Arnie Wilson, Vivianne Naeslund, and HestonBlumenthal
Arnie Wilson with wife Vivianne Naeslund and Heston Blumenthal

Guest post by Arnie Wilson, Ski, Travel & showbiz writer,editor and broadcaster. Guinness World Record Holder.

Today I continue my occasional series of guest blogs from successful people in all walks of life. In this piece Arnie Wilson tells the story of how he got to interview thousands of celebrities, write for the Financial Times and break a Guinness World Record skiing.

I referred to Arnie as a maverick, and he was somewhat surprised, but I think he embodies the kind of person who is resourceful and avoids the need to fit into one box.

The lessons? You don’t have to have a plan. Have a good mentor. Seize the opportunities because you never know where they might lead.

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Man about to set out on his heros journey

Guest post by Ewan Mochrie, author of ‘It’s Time’.

In 1949 Joseph Campbell published The Hero with a Thousand Faces. By doing so Campbell brought into sharper focus the underlying structure of myths and storytelling. This structure is known as the Hero’s Journey. It is an innate human archetype; we instinctively recognise and utilise this pattern, despite having little or no conscious awareness of it. When you read a good novel or watch a good play or film you unconsciously identify the pattern and match the events you are observing to this structure. One of the reasons that you might think a film or novel isn’t good is that the author hasn’t followed the ‘right’ structure. More than this though the Hero’s Journey is playing out in your own life too.

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Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant

I grew up with Hugh Grant. Not literally of course. To be fair he only really came to my attention in my early twenties, as Clive in the Film ‘Maurice‘. His role in the E.M. Forster classic was very different from his roles in most films. The film was ahead of it’s time and I remember finding it quite challenging when I first saw it.

These days if you think about Hugh Grant, you are far more likely to think of him in his blockbusting comedy successes such as ‘About a Boy’, ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, ‘Notting Hill’, ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ and, well, ‘Love Actually’, actually. I don’t know how Hugh Grant feels about that, but I’m fine with it. I love, Love Actually, actually.

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woman with a question mark instead of face

Self-esteem is defined on Wikipedia as ‘an individual’s subjective evaluation of their own worth’. Valuing yourself, knowing your core identity and believing in who you are is a key issue that underpins many problems in life. I have written on this subject before.

There are many ways in which we can work on our self-esteem. There are habits we can cultivate. We can change our self-talk – the way we tend to talk about ourselves to others and in our own minds. There are journaling exercises, and many Neurolinguistic Programming inventions. We can see a hypnotherapist or a Timeline Therapist and we can get some coaching.

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ball of string representing how long will it take

One of the questions I get asked in the early stages of working with clients, is ‘How long will it take to get better?’ When you are suffering from anxiety and depression, coping with a phobia or dealing with stressful situations, you want to get better as quickly as possible.

The traditional view of psychiatry is that you go and see your ‘shrink’ every Tuesday afternoon over a period of 2, maybe 3 years. You lie on her coach and tell her everything. How your mother didn’t love you. You father dropped you on the head when you were 6. All the traumatic experiences you endured, and of course every sexual encounter you have ever had. Through this the therapist has you come to some realisation that immediately makes you see the world differently. However once you often have that realisation you still need to work with it and come to terms with it.

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person looking forward to a holiday

This sounds like a Coronavirus question, doesn’t it! “After the pandemic, what are you looking foward to doing that you have been unable to do so far?” To some extent that is a valid question, and I would be delighted to hear your answers. However this virus could be around a long time. We don’t quite know what would be possible and what won’t.

I also think that thinking in this way can be unhelpful. Not being able to put a timeframe on thes things means we experience frustration and longing. We may start taking risks just so we can fulfill those needs sooner.

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Leadership skills are usually the domain of work awaydays, school insets and high-level training courses. If I were to suggest that someone needs to improve their leadership skills, many would shrug their shoulders unenthusiastically.

  • I don’t have, or want, a leadership position
  • I wouldn’t want the responsibility
  • I just want to do my job and walk away at the end of the day
  • I hate managers, I certainly wouldn’t want to be one
  • I have enough trouble with my own problems

In spite of this, leadership is the one skill that you exercise every day, whether you like it or not. We are all leaders, and leadership starts with ourselves. Self-leadership is the most important leadership skill.

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a box of white eggs with one 'different' red one

“Why am I different?” – It’s a question I get asked a lot by my clients about themselves. “‘I try to be like everyone else. I try to fit in. I wear the kind of clothes that other people my age wear. I join in with the conversations that go on and try to look like I am totally on their wavelength. I pretend to be interested in all the things they like to do, and I take part in the socials. I turn up for the charity events and I even turn a blind eye to the things that make me uncomfortable.

“I don’t agree with some of the things people say, and some of it is just so wrong, on so many levels. I daren’t say anything though, so I just smile politely. That makes me feel really bad inside. It just emphasises even more that I am different, and I don’t think people would like me if they knew what I am really like.”

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Anybody who uses Facebook will be familiar with the insidious way in which it manages your daily experience. Click on a picture of a dog, and you’ll get flooded with pictures of dogs. You’ll get doggy treat adverts, dog adoption groups and cute videos of dogs cooking paella. In fact you don’t even need to have clicked. Such is the subtlety of the Facebook ‘algorithm’.

You only have to slow down or stop scrolling on your device to inform the social media site that this is something you are interested in and you’ll get more of it. It is almost impossible not to do that if something catches your eye.

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coping with coronavirus and social distancing

I don’t know with certainty if you can have too much of a good thing, but it’s definitely true that you can have too much of a bad thing. This is, without doubt, the most testing of times. Coping with coronavirus is unlike coping with anything we have ever experienced before and it is a massive ‘reframe’.

A reframe is when something comes along – an experience, a therapy, a different way of looking at things, that causes you to suddenly completely change your way of living and being.

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