Blogging about: How To Find Your Ikigai And Transform Your Outlook On Life And Business

Listening to all the former colleagues and current contacts who’ve been kind enough to speak to me so far has prompted me to have a think about what I want – rather than just which roles I could potentially be placed in.

No-one has mentioned Ikigai – but the conversations so far have brought it to mind. I think I saw it first last year when Rich Baker posted something about it on LinkedIn.

With no direct English translation, it’s a term that embodies the idea of happiness in living.


I’m a sucker for a visual aide to thinking – especially if I can sketch it myself with sharpies on huge sheets of paper – but I’ve quickly realised that I need input from people who aren’t me.

I’d be grateful if you can help me to validate/ add to these lists:

Things I love
(I know that I should really be able to fill this one in by myself –
but sometimes I forget things)
Family and friends
Food (cooking, eating, watching TV about, Slimming World)
Reading and books
Running (and walking)
Travel (especially in Europe – and by train)
Rupaul’s Drag Race
Social Media
Organising/ planning/ writing lists
Learning new things
Things I am good at
(I might have been a bit too inside the box here –
what would you put on a list?)
Writing (copy editing/ subbing)
Organising/ planning/ writing lists
Social Media
Events (planning/ organising/ delivering)
Leading (teams)
Developing (teams)
Sharing enthusiasm
Getting to grips with a lot of information quickly
Explaining things
Empathy (putting myself in other people’s shoes)
Getting to the point
What I think the world needs
(Tell me I haven’t forgotten anything that you know I care about)
Less poverty
Less hunger
More equality (gender / LGBT+)
No homelessness
Toilets and sanitary-ware for all
No Brexit
Less Trump
More education
Social justice
No torture – more human rights
Animal protection
Employee Engagement
Trade unions
Less exclamation marks
Things I can be paid for
(Now then folks – keep it kind –
and again I think I’ve probably been a bit narrow with this)
Writing and editing
Comms planning
Employee engagement
Change communications
Internal comms
IC team set-up/ team development

Thank you – once I’ve got your input I will make a beautiful Venn diagram and use it to guide me.


A permanent stop?

This week I have updated my CV (casey leaver cv january 2019 (no contact details)) and been emailing it to people and asking for advice on fixed-term and interim positions. (At the moment I’m volunteering at The Trussell Trust which is both eye-opening and rewarding.) I’d be grateful for any agency or role leads, or tips and words of wisdom on not working in a permanent role – this will be my the first time I’ve dipped my toe in these waters.

(This boat, the Resourceful, was moored at Maldon alongside the Thames Barges before Christmas.)


This post is about fulfilling a promise to someone with promise.

LG joined our internal communications team six weeks ago as an intern.  I’ve been line managing and mentoring him.

He has a communications degree, some outstanding short-term print and broadcast work experience, and a go get ’em attititude.  But he is also hungry – impatient to be straight in to a full-on, unleaded, creative, decision-making job, and longing to be doing something fulfilling.

Even more than that, he wants a job that is fun.

And this might be why he still hasn’t found the first full-time comms role for him.

Part of me wants to nurture and encourage that desire.  (Yes, hold out for the job that is fun, and you’ll never work a day in your life.)  The rest of me wants to show him how many of us started our careers by cutting, sticking and photocopying press cuttings *every* morning.

I still remember resenting my mum’s well-meant words: nobody ever loves their work; you just need to find something you can put up with.

We are half-way through.

In the meantime we are working on building up his strengths (story-spotting, creativity, writing, digital media) and finding opportunities for him to develop in other areas (stakeholder management, planning, time management).

And, as a team, we are learning from him – we are remembering how to be more impulsive, how to ask ‘so what’, how to bring in the social angle into the mix, how to be more real-time, how to use different media.

And I am remembering that it’s OK to expect fulfillment, and that maybe its as much about your approach as it is about your role.

As I encourage LG to showcase his writing and his podcasting through his blog, I am fulfilling my side of our contract by dusting off mine.

Craven Crusts: grab a slice of the community bakery, café and artspace

I’m so proud of Himself.  Not for putting his money where his mouth is or for being a quietly enthusiastic supporter and advocate for something he is passionate about, although he has and he is, but for rolling up his sleeves and pitching in.

Over the last few months he’s been working his socks off as part of a team of people who are trying to reopen a 110 year old local bakery for the community as an artisan bakery with bread baked on the premises, a comfortable and affordable community café and an art space.

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Death Row Dinners


We enjoyed a hangover-salving Sunday lunch at The Red Lion in Hunningham yesterday. I always enjoy eating there. There’s very little room for improvement in my book. Which leads me to the Death Row Dinners cards on each table – main function: to ask for feedback – subsidiary function: prize draw to win your own personal death row dinner.

This was far too big a decision to be rushed. And far too big a decision to make with a hangover.

Fortunately I’ve got all week to think about it because I’m planning to take my sister and bro-in-law there next weekend. What? They’ll love it.

So, preliminary thoughts for shortlisting…

Continue reading “Death Row Dinners”

Why Doesn’t Essex have a Destination Food Festival?

Inspired by this weekend’s visit to Ludlow Food Festival (which was brilliant), I was thinking that (my native) Essex should have a destination festival at least as big.  There’s enough quality food.  The countryside is just as beautiful, but in a different way.  It’s very accessible.  What’s stopping it?

Off the top of my head it should include:


Tiptree Jam
Tiptree Jam

  • Tiptree Jam
  • Maldon Salt
  • Leigh Cockles
  • Rossi’s Icecream
  • Kelly’s Turkeys
  • Mighty Oak Brewery
  • Crouch Vale Brewery
  • New Hall Vinyards
  • Burnham Mustard
  • Marriage’s Millers
  • Richard Haward Oysters
  • Jamie Oliver
  • Daniel Clifford
  • The Sun, Dedham
What am I missing?  People, location, produce, chefs, restaurateurs?  An existing festival or festivals that already hit the mark?  Let’s create it, at least in theory.  And once the theory is there…