My coach has spent much of this year asking me ‘what would happen if you let go of looking good?’ Now she’s not talking about in the physical sense – clothes, hair, make-up (as most of my friends know, I let go of that a while back!). She means if I just allowed myself to do, to be, to act without filtering through a sense of what I feel I should.
At the end of April I attended Do Lectures – five days in Wales with amazing speakers, an awful lot of rain and a tent. This week I’ve been reading different people’s reviews of the event and feel compelled to add my own to the mix.
I want to write an honest review – not the review I think I’m supposed to write, but the one that captures the conflicting feelings I have about my experiences there.
First, everyone should go. It’s a great opportunity to catch a truly eclectic bunch of (mainly) top-notch presenters who are passionate about a bunch of stuff you’ve probably never heard of. You get to hear about inventions, innovations, campaigns and challenges – all delivered in myriad ways. Since getting back I’ve bought packets of product called Sugru which will change my teenage son’s life, and spread the word about some important causes – Peace of Mind, Kopernik and lifesaving syringes amongst others).
At Do you get to talk to people about the planet, sheep, art, people, impact, ego and beer – and often all in the same conversation.
So who won my ‘Do awards’ for their presentations?
Award for the most heartfelt presentation: Shan Williams
Born and bred in Cardigan, Shan is a founding member of 4CG, a local group driving forward local solutions. She showed that determination and passion really can work miracles and that local is increasingly important to hold on to.
Award for stuff that will stay in my head: Chris Heathcote
I know he hated getting tagged as ‘the DNA guy’ but it is the DNA part that has be mulling and musing in the small hours. What can we know? What should we know? What do we want to know and what do we do with what we know? Add to that who gets to know and you have the recipe for many sleepless nights – thanks Chris! (Read his blog on his presentation)
Award for emotional mastery of an audience: Sean Carasso
As Founder of Falling Whistles, Sean has seen unspeakable things – war, so much war. He was able to take us to the Congo with him, show us the despicable things occurring and yet make us see the bigger picture too. He gave us a sense of hope and potential – and importantly asked for those donating to do so out of solidarity with human kind not out of sympathy. Go get your whistle.
Award for the phrase that caused me most confusion: Michael Acton Smith
Michael is Founder, CEO & Creative Director of Mind Candy and creator of Moshi Monsters – the website one of my children is addicted too. The phrase ‘stealth education’ – is Moshi Monsters really seeking to educate? Do we need to educate our kids through stealth? For me, the jury is still out.
So all good, all great even – thirty speakers, lots to take in, lots to agree with, disagree with and talk about.
But I had another problem.
I couldn’t get the line from Orwell out of my head – ‘all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others’.
For me there was a divide between the speakers and the attendees. Practically this could have been because they had the best tents (with heating) and a nice warm lodge to hang out in, but for the rest of the time we were all together. Others writing about the event have said one of its best elements was that couldn’t tell the difference so I have to really think hard about myself here. Why did I feel this so strongly when others didn’t? What does this tell me about me? Just how hung up on status am I?
I think I felt the divide so strongly because I wanted to be on the other side of it. I wanted to be up there, influencing and pushing for change. Doing rather than listening.
Ok, so I’ve let go of looking good, admitted I have a ‘performance ego’ and recognized a problem with listening.
Think that’s quite enough for a Monday, and a bank holiday at that.
My own image of our tent at the Do Lectures and remember if you have enjoyed this and want to read more, you can subscribe to Jo Verrent’s blog by email.