Wednesday, February 24, 2010


My son is two today. I am constantly amazed to see a little person grow and develop in their speaking, helping, arguing "I say no to you daddy" and the wonder of all things new. His scooter and guitar are favourite presents. As I write he his helping his mamma put up cards. Kind of...

Congratulations to Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Ice Dance Olympic Champions. I have yet to see the Free Dance but some of the Original was spectacular in the speed of the twist in lifts along with beautiful flowing edges. I would have loved to have been there and seen the speed, live.

Well done to John and Sinead too. Eighth may not have been their aspiration but the die was set to a degree and the quality of the top couples, along with a French battle just above them contributed to holding them to that spot. What they always do is provide exciting entertainment for the audience and that is both bankable and a place they love to be and thrive in. Seven times British Champions is also a tremendous achievement in anyone's book. I hope they get some time off before World's where a higher placement could be on the cards for them.

Christiane and I watched a film THE HURRICANE about Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter a man who was a boxing champion and was falsely imprisoned for twenty years in the US. It is an inspirational story of how to cope with adversity and ultimately win through. If you haven't watched it do so, it's on my favourite films list now.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I love writing and am learning more of poetry structures and being blessed with lyrics - two songs last week. I even did a poem for Phillip and holly - now that's scary! It was fun though...

Yesterday I finished an article for iSkate magazine which gives me free rein to speak on anything I want. Wonderful editorial freedom and allowing me to 'go off on tangents' that I hope are fun and thought provoking for folk.

Interview for the FT - Financial Times that will benefit Sense - a charity i support yesterday. My brother, who works in the city will be surprised to see me in such an auspicious journal.

Interview for European Radio in Spain was fun too...

Oh yes and there I was with Petronella in the Daily Mail last Friday.

Now, after a personal training session that started at 8am to 9 I am at my desk to delve deeper into Logic on my beautiful 30' screen - joy. Fresh coffee beside me - Christiane and Tiger off at the Grapevine Group she helps run. All is right with the world.

Have a great day.



Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Week Four of Dancing On Ice is complete. Another eight to go. Some of the couples are getting into their stride others still feeling their way. Early days.

The hothouse of DOI creates a 'reality situation' that provokes accelerated learning of dance with the slip factor of ice. The format is always creating surprises, drama and breakthroughs.

Yet one thing is not a surprise. Once again I find myself reflecting upon how the words spoken out might impact the people they are aimed at and the wider viewership and also how I should react to them personally?

To my mind words either build up or tear down. I prefer the former. On DOI I care that each person and couple do the best they can and become the best they are capable of becoming. I have a passion for encouraging this. It is hard wired into my DNA it seems.

It is always interesting therefore to be in close proximity to those who do not appear to share that view at times in their 'show persona'.

It is a challenge for me in life, and perhaps for you too, in how to deal with harsh words spoken or humour that is clever and derisive, belittling, insidious. Do I ignore it? Do I attack back? If I do nothing am I weak? Turn the other cheek the bible says? If someone else is attacked do I seek to protect them or do I not let it bother me justifying my stance in the light of the words being 'just pantomime'?

No doubt some would say methinks too much? Just get on with it, stiff upper lip etc.. However I do reflect on these things at this time as they are provoked by my DOI involvement. What impact on our society are we having or is it simply 'a show'?

There is a part of me that admires the ability to create one liners that provoke derogatory images with a sense of wicked 'fun' from what is performed before us in a very tight timeframe. It is undoubtedly a skill. But...

My belief is that words can damage people and I know we/I hear negatives louder than positives. It has been proven that a negative occurs as 6 to 10 times louder than a positive to the recipient. So how do I choose to respond? Is some criticism that is provocative useful?

Taking the challenge and provocation idea I am reminded of a former fitness trainer of mine who - when I was doing abb crunches on the floor forty minutes through a training session - put his face to mine and shouted "The girls are doing better than you!" Which provoked a smile from me and even more effort! He was a great coach and motivator. We had some Olympic athletes in that room too which gave me a spur to compete and a nodded well done from our coach to me one week made me feel ten feet tall. He had our respect, he had our total commitment and he had a distance from us that maintained his authority. He was a former Sargent Major and 65, my he was amazingly fit.

A judge though is a different persona to a coach and yet, for me having been a business and life coach and having been coached on ice and off I find myself aiming to not only judge fairly but to inspire and encourage improvement and caring for those competing.

I once wrote and presented a seminar for judges and parents for the National Ice Skating Association. The idea came from the CEO of NISA and was looking at the paradigm of Customer Service against 'Being a Judge'. The seminar challenged the senior judges present to provide criticism that did not 'tear down' the participants with the objective that those competing would 'Keep Skating' no matter what marks they got. There was uproar in the room when I started putting forward these ideas, feelings were running high from threatened judges and angry parents. The cork was out of the bottle with regard to 'Don't tell us what to do' and 'What you have done to me/my child!' By the end of the morning session a quiet calm had decended upon everyone as lunch was taken. Perhaps it was the therapy of realising the impact judges words could have on competitors if harshly delivered? Perhaps it was the seeing the judges take on role pay that challenged and changed their view? Perhaps it was in the process itself that some found a release - mainly in shouting at me the presenter for around 20 minutes at the opening! Perhaps it was in how I presented the initial ideas and my history with some of those judges!!! What ever it was there was a positive shift for many there as understanding dawned.

This year at the British Championship the majority of our men skated in a way that suggested a disaster was about to happen and when faults duly happened a shrug and on to the next element was the norm. There seemed to me a swing of the pendulum to a culture that now accepted lacklustre performances without fight. I wrote in iSkate about the need for a warrior spirit from the men and challenged them to show this. My words were designed to provoke a fight back so that they can become worthy of competing on the international stage. No one is interested if you don't fight to be the best you can be.

Questions without a clear answer as yet and the usual frustration that aggression gets more airtime than good news. What's new?

I shall reflect further on this conundrum this week. In the gym, my work at Spartan Training hitting the bag with the boxing gloves might prove to be even more robust and therapeutic than usual?