Put a Spin on it- and get Happier

Spin has unsavoury connotations. We think untruths and hidden agendas. But in fact if you put a spin on it, Spin can do wonders to the way you see things, the way you think about something, the way you interpret events, the way you face the future.

Put a rosy spin on your future

Put a rosy spin on your future

Spin can turn the negative into the positive and it can bounce you into a world of possibilities. In my Journal at the end of each day, I write three good things that have happened. Sometimes it’s hard to think of three, or any, but I put a spin on it and I always manage to conjure up the good stuff. Often little things and to others insignificant, but at the right angle you can find a rosy glow somewhere.


Someone said to me the other day “But isn’t that cheating?” My reply was “Well you can dwell on the bad stuff and feel lousy, or you can focus on the merrier moments and feel better.” I know which makes me sleep more peacefully at night.

So, the same is true when it comes to screenwriting. The process as any writer knows is not writing, but re-writing ad infinitum. So to keep up your interest and prevent sinking into a slurry of despondency at a set of new ‘feedback’ notes I grab my Inner Spin Doctor by the scruff of the neck and beg for a different insight.

This week, on tackling a new draft, I decided to think about my story as a re-telling of Peter Pan and Wendy, in a modern twist with Wendy at the helm. All the corresponding elements to my story are there. ‘Wendy’ cares too much for everybody, including crazy Nana, two Darling children and her husband Peter Pan who is stuck in the past with childhood trauma and won’t grow up.

It all comes to head when he has a midlife crisis and Wendy once again has to pick up the pieces except that this time in the fight against Peter’s demons (Hook, his dad who killed himself) she teams up with Tinker Bell the Lithium Fairy and together they save the day. Only now Wendy’s got the message and realizes she has to let go, force Peter to take responsibility and in so doing set herself free.

I wrote all this as a poem and the process of doing that made me understand with much better clarity what the crucial elements of my own modern day story are. The Spin I put on my writing process freed me to go back to my script with renewed vigor.

For those who fancy a bit of poetry on a Monday morning here you go:

The Hunt for Hook  by Lou Hamilton

Wendy’s Nan was poorly, Her Peter hard at work, She alone was there, To read the kids a book.

Nana barked away, In bed next door, Crazy grandma banging, Stick upon the floor.

Those Darling kids, With Wendy at the helm, Sat on Sofa-boat, Dreaming where to roam

Wendy’s Peter joined them, To fly the boat away, But he had troubles of his own, That Wendy had to slay

She gave him pills to keep him up, But sadness was too strong, He wanted to stay forever young, Like when Hook, his dad did wrong

Wendy steered with all her might, To keep the family straight, And knew that to survive, She’d have to find a bait

The Hunt for Hook is on she cried, As they flew across the skies, The Darling kids clung on tight, And Peter fed them flies

Then a spring popped out from underneath, The cushions busting bare, And there was Hook all tooth and claw, To snare them in his lair.

Wendy grabbed the Darling kids, But Peter pleased to see his dad, Was hooked with claw and blinded, By fond memories that he had

Wendy shouted “Hook killed himself”, His ghost’s in sofa form, Now come to steal his son back, In the midst of this cruel storm

Thrown about in ferocious gusts, The battle did commence, Wendy out to save them all, Before Peter lost his sense

Sofa-Hook was mighty strong, With twisted springs to spear, The Darling kids and Wendy, So Peter gave in to fear

Wendy screamed for Tinker Bell, Lithium sting in her tail, She heard and flew in armed, With needle sharp as nails

Wendy kicked back the springs, And held the Darlings tight, As Tinker joined the scrum, To snatch Peter from his plight

Sofa’s springs scratched and snarled, Hook’s claw tore Tinker’s wings, But Wendy caught the needle, To pierce poor Peter’s skin

Sofa crashed to the lake below, Flinging Wendy, Peter, Darlings free, Sinking Hook without at trace, To injured Tinker’s glee

Lithium had done the trick, Blasting Peter’s past with Hook, and the family safe ashore, Wendy gave not a backwards look

Back home Nana’s cursing loud, “I’m hungry” comes the holler, But Wendy’s had enough of Caring, It’s Peter’s turn to bother

The Darling kids are off to school, Peter’s forced to try, His boyhood trauma all grown up, and Wendy’s free to fly.

