Rosie lives on an island off New Zealand and runs http://www.thebigstretch.com/" rel="nofollow">The Big Stretch, a company which helps people get out of their normal working environment and get a bit of perspective on life.
i can either meet with Esc Members for an intensive day of career shift thinking in a London park when i'm in London, or we can work with regular phone/skype coaching sessions over a 4 months block, to crystallise the change you are waiting to make.
Swimming naked in the sea & cultivating olives – I’ve recently moved my life and head-office to a subtropical island off New Zealand for 9 months a year.
At the same time I’m running http://www.thebigstretch.com/" rel="nofollow">The Big Stretch, a creative coaching company which takes career shifters up the mountains of Spain, or out into New Zealand landscapes for breakthrough thinking and walking.
I teach creative leadership and social innovation in business schools, businesses and environmental charities. I lead tours to India to meet Social Entrepreneurs through Journeys for Change. Mostly, I coach individuals who are wanting to make purposeful bold shifts. Thanks to skype, I can do this work from London and my NZ island alike.
Early morning coaching involves listening deeply to people, setting mind-expanding exercises, asking incisive questions, supporting them to name what they most want, and giving brave feedback when people come up against their blocks, old fears or blind spots.
Where possible, I take my coachees out walking in wild and expansive landscapes for new ideas and horizons, and into old forests when we are trying to unblock tricky bits.
Each day there’s three to four hours managing my company and the PR for my consulting and teaching practice. I mostly dream up new ideas and programmes as I swim or walk (the activity puts my brain in alpha state, which helps release ideas which are incubating in my subconscious) and I write them down later in the day.
I was Planning Director in a big London advertising agency, where I established a Creative Problem Solving unit. I managed only 3 years in branding/advertising before I went part-time so that I could simultaneously consult, at much lower rates, for campaigning organizations like http://www.oxfam.org.uk/" rel="nofollow">Oxfam and http://www.foe.co.uk/" rel="nofollow">Friends of the Earth, and set up The Big Stretch.
I always wanted to use my skills, knowledge and talent for causes I thought were important in the world – whilst continuing to live well.
About ten years ago I made a collage poster of dreams, which had me living part time in London and part time by the sea. I included a picture of a glassy wooden house above a beach. At the time I thought it was a pipe dream – but my current house is almost identical to that picture, which I found when packing up to move to NZ.
Ever since a day in 1990 when I found myself arguing with a perfectly nice colleague about the presence or absence of a comma in an advertising tag-line, I’ve wanted to do work that was intellectually stimulating and which contributed to the greater good.
I am always toying with new forms of work which will have greater impact, whilst being ever more in tune with my talents and preferred ways of working. Coaching and facilitating are delicious ways to work with people.
I never dared imagine a mixture quite as good as this – though I’d like to up my pro-environmental influence right now. The moment I had the idea for The Big Stretch I realized that periodically, EVERYONE needs to step back, take in the big perspective, and choose their next direction. It’s the healthy, positive thing to do! Able people, especially, get seductively trapped in a Velvet Rut of success that has little meaning or authenticity. There’s more to life than that!
I went part time in the work which paid really well (no-one had done this before, but if a company really likes you, they often prefer this to losing you). This allowed me to build up a reputation in the new area.
When I wanted to get into the world of campaigning charities, I had to prove I was really interested and learn the ropes. I volunteered at first and very quickly they noticed my skills and I started to be offered consulting projects. Over the years, I trained as a coach, eco-psychologist and facilitator.
I always do a little corporate and leadership work at rates which are 3 to 10 times higher than the other work I do.
The Big Stretch was an original idea and so it took off because of amazing newspaper reviews and word of mouth – it has never had a marketing budget. I bartered to get its website built.
Worst things? Nothing… it’s all been about following what I love. The only thing I miss is regularly eating in London’s finest restaurants.
Best things: Having a rounded life that’s got time for love, outdoor living and my own olive oil. The moments when the penny drops with a client and they make the mental leap which sets them free on a new path; especially when they are people who have worked out how they can express themselves AND make a positive difference in the world.
"To the extent that your work meets the needs of the world, it will be meaningful. To the extent that it uses your talents it will be joyful” - Laurence Boldt.
Ask yourself, "what is it costing me to keep earning this salary?" See the standard game of security building for what it is. Take your happiness into your own hands – it’s never the wrong time or too late.
Get coaching or come up the mountains with us to find out what you stand for and then get unstoppably creative to make a life work around that.