Welcome to the World of Stories For Growth, the New Oceans Way!


Stories About Women


An apparently simple thing like what we choose to wear can have more significance than we realise. State management…. I’ll wear this because it makes me feel confident; Values & Beliefs… I’ll do well at that business meeting.

It’s our map of ourselves in the territory, it’s our rapport with ourselves, i.e. with our inner teams. We have a rainbow team inside us that co-ordinates colour with emotional state.

Congruence is balancing the spectrum, using submodalities of colours.

She dresses to match her husband/child…..V&B:- we are together/we are one/we are in rapport/ I am a picture book mother/I am young.

Dee Shipman 2012.


From where she sat, in her yellow armchair, the painting was just that - a picture on her wall.

She loved it: a seascape, almost all sea and sky.

In the foreground the water was translucent turquoise as it rose the moment before breaking onto the black rocks that edged the bottom of the canvas, just inside the frame. She knew that some people saw it as an intimation, an insinuation, of peril. But for her there was a certainty of an inlet, unseen by them, where she believed she could stand safely on the shore, between the rocks, and gaze out to sea.

And she could make that happen…. She could ‘remove’ the frame, step inside; make the painting become the world, and herself a small part of it.

Even as her conscious mind was aware of the picture as a beautiful decoration, and one of her most treasured possessions, which in a way ceased to be when it was no longer directly aware of it, her unconscious, which never slept or became unaware, knew it to be worth far more than any art gallery price.

Because she totally believed the painting to be an external image of a very special place she kept deep inside her.

It was her past , her present, and her future…………… the rocks were hard experiences on which she had sometimes nearly been wrecked, but from which she had managed to swim away. And she could imagine that there was a beach beyond the horizon and to her right, where the sun shone in her future: she would go there in her head sometimes, and look back to this coast; and her mind would create a time, a ship, the journey, all the details of how she had got here.

But mostly, the painting was her now-ness. The clouded moonlight path from sky to water - which others saw as dim sunlight on a dull day - cooled and calmed her with its eternal serenity. It gave her perspective, a universal view of oceans at the same time as being a part of its completeness - steady and sure within herself, another rock on its shore.

Then reassured, she could look away from the painting, as she was now doing, knowing it was as much part of her as she of it, and get on with the day.




FIONA was an events organiser, aged 27, who was, she said, “Desperate” to change her job. She felt that her senior line manager wasn’t allowing her to express her creativity, but said “I don’t see a way round this, and anyway, I just don’t feel I have the energy to demand more”. As a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Coach, I am trained to understand a client’s internal sensory preferences - which influence how they think - from what are called ‘sensory predicates’, the words they use to express what’s happening in their heads.

Fiona was using phrases like “see a way round