WHY we do what we do- Passion with Purpose

“Every being is intended to be on earth for a certain purpose.” — Sa’di, 12th Century Persian poet

Simon Sinek in his Ted Talk describes the theory of the Golden Circle. The Outer Ring contains something everybody can answer: WHAT do you do? The middle ring, most people can have a stab at: HOW do you do what you do? But the Inner Circle few people take the time to consider, let alone have clarity on: WHY do you do what you do?

It light your fire

It took me years to work out my ‘WHY’ but I know it now. I am a Coach and I am driven by the belief that through the coaching process I can help people change themselves and their lives for the better. I am able to give people a set of tools that helps them build fulfilling and meaningful lives by tapping into their own passions and talents, their ability to think creatively and their primal need to have a sense of purpose.

But how did I get to the point where I’d found my ‘why’? I had always been artistic so I made sculptures and videos, but I’d struggled to come up with ideas that were driven by a singular ‘purpose’. Then I got a job for QTV and Channel 4 making the BAFTA-winning 5 part documentary series DEATH on people with terminal illness. We filmed 12 people over a period of 3 years and it was an extraordinary journey. What we realised was that when people are dying they become very focused on what is important to them and how they want to spent the time they have left.

I also realised that I didn’t want to wait until I was dying, to work out what was important to me. I wanted to find out what would give my life purpose now. When the TV series went out, something amazing happened.  One of the people we’d filmed, who had chronic Chrone’s Disease, received enough unsolicited financial donations from the viewing public, that she could pay for the treatments she needed (and didn’t have access to via postcode lottery) to allow her a longer and pain-free life. The indirect effect of the film impacting on someone’s quality of life decided my Purpose. I would use my Passion for creativity to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

But films take a long time to make and I wanted to do something I could do everyday. I knew Creativity isn’t just tied to being Artistic. Creativity is about how we approach life, problem solving, using our imaginations, about communicating about how we think and feel. So how could I use Creativity or rather Creative Thinking, and give it Purpose? It was the early days of Life Coaching as an industry but I knew that by combining creative thinking skills and coaching I could help people lead better lives.

Since then, I have continued to make films about inspirational people who overcome the odds, and I have a successful life coaching practice with clients who are courageous enough to take the necessary steps towards a positive future. Everybody has the potential to think creatively and through the process of coaching I help shift them from feeling stuck into building and sustaining good lives.

Everyone thrives when they live with Passion and Purpose. Knowing who you are inside and what MOTIVATES you, helps you find your Purpose. If you find yourself singing U2’s song, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” then why not get yourself a Coach and take the first steps to a more meaningful life.

10 Coaching Tips on Finding your Purpose

  1. What are the things that make you smile?
  2. What would make you leap out of bed in the morning?
  3. Are you ever ‘pulled’ towards something and you’re not sure why? Trust your instincts and follow the trail.
  4. What Cause has made your throat tighten with emotion? Could you have a leaning towards helping them in some way?
  5. Is there a theme in the books you read, in the films you watch? Maybe you are attracted to something that could inform a new direction?
  6. Is there something that you lose yourself in, lose track of time, could do all day and never be bored or tired of it? Why not incorporate it into other areas of your life.
  7. You believe yourself to be ‘successful’ but actually feel hollow? Could you give some time to your community in someway that would give your life more meaning?
  8. Tie your hobbies, gifts and talents with something that has significance to others. Being appreciated boosts our self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
  9. What were your dreams when you were a child? Could you revisit some of those ideas, see if they still resonate with you
  10. List your values and see how you might better align your daily   activities with these values.

Walk the walk

Starting any business is tough. There are no short cuts, no quick routes up the mountain to success. It’s hard graft and takes patience and perseverance. You’ve got to have a passion for what you do and you have to learn to take the body blows, bust on through and still exude the love.

At the Pure Coaching Academy this week our  panel of graduating coaches had the chance in Dragon’s Den style to coach Young Entrepreneur Sol Wright. What they were all impressed with was the confident and determined spirit in which he is building his venture Selvage London. Nevertheless he was open and receptive to their input and together they pushed the ambition of his approach up a good few notches. He reminded us of that feeling we all had before fear and cynicism kicked in, the sense that anything is possible and that the world is our oyster. Here is entrepreneurship talking the talk and walking the walk. What an inspiration.

