Thursday, 30 October 2008

If I Were President

Now that baby Jack has got into the habit of waking up at 6.45am I have got into the habit of watching Sky News Breakfast programme for my daily dose of worldwide meltdown and catastrophe. And on the show they have a great 5 minute cameo of historic/important people saying what they would do if they were President of the United States of America.

This morning's slot was a Red Indian campaigner for the rights of indigenious people who pointed out that the whole of the US constitution was based on theft and that what the US (and the world) needs is a move from patriarchy to matriarchy where people live with individual freedom but within communities which function as families with love at the heart of things and where resources are shared and each makes their own contribution in whatever way they can. The community educates the young looks after its old and also respects the land it occupies.

Which I thought was a wonderful way of putting it.

In short a more feminine and harmonious way of existing.

Now that the system which allowed brute force to grab all it could and rape the land, and whose greed has now lead to financial and environmental meltdown not to mention so much war and destruction, perhaps it is time to consider returning to a more natural and peaceful way of being?

Monday, 27 October 2008

Million Possible!

I love helping others on their entrepreneurial journey and last week was at the Business Show in Bolton speaking about my entrepreneurial experiences, signing copies of my book Business Nightmares and taking part in the panel for a Dragons' Den style entrepreneur pitch.

In return for me speaking the organisers gave me a stand at the show, which I gave to the Million Impossible team - here I am with Bradley Chapman (a regular commentator on my Blog) and his team. Next stop we will be at the Business Start Up Show in Olympia on 28/29 November.

I'm so privileged and honoured to be able to be part of such great events.

Sunday, 26 October 2008


I was at an All Party Parliamentary Small Business Group breakfast at the House of Commons this week; the subject was 'Growing or green - can businesses expand and stay ethical?'. Gathered were various MPs from all parties as well as entrepreneurs and influential people from various organisations.

One of the speakers was Andrew Valentine - co-founder of Streetcar, a pay-as-you-go car club which provides cars across the country for occasional use. So many people are now using this car share system instead of owning a car that every car they provide takes 6 off the road.

The other was David Boomer Head of Climate Change at the Institute of Directors.

There followed a debate about business and green issues and every time the discussion came down to one thing: MONEY. Eventually I made the observation that the thing that we had to change first before we could make any real in-roads to saving the environment was to move away from Capitalism; that the current financial meltdown had been caused because there was no real value underlying the huge growth of the past decade (all the money was borrowed and we now find never existed), and that given Gordon Brown's ambition to create a new 'global financial architecture' government actually has the golden opportunity NOW to do this.

Stunned silence from all present and then a flippant comment from the chair Andy Love, Labour MP for Edmonton who later blanked me.

After the meeting David Boomer said to me, 'What you said back there was pretty radical, but what I think you were trying to say was that what we need to do is move away from money as the measure for everything and replace it with a measure of true wealth.' Which I thought was a pretty succinct way of putting it.

True wealth = happiness, health, harmony, safety & prosperity, not just for oneself or one's family, but ultimately for everyone in the world.

I was laying in bed during one of my 3am wakeful moments recently, thinking to myself what would I call this new way of being?

Us humans have tried Capitalism, Communism, Facism, Marxism and then of course we have the great religions of the world all worthy, but also the reason for great violence and conflict.

The word I settled on was Harmonism.

Harmonism would celebrate the value of every individual but would have no space for ego.

Harmonism would recognise the desire for abundance, but have no room for greed.

Harmonism would encourage the magnificent energy of every individual but have no place for power.

Its values would be:


After the above thoughts had streamed through to me I went on Google and found a site for Harmonism, already sitting there in beauty and simplicity, saying much the same things.

I looked for the name/s of the person/people behind Harmonism - but there are none on the site. Why am I surprised? Of course there are no names! There don't need to be any.

Do Direct Marketing initiatives and Search Engine Optimisation all you like - a far more powerful way of communicating is to send your positive energy out to the Universe and let others who are tuned in to catch the essence of your thoughts.

Perfect synchronicity.

This is how Harmonism will spread - which is why the 'lightworkers' are simply focusing on helping people raise their vibration so they too can get 'tuned in'.

There IS great change coming, and this is how it will happen.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The Tale

Once upon a time there was no ownership.

There was, as now, life and death, the strong and the weak, but if you took, you always gave something in return. Just as in-breath is followed by out-breath, so receiving was always followed by give away, or giving back. Sometimes this was as simple as giving praise, or thanks. Sometimes it was physical action, such as providing food or care, or the guarding of the young and tender. This applied both to other human beings and to trees, animals, plants, rocks, rivers, springs, fish, insects and all manner of earthly life.

