Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Ten words for a better world?

November 30, 2015

There’s an awful lot of upset in the world at the moment. Our media and leaders seem intent on sending messages that can strike fear in our hearts, stifle our spirit. The assumption is that the only way forward must be to fight. As my way of handling this, I list a number of words […]

Oh dear, what a boo boo!

November 16, 2015

I was having a bad day, several things had gone wrong, I’d had a spat with my partner and was in no mood for more aggro. Then came the email. Sent to me from a large training company I was doing a lot of work for, the email queried why I’d sent only four of […]

The name has it

September 28, 2015

Looking over a delegate list for a course I was running last week, I spotted someone with a very unusual surname. This also happened to be the surname of Neil, a guy I knew for a while way back in the early 80’s. I asked the woman whether she was in any way related to […]

Empathic or arrogant?

March 23, 2015

It appears that, at times, when trying to be empathic we may instead display a kind of inadvertent arrogance. This is represented in an oft used statement which, on the face of it,  may seem perfectly reasonable. It can tend to trip off the tongue when another person is upset or distressed by something. So, […]

Exceedingly charmed

February 23, 2015

“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” – Oscar Wilde So, what’s the secret to being charming rather than tedious? Take an interest – enquire. More specifically, we need to ask the right questions. These allow the other person to open up, and the vast majority […]

A not so golden rule

February 9, 2015

Imagine you are working at an airport. It’s a small regional airport and an outgoing flight with 100 passengers waiting to board is indefinitely delayed owing to a faulty plane. As the evening wears on, the shop and cafeteria close and the passengers become increasingly tired and hungry. Eventually, you decide to take an initiative. Thinking […]

What, no rows?

January 26, 2015

A couple I know claimed that they never ever rowed. I found this very difficult to believe, assuming that all couples row from time to time and that it’s all part and parcel of a healthy relationship. They’d known each other since they were fifteen –  childhood sweethearts. They stayed together “till death do us […]

Are you sticking your ‘or’ in?

January 12, 2015

Or – It’s an innocent little word, on the face of it….. Yesterday, my son was about to start vacuuming our living room. I was concerned that the dustbag might be full so asked him “Shall we check the bag or do you think it’s all right”? Given he just wanted to get on with […]

‘Misfits, loners and vagrants’

December 22, 2014

So, here we are yet again all caught up in the Christmas and New Year whirl! Many of us are, of course very fortunate to have family and friends to share the season with, but of course there are many others who, for whatever reason, are likely to be spending Christmas on their own. I […]

Straight talking

December 8, 2014

A judge decided last week that the word “pleb” was most likely uttered by UK MP Andrew Mitchell during his altercation with a police officer. Whilst, you could argue that its not OK to use such language, there was a small part of me that admired the straight talking. In his years of attending sessions […]

Legacy

December 1, 2014

. . “When a man dies, he takes a library with him” African saying .  This blog seems to have a loyal hardcore of readers who pick up on posts most Monday mornings when they’re published.  I count among these readers, friends, business contacts, and family, as well as people “out there” who’ve come across […]

To know or not to know?

November 17, 2014

The girl on the Personal Impact course I was running asked me “What if I don’t know the answer when a colleague or customer asks me something?” Afraid that her credibility would be blown, she was worried that not having the answer to something would stand against her. However, there are likely to be times […]

Confessions of a swinger

October 20, 2014

I’m a swinger. There it is, I’ve finally come out and said it. I’ve been a swinger for most of my adult life. Living in the great metropolis of London has probably provided the most fertile territory for my swinging, although I’m certain there there are also swingers doing their thing across the nation in […]

A fine mess!

July 28, 2014

I messed up recently. Thankfully, it didn’t end up with major repercussions, but may well have done. A major training organisation I work with regularly  asked me to re-run a programme that had flopped badly for one of their key clients under the tutelage of another trainer. Flattered by such a request, I allowed my […]

Great work, great contribution, but……

July 7, 2014

Sitting chatting with the HR Director at a newspaper publisher’s a while back, the conversation turned to the people that were working there. She was responsible for the welfare of several hundred staff engaged in a whole range of roles. In her position, she would need to deal with all manner of issues concerning all manner […]

Hypocrites all?

June 30, 2014

It was interesting to hear the singer Lily Allen interviewed on the radio this weekend. I’m not that familiar with her work, beyond one or two of her big hits, but really warmed to her as she spoke about her life and views on life. She came over as someone who was both gracious and […]

The missing skill

June 23, 2014

How many of us spent our school days being told to sit up and listen? What if, instead we had been taught to listen? I don’t simply mean nominal written comprehension tests or repeating back by rote what the teacher had said. I mean real, genuine listening in order to fully understand the other person. […]

Tolerance? I’m not so sure

June 16, 2014

Much has been written and said in recent weeks about British values and how they should be held up as being what makes our country “great”.  One word that keeps cropping up in this debate  is “tolerance”. I’d say, that venerating  this as a value represents hyperbole of considerable proportions. Yes, the British may be […]

Where are they now?

