Making Sense of Work with Jean Balfour

Ep. #5. Finding your Authentic Voice with Serena Evans

March 03, 2022 Jean Balfour Season 1 Episode 5
Making Sense of Work with Jean Balfour
Ep. #5. Finding your Authentic Voice with Serena Evans
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode Jean is joined by Serena Evans. Serena has worked as an actor for over 40 years in theatre and television. She also helps people to find their authentic voice through coaching and facilitating groups.

In this episode they discuss

  • How to build connection and belonging with people when working virtually, 
  • How anxiety is a normal response to public speaking!
  • Strategies for calming and relaxing when we are speaking to an audience or in meetings
  • The importance of telling stories to connect with and relate to others
  • How this period has led to us learning new skills
  • The role courage plays in helping us to take risks and be ready for rejection!
  • How to see our careers as a long game - which helps us to overcome the knocks

If you would like to work with Serena to find your own Authentic Voice you can contact her via her website - https://serenaevans.co.uk/

Time to Think by Nancy Kline https://www.timetothink.com/books/time-to-think/

Be Heard Now by Lee Glickstein
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2025790.Be_Heard_Now_

The Moth - Podcast https://themoth.org/podcast

Jean Balfour - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeanbalfour/

Bailey Balfour Asia Pacific https://www.baileybalfour.com

Jean:

Hi everyone. And welcome to this episode of making sense of work. Today. I'm thrilled to be joined by my very dear friend, Serena Evans. We've known each other a long time and Serena it's gorgeous to have you here today on the podcast.

Serena:

I'm so happy to be here.

Jean:

Let me tell you a bit about Serena. She is a professional actress of over 40 years. Serena originally trained at the Royal central school of speech and drama, and subsequently has worked extensively in the London west end and all the major theater companies, including the Royal Shakespeare company, the Royal national theater and Shakespeare's globe. Her television career includes the comic strip presents the thin blue line and more recently catastrophe for channel four Belgravia for ITV and two series of there. She goes for BBC. Serena has also done a lot of other things in her working life. She studied teaching voice to actors with Patsy Rodenburg at the Guild hall school of music and drama, she also trained with us as a coach and as an ICF ACC accredited coach. Serena and I met 21 years ago through her other work as a facilitator. Serena was running Nancy Kline's time to think workshop. And during the workshop, we discovered that we lived around the corner from each other in London, which was lovely since then, I've attended a number of workshops which Serena has run around helping people to find their voice and to speak authentically. And she's brilliant at this. She brings her theatrical skills and knowledge and her personal wisdom and experience to help people to connect and communicate more effectively. Um, I know I often say, oh, Serena taught me this. And one of my good friends who joined us on one of these programs says that she helped him enormously and transformed has experienced speaking and built his confidence. And it's so lovely for us to be here together in this format. Serena. It's so lovely to amazing to hear your working. One's working. I've coming back into my ears and I couldn't help, but think of the you and me 21 years ago, just getting on with our life and having no idea that we'd now be sitting different parts of the world, having this conversation with each other. You and you and Wales, me and Singapore. Yeah. So how's work at the moment. Oh gosh. Well of course work has been very, very interesting, as an, in the last two years, for me, as it has for everybody, um, in that work as an actor Just completely disappeared because the theaters, and I think it's happening again now with Omicron coming in, the theaters just closed. And so that livelihood, uh, was gone. But in fact, I w we'd already moved here to Wales and I feel very lucky actually, that I was. I don't know if brave is the word, but that I moved that I also moved into facilitation 25 years ago and training and coaching because that's what I had to fall back on. And so that's what's happened and that has been steadily building over the last two years. It's been very difficult for me because I'm not what I would call technically. So I sulked for quite a long time about thinking. I've got to do things online when I am all about being in the room with other humans. Um, but nevertheless, I just seem it's, I think lucky is the word that comes up, but work has been ticking over in the right way. And I'm getting, because the theater has disappeared because acting has disappeared for a bit. I'm really concentrating on this work of. Fearless speaking, speaking with authenticity, helping people to feel better about expressing themselves to others. I've just been concentrating on that, which has been it's exciting. I've got a million books still to read, but I'm it. My work's changing all the time. I'm adding little bits and also what's been very interesting is experiencing working with people. Online, rather than in the room and adjusting to what that means and needing to look as though I knew what I was talking about, which was none of us, it's a whole new experience, isn't it? It really feels like the world has shifted on its axis. Work-wise in lots of ways, but work-wise, it shifted. And I'm going to jump in with this question now, actually in that working on line and especially the work you do, which you described as being, you know, used to being in the room, the work that you do is with people, teaching them to speak in the room. What's have you been able to bring through the virtual space that's been different or additional to that? After I stopped sulking So I want to be, I like being with people, blood and guts, legs, arms, the whole thing. I then began to realize that what, what we need right now is community connection, communication. And that this online space is actually more disconnecting. Then, I mean, I'm so used to people standing up in front of groups and not liking it, which we all know very few people like doing that. Um, but I began to realize that we were triggered often triggered in these big meetings online. And we've also been sort of given permission to not be present in a way to the other people. That were online with, so this has become my obsession. If that's the one point my obsession is how can you make sure that the other people in the, in the virtual room with you?

