Helena Clayton Newsletter - View this email in your browser
Leadership Developer • Facilitator • Writer
 Welcome to the July 2020 Newsletter

I hope this finds you safe and well.

Like many, I've been having a bit of a think during the period of lockdown. 

What does this all mean for me and my work?  What does the world need more of and how can I contribute to that?  What work do I want to do a lot more of and what work have I outgrown?  What would it feel like to work less and have more space in my life? How might I do a lot more with 'love and leadership?'  And how much courage do I have to really do what I imagine doing?  

So I'm pleased to announce that as a result of some of that thinking :-) I have a new leadership programme starting in the Autumn that brings together my many years of designing and running leadership programmes with the last three years of my work with love.

It's quite bold. 

But if we don't want things to go back to 'what they were like before' and we want to create organisational cultures that are deeply human, dignified, fair and that help us feel safe and also alive, then we need to take action.  If we always do what we always do, etc …

Details of the programme are here.  The inaugural cohort will be limited to just 6 people so please do let me know if you'd like to join us.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoy what's here this month  - on the themes of our inner critic, developing self love and the idea of 'eldership'  - and if there's anyone you know who might like this Newsletter, please do pass it on. 

With love
Helena x

Featured this Month:
  • Some of my time as a coach is spent helping people work with their inner critic - the nagging and ever-present voice that loves to keep us small, insists on diminishing us and is full of self-reproach.  That part of us is there for a reason, but how can we balance it with a kinder perspective and a series of voices that are more loving? It's hard work but it's doable. And it's a form of self love.
  • Last month, I had planned to write a piece on anger and its relationship with love but didn't get enough juice flowing to finish it in time.  But I finished it soon after and I'm sharing it this month, in case you didn't see it on LinkedIn.   
  • And a flag up for next month.  I'm getting interested in the notion of 'eldership' … and I'll share more on that in a blog next month.  But in the meantime, a few resources here in case you fancy exploring it too.
For more information please see below or visit my website. If you have any questions please do get in touch.
Working with our inner critic
If I discovered there were some strong reactions to the word love when I started talking about it in relation to leadership and organisations, I think it's even stronger with 'self love'.  It's not always easy to know what we mean by it, but in this post I talk about how developing a new voice inside our heads to counterbalance our inner critic is one place we can start.

For me, I know this loving voice I have cultivated over the years has been and continues to be a hugely helpful and useful part of my resilience and wellbeing.

Our inner critic is usually the source of any issues we might have with confidence or imposter syndrome, say, and so it's often a good place to start in any form of development - however odd it may sound to some to be talking about working with the voices in our heads :-)

Take a look here and see what you think...
Anger, love and leadership
When I posted this piece on LinkedIn it got some great conversation going in the thread. It resonated with many people.  I mentioned last month that I hadn't quite finished it in time to include in the Newsletter.

I was recently interviewed as a guest on a podcast about Conscious Leadership with David Wetton (released in a few weeks and I'll share it here as soon as its ready).  David asked me how I defined 'conscious leadership' and I found myself saying how I was rethinking leadership - and that I was increasingly defining leadership as 'activism'.  More and more I feel that if we're not agitating, provoking, poking and prodding at whatever system we live or work in, then we can't use the term leader.  Someone once said to me that 'leaders are always up to something' and that rang true.  If our role is pretty much doing what we're asked to and not also questioning it, if we are simply serving an organisation and not also trying to work on intractable social problems ... then I don't know that we can say we are leaders.

What's the link with anger?  Anger is something that we can use to help us work out what matters to us - and what matters to us is the source for our activism.  And when we know that, we can direct our energies towards that.  When we act in service of what matters to us in the world, then we are leading.

Anger is a form of love.  And it belongs in leadership.  You can read about it here.
Flagging this up for the August Newsletter really, but mentioning it now in case you like the sound of it.

I've finally found my way to the work of Steven Jenkinson, a Canadian writer, who writes (among other things) about ageing and the responsibilities of our later stages in life. He thinks we should pay more attention to this than we currently do and sees many of our social problems as relating to this. He holds the view that we are terrified of dealing with our frailties and that we 'inveigh severely against limit and ambivalence and not firing on all cylinders all the time'.  Doing this robs us of a stage in life that he calls 'eldership' - a time when we are older but still vital in the world and yet also at a time when we are connected to vulnerability and things not working.  We have a responsibility, he argues, to harvest any wisdom we have learned along the way of our lives and find a way to offer it to those coming up behind us, and to the young.  We can't turn away from this, he says, we HAVE to pass on what we know.  As we age, we have to 'forgo the climate-controlled inner life' and really grapple with the question of 'what should I be doing with whatever is left to me?'.  

I'm really interested in this  - how we cultivate eldership - and there's not much written on it and so have started collecting a pile of reading that looks like it might say something on the topic and plan to write more here next month.  In the meantime, you may like his (pretty wordy) book Come of Age as well as a good podcast by the storyteller Michael Meade on cultivating wisdom as well as an excellent online programme I did during lockdown on Deepening Into Personal Purpose with The Whole Partnership which has really helped me focus on that big question that Jenkinson asks of us.
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Upcoming Events
For full details on any event, probably online and all other upcoming events, please visit my website by clicking here...

The 6th Relational Coaching Conference on 'Love over Fear' at Ashridge, exploring how we create the conditions for love to emerge in a coaching relationship has now found a new home on 25th June 2021.  That should be safe enough, we hope!  Do add the date to your diary - and I hope to see some of you there.

Let's Connect
If the idea of love in organisations interests you (or more interestingly if you think that love doesn't have a place in organisations...) come and explore it with me. You could hold a Learning Lunch session for your team on the role love might play in leadership - or run my 'Leading from Love' survey in your organisation. You might welcome a 1:1 session to explore your own relationship with love. Or take part in one of my Action Inquiry groups, exploring love in the workplace. Whatever, please do get in touch as I'd welcome the chance to explore this with you further.

Beyond that my leadership development work is all about conversations and relationships and building programmes that really open partcipants eyes to new ways of seeing and working. Whether you're interested in finding out more about that, want some good books recommendations, or can share your own experiences of developing leadership, it would be good to hear from you.

I'm social too so you can follow me on
Twitter and LinkedIn or connect via Email. Or call me of course, whichever suits. 

Helena x

Email: helena@helenaclayton.co.uk
Call: 07771 358 881
Join me on social media
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