Cherchez la Femme

Yin and Yang
Yin and Yang

'The yin and the yang are opposite forces. Yet, they exist together in the harmony of a perfect orb.' - R. A. Wise

'How important it is for us to recognise and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! - the late Maya Angelou

Patricia Arquette's acceptance speech on Sunday night at the Oscars (for her mother role in 'Boyhood') was pure she-roe as she seized the moment to wage a plea on equal rights and pay for women in the USA. I cannot believe that we are in the @21st century and this still continues to be an issue. We live in a world that still embraces the masculine (yang) and I believe that the equally important feminine (yin) traits have been neglected until relatively recently. We live in a world that when we meet someone we're not asked "tell me about yourself?" (feminine) it's "what do you do?" (masculine) which misses the point of what a whole person is all about. You are not your career and achievements although that's good - you are so much more - are you a kind human being who listens, with values and with respect?

So this got me thinking about the whole area of Jungian psychology which teaches that men are masculine on the outside and feminine on the inside and women are feminine on the outside and masculine on the inside. When personal and/or business relationships are balanced in giving and receiving everything works in perfect harmony - yin and yang. The tai chi symbol of twin flames and soul mates is also the Chinese Yin and Yang symbol for perfect balance. In fact it seems the whole of Chinese philosophy stems from the concept of Yin and Yang - opposites interacting and supposedly the seed for all things. Female/Male, Moon/Sun, Dark/Light etc.

To me feminism is about equality which includes men - it's all about balancing the feminine and masculine traits in us all. We live in a world that still embraces the masculine (yang) which has become a dangerously unbalanced misrepresentation of humanity. Arianna's Third Women's Revolution is to change the world that men have designed. She believes that the current model of success was designed by men and it's not working for men or women. Prince Charles was not wrong when he said 'The world needs healing'. I believe kindness, spirituality and empowerment are becoming more important factors in people's lives. In fact I believe there is a spiritual revolution going on as the universe is saying we are out of kilter, we need to embrace the softer side of life, embrace your feminine side - we all want to be balancing our male and female energy - if we were all practising this in the world there would be no war - we'd be in the new golden age of aquarius by now - so it's good to have a reminder to embrace our softer side, our feminine side which is the side that doesn't control, that flows, that receives, that listens, that's spiritual and empowering.

The future of leadership is not ego-driven (male) - it's about empowering people (female) and I do believe that women are getting stronger in this new era. Two studies in 2010 and 2014 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) show conclusively what makes for an outstanding and effective team - having more women than men in it. It is always the feminine energy that brings balance, peace and harmony to the male - so come on boys embrace your feminine side - we'd love you all the more for it!

March 8th 2015 is International Women's Day - let's celebrate the feminine in us all where emotions, kindness, spirituality are embraced. After all relationships are mirrors because we attract what we need to heal - people are our emotional trainers. So let's collectively try and balance our feminine/masculine sides and let's collectively try and heal the world!

'It's nice to be important but it's more important to be nice.' - Tinie Tempah

'The motion of yin and yang generates all things in nature.' - Meh Jiuzhang and Guo Lei

My Leadership Speech

Jane Fuller
Jane Fuller

'Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself'  -  Leo Tolstoy

This is part of the transcript speech I gave at a Leadership masterclass last week:

When John F Kennedy said in 1961 at his presidential inaugural address - "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." Those words are as relevant now as they were then. They sum up my leadership speech tonight, because if each and every one of us can lead our lives in a productive, healthy, whole, cohesive way - miracles can happen - this will help the world become a better place for us all to live. I believe this is where true leadership begins with ourselves and how we live our lives.

When Merry asked me to talk to you today - it got me thinking about what got me here speaking on this subject. I believe that one of life's risks is never daring to risk, which is why I'm standing in front of you now.

I am a TV Producer by craft and have worked in the marketing/advertising industry for 30 years running my own business for 17 of those years. I began to realise gradually I wanted to listen to that inner voice of mine and not roughshod over who I was and my values. I began to realize I wasn't aligned to my spiritual purpose and I didn't want to bury that inner voice that told me 'time to change course....' Have you ever felt that the voice on the inside was not aligned to the words on the outside?! I believe if you listen to your inner voice it will guide you. Don't get me wrong - I loved producing - but it was time for change.