Serena:

are, okay. I guess that's where everything is coming from me. How do we make a community online? Can we do it? Is it possible? You know, that's, that's my question. And, um, I'm very interested in that.

Jean:

And what do you think so far about that?

Serena:

Well, one of the things I'm very, as you know, very, uh, I don't want to say obsessed, but I feel is incredibly important is the way. Connect through the eyes with non-threatening available eye contact and with listening that, that our social signals that we can get very easily when we're in a room with each other. And I, I don't think we get those signals. We just, we just don't get them really so well online. So that's been my quest, you know, can we, how do we make that work better? There are simple, practical things we can do, like putting the face of whoever it is, was talking to just under the camera, you know, move the little box. So that, that. Right out in the corner that actually directly in your view. So I've been learning on the job really? That's that's the thing.

Jean:

Yeah. Taking all of the things that you would do in the classroom and thinking about how do we help people to access, to do that, to connect and be present.

Serena:

Yeah. And I think it feels very easy, um, online, you, you think, oh, I can be heard, which is true. We can all be heard now. Cause that was that's one of the big things. When we're in a room, people turn off. If they can't hear somebody, um, we can all be heard online. So I think somehow. I love the fact that we're all relaxed and the dogs on the floor and the baby. I like all that. Cause I, you know, it's interesting. And as long as it doesn't get in the way, but, but we're also very, we can easily retreat into our own space and not connect. And especially if we have two screens, that's classic disconnecting. We're not looking after the other people. we are are you looking after ourselves? And I worry that that's going to get, you know, we're going to get more and more into our own space and not worry about other people's.

Jean:

Hmm. It's very interesting because the, the thing that people are talking to me about is that the sense of belonging. It's harder. It's much harder to create. And the virtual environments, and particularly when people are joining an organization, new, how do they come into that sense of belonging if they're not meeting people? And what you're describing is that we perhaps can really intentionally think about how we connect with people to help them create that sense of belonging in you can do that virtually if we're very intentional about it.

Serena:

Yes. Um, funnily enough, so this very week I've been working with. Three dif completely different sets of people. Um, one very young, new, I guess they're new to the team and, and others who've been working together for a long time, but have been virtual for two years. And I realized that actually. If it says the time teaching presentation, I'm not really teaching presentation, actually let's bring this, have this little group. And yesterday it was only four people because the others were all on their way to wherever they were for Christmas, uh, and, and form a community. And what's very cheering to me is that by the end of the day, Everyone says, oh, well I'm doing it better because of course we're all in a safe place. Now we all know each other. And so it's for me that it seems to be, my work seems to be transforming into let's create a community right here and now, and then hopefully that might bleed out into the, into their work. That's not to say people aren't doing that or making that effort, but I kind of feel, we need to point it up because the forces against that seem to be much stronger. There's no, you know, we're not meeting at lunchtime or all on our own. We're not, we don't get the normal ways of connecting and communicating with others.

