ISTANBUL. In between the Suleiman Mosque and the Bosphorus we meandered down a street selling nothing but buckles in every single shop; then we paused for a huge glass of orange juice, freshly squeezed by the vendor for 50p. Later, in between the Blue Mosque and our hotel, we drank tea with a sweet generous Spanish lady selling baklava, and gradually pieced together her brave story of building a new life outside Spain where there is no work for the young.
Now back home, such ‘in-between’ encounters stick with me, even more than the magnificent architecture and history of that great east-west ancient city.
In between times …
In 1970, multi-award winning actor Terrence Stamp – giant international film star throughout the 1960s with Peter Ustinov, Federico Fellini, Laurence Olivier … friend of Princess Margaret, romantic lover of Julie Christie … of Brigitte Bardot – suddenly found himself out of work.
He went to an ashram in India, where he stayed for nine years. I’m so curious about those nine years.
One day a surprise telegram arrived offering him the villain’s part in Superman. He returned to London in his orange robes, with long hair and beard, and was met at the airport by a slightly bemused Marlon Brando. His career took off again as if there had been no gap.
We don’t hear much about the ‘in between’ periods of famous people … Winston Churchill out of favour in the late 20s, building brick walls in the gardens of Chartwell, is a rare example. Yet they are common. The trouble is that at the time you don’t know it’s ‘in-between’ – you just know that nothing significant is happening, and that there’s no way to tell whether that condition will ever come to an end or just continue for ever.
It can feel like being stuck. But often when not much is happening on the outside and you feel lost, something inside is secretly maturing like a newly planted seed.
One autumn a few years ago, training work was a bit thin on the ground, and in that lacuna (in between feeling anxious and useless and suchlike) I began to ponder ideas on voice and communication. Later, I began to write the thoughts down. That became my first book. Now I’m three published books up and counting, and loving that new direction.
I can’t understand the corporate world’s obsession with career gaps – ah, the terrible gap you seek to avoid at all costs if you’re writing a CV. Why? So I was lost? Thank goodness for that. That’s when I learned all the things you don’t learn when you’re not lost. That’s where I discovered myself. That’s when I learned to be me. That’s when I found my true north.
A good friend who has cancer says that the in-between moments are it – sun shining on specks of dust, a random kindness, a shiver of true connection with a stranger, a sudden germ of a new idea … daily miracles.
I agree with her – they underpin all the rest – they are it.
Mary Oliver describes such moments in Summer Day (ß have a look and listen to the whole poem). “I do know,” she says in the final lines,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
NLP Diploma – 1st module 28 Feb – 1 March
I didn’t set out to create the link, but in fact, the NLP Diploma is a great ‘in-between’ vehicle for moving out of stuckness. Your time on the course gives you more clarity and confidence about yourself and your direction, and in your connections with others – fundamental underpinning skills for success in every field.
Communication and Relationships – the first module – is on 28 Feb – 1 March. Contact me very soon if you’re interested! You can book on-line – or email me.
Fear, performance terror, dislike of presenting, desire for charisma & confidence …?
My next Voice of Influence workshop is on 25-26 April – I work with small numbers, so book your place now! Find your voice, become a fluent and confident speaker – however daunted you may be currently.
The courses are in London. You can book online, or download a booking form to send to me. There are occasional places at generous discounts for those who wouldn’t be able to access the training otherwise.
Daily Speaking Tips & Inspiration facebook.com/JudyAppsVoice.
Free E-courses on Overcoming Performance Anxiety, Speaking with Authority, NLP and more
If you have friends who might be interested, please feel free to forward this newsletter to them.