A life review led me to finding my spiritual path. I believe when the student is ready - the teacher appears and thus I met Merry Graham. She listened to me, she heard me. Thank you Merry for the quality of your compassion and your non-judgement in helping me to seek out my spiritual journey. Spending time becoming more aware of my values and how to honour them was key to my whole person nourishment. This created a paradigm shift in my life. There is no going back once you get this. Looking after myself physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally and understanding that these are all integrated was key. We are all born with this knowledge but this gets dusted over in our current education system and way of living and much has to be 'unlearnt' at some point. If only this could be taught in more schools. Anthony Seldon, enlightened headmaster of Wellington College introduced 'happiness and well being' classes for pupils and parents in 2006 and now more schools are following this example by also introducing mindfulness classes too. So change is afoot.

I'd always looked after myself physically and mentally - exercise, good diet and nutrition, rest and good sleep, setting boundaries - listening to what my body was telling me and being self aware. However the emotional and spiritual - could do better - so I began to fill myself up with understanding and nourishment. We need to give time to being human. We need to understand how our thoughts can affect our behaviour and ultimately our health. We need to understand how our emotions work and how repressed emotions can create serious illness in our bodies. We need to appreciate how our values and beliefs can directly affect our everyday health.

Understanding how the world works helps. We live in a world with a thought system based on fear not love. So judgement is the cornerstone of the thought system of the world. Love and forgiveness are not. We still put competition above collaboration although this is beginning to change. One in 4 people suffer from mental illness. So being self aware, is key to becoming the master and not the slave of your mind. This fast moving over technicalized world we live in marginalizes the soul, it marginalizes the spirit - so don't allow yourself to be run by technology and only use it to your advantage. Also stop the toxic TV and toxic newspapers! If I pick up some newspapers now I find they crackle in my hands from the sheer toxicity! Everything in the external world is basically a reflection of the internal world. So we're in a mess. Many people are so disconnected and numbed by the routine of life that they don't even have an opportunity to stop and know what they're feeling. They don't seek out deeper meaning in their lives because they're not aware they need to. If they lived healthier, whole person lives they would be more self aware and become seekers. It's being open and centred to the universe and saying 'I am open and ready to receive.' When you say this to the universe - it will rise up to meet you. All you need to do is ask and all sorts of spiritual guidance will appear; from books to people to life lessons etc.

I find giving time to all the things that are important to me and nourish me are key. Starting the day early and enjoying the silence that brings, to plan the day ahead. Honouring small rituals like making some lovely tea in a bone china cup. Connecting with nature and nurturing the earth matter to me. I exercise for 30 minutes in the park daily - not only for my physical body but my mental equanimity too. Being with people I love, pets/animals and the arts are all nourishing. Letting go of pettiness, negative thoughts and selfishness; doing everything with love - with everyone and everything, not only with those you like. Realizing that your thoughts create your life - so practising mindfulness on a daily basis. Having a purpose greater than yourself - and serving others and the earth - is an act of love. Finding a larger context in your life with a connectedness to family, community and environment - to bring meaning, purpose and ultimately happiness and health to our lives is key. Understanding that what happens to one directly - affects us all indirectly.

Everything that has ever happened to you in your life can be used as spiritual nourishment. So recognise the possibility of every moment because being in the moment is where joy resides. The task in life is to face sacred moments. You're going to miss this moment some day - so be here - it's all about the journey - not the destination. Once you are on that spiritual path you know what you have to do. There is no choice. Everyone of us is a teacher, a minister or a leader. So let's all lead by example.

Self responsibility and accountability are key to future happiness. Have a vision and communicate that vision. I wanted my work to have meaning. I wanted to inspire others to heal and align themselves to their spiritual path and to help them dig deep into their authentic selves and activate their true drivers and passions. And remember a life lived without spirituality needs more and more of the material life to keep the sense of emptiness at bay!!

So let's not lose this moment in history when people are open to change. We can all be teachers and leaders to inspire other people, other generations, to achieve greater focused leadership in their own lives. We can exemplify, empower and transform stuck places and change our world for the better! This new era needs to be about co-opetition not competition. The common purpose is to lead healthier lives and look after ourselves. As Maya Angelou says, "When you learn - teach. When you get - give." You don't need a title to be a leader.