Jean:

A client told me yesterday, actually that she's started regular, um, lunchtime, virtual lunchtimes. So they get together and they eat and they're not allowed to talk about work just to begin to go back into that sense of belonging and creating community. In the way that they're connecting with each other. When you're doing this work and helping people to do this, what are the types of things that you bring in to that work to help people connect and create community?

Serena:

Well, I guess first of all, the reason I started doing this work. Uh, when I was about, I guess in my late thirties, I, it became clear to me that I'd been coping. Being a theater actress. I had many ways of coping with probably quite severe stage fright, but I carried with me now, all actors get nervous and anxious. There are any number of amounts of adrenaline, forcing their ways, wishing their way through a backstage in the theater. But some people. Cope with it better than others. And I realized that I, my mother always said that I was constitutionally unsuited to acting and I'd say, oh, don't be ridiculous. But actually I really think I am. I think I, I think I couldn't cope with that anxiety that the. fight or flight, um, triggered in me. So that's kind of where I start, because I learned physical ways to ground myself, to anchor myself. Because if you, if you need to go on stage and people are paid a lot of money to see you, you can't go around going, I'm sorry. I'm a bit nervous. You have to get on with it so, I guess my starting point, my starting point always is to ground ourselves to make, to embody, to make this a full body experience and to use because it's the mind that is catastrophizing and triggering us into fight or flight, we need to distract that catastrophizing mind. So it's quite simple. Really. I, I think, um, what I teach our skills. That some people have these innately, but I feel as though these are natural skills that just fly out of the window when we've been triggered into fight or flight. So grounding through the feet, feeling your body on the chair, breathing, it's kind of almost as simple as that. And then following on from that, I suppose, service for me as I got older as an actor, It was less about ego and more about telling the story and being of service to the audience. I think I've taken that into everything now, which is how can we be of service to the people who are in front of us, which is incredibly difficult when we've got huge amounts of adrenaline coursing through our veins, we just become conscious of self. What about me? Did I know I'm about to die? So that's kind of where I'm where I start. Um,

Jean:

I have a lovely memory of you telling me when you first started in facilitation of how amazing it was to do a job where you didn't feel like you wanted to vomit every time before you did it.

Serena:

It's funny what we remember that other people have said, isn't it, but that's true. In fact, my mother, who was an actress, literally did vomit every night before she went on. That's why she stopped. I think I'm probably why. I knew I was constitutionally unsuited. Yes, exactly. And I quite like people to be calm and it's further to that. What w what, what really drives me is that I think everybody has something wonderful to say everybody has wisdom. Most people have a desire to speak, even if it's that they want to speak at their daughter's wedding or give the eulogy at that father's funeral, you know, or go up for a job. And something stops and they go, oh no, I can't, I'm too frightened because we are triggered into that fight or flight so quickly. And we can't take that away because we're hardwired for that anxiety, unfortunately. So it's kind of noticing that, noticing that that's a human response and what can we do about it. I find that exciting to see people getting that. Coming back to themselves and beginning to be able to speak out in, in, in different situations.

Jean:

Well, I'm very grateful because you've taught me how to do that. And there's been a few moments where I've really had nerves coming up. And I just think, what would Serena tell me to do in this moment? The best advice that you gave me for that as the, is that blowing out just calmly. And it really works for me. It really calms me down and gets me back into my body and gives me that ability to find my voice.

