it causes movement or shift (physical or mental.) An emotion can cause a fight or flight response – and of course freeze or embrace. The Oxford dictionary says, “a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.”

When planning Family, Faith and Fun I chose to keep the meaning as broad as I can and so believe each week I have chosen an emotion to discuss looking at the behaviour’s associated with it. I agree some are near the line but do maintain I have kept them within that line. The feedback on the choice of music has been particularly good and so will keep that logic and connection to the programme content moving forward. I don’t think I will sing again though, watching it back it felt too intimate.

Some of the prayers I read are from my children’s library of books given to them when they were very young – all the bible readings are from the Application Bible.

If you have watched more than 5 of the 12 portions of FF&F to date then please know I would love your thoughts too. This project was always work in progress so you are helping me double check and make changes.

My intention was never to be on my own, rather access other talents so its full potential could be reached. Different age groups, children singing, interviews of all ages… but it is taking time for people to decide it is for them. As the title suggests the reach was always meant to be broad – it about family / community (mindful of those who don’t have family) and the pursuit of happiness. There was never age, gender, social or any other segmentation. The target audience is the same as the audience for Songs of Praise… every age, creed & colour. I believe God has no favourites!

It was a big ask of myself, and being on my own I, of course, have not been able to achieve all my goals yet. Not one to give up easily I believe with God’s grace it is onward and upward. I plan to film the next series of 6 episodes in the next few weeks. If I can touch just one life and make it a little easier then my job is done. So to finish I would like to quote Laurence Elphick – host Juice FM’s Breakfast, “if you enjoyed it then please spread the word, if you didn’t then keep it to yourself.”


Co-presenting with Sally Gunnell OBE

Have you ever been heard to say, “See; I knew this would happen”, or something similar? Sally recalled how she lost races in her early days, pinpointing the moment she’d glance across at her competitors, allowing herself to believe they were better than her. “70% of winning happens in the head” Sally told the audience. Back then she had to control her beliefs. So what changed, what did Sally do?

Positive psychology played an enormous part. She worked on all aspects developing her Positive Mental Attitude (PMA), addressing positive affirmations, associating with positive people (to this day Sally avoids people who are negative) and visualisation – picture from start to finish, seeing in her mind the outcome she wanted – crucially feeling the winning emotion.

Motivation was key, complacency the enemy. On bad days all Sally had to do was think of her rivals. She would soon be kitted out, stop-watch in hand, ready to go.

Sally spoke most sincerely about her competitors. Had they not been there she wouldn’t have won medals – competition, fierce at times, was essential. (Sally remains the only woman to have held the European, World, Commonwealth and Olympic 400 metre hurdles titles at the same time.)[sublimevideo settings=”youtube-id:vMvTaxz7vkc” width=”300″ height=”169″]

So, do you believe what you see or see what you believe? We are all able to instigate unwanted results by ‘seeing what we believe’ – i.e. we embed our fears and belief on situations. Sally understood this. She trained her belief system enabling her to see what she believed. Powerful! Life changed.

Once we’ve learned to over-ride negative voices in our head, we give ourselves a gift. It becomes a life-skill accessible only to us in our personal toolbox. When times are tough Sally is able to draw strength from her experience, gaining inner confidence and sense of direction. Sally learned how to win.

My life changed when I understood “what we believe is true”. If you don’t like what you believe you have the power to change it – we will believe whatever we tell ourselves.

Easier said than done? maybe. Challenging! Yes. Impossible – No.

Knowing we have control over our beliefs enables us to make decisions about our future. So why not decide to use your belief system as a tool to help you get to where you want to be, coupled with what you want. Strive to win. Dare to dream… to dream big. Then Believe!