There are very few people in my world with whom I can discuss my work from my side of things, how it feels to be a coach/mentor. There are plenty of clients with whom I can and do discuss it from their perspective. Given this shortage, one of the resources I find very helpful indeed – and endlessly inspiring – is what we’ve come to know as the “journey” programmes on TV. These are required watching for me. They are my homework.
I’m so over X Factor, my life’s worth more than that, and I’ve never watched I’m a Celebrity (or, as my brother calls it, I’m a Nonentity, Leave Me In Here). Thankfully, the BBC have introduced a couple of new ones this year which have piqued my interest and they were about fishing and pottery.
Well, I say that, that they were about fishing and pottery, but they were no more about that than Strictly is about dancing. The context is dancing and fishing and pottery but for me it’s all about the journey, the J word.
You take a bunch of people, disparate, a motley crew, and you put them to the test whether it be physical, practical, skills-based or all three. And you watch them grow, or fail to thrive. Firstly I am in awe of them that they choose to do that testing journey in the full glare of the TV spotlight. Secondly the psychology is fascinating in regard not only to the participants but also the judges and the audience too where we, the voting GBP (Great British Public) get a say. We love an underdog. We don’t like a smarty pants. We are the arbiter of fair and we seek that sweet spot, the delicious mashup of talent and likeability. But above all, we like to see justice done and often that’s a matter of hotly-contested and topical debate.
In watching these programmes I learn about myself, I learn about my clients and I learn about the psychology of success and how that often means varying definitions to everyone. I learn about human behaviour and how a contestant often defies the odds, what makes a winner and how very many different and unique ways winning can manifest.
Here’s a lovely photo of two of my new faves from 2015 – Nadiya from the Great British Bakeoff (which isn’t about cake either, by the way) who reminded us what it means to be great and British, and Keith from the Great Pottery Throw Down, with whom I feel in love in the very first moment he burst into tears at the endeavours of his proteges, as do I with regularity.
Long may the BBC dream up new formats of the journey programmes for me to enjoy and learn from; they bring joy and continuing interest to my life and work.