Serena:

Actually a story I've been telling, and it sounds like I'm name-dropping, but I'm not. I happen to be related to George Elliot to the very famous novelist. That's the name that I'm dropping, um, by dent of my birth, I think I'm third. She's my great, great, great aunt, or maybe there's another great in there. Anyway, it was the centenary of her birth, I think. Or maybe her death. I think it was her birth. Um, no, it must've been her death. See how much I know about her and my brother and I were invited to talk on a, on a panel about what it was like to be related to George Elliott. I was so chilled and so relaxed and didn't mind and we got there. We were sitting on this panel on a dias in front of everybody. And I wa I became terrified. I was faced with a room full of academics who were in love with George Elliot, knew everything there was to know about her. And I had to come up with something clever to say, and my brother who's older than me was looking very green. And he whispered to me, what is it you teach? And I said, God, I can't remember. And then I say, Think of your feet and lengthen your out-breath. And I sat there and I had kind of five minutes before it came to me and I literally planted my feet on the floor, felt my bottom on the chair and lengthened my out-breath. And I was thinking, oh my God, it's working, it's working this stuff. I teach works. And by the time they came to me, I was totally relaxed. And I, I just loved that because it was. It wasn't acting, you know, I was in a very uncomfortable, unusual position and it absolutely enabled me to do the job I needed to do, which was to talk rubbish about being related to George Elliott, but happily rather than anxiously

Jean:

confidently. What role does storytelling play in all of this?

Serena:

Oh, well storytelling, I'm getting more and more obsessed with storytelling. And I feel that where I'm heading really. I think we are. I know, I know we are storytelling creatures. We love people's stories. We love telling stories. It's what we do all the time until we stand up and think we've got to read lists off a slide or present something formally the minute we think we've got to be formal storytelling stops. And the minute we start telling stories from our hearts, Even if it's about something as simple as what I had for my dinner last night, we are engaged with that other human. We go, oh, I like sausages or I don't like sausages. We start to connect. We start to wonder whether we trust that person. We laugh where we're in, we're relating. And so storytelling is, I mean, obviously it's a huge skill as well, but I also love the fact that by the end of the day, I have seen even the shyest, most introverted person, start to tell stories and engage others and inspire others or move others or make others laugh. So for me, all those foundational skills are heading towards us. Being able to use storytelling as a power. I feel like I'd been heading towards storytelling for 25 years. And in a way, of course, it's what I love about being an actor to express through stories. To an audience. And so in its simplest form, somebody talking about their breakfast is just as important as going to the national theater and seeing a production of Midsummer night's dream or whatever it is. Storytelling is what we love and it soothes us. We're soothed by someone who's willing to stand up and tell us a bit about themselves. I find that exciting.

Jean:

It's a curious, um, it's a curious thing that I, I often hear cause I'm somebody who who's quite willing to share stories about myself, along with theory and examples and exercises we can do. And very often people will say I loved it, that you shared the story with the piece about yourself, because I guess it human. It helps us to see each other as humans find our commonality, find the spaces that we can connect with them.

Serena:

Yes, but yesterday I was working with, um, a group of, I, they were all male data analysts, probably all under 27, 3 of them. All quite introverted. And somehow by the end of the day, they all started sharing stories about their childhood, which were all different than, you know, boarding schools or being born in India and living with your grandparents and then wooshing to, London. And you could see, and one was in England, one was in America and one was in Germany. And by the end of that, they were all in love with each other. Right. They just were connecting. They felt safe. They love, they were almost crying, and it's just a magic thing, but the littlest bit of information about us can, can help us to feel safe. And of course, I think we are in a way. We know you, and I know what the eighties and the nineties were like in the workplace. It was all about not sharing stuff, not bringing the personal into work. And so, um, I I'm loving the fact that we've got more of that going on now, and that that generation wants a really keen to be whole people at work.

Jean:

I think it's one of the good things that's come out of COVID because the baby on the lap or the dog coming in, or somebody who's mom walking behind them while they're on camera, which we've experienced is also a part of that. It's a part of the, our personal stories coming in and connecting into the space as well.