Selvage red flash

It’s what’s below the belt that counts- walk the walk in perfect fit jeans

In the cut and thrust of business it is the fresh new voices that stand out. Recently launched, Selvage London is founded by 20 year old young entrepreneur Sol Wright. This time last year he left UCL where he was studying when he realised that his childhood dream to be an architect was misplaced and what he really wanted to do was run his own fashion business. He transferred to a business degree at Regent’s University and identified a gap in the market- at 6ft 2 he found it hard to get jeans that fit. Not just ‘oh yeah that’s roughly the right size’ but ‘wow these jeans look amazing’. Sol did his research, and knew he could offer bespoke, personalised and tailor-fit jeans in the right price range initially for men with a longer term plan to cater for women. He sourced the denim from a factory in Milan and found a whole sale manufacturers in Birmingham that would do short runs. He created a business plan and approached an angel investor to raise the funds for his first 100 pairs, then he launched his social media campaign to generate interest in his target audience.

But who is his customer? Guys who care what jeans work with which shoes? Well sure, but as most women know their men may look divine in a suit but get them into weekend wear and their style radar falls to pieces. And as we all know, it’s what’s below the belt that counts. Women don’t want the man at their side looking baggy, slouchy and bunched up. These women have invested time, money and effort in their own appearance and just as they wouldn’t pair a worn-out rucksack with their Louboutins, they equally don’t want a hangdog droopy jeans guy on their arm.

So Sol has women in his corner to bring the guys up to speed. Armed with nothing but a tape measure and the Selvage online measuring guide they can kit their men in the perfect fit jeans. Of course the discerning independent thinking male with good taste also now has a platform to design his own jeans wardrobe to match his range of loafers, trainers or boots. Whether the bespoke look is initiated by women or the men themselves, Sol is on a mission to build his business by making men feel “the dog’s bollocks in denim”.

5 Top Coaching tips for the Start-up Entrepreneur

1. Do what you love, because you’ll be doing it a lot

2. Get yourself a Coach to champion you on through the good times and the bad

3. Build up your mental & physical fitness so you are on top form to weather the storms

4. Remember FEAR is not real, it is a consequence of our thoughts, so keep your thoughts laser sharp focussed on the Big Goal

5. Banish naysayers. They’re the ones not taking the risks and not reaching their potential. Surround yourself with people who celebrate success.

Create Lab Studio Hub www.createlab.co.uk

High-RISE steps to confidence

Walking in Central London this week I spotted a balcony near the top of a high-rise block of flats. Against a monotone backdrop was a row of hand painted flowerpots hanging one by one along the rail. There was a show of confidence in those bright spots of creativity giving a flourish to the day.

Flourish of Confidence

Flourish of Confidence

The theme was to continue. I was on my way to Northern Media’s RISE scheme, where six of us women filmmakers had gathered for a two day bonanza of creative and vivid input from a selected group of industry professionals including Film Producer Andrea Cornwall, Celine Haddad Senior Film Executive for Creative England and Film Distribution expert Julia Short.

We were here to pitch our projects and get a sense of how they would sit in the thoroughfare of global film production, release and distribution. It was a daunting prospect. But this was our chance to find our distinctive voices and learn to give punch to our pitch. After all, we’re going to expend a lot of passion on our projects, so they’d better be what cinema punters want in return for their hard earned cash.

We had to open ourselves up to understanding the nuts and bolts of what works, either critically or commercially. We had to define mood, tone, genre, target audience, references for comparable films, budget range and create a title that does what it says on the tin. Armed with that accumulated knowledge we were eventually able to nail that elusive 25-30 word pitch.

But there’s another ingredient we realised we needed to add to the mix. We need to talk with courage and conviction about our work; stand behind it, be passionate about it. We must be our projects’ indomitable champions. As women we fear appearing arrogant, but we must be bold if we are to compete in this industry.

600 films get released a year so if our projects are to have the remotest chance of being financed, produced, released, seen, and make their money back we must stand up and be counted. If it is confidence that makes the difference then so be it. We women will do whatever it takes to RISE up to hi-five success.

RISE: Northern Film & Media scheme supported by Creative Skillset’s Skills Fund and in partnership with Women in Film & Television and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art