Debs Barker

Debs Barker

Feb 172014
 

New Year Resolutions

Life is way too short to spend another day at war with yourself – Jillian Michaels.

Christmas is a special time, always in my family a sacrosanct holiday reserved for family, a time of celebration, of eating until you’re sick, of indigestion remedies – a colourful time of year, enjoyed and relished by many people.   New Year is often different, it brings a different vibe and I find it a time of reflection.  We often feel that this is our chance, we can start anew, and we can truly be the people we have always wanted to be.  We have fresh hope and promise of what a new year might bring.  So with the death of a dear friend on New Year’s Eve 2013 I wanted to explore what it is like to start a new year afresh and why we so often fail to achieve the promise we so often crave at this time of year.  Continue reading »

Nov 122013
 

bridget-jones-the-edge-of-failureHello Bridget
With the new Bridget Jones book, Mad About the Boy (Random Publications)  published last month, I thought it might be an idea to consider the draw of one of our (albeit fictional) national treasures.  It is well documented that there is more than just a nod in the direction of Jane Austen’s work in Bridget’s diaries and we all catch our breath when, she too, finds her own Mr Darcy. Continue reading »

Oct 282013
 

quest-for-knowledge
Sounds pretty arrogant, but I thought I’d seen it all.  My role in leadership and management development had led me to learn many models designed to help us understand, more clearly, the human condition. I had collected licensed training course like smarties ™.  I have trained in many areas over the last 15 years: MBTI ™ , MBTI step II™,  OPQ 32™ , Situational Leadership™,  Neuro linguistic programming ™,  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (I am not sure if this is a Trademarked product but you get the picture?), Project Management (APM), Mediation, Insights Discovery ™,  Firo B ™, Person Centre Counselling, coaching – the list is endless.  I have worn these qualifications like a badge of honour most of my adult life. Continue reading »

Sep 302013
 

the-art-of-idleness

My mind is racing; I am in a state perpetual list writing. A weary business traveller on the red eye, it is Monday morning and I am delayed on a flight from Manchester to Norwich, with a full day ahead of me knowing that this delay is going to throw the day, nay the week, out. I am tense, I feel it, it is almost tangible and I know my fellow passengers are feeling it too. They shuffle uncomfortably in their seats and they ooze the stress of the Monday morning commute. As I observe their behaviour, my stress was also clear for them to see. The actions of someone who needed to be somewhere and was stuck, acutely aware of the consequence of what was before them, my blackberry winking angrily at me from my lap. Trying to relax, but the very idea is almost absurd. A delayed plane is the ideal time to sit and think, to be, a time for reflection and, put simply, to do absolutely nothing… but this was something that evaded me, try as I might. Continue reading »

Aug 152013
 

shakespeare-the-social-psychologist

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players
(As You Like It, Act 11 Scene V11)

An avid fan of all things Shakespeare, I went to see the RSC production of As You Like It recently in Stratford. I was gripped by the story and hoped that Orlando and Rosalind found the love they were searching for, and indeed they did. It was an uplifting performance by the central characters, Pippa Nixon as Rosalind and Alex Waldmann as Orlando. The production, directed by Maria Arbeg, and running until the 26th September, was often reminiscent of a Glastonbury of yesteryear. Camp fires burned and free love (and beer) were prevalent. I left the theatre totally overwhelmed by the feeling of love the central characters felt for each other, and the optimism of young love and opportunity of a life yet lived. Contrast that with my visit in June to see Hamlet.  Continue reading »

Aug 092013
 

the-cognitive-miser
Picture the scene, it’s the school holidays, I am, to all intent and purpose, highly stressed.  I am juggling childcare with the demands of work, I am frazzled and harassed and, for once, I took my eye off the ball. Isabelle fell, in spectacular style.  I was downstairs, she was upstairs and I heard an almighty thud.  I ran to her aide, she was crying having fallen off the toilet, yes, the toilet.  She wasn’t badly hurt thankfully and I breathed a sigh of relief, as I did so she ran happily out of the bathroom. I followed her, smiling at her clumsiness, tissue in hand.  As I cleaned up the floor, I noticed that she had injured herself, and the area in question was her nether regions. Without hesitation I took her to the hospital, little did I know what lay ahead? Continue reading »

Jul 122013
 

class-clarity-and-chardonnay.jpg
I was led to a YouTube clip today taken from a This Morning  tv episode where Katie Hopkins, a woman who had appeared on The Apprentice some years ago, waxed lyrical about the class system that is so firmly rooted in generations of anxiety, resentment and snobbery. Her argument woke me up to the different ways people see society, class and each other. Continue reading »

May 312013
 

what-does-it-mean-to-be-an-effective-leader

As a leadership trainer, I am always interested in current thinking on how to be an effective leader.  The age old conundrum of “are leaders  born or  made” confounds me daily.  With the resignation of Sir Alex Ferguson and the recent death of Margaret Thatcher, I am utterly spellbound by the success of our most high profile leaders. Continue reading »