Serena:

And that's rich, you know, My husband bought me a cup of tea just now and his pajamas. And even though I know you know him, but it's rich, isn't it? It makes it 3d. And I think the trouble with online is we can feel very flat and it's as if we're only ahead. So it's really, it's harder work, I think now to engage ourselves that way.

Jean:

What's an area of your working life that you're trying to make sense of at the moment.

Serena:

Oh my goodness. The work itself makes total sense to me. So I would always say, put me in the room and I'm totally happy. And in the last few weeks I was back in the room and that was so ecstatically happy or ecstatic is the word I would use. I was so happy. Um, but of course we're back in, we're back in our little offices at home now. So the bit I'm trying to make sense, obviously. Trying to work as a lone Wolf with no support, no team, no. Um, and technically the technical stuff has been hard for me. I don't have, as an actor, people, people don't sometimes realize this. You have an agent and your agent gets you. Your interviews sorts out your contracts sorts out your money. Probably pays, gets taxies paid for to get you there. So, you know, all the things you need, all you have to do is go and do your job. And so what I'm trying to make sense of is w I seem to now be a facilitator and coach, and that means I've got to sort all that out. And, um, that's difficult for me and I'm on my I'm lonely with it. I think a lot of people are I'm lonely with it. Haven't got anybody to help me. I have to pay. Some groups. So that helped me to learn how to be technical. Although I have a lovely daughter, who's also training now, but I think it's hard. Um, I've made a space here now. Eventually I've made myself an office and hopefully that's going to help. That's a bit, I'm trying to make sense of. Does that make sense?

Jean:

It does make sense. It's um, it's the learning to run a business. Piece, that's almost been a bit more forced on you because of the last two years it was accelerated. That probably takes you into places that are not natural strengths, but

Serena:

for sure, you know, me too well, but I think, and, having to challenge that bit of myself that was just ditzy actress, relying on her wit and her charm and her, her looks when she was younger. Um, all of that has now gone and I have to do it all myself and I haven't had any training, self or otherwise. And in a way that's a good challenge. I'm now realizing as I'm saying it, that actually, that's an interesting challenge. If I can rise. Panics me, but it's, it's a good one.

Jean:

It's good for us to see if we can lean into learning things that don't get naturally to us stretches the part of ourselves, I guess.

Serena:

Yeah, I think so. And, I'd managed to place it, put it in that place now of something that I it's, it's all technical stuff. It's, you know, it's spreadsheets and technology. And so I can learn that. Surely that's not rocket science. Well, in a way it is rocket science, but I. Should be able to learn to do that. If I set it as a challenge for myself and don't get overwhelmed, because I think that's the fear of being overwhelmed and letting people down and not coming, coming up with the.

Jean:

Um, w one of the things I've learned about it, it's been interesting in that, in the coming together of the podcast, because the, all the technical side of the podcast felt very outside of my skillset. One of the things I've really noticed during this period was that I allowed myself a lot of time and it took the pressure off having to learn in a hurry and I could learn it. Both slowly and I could become engrossed in it and kind of follow things down and it really helped me to see that. I think often we're trying to learn things under pressure in a hurry, or we give ourselves a small amount of time and say, right, I've got to work this out in this amount of time. And then I know for me when I'm doing it under pressure, um, I don't learn it or I just get. Because I think, well, I can't do this and then I have to find somebody else, but allowing there to be no pressure of time actually released me to kind of thing. Okay. I'm going to just keep going until I've worked the out

Serena:

and I think it's been a very interesting. Um, a couple of years because my, I come from a place where you just take whatever work you're offered, you know, as an actor, you just say, yes, I can ride a horse and play squash and, you know, lying through your teeth and speak French. You just do it because there may not be no more work. And so I didn't give myself time. I was just forcing myself on. Into a world and saying yes to everything. And actually it's been, I mean, I'm 62. So I'm now learning to kind of respect myself and what I have to bring. And. Hopefully now applying that to exactly what you're saying, which is perhaps I can just take a little bit of time to learn these new skills. Um, and I'm excited about that about actually that you and I spoke about this awhile ago, about setting aside time for reading. Actual time for reading. Amazing. Um, and setting aside time to, to think for me to think about, well, what does that mean? I I've made an office in my house. What does that mean? How do I run that business? If it wasn't scary, what would it be like? You know, and perhaps that's the next bit on now. We've had two years of chaos and everything up in the air. And who am I? And what am I on? It's all settling a bit now isn't it.

