Nick Mabey's Blog (26)

Establishment Foundations

I’ve been facing my fear for about a year now.  Prior to that I had 50 years on the planet not even knowing I head this fear.  How can that be possible?

Well my supervisor said I had ‘complex defensive structures’.   When she said it I was rather pleased because it sounded cool.  But then after going through some seriously painful learning it turns out it is not so cool…


Added by Nick Mabey on February 14, 2017 at 9:00 — No Comments

Disconnection - The Near Enemy Of Non-Attachment?

Grasping, trying, desperate for signs of approval.  Showing off, dominating, making people laugh, anything to feel their validation.  Suffocating at the prospect of rejection, try harder, tell them a story, make them feel better.  Anything to make them love me.

This is often a voice in my head – the voice of my attachment.  In its grip…


Added by Nick Mabey on January 16, 2017 at 10:00 — No Comments

About a Heart from the Heart

This happens too often:

I feel tentative, my stomach clenching as I contemplate it.  My mind is going ten to the dozen with a toxic mixture of ideas of how to get out of it and images of the many ways it can go wrong and I can look bad.  Dread washes over me and, instinctively, without even knowing it, I turn my attention away.  To football, internet surfing,…


Added by Nick Mabey on September 12, 2016 at 7:00 — 1 Comment


She already had tears in her eyes as she rose to explain to us what was going to happen next.  The day before we had walked out an hour early as a show of solidarity to fellow workers who had been suspended.  So now we had to sign a form ensuring we would not do that again.  It was Anne’s job to explain this and get us to sign.  We already knew we would not sign and so did she.  We already knew…


Added by Nick Mabey on March 8, 2016 at 7:30 — No Comments

Grappling with Despair

I took the family to see the latest Bond movie, Spectre, on Friday night.  The film divided opinion amongst us (as I believe it has done nationally).  Personally I thoroughly enjoyed it; there was a throwback feel to the Connery/Moore era where the humour was sharp, the sexual politics dubious, the plot ridiculous and the villains unequivocally evil. 

On the car…


Added by Nick Mabey on November 18, 2015 at 7:00 — 1 Comment

The Cost (and Benefit) of Paying Attention

I often work at home.  And often when I am working at home I like a coffee in the morning.  And often when I like a coffee in the morning I treat myself to a couple of biscuits (especially if I have earlier been for a run).

It was on one such morning, with coffee and biscuits procured and on my cluttered desk…


Added by Nick Mabey on October 7, 2015 at 8:24 — 1 Comment

Going Round in Circles

How often do you sit round in a circle at work, particularly without a desk or table in front of you?  Has that ever happened?  What did you notice?

We often aim for this when we are working with clients; assuming the table isn’t bolted to the floor and entwined with cables (an increasingly common occurrence).   When we manage to set up a room in this way there is often…


Added by Nick Mabey on September 14, 2015 at 12:30 — No Comments

On Being a Man

I remember getting angry once about twenty-five years ago when I heard there was a ‘women’s network’ at BT.   I am not sure what I was getting so frothed up about.  I’ve always been an advocate for gender equality and I had no personal grudges against the women involved.   It might have been that this was a club I was excluded from, which activated a sense of injustice.  It might also…


Added by Nick Mabey on June 9, 2015 at 11:00 — No Comments

Moments of Strewth*

My work often means having conversations with people about their careers.  It always fascinates me to discover the paths we all take to end up where we are.  When I started in business, in the 80s, it felt like the paths were well trodden and straightforward.  By starting at point A, it was quite easy to predict that retirement would come at point D, via B and C. 