Then there came to the land that was loved and cared for people who knew only ownership. They wanted to have, to hold and to take. Because they did not want others to have what they thought was theirs, they were obliged to defend what they wanted. Out of this defence grew aggression. Soon the ownership people got aggressive in advance of defence… just in case someone else made the mistake of taking what the ownership people thought was theirs. The strongest in the owning people got to have lots of what they wanted to own. The weakest got less. Soon the weakest began to feel that in failing to get, and own a lot, they were not as important or as good as the strong. But they wanted to be. So they tried to get, and to own, in any way possible, including aggression.

The land to which the ownership people came got to be owned. It got to be fought over, occasionally loved and appreciated, but mostly it, and life both above and beneath its surface, was taken, used, discarded and hoarded. The people who practiced give-away found that give-away too was taken.

Some people who lived give-away maintained the vision of that way of life even in the midst of Ownership. They called it The Way of Beauty to remind themselves, and perhaps others, of the loveliness of a life of praise and gratitude. They kept alive a way of being that was difficult to live in the midst of great having, taking, holding, hoarding and warring. They found it was better to keep the Way of Beauty not quite secret, but not quite open either. Ownership wanted everything, even what it did not understand. If it was something that it could not actually hold, hoard or make use of, then it wanted to be sure that no one else could have it, so Ownership took the life of others who might have something that Ownership could not understand.

In time, Ownership became the dominant way of life. With so much owning and warring and making of more and more things to own, life on earth grew further and further away from the Way of Beauty. More and more people born into the way of ownership realized their own discontent but did not know how to alter things. So some of the people who had quietly maintained the Way of Beauty agreed to be born among those who were steeped in Ownership. As children they tried to live give-away but often found that they had just the same experiences that they remembered from the time when the Ownership people first came to the land of the Way of Beauty. Many of these people steeped themselves in Ownership, but one by one, sometimes in partnership and from time to time in great gatherings or shared experiences, there came a stirring, an impulse to change or to bring about change.

These Way of Beauty in the midst of Ownership people were rarely clear and strong. Most of them had grown into a mixture of public Ownership and private Beauty. So even though they wanted to live differently they weren’t quite sure what the Way of Beauty meant. Was it enough to live it privately or in little communities? Could they hold on to possessions and still live give-away? These people wanted to live more beautifully but they found themselves having to defend their private Beauty against the aggression of Ownership. In short, they were thoroughly muddled, uncertain and sometimes a bit cross about not really belonging to Ownership or the Way of Beauty.

Mostly these people had forgotten the magic of praise, or wonder. But when magic struck, they remembered, not in words, but in ways of being or of feeling. Still they vacillated or cast doubts among each other or upon themselves. And so it came about that the Way of Beauty people born in the midst of Ownership began to journey to places on earth where the Way of Beauty was still remembered, or where beauty itself was so great that praise rose spontaneously. In this way these people grew stronger, more certain, and yet still they lived in part by Ownership. They tried to reason or think their way out of their double world, but that did not bring them to their inner wisdom. How to remind them of wholeness, of the inter-connectedness of all things, of the possibility of finding beauty within ownership?

Of course, only wholeness itself can remind anyone of the whole, so when these people were sufficiently willing or sufficiently desperate to abandon the notion of either/or, right/wrong, good/bad then there began the song of all the cells within the bodies of these people. Sometimes they listened; quite often they were caught unawares and heard or felt something that they could not explain. Best of all were the times when someone who remembered the Way of Beauty all the way through their being sang the songs of wholeness.

Then the people who knew the Way of Beauty but who had grown up in Ownership grew big and strong and beautiful. They were filled with peace. They knew more than they could speak. Then was it time for them to return to the lands that they had once loved and hear again the songs of praise that had once kept the Way of Beauty alive through all the cycles of the earth and stars.

This tale was written early in 2007 by Judith Seelig to speak, as she puts it, on behalf of all those people who still live the Way of Beauty despite the often rapacious presence of consumer interests in their landscape, and also to remind those of us who
are Western consumers that we have choice.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

The Future

As the G7 countries meet this weekend to discuss the financial crisis, it's tempting for them to come up with an incremental solution to the world's financial problems.

However, I believe they need to think ahead and work back from what could be a completely different and innovative way of working the system.

How about one international bank and one international currency? And how about letting the system re-base so that all current debt is wiped?

OK the rich would get poorer and the poor would get richer, and jobs would be lost - but then so would time be freed... And maybe people would be freed from the shackles to enable them to do real good in the world?