And remember the more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate!

As Bill Gates said: "As we look ahead into the 21st century - leaders will be those who empower others." 


(PS - As the Bafta voting season is well underway I went to see the film 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' last Friday evening. To be released 3rd January 2014. It is a wonderful movie with Idris Elba and Naomie Harris and does great justice to the great man. Please see it!)

Empathy and Leadership in the 21st century

'If we choose to be bound by the past we will never move forward.......'   -  Barack Obama  


I have been asked to make a speech next week about Leadership in the 21st century and how we can make the world a better place. So it got me researching and thinking about all the great qualities the leaders of today require because they are very different requirements from the leaders of the 20th century.

Easy access to information through the internet has made it much harder to conceal selfish, unacceptable behaviour. So leaders of today need to have integrity, humility and wisdom and be authentic and courageous. They need to exemplify, empower and transform by being a mentor, guide and role model; be resilient, act effectively, contribute uniqueness, embrace change and stay grounded. With all of these qualities they are going to have to have a great sense of humour too because they're going to need it!!

However, I believe in a rapidly changing world; in a globalizing world; in a multicultural world, there is more and more uncertainty; less hierarchy and more interdependence in finding a common purpose. I believe that the truly great leaders in this era all have one attribute in common and that is empathy. If you can master this intangible, often overlooked skill that allows you to connect with and relate to others - you'll go far in your community, relationships and business. Great leaders relate to the people they serve. Business success depends on empathetic leaders who are able to adapt, build on the strengths around them and relate to their environment. Empathy is the driving force behind all great leaders communication. A critical part of developing empathy is learning to understand, respect and implement another person's point of view rather than forcing your own. It's keeping working on a solution until we hear each other, which can take time and doesn't fit in the fast moving demands of the 21st century - however it is so worth the time and effort and I believe all great leaders understand this!

Whilst I was researching this I came across a wonderful You Tube conversation with Hillary Rodham Clinton (below) having been presented with the Chatham House Prize 2013 last week in London. Please listen to her in conversation as she exemplifies a true leader with empathy and the importance of trust in establishing long term relationships.  I believe she's inspirational for the next generation of 21st century leaders.


Inspirational eh? However, the foundation for relationships is the relationship we have with ourselves - self-awareness and being in the moment and aligning to our core values - this is what my leadership speech and next blog will be based upon.......... Have a good week!

'When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace'  -   Jimi Hendrix

Victory For Obama!


America owes the world an apology - what better person to deliver that message than Barack Obama. What a relief he’s been given another 4 years’ to do so. I have been a fan of America since I was child – my father would bring me back Walt Disney characters from Disneyland and dresses from New York from his many business trips there. My parents would go to first night Broadway musicals so its written in my DNA that I would love America.

I have worked in America countless times since as a Producer in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, etc. etc. I have many American friends in London and America. I was invited to the American Election Party at the American Embassy in London last night and so I have a great affinity towards the USA. Thank heavens the American people gave Barack Obama a second term. Elections matter. They are important. What happens in America affects us. As is often said “when America sneezes – the world catches a cold!”

My view is that Barack Obama came along at the right moment in history in 2008. He touched on the zeitgeist of that moment in time. In an age when we need more authenticity from our leaders he can now continue as the most powerful leader in the world and he’s still the man of the moment – how cool is that?! He needed more than 4 years’ to get the job done – let’s hope Hillary Clinton continues the good work in 2016!

I believe we are in a period of massive change and social transformation. People need to feel heard and listened to – they will not put up with bullshit and lies anymore – its power to the people now with twitter, Facebook, etc., powering through peoples’ lives. They want their  leaders to be authentic – a person who can lead by example and from the front – by being true to their conviction. Adaptable, flexible, empowering, motivating and inspiring others – having values, honor and integrity. A good leader today needs to have a good IQ and EQ. Also being able to grasp the increasingly rapid pace of technology which may open up opportunities – as seen in the Arab Spring. A leader who also understands the importance of women in their lives who tend to focus on the importance of building good relationships! Over to you Hillary…………

PS You wouldn't believe that an old boyfriend of mine now funds the Tea Party would you!?