John’s journey to Rwanda

Have you ever seen or read something that has really moved you and made you want to do something worthwhile?  For many of us that feeling of inspiration rarely translates into action.  We often want to do something, but don’t know how or what we can do.  That wasn’t the case with John Stanlake.

When John felt disillusioned with his job in 2009 he took steps to do something more meaningful.  Over the past few years he has been volunteering across the world, helping young people to build a better future.  He finds real inspiration and joy from sharing and connecting with youngsters.

John is not one of life’s loud extroverts.  He is a quietly spoken and sincere young man who’s patience and presence speaks volumes.  He has an incredible skill of writing – painting vivid and compelling stories through his blog.

Whilst working as a teacher in Rwanda John’s students asked him to make sure the world didn’t forget the 1994 genocide.  He has made it his mission to share their story with the world – this is John’s story.

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Harry’s Story

Dee is a special person.  She has a generosity and warmth that radiates out touching everyone she meets.

I have no idea how many friends Dee has. People are attracted to her – she seems to radiate an aura of friendship and acceptance.  We all seem to end up around her table eating brunch, or supper or an afternoon tea.  Everyone is welcome.

I was really taken aback when I first realised that one of Dee’s children had died.  People who have lost a child are often haunted by their memories, there is a sadness in their eyes that never lifts.  Dee wasn’t like this.  She described Harry and his illness with such heartfelt honesty.  There was no doubt that she missed him, but the over-riding emotion when I listened to Dee was of gratitude in having had Harry in her life.

I hope you enjoy hearing Dee’s story – like I say she is a very special person.

Dee is also a great coach and works intuitively with clients addressing issues from a place of heart and wisdom.


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Finding your voice

I remember so clearly the day I first met Julian Marshall.  A mutual friend had invited a group out for a walk.  There were about a dozen of us  walking across Dartmoor near the Avon Damn, dipping in and out of conversations as we walked.

I hadn’t met Julian before but was struck at his warmth and friendliness as he described his life as a musician. It was during this conversation that he agreed to become my piano teacher.

As we continued talking a fellow walker interjected telling me that Julian was actually an extremely successful musician.  He had had a number one in the late 1970s (Dancing in the City) and another hit with the Flying Lizards (Money).

This information impressed me greatly and I felt really chuffed that I would be getting lessons from someone who had such a fascinating background.

Julian has been my piano teacher since 2008; he’s one of the best coaches I know.  So it really took me by surprise to learn that this skilled musician has had moments of self doubt.  How could anyone with such a wealth of talent doubt themselves?

For Julian the past few years have been about ‘finding his voice’.  He has been on an extraordinary journey that has seen him uncover fresh creativity as he’s explored the world of classical composition.

In this interview Julian explains how he started to ‘find his voice’ after spending a rather ordinary weekend in Winchester.

You can contact Julian Marshall through the London Song Company







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What is the Wild and Precious Project?

Following my passion

The Wild and Precious project is a slow burn project. It was conceived around 18 months ago and in that time I have recorded 4 interviews (with another 3 in the pipe line).

It has also been an extraordinary learning curve. My BBC Radio reporting background has been incredibly helpful, but I’ve had no real video skills.

Over the past year I have had lessons in editing, filming and gone on a film-making course and at last I’m feeling more comfortable using video.

Giving talks
I would love to give talks about the project to groups. I am learning so much from the people I meet and film. There is a real humility and authenticity that shines through their words.

This short video helps to express why I am spending my spare time meeting, filming and editing these interviews.

Do get hold of me if you would like me to give a talk to your group or business

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Liminal Spaces

Re-fueling your soul

Every day we mix with dozens of people, some of whom inspire us and some who leave us feeling flat. I think it’s important to actively seek out people who re-fuel our souls.

Ian Adams is one of those people.  He is the kind of man who has a gentle, quiet spirit that seems to magnetically connect with you.

He draws his inspiration from the ancient Jesus tradition and has the ability to communicate the essence of the Christian message with heartfelt simplicity.

Liminal Spaces

In this interview we explore liminal spaces.  These are places that are on the threshold between old and new.  They may be uncomfortable, but out of them are born new possibilities.

Ian eventually went on to write his first book Cave, Refectory, Road after visiting Lindisfarne (Holy Island).  This proved to be his liminal space; this was where he reconnected with the ancient wisdom of the monastic tradition that inspired him to write.


Ian Adams can be contacted through


Liz Scott is a powerful public speaker and can be booked to give talks on the Wild and Precious project email:


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Life after brain injury

What’s really important in life?

In 1993 Peter Buckingham sustained serious head injuries in a car crash.  Everything he had once taken for granted had to be re-learned. This included eating, talking and writing.  In essence he had to re-learn how to live again.

Now, nearly 20 years on, he reflects back on his life and what this accident has taught him.

