I wrote a while ago about meeting the amazing Richard Olivier at an event in Ireland. Richard is Sir Laurence Olivier's son and has used his experience as a theatre director to create the leadership training company Olivier Mythodrama.
Well, this week Richard very kindly invited me on one of their courses 'Leadership Presence: Developing Personal Impact and Peak Performance'.
10 of us took part, most of them top executives from big corporates and government organisations, many of whom had flown in from far flung places - Beijing, Johannesburg, Finland, Northern Ireland - and the event was made all the more special as it was held at Sir Laurence Olivier's family home near Brighton, crammed full of the most fascinating memorabilia not just from his life in the theatre but also the memorabilia of his wife, the actress Joan Plowright.
The course was run by Richard's business partner, the charismatic and profound Nicholas Janni, and was all about understanding your personal impact and ways to improve it. But there was also a strong spiritual element, which was that leadership is also about creating positive change in the world.
One of the most powerful exercises at the end of day 1 was to write a poem about something we felt strongly about and bring it next day to present to the group.
We didn't end day 1 until after dinner at 9.30pm and everyone was exhausted, so I went to bed and sent a message of intent for my poem to be delivered to me. Here's what I woke up with at 5.30am next morning; it is called The Fifth Element:
Creaking at the seams.
Much to few
When will we learn?
In love with the tangible
We hold tight and cower
Door shut to the place of infinite grace
Closed off from true power.
Open your mind
Think of a time
When happiness reigned.
Great beauty above
Soft motherly love
Know we must change.
Let go and fall
With faith and grace
Into the space
Of delicious infinity
Where nothing is necessary
And once again
I have to tell you it was difficult for me to actually read my poem to the group such was the emotion it carried for me, and similarly everyone else's poems were incredibly powerful and poignant.
We started the course by making a 2 minute speech to the group, and we ended by making another 2 minute speech. The transition every single participant had made during those two days was simply phenomenal.
I have to say it was one of the most powerful courses I have ever attended in my life.
If you can't attend the course you may want to get hold of the book written by Richard and Nicholas Peak 'Performance Presentations: How to Present with Passion and Purpose' which contains much of the magic.