Saturday, 27 September 2008

The Fifth Element

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:

Our World.
Creaking at the seams.
Much to few
Unfairness reigns.

Cities burn
Markets churn
Mothers crying
Anger rising.
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
Be whole.

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.


Stephen said...

I read Rachels poem with tears in my eyes
It told of great sadness
It told of abuse, injustice and all we despise

As the story unfolded the mother figure did rise
To put in perspective a world full of lies

Material wealth exposed for what it is
An illusory place, which doesn't exist
No real power outside infinite grace
To say something other is a foolish embrace

So, the mother figure did rise
and soften our eyes
She talked of great love
that dove from above

And into a leaders arms
Did the children of the world fall
Now with strength
Now with direction
Now with faith

For the good of us all


hani said...

Those are wonderful poems Rachel and Stephen.

TheDLOG said...

Wonderful poem Rachel, (and yours of course Stephen), must admit though Rachel, was a bit disturbed when I first started reading it though, just did not sound like the positive Rachel, but then by the end, phew, what relief.

Well done!


Leona said...

Great poems, thanks for sharing.

I am working with the new tide to bring the wealth and independence back to people that are stuck, finding new ways for businesses to make money and help each other out, in all of my business and charity models so hopefully I will be a part of that.

The secret seems to be helping as well, I finally get it.

Good luck everyone

Stephen said...

Thanks for your kind thoughts, DLOG, Leona and Hani.

There is not enough real leadership about these days and when you see it - it is very inspiring.

With real leadership - there is hope for the world yet.

Stephen said...

ps. referring to Rachel terms of leadership. Def not me.