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Unlocking potential

ISE Blogs

Pick up more puppies to unlock potential

Chris Baréz-Brown, author and speaker at our recent Development Conference, explains how picking up puppies can be the first step to unlocking potential.

I am constantly amazed by how we make this life harder than it needs to be. Humankind seems to have been sabotaged. We have everything we need to lead the most extraordinary lives and yet part of our physical and mental make-up will never let us truly embrace it. My life’s work has become exploring how we can embrace life’s potential so that every day can be more technicolour.

I run a consultancy, Upping Your Elvis, which aims to deliver this mission and bring energy and awareness to businesses around the world. As part of our programme we run five-day immersive workshops at my home by the sea in Dorset. It is not only human and fun but super impactful too. People often have breakthroughs in understanding how their work and life could become more joyful and inspired. One delegate, Stacey, told this story.

“Twelve years ago when I joined a large corporate as a graduate trainee, I was incredibly excited to be starting what felt like an amazingly inspiring career. I was part of the insight department based in Durban and everything seemed possible.

“In my second week in the role I went on consumer immersion to see how people with less resources live their lives and therefore used our products. It was obviously quite a profound experience. We visited the township where people had way less money and therefore faced challenges I never really had to.

“At the end of the day whilst walking back to the air-conditioned bus with senior marketing types, I heard a noise coming from a disused tyre by the side of road.

They said that I needed to toughen up

“When I investigated I found three abandoned puppies inside. I knew I couldn’t save them all, but I could save one. I took the puppy onto the bus but my more experienced and senior colleagues heckled me for being naïve and soft. They said that I needed to toughen up and become more professional if I was to get on at work. 

“And that is what I did.

“I became the person that I thought they wanted me to be. I was tougher, less emotional, more rational; in fact the epitome of what a good business soldier would look like.

“And most importantly, I stopped picking up puppies.

“What I have realised this week is that the person who picked up the puppy is the real me and I want her back. I want to pick up puppies and I’m going to.”

From that moment on, Stacey stopped trying to please others by being someone else. Stacey reconnected with what it was that made her unique and special. From that day on she has made sure that she lived her life and not somebody else’s.

All too often we emulate those around us

All too often we emulate those around us and socialise to the norms, therefore losing touch with our brilliance. It’s a natural thing for us to do because it’s how we learn and integrate into society. But the cost is too high.

When we tap into who we really are and stop trying to please others, we have a genuine opportunity to make sure that every day counts. 

Which puppies will you pick up this week?

You can hear from more inspirational speakers, network with peers and share best practice at our forthcoming Student Recruitment Conference