Jean:

And through that and through your career, what are some of the things that you've learned about the nature of work?

Serena:

I think one of the things I know I bring through having been an actor is. Ridiculous. I think one of the things I always say to a group is that I assume support and I would always encourage them to do so. So to just keep bringing yourself, keep bringing yourself in, to not spend too much time, second guessed thing. I mean, I've always been, uh, freelance. I've never worked full time for anybody ever in my life. So it's always me. I'm only ever as good as my last job. But I also, I think probably suffer hugely from imposter syndrome. And I know that, so I'm always bringing in the courage to assume that I'm in the right place or that I might be in the right place, um, to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Jean:

The cause you've spent your entire life in the theater, on television in front of people. I imagine that you've needed to engage in some courage at times. And I'm curious about how you do that, what courage means to you, how do you find courage when it's left you?

Serena:

Yeah, it's very interesting. There's some deal you make with yourself as an actor very early on, which is I'm just going to keep going and, um, whatever anybody's. I'm just going to keep going and keep bringing myself. Now you have to bring your whole self as an actor because you are being judged. There is no way you can pretend you're not being judged of physically personally judged on your voice. The way you look, how thin or fat you are, how tall you are, all of these things are being judged and then maybe later written about in newspapers. So, um, I, um, extremely. Uh, sensitive. So I'm amazed really. I'm amazed at myself when I look back, I think I just kept going and I can only think I made a deal. Very early on that I was an actress. I am an actress. I have something to offer and I'm just going to keep going because you could be rejected three or four times in a week, but particularly as a young actor. And I think that has stood me in extremely good stead. I often will start a day a facilitator. Feeling extremely anxious having to put into place. What I'm about to teach the group I'm about to teach. And I just assume support. I just keep on bringing myself and noticing that and putting it to the back and keep on bringing myself in. I think that's, I think that's what stirred me and actors have to do that. They come on stage. I always love the thing that Judy. Dame Judi Dench the night before a press night wishes that the theater would burn down. You know, people assume actors are confident, but actually they're highly anxious. They're about to express themselves. But nevertheless, there is this hard edge that doesn't get daunted by someone rejecting them. And. That doesn't mean I don't have imposter syndrome because I do. I'm still amazed that anybody gives me a job. I'm amazed. Someone's given me a job and now they're paying me. It's amazing. So, but I think, I think that deal I made has really, it keeps me going and actors keep going until, you know, there's no, you don't retire as an actor. So I think that stood me in good stead too, even though sometimes I think that's it. Oh, I wanted to get and garden and do nothing else, but I keep on keeping on

Jean:

there's something really curious about this because it's a, it's like a mental. Model that you have, that I know I'm going to be rejected, and I know that I need to engage courage. And so I'm just going to keep engaging in it. And I think I'm thinking of myself and I imagine quite a few people listening, thinking. I wonder if I too could engage that mental model and what would I do differently if I decided that I knew I was going to be rejected sometimes, but still I would put myself up in your case for that audition or in my case for a piece of work or speak to a client, um, to take that feeling of courage and say, okay, it's worth it.