May 19, 2014

I wonder where they all are now? I wonder if they remember the time they spent with me? I wonder whether that time spent made a real and lasting difference to their lives? Do I ever come to mind at certain moments? Am I talking about ex girlfriends? Nope. I’m referring to people who have […]

Still the same

April 14, 2014

As many of my readers will know, I am just a couple years off from completing my sixth decade. There are things about being in your late 50’s that don’t really apply when you are younger. You may think that I’m referring to aches n pains, tiredness, grumpiness, ailments and the like.These can, of course, be […]

Politeness is all well and good……

March 24, 2014

“Say please, say thank you” – this is the mantra of many a parent during their youngsters’ formative years. They are the two base words for being polite. They are good words, and perfectly appropriate in all manner of situations. They embody good manners. Yet, I happen to have quite an issue with the notion […]

In defence of thin skin

December 16, 2013

Whilst participating in an online  discussion recently, I found myself needing to tell someone that I was not happy about a personal comment he’d sent my way. He responded by saying that I shouldn’t have such a thin skin. I thought he may well have been right, given that I do at times fall a […]

A lesson from “Australian rules football”

November 4, 2013

Missionaries working with Aboriginals in 19th century Australia decided one day to teach some of the local  youngsters to play soccer. They set about marking out a pitch, setting up makeshift goalposts and recruiting two  teams of eager players. So, the match was on. The teams played with great gusto, throwing themselves into it 100%. […]

Marek

October 28, 2013

I heard this weekend that Marek had died. I’d known him, on and off since childhood, although had spent most time with him in my late teens and early 20’s when he was part of a group of Polish mates I knocked around with. He also played keyboards in the band I sang in for […]

The three word challenge – up for it?

September 30, 2013

This week’s post offers up a challenge for you. It’s an incredibly simple challenge, yet I wonder how easy you would actually find it to take on. Doubtless, there will be people in your life whom you like. They may, of course be relatives or friends, colleagues, neighbours or even acquaintances. There may be all […]

Underground soul

September 9, 2013

A man arrived late for a course I was running. He explained that he’d been stuck on an underground train on the Central Line for 40 minutes. He said the experience was great. Sideward glances around the room, along with your’s truly at the front feeling baffled as to how to take this – did […]

Out of time, or self sabotage?

September 2, 2013

How often do you think that you don’t have enough time to get things done? How often might you blame others, outside circumstances or, indeed time itself? Yet, how often might it actually be a case of self sabotage? Below are five caricatures that represent some personality traits that can get in the way of […]

In the words of Stephen Stills…….

August 26, 2013

Being as it’s a public holiday here in the UK, I’m feeling a tad lazy today. So, rather than write something new, I’ve posted a piece that I penned about ten years ago for a small business network newsletter: Those of you of a similar age to me are likely to remember a song by […]

Oh yeah?

August 19, 2013

“I wish I were as cool and awesome as I appear to be on Facebook” I saw that ditty on Facebook recently and can certainly relate to it at times! For better or for worse, I’m quite an avid user of the infamous social networking site. When I started using it a few years ago, […]

Understanding

August 12, 2013

A few weeks back I promised a mate I’d watch a TV programme on line that he’d referred me to. I haven’t got round to it yet, as it’s a show that seeks to disprove the value and efficacy of complementary therapies. To be honest, I’m not sure I really want to watch it, given […]

True

July 1, 2013

“We all interpreted the past how we thought it was. And we were truthful about that and honest” These were the words of Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet during an interview with him and his bandmate Tony Hadley on the radio last week. He was referring to the massive split the group had suffered caused […]

Sweet sixteens

June 24, 2013

My daughter Clara had her 16th birthday party the other evening. There were about twenty youngsters there, both girls and boys – including Adam, her younger brother. Everyone got on brilliantly. In fact, they all seem to get on famously every time they get together. For example, a number of the families went camping together […]

Shocking Phil

June 3, 2013

Just a few days ago I declared to a man called Phil that he was the most important person in my life, at that moment.  He was certainly taken aback!  And, indeed  you may think: “ Goodness me – has Chris taken a liking to a potential new, male life partner and thinking of abandoning Ingrid and […]

Roots

May 13, 2013

The black UK comedian, Lenny Henry once quipped about a response he gave to a racist comment. A man had told him to go back to where he came from – at which Henry tells us that he duly got on the next train to Dudley. I find that joke rather sad – but for […]

If you’re happy and you know it…..