As time has…


Added by Nick Mabey on May 9, 2015 at 15:30 — No Comments

Dishonouring Honour

Have you ever completed a task at work and then looked back and thought “I know we always do that but actually I am not sure why” or “I don’t see the point of that but its probably just easier to do it than ask why we bother”? It can feel far more comfortable to be controlled by our habitual patterns of behaviour than to break out from them, or even just to be conscious enough to…


Added by Nick Mabey on April 6, 2015 at 9:00 — No Comments

Advocating Type I Errors

I was working with a leadership team a while ago soon after one of their colleagues had been medically retired with a serious stress-related illness.  Trying hard not to judge (and probably failing!)  I asked them if they had not been able to spot any signs in the build up to his breakdown.  To my surprise, and hindsight being a wonderful thing, they told a collection of…


Added by Nick Mabey on March 6, 2015 at 12:00 — No Comments

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”

I am often reminded of this much used Franklin D Roosevelt quote when I re-engage with politics.  2015 offers the potential of a ground-breaking shift in the UK political landscape, with an election that leaves almost everyone scratching their heads when trying to predict the outcome.  And yet it is already clear that one thing has not changed; the currency…


Added by Nick Mabey on February 6, 2015 at 10:00 — No Comments

The Urge to Escape

It happens to me quite often. And it seems to be getting stronger and more regular. Or am I just noticing it more?

Let’s be honest, my life is spent pretty much in the corporate establishment. My home life provides peace, excitement, nourishment, but it is a sort of safety valve. All my working focus is with relatively wealthy, relatively healthy, relatively happy, relatively…


Added by Nick Mabey on December 8, 2014 at 7:30 — No Comments

Coaching on the Run

I’ve been coaching Katherine for the past few months, and our contract has been to explore what purpose means so that she can bring sharper focus to her desire to develop her personal and professional practice. What made this coaching assignment different was that we agreed to hold our coaching sessions whilst running together.

We agreed to meet for an hour once very two…


Added by Nick Mabey on October 10, 2014 at 11:30 — No Comments

The Sound of Silence

Are you getting enough silence in your life? How much does silence feature in your work?

As I write this I hear the questions in my head, the whirring of my computer, a clock ticking in the background, a soft high-pitched whistle in my left ear (tinnitus I believe), birdsong, and a faint sound of car engines.

As you read this please just pause now and listen to the…


Added by Nick Mabey on September 10, 2014 at 9:30 — 1 Comment

Best Before?

Today is my 50th Birthday. 

In all my life this is the only day I get to truthfully write that sentence.  And now the day is here it becomes a day just like any other (only with more cake!). 

I now realise I have been building up to being 50 for several months.  As I look back I see my own version of a grief cycle; denial…anger…more denial…depression…bargaining…a…


Added by Nick Mabey on July 8, 2014 at 18:00 — No Comments

Learning from a Bowling Action

Whenever my children ask me what I would like for my birthday or Christmas I habitually reply “world peace”.  This small exchange has become something of a ritual in the Mabey household (oh the fun we have in our family!!).  I think I have been making this request for over ten years, and yet there are no signs of world peace on the horizon, or even a move in that general…


Added by Nick Mabey on May 10, 2014 at 15:00 — 1 Comment

An Inquiry Into Greed – Part 2

I was working in the telecoms industry in the early 90s as a product manager.  One day I got a whisper from a colleague that Pace Micro Technology, a company that made satellite TV equipment, were worth investing in.  They were about to win a lucrative order that would transform their business.  Their shares were 39p.  I piled in and bought about £3000 worth (a huge amount…


Added by Nick Mabey on March 10, 2014 at 8:27 — No Comments

Looking at Greed in a Different Way

Try as I might it is the topic that cannot be avoided. When I wrote a blog about the challenges facing us today (Seeking the new Beveridge) last summer I asked what readers thought was the biggest. Of all the verbal and written responses I received, greed was…


Added by Nick Mabey on January 16, 2014 at 8:30 — No Comments

A Very Long Walk to Freedom

Dear Mr Mandela,

On Thursday evening I was packing my bags to go and run a meditation retreat in Dorset when the news of your death exploded around the world.   I heard it myself from a football fans forum of all things, such is the nature of both your stature in the world and the impact of social media in this connected age.  After recovering from the initial blow,…


Added by Nick Mabey on December 9, 2013 at 11:30 — No Comments

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