Sunday, 10 January 2016

Up there and out there

Day 42 (Monday 11th January 2016)
42 degrees from a light source is the required angle of view, of airborne water droplets,
for the vibrant arc of a rainbow to appear. A rainbow is an optical illusion and the spectrum
range we see is caused by the human eye's ability to perceive colour.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Tony Jackson, the author of today's inspirational post. Tony is the founder and Managing Director of Chelsham Consulting Limited ( You can read his blog via the company's website and also see more of his stunning photography (there are some examples as part of the post below - I am not responsible for any of the beautiful illustrations that accompany this piece, other than the song at the end). Tony started training to be an accountant on leaving university, but soon realised that he preferred people to numbers. Via recruitment he came into HR and has worked for some of the world's leading professional service firms (including PwC and Simmons & Simmons), before moving into not-for-profit as Head of HR for Macmillan Cancer Support. He established Chelsham Consulting in 2013, on leaving Macmillan, and is now a highly valued coach, facilitator and specialist consultant on OD and people-related matters. Tony is cultured and creative - he enjoys travel and learning more about people and places around the globe. You can connect with him on Twitter, his handle is @JacksonT0ny.


Up there and down here.
Yin and yang.
Me and you.
Comet tails and coal dust.
Out there and in here.

It took me a while to find my way to this blog. And to be honest it’s a reworking of one I have written before. About where one finds one inspiration. For me it’s unquestionably out there.

When I need solace or inspiration my amateur photography can be an excellent ‘third place’.

In 2015 I started experimenting by including some of the results in my and my company’s Twitter feeds – without a particularly obvious objective other than to share and maybe to introduce people to the idea of seeking inspiration in new and different places.

For me there has always been something truly inspiring about wandering around – for example through the streets of a city – and finding views, angles, perspectives.

I’ve blogged before about how this can lift my spirits. Lift them out of the dust
It can be challenging arriving into a new place with me – I am less interested in the ‘set pieces’ than I am in the people, the colours, the ambience, the vibe, the unexpected and the sky. Oh the sky! Some say there is too much of it in my shots. Well I just love the sky.

In a museum or art gallery I’m soaking up the overall impact and keen to see what’s in the next room whilst others are methodically studying each individual item on display. That’s OK by the way – I’m happy doing what I’m doing and I’m right here if you need me. Right here.

Plonk me down at an outside table with a book, or a loved one, or a new friend and (crucially) a view and I can be at my best. Happened again not so long ago – a really productive conversation which would have been that bit less productive if I hadn’t had the stunning sea-view from a rather nice restaurant in Brighton.

There’s evidence for this in my MBTI profile. Off the scale on E (energy from the world around me etc.) with that very telling OOPS on Intimacy – so I can be energised by being on my own or with a small group of people whilst surrounded by the inspiring world at large. Also a clear preference for N so don’t bother me too much with the detail in the gallery, don’t ask me to study any one thing for too long.

At its extreme I end up doing things like taking a photo of the cupola outside the open window whilst everyone else is excited by the fresco on the wall in the room inside. Yes this happened this year:

When I’m stuck on something in my home office I pop out into my local area to see what’s going on. And often end up running back to capture the resulting ideas.

Some of my clearest ever thinking has been inspired by the mountains and sky in Andalucía (again I have previously blogged on this subject Complete.Clarity.Of.Thought )

As an HRD you would catch me “wandering around”. People notice what leaders do of course. For me it was combining a desire to be visible and ‘grabbable’ as the HR guy, whilst also seeking an infusion of ideas & thoughts by simply being out and about. So I would tour the floors without a specific destination. Some would say that’s a waste of time – I think it was some of the best time I ever spent.

My preferred way of breaking an impasse (ER or other) would often be a walk around the park or along the river with someone.

And to this day I can be inspired by what is going on outside the meeting room. Don’t worry – I’m right here but I might just be at my best if the world is more present in the room.

Anyway back to the photography – my Twitter feed is now dominated by my and other people’s photography. It’s part of who I am, so I am revealing the authentic me. I have woven my own photos into my company’s brand and its new website. But crucially some of them really show me (and you) where I get my inspiration from. The things that are ‘out there’……

That building, that fountain, that statue, that shadow, those puddles, the clouds, the sky. Oh the sky! Those comet tails!

That’s me. And you? Where does your inspiration come from?

"Out there" from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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