I have just returned from a 3-day leadership retreat at one of the most inspiring and beautiful castles in the world. We stayed at St George’s House inside the walls of Windsor Castle, the 11th Century seat of Kings and Queens of England and the UK since just after the Battle of Hastings, proudly and strategically overlooking the county of West Berkshire with majestic views over the Thames and Eton College, towards London and beyond.
I believe that where you are physically can have a huge impact on your mental state. Having spent hours in the magnificent Vicars Hall for meals and meetings, in St George’s Chapel for a late night tour followed by the magnificent Evensong service with the full choir the next day and in the Dungeon for discussion, debate and the odd mind game, I felt uplifted both spiritually and intellectually. Witnessing the changing of the guard from within the courtyard, enjoying the history and pageantry, taking in the magnificent surroundings and being with wonderful people, is indeed nourishment for the soul.
The 3-day event was led by Stevie Kidd, business and life coach and NLP Trainer. Stevie has a magical quality about him. It’s hard to put your finger on and describe. He is able to see beyond the facade. He is a reader of people, and has spent his life modelling his heroes, and eliciting strategies for success simply by listening and observing. His skills and expertise, honed over the years with hundreds of clients are to see deeply within someone, identify their pain, their joy, to see what drives them and challenge them to be the best they can be. He is an expressive and passionate orator with unique skills of perception and understanding which enable him to inspire and motivate all those present.
Evening speakers who added to the inspirational journey included the Right Honorable David Blunkett MP and Sean Rose, ex-soldier and Paralympic champion. The mindsets of both of these extraordinary men, with their drive and determination to overcome obstacles and succeed against all odds was incredible. David Blunkett, blind from birth, spoke of all the barriers he had had to overcome and still does. A sharp mind and a strong will, and resilience at a superhuman level were the fuel to drive his passion to achieve and succeed. His gentle demeanour combined with humility and compassion give the impression of a man who will not give up until he has achieved everything in life he sets out to do.
Sean Rose, a sports mad soldier bursting with energy who injured his spine and lost the use of both legs showed similar indefatigable spirit and determination. His first thoughts when told he was paralysed from the chest down and could no longer do the activities he loved, were, well what can I do. Never dwelling on the negative, Sean set himself impossible targets and goals, and against all odds, achieved them, becoming a world water skiing champion and Paralympic champion skier. Wow.
The early morning walk / run to the Copper Horse (The legendary Long Walk) were extra special, when Colonel David Steele, one of only 13 Military Knights of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle joined us and regaled us with tales of life within the hallowed walls.
The 12 delegates on this highly personal journey of self discovery, were treated to many valuable insights, through story telling and group discussion, through individual exercises to one to one chats, at a deep spiritual level in St George’s Chapel at Evensong to lively convivial conversations and discussion during the two wonderful dinners with our esteemed dinner guests.
I want to thank my fellow delegates from accompanying me on this journey. I would also like to thank Roy and Sam Newey and Nick Olive for the preparation and coordination; and most especially to Stevie Kidd, for bringing me along to it and giving me an experience of a lifetime. Through Stevie I have met some amazing new friends and set some wonderful new goals and objectives which will hopefully see me nicely through the next few months and years.