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So how was Scotland I hear you say?

Great, and Orkney was fabulous! It so exceeded my expectations.

In what way, I hear you ask?

The range of history.

Possibly the most impressive place to visit is Skara Brae, a Neolithic site discovered in 1850 in sand dunes. It goes back 5000 years. Think about it. This is pre-iron age. Before metal. From Skara Brae we have knowledge of how whole communities lived. And we continue to learn more about this with further archaeological excavations taking place on the islands each summer.

Skara Brae makes the Picts and Vikings look modern. They were only 1600 or 1000 years ago respectively.

Skara Brae – this is how people lived 5000 years ago on Orkney!


How is Skara Brae relevant to leadership, learning and aspiration?

I found it very moving to learn about how these humans met their needs 5000 years ago; for food, for shelter, for community. They were a step up from survival too, they stored food, created ornaments and made jewellery. They were making choices about their lives.

As humans, we have been in the business of meeting our needs, and figuring out how to meet our needs and aspirations, for a very long time.

The Standing Stones of Stenness – again 5000 years old – older than Stonehenge.


My thought is this. When it comes to understanding our innate selves and aspirations, sometimes it can be useful to look back:

  • We already know who we are
  • Our nature is there for us to call on
  • The answers are already inside.

We just have to look.

I was intrigued to find the photo of me aged 20 (shown above) recently. It felt and looked so much like me, my innate character, in a way that many others in other settings don’t.

What is it about this photo in particular that makes it feel like me?

I’m outside. I’m in casual gear, my hair is not straight and I’m happy. I felt at ease and connected; I was with my boyfriend (now husband) and friends I love, on a spontaneous day trip to Oxford by motorbike, and we had done something new, a bit hard and different, and gone punting. It was fun!

Punting with friends on the River Cherwell, Oxford, when I was 20


Today, as we emerge from the pandemic and our freedoms increase, these same qualities show up in the new adventures we now want with our Motorhome.  We want to create experiences where we can travel, be adaptable, flexible, increase our perspective, learn something new and meet some form of outdoor challenge.

These qualities show up in my professional life too, where the learning and leadership development experiences I offer are a shared experience, where we can have fun, do something new, have authentic conversation, grow as people and become skilled together.

So I’m wondering. Can you also find a photo or two from your past, that feels like you?

What can you deduce from this about what is important to you?

And how can this feed into what is important, your hopes and aspirations, for your career and life now?

Gill How loves to work with managers, executives and professionals to help them to evolve, stretch and grow their leadership capability. She is a Master Executive Coach and innovative Leadership Developer who works both internationally and in the UK.

Here’s more of our trip to Scotland: a clip of Gill mastering new driving skills along the NC500:

The next programme of the virtual Women in Transport LEAD which Gill co-facilitates with Iain Smith starts in September 2021.

Here are some things current participants say:

“The Lead Programme is a game changer for self-awareness & career development. The monthly sessions are a safe and trusted space to hold big conversations. The programme feels like a movement of like minded women. What are you waiting for!”

Karen Cooper, Head of Stakeholders, Blackpool Transport Authority.

“The LEAD course is amazing! I’ve never learned so much on a single training course, nor had so much of that training be instantly applicable in my work. The course inspires you to achieve, whilst giving you the confidence and the tools to make that a reality.”

Becky Lloyd, Associate Director of Transport Planning, Jacobs

“The course is excellent and surprisingly insightful. It will provide you with real tools you can use in your
current role and the next steps you can take to progress towards your ultimate career goal.”

Ruth Anderson, Legal Counsel, Rail Delivery Group

Get in touch or a coffee, real or virtual, for an exploratory conversation.

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Photo credits: Gill & Martin How





Gill How

Helping leaders grow, step up and deliver outstanding results

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