Serena:

Yes. And it, and then what you're speaking about is more than just grounding yourself through your feet. Cause that's in the moment, but I, I was coaching you've made me remember that I was coaching a young girl who was incredibly talented, had this beautiful voice. And she was auditioning for a drama school, which she then got in. And was did really well. And when she came out of drama school, she said, I'm taking myself to London and I thought, great. You know, she's going to do well. She's beautiful. She's going to get into that musical world, which is what she wanted. And within six weeks she was back here in Wales and I said, well, what's happened. She said, but I didn't get any work. And I said, six weeks, six weeks. You need to engage in that in your mind for 60. That's that's where you're. It's not, you can't think if it doesn't happen now. You need the long vision and it's only now looking back that I see that I had that, so I can't consciously. Say that I know how it operated or that anyone taught it to me, except that I was brought up in the theater. I was constantly surrounded by actors. And so that's how it operates. You just keep going. It is quite interesting. And I realized that it's, it's a real strength that I have that I, I don't get beaten back by people's personal views of. And I think that really can be applied across the board. I agree. I'm going away to think about how I can apply that to more parts of my life, playing a long game and thinking, okay. You know, sometimes I'll get the part. Yeah. And I, and sometimes I won't and I give myself literally 24 hours. I know I'm going to sulk it for 24 hours. Um, and I allow myself that I'm going to sulk, can eat chocolate or do whatever I need to do. And then it'll pass. And someone will say what happened about that job? And I'll say, what job? And I forgotten it. They come, they go, you honor them, but you're going to move.

Jean:

That's great. You know, you just, at this sort of wave thing, it's allowing ourselves to ride the wave of opportunities coming and going, and then seeing the right one and the right one will work for us.

Serena:

And I guess there's a real balance of not assuming that you, you are owed anything. Which I had to learn really quickly. Cause I thought, oh, everyone's going to want me. So the minute you, you know, you need to learn quickly. You're not owed anything just, but you still have something to offer you just not in the right place this week, but you might be next.

Jean:

Wow, this is wonderful, wonderful lessons for us as we come to the end of our conversation, what book or podcast, um, or book and podcast has influenced you, which you'd like to share?

Serena:

Well, I guess, I guess really early on the book. Made us meet. In fact, in the long run is time to think by Nancy Kline at that was the first book about coaching or any of that kind of thing that I'd ever read. And I read it from cover to cover long time ago and thought that's what I'm going to do, because that took me out of, the world of acting into a world of how do people communicate with other people. Which I love. And so I think, and then I trained with Nancy and met you, and that stood me in incredibly good stead. And at the same time, Lee Glickstein's book, um, be here now. Which is still in print, I think has also had a huge influence on me. Um, and the podcast for me is the moth, which I love, which I spoke about earlier, which is stories. And I, I do really want to start a form of the moth locally. I I'm quite keen on doing stuff locally in my community. Um, starting small a storyteller. Club, maybe. So the moth anyway, I love to listen to beautiful. Of course, you're in the same game, Jean, you listen to people's stories as well. That's where in the same job. Really?

Jean:

So yeah, I was just thinking about the lessons from Nancy Klein too. That's actually bring us full circle in this conversation, really, because so much of what I learned from her and from you in that time is still how I practice. It's about how we hold. Incredible presence for the people were with so that they can tell their stories and in telling their stories, they can learn more about themselves. And without that grounding in Nancy's approach of real presence, paying attention, as she calls it with our whole being, I'm not sure I would be able to be as effective as I am now. I really believe that she, that work at that book made such an impact.

Serena:

And for me too, took me out of the world of, to, into the world of other people, which I love, which I love and listening and being prepared to hear and be heard for me. That's both of those, which is an ongoing practice for me because I can easily interrupt people in be keen and overspeak so it's an ongoing practice.

Jean:

For me too, because we all, I believe have to keep learning, to listen and hear and tune ourselves out and be present with others. Oh, Serena, this has been wonderful. What a treat to have this time together. Thank you so much. And I know for me, there's lots of things that have come up about connection and stories. I'm going away to think a bit more about stories and storytelling.

Serena:

And for me, it's been such an interesting, uh, interesting. Talk about your own work and hear your own story, in fact. Um, so thank you for that opportunity in lovely.