Accepting what is

One of the most important things he’s realised is to accept that which can’t be changed – he also now appreciates and values the simple things in life.

I was so touched when I spoke with Peter.  He always has a smile bubbling behind his eyes and he expresses some profound thoughts in such a simple way.

Contacting Peter

Peter gives talks about his experiences along with his wife, Ann Buckingham (you can hear her side of the story here).  Peter can be emailed on and his wife is 

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How well do you know people?

How well do you really know people?  In my experience I realise I don’t know people very well at all.  I may think I know them, but scratch the surface and it’s a different story.

Take Ann Buckingham.  I have known Ann for several years as a warm, spirited and vibrant lady who was passionate about learning and interested in personal development.  We went along to similar events and we would often have great conversations over coffee.

Seeing people differently

One day we were introducing ourselves to a new member at one of our groups.  Ann introduced herself and I saw her in a different light.  I was astounded at the rich and fulfilling life she had lived.

She talked about her life as a businesswoman, a head teacher, someone who’s met the emperor of Japan.  She explained how her husband had been brain damaged in a car accident and how she seizes every opportunity in life to develop herself and her ideas.

Ann’s story

You can’t help but be touched by Ann’s story.  There are three key lessons Ann has learned from life and she shares them with you in this very moving and personal account.

Ann works with a group of coaches at she is also contactable on her email You can watch her husband’s story here.

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Wild and Precious

In the beginning

It’s all very well knowing the answer to the question, “What inspires me“.  However, if the answer involves videoing people and you have no skills or equipment, then that presents a problem.

The last few months have been a steep (and expensive) learning curve which has involved various days of training and the purchasing of lots of new equipment.

However, it was whilst undertaking a day’s video training that the name of our project, “Wild and Precious” presented itself.

Gail Adams

It was whilst with Gail,  one rainy February morning, that I shifted from ‘drifting’ to ‘seeking’.  We had just had a coffee and I then embarked on what seemed a mundane walk, but this walk, was the first step to inspiring the project, “Wild and Precious.”

It seemed very apt that Gail was the first person we interviewed.

My one wild and precious life

It was during her interview that she mentioned the Mary Oliver poem, “The Summer Day”. 

Stu, my husband (the cameraman) was really taken by the poem and he suggested this is what we call the name of our project.

Here’s the poem in full:

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

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Gail Adams story

What is our hunch?

Our hunch is that everyone has an inspiring story to tell.  They just need the time and space to share it.  We explored this hunch whilst learning how to use a video camera on a training day.

I contacted a coaching friend and asked if she would be our guinea-pig as we learnt the ropes with the camera.  Would she come and be intereviewed by me as we were taught how to operate the equipment?  Gail readily agreed.

The stories that lie hidden

Gail and I are ‘coffee mates’.  In other words, we socialise and enjoy each others’ company mainly over visits to coffee shops.  Gail is a fellow coach and we’ve known each other for just over a year.

I asked Gail if she would mind sharing a profound or inspiring moment/story from her life.   Something that we could use with our ‘Wild and Precious’ project.  Pausing slightly she said, “I once faced a life-threatening condition, is that the kind of thing you mean?”

I was astounded – I had no idea that Gail had experienced this.  It confirmed to me that many of us have stories that lie hidden, many of which never see the light of day.  We set the camera up and started the interview.

Gail’s story

Gail is one of life’s gentle, wise souls.  She shared her story in such a simple and profound way.  The experience could have left her scared and scarred by life.  Instead she has embraced it as one of life’s experiences to learn from.


My one wild and precious life from Floating Lime Media on Vimeo.

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What inspires you?

Stu and Liz

Stu and Liz

What really inspires you?  This was a question I started asking myself in earnest as 2011 dawned.  

2010 had been a year that had seen me ‘drifting’.  The previous year we had nearly adopted a young boy.  However we had to pull out of the adoption process, realising it wasn’t the right decision to take.

Taking stock in 2010

2010 was a time to take stock whilst closing this chapter on our lives.  Rather than raising a child, which would have been a full-time, plate-spinning vocation, we had to re-adjust.

That re-adjustment took about a year.

A fresh start in 2011

In January 2011 I realised that I no longer wanted to ‘drift’ - it was time to re-engage with life fully.   I didn’t want to return to a treadmill, that was when I asked myself the question, “What really inspires me?”

Over the past few months, rather than talking endlessly to friends and family in an attempt to discover the answer, I allowed the question to ‘sit’ with me.

What really inspires me

After months of ‘sitting’ with the question the answer began to emerge.  I began to realise that the thing that really inspires me is people.  I realised that when I get beneath the surface of someone I become incredibly moved and touched by their lives.

Wild and Precious

“Wild and Precious” is a project that’s been developed so that I (and my husband Stu) can meet ordinary people who have extraordinary stories to tell. I believe we all have inspiring stories within us.

I hope you are as inspired as I am by some of the stories you hear.

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