I read about the troubles in Iceland this weekend. Essentially a country in meltdown without even the money to pay for imports of food. Are we going to bail them out? Or let them live on fish?

Have we now got Western countries which now threaten to become third world countries?

Where does the bailout end?

Shouldn't the entire world now take responsibility for the entire world?

Friday, 10 October 2008

Why We Should Say No To Barclays

This is a bit of a delayed reaction post, in response to the news that Gordon Brown has offered Barclays (amongst other banks) a #7.5 billion refinancing package to get themselves out of their sticky financial situation.

This is the same Barclays that three years ago pushed my company Red Letter Days into administration on the grounds that we were an 'unacceptable risk' and they had to 'answer to their shareholders' - despite the fact they held #4.3 million in cash and other securities against a liability which eventually proved to be little more than #1million.

The same Barclays (which I have since learned through the numerous emails I have received from other entrepreneurs) which has the worst reputation of ANY UK BANK for ruthlessly pulling the plug on great British businesses which could otherwise have been saved.

The same Barclays that just two years ago posted a #7 BILLION PROFIT.

The same Barclays that just TWO WEEKS AGO danced Lehmans up the garden path - only to withdraw at the 11th hour and then go back in to cherry pick the assets, like a graverobber picking over the contents of the coffin while the corpse was still warm.

The fact that we are now offering #7.5 billion of TAXPAYERS' MONEY to bail this greedy, power hungry, ruthless bank out of financial difficulty is a total and utter disgrace and insult to the British people.

I say LET BARCLAYS CRASH - as they have allowed (forced?) so many other UK businesses to crash - then pick the entire business out of administration, sell off the assets and use the #7.5 billion (if it is needed) to supplement any funds which are needed to ensure depositors' monies are protected.

Give the b*stards a taste of their own medicine.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Emporer's New Clothes type question...

OK so the US has bailed out the banks to the tune of $700 billion, the UK has put up #50 billion to invest in ours, Ireland has guaranteed unlimited protection for savers in Irish banks and Iceland has just nationalised one of its biggest banks.

My question is, where is all the money coming from?

How much money do we actually have in the kitty - and how much have we now got left? Basic housekeeping type questions which I haven't yet heard anyone ask.

How long before the countries themselves go bankrupt?

News Alert From Japan

Latest Financial News from Tokyo:

The Origami Bank has folded, the Bank of Bonsai is trimming branches, the Sumo Bank has gone belly up, Kamikaze Bank has taken a nose dive, the Karaoke Bank has gone for a song, but the Ninja Bank is still in the black.

Plus there's something fishy going on at the Bank of Sushi...

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Mrs Angry of Bakewell

Yes, I am ANGRY.


Because today a good entrepreneurial friend of mine has told me that he is putting his company into a CVA (Company's Voluntary Arrangement).

Is this because his business is loss making?


It's actually a great British manufacturing company, which turns over getting on for £500k and is profit making every year.

The reason is that the business has fallen behind with their VAT. But instead of HMRCE being willing to negotiate terms, they are forcing the company into the action because of continued threats to send in the balliffs.

OK, OK I realise everyone has to pay their VAT, and if people don't it's not fair on all the rest.

BUT at a time when literally BILLIONS of pounds are currently being pumped in to try to make Britain a more enterprising culture, and encouraging people to go into business, WHY OH WHY are we condemning successful existing businesses to death in this way?

(Only about 5% of companies which set up in the UK go on to become profitable companies like my friend's)

Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson, PLEASE - you guys need to sort out a more supportive solution for companies that get into trouble rather than just condemn them to death.

Call off the dogs and give these entrepreneurs some help in their time of need - so they can survive and be part of this country's future - not thrown on the scrapheap as another insolvency statistic.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

A Wonderful Evening at Cass

There's always a lot of pressure to deliver when you do a paid speaking event - my normal fee equates to around £1 a second - so it's quite nice to do one for free from time to time, and this week I was talking to the MBA students and alumni of Cass Business School in the City of London.

It was a wonderful evening during which we heard all about the new Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship including a new £10million seed fund available for Cass students, and then I spoke about my own entrepreneurial journey plus my book Business Nightmares.

A great audience, lots of questions, all my books sold out in seconds, plus a great networking session afterwards during which I was plied with copious amounts of wine.

Then yesterday I received the following email:

Hi Rachel,

I am Philip Mathew from Cass Business School. I was fortunate to attend your session yesterday. It was simply amazing. Thanks a lot for your great advice and help. The humbleness you have in spite of your achievements is what really touched me. Thank you once again.

Warm Regards,

It's great events and emails like that which keep me in this game!