April 8, 2013

“So you gave me a home and you gave me a name And you told me ‘behave like the others’ Then you sent me to school which was all about rules And I learned to pretend And so I faked my way through school And now I fake my way to you……” Opening lyrics to […]

Easter message: “I don’t care”

April 1, 2013

Recently I watched a fascinating episode of the excellent Storyville documentary series on the BBC. This particular edition was about the Anonymous movement which has arisen in recent years. I found the programme fascinating, inspiring, sinister and scary in pretty much equal measure. However, I want to focus on just the very last few seconds […]

Broken windows

March 18, 2013

I have. for many years been a great admirer of the work of Dr Marshall Rosenberg who, several decades ago, devised a new model for communication called “Non Violent Communication” (NVC). I particularly loved a story he told on one of his workshops that I attended. He had been invited into a high school somewhere […]

Observation from a Facebook forum

March 4, 2013

I regularly dip into a Facebook forum page for people with visual impairment. As is typical of such pages, people will post questions, comments, experiences and so on. Most, but not all of the subscribers to the forum are UK based and the majority seem to be white British. What I have also noticed is […]

The whopper

February 25, 2013

I did something the other day, that I hardly ever do any more – I told a whopper of a lie. I don’t feel good about that. I have found it immensely liberating in recent years to conduct myself in a totally honest way – most of the time. We often hear of studies that […]

My virtual village

February 11, 2013

Many of you reading this blog will be receiving my weekly Monday morning email prompt – this goes out to approximately 150 people, a healthy proportion of whom form the bulk of my readers along with others such as Facebook friends. In the two years-plus that I have been writing the blog, the readership has […]

Pardon? Yer what? Que?

February 4, 2013

Having worked in and around the corporate world for the vast majority of my adult life, you’d think I’d be speaking the language of “corporate-speak” fluently by now. Yet, all through my time either working full time within a major organisation or training and coaching  their people during my freelance career I’ve felt very much […]

A new flag to wave?

January 14, 2013

“Every bullet that is fired, is destined for some mother’s child”  Anon  I greatly enjoyed watching Simon Amstell’s stand up routine “Numb” on the BBC the other day. I was particularly amused and struck by his routine about flag waving. Asking where each of us comes from, he pointed out that we, every one of […]

Ripples

December 10, 2012

At the end of a particularly fun day’s work a few weeks back, I was saying goodnight to the security guard in the reception where the course had taken place. My cheeky chappy self was very much in evidence and we had a playful, jokey exchange. As I left the building, I spotted him through […]

The trouble with “win/win”

December 3, 2012

Just about every negotiation course and book nowadays talks about the importance of achieving “win/win” outcomes. On the face of it, this is laudable and desirable – both parties in the discussion get what they want. Both parties are happy. Both win. Yet, I would suggest that “win/win” outcomes only go so far. I’d even […]

Giz an incentive!

November 19, 2012

Listening to the news a few weeks back, I heard a report about the initial findings of the select committee enquiry into the LIBOR scandal within Barclays Bank. The committee chairman was quoted as saying words to the effect that “banks need to be given incentives to do the right thing in future” Incentives? Why […]

Two men and a hole – a lesson in empathy

November 5, 2012

A word that often comes up when I’m running customer care courses is empathy. However, when I challenge people to come up with a definition, especially as distinct from sympathy, they often struggle. So, I turn to a distinction I heard years ago on a motivational tape by a man called Bill O’Brien. Whilst it […]

What are you missing out on?

October 8, 2012

“[Pippa] wonders what the new DG would have said had he been allowed to finish a sentence or two.” This slightly cryptic looking sentence was a post written on Facebook a few weeks back by a buddy of mine. She was referring to a radio interview that morning with the new Director General of the […]

Scissors

September 17, 2012

The other day I couldn’t find my scissors and nigh on went into a panic about it. Thankfully, they soon surfaced.  Adam (my son) had borrowed them and promptly returned them. They are a perfectly normal  pair of small scissors. I cut things with them, as you would with any pair of scissors. I’ve had […]

Man behaving badly

September 9, 2012

Two days ago I was running one of a series of performance management days for a major public sector body. This is a mandatory programme, devised to introduce a new system to staff throughout the organization. Going round the room each participant introduced themselves and had opportunity to say how they felt about being there. […]

Greetings!

July 30, 2012

A few weeks back, a long standing friend of mine celebrated her 50th birthday – some of you reading this may know whom I’m referring to. I had it in mind to send a card, but somehow it slipped my mind. Come the day of her birthday, I be-spied a number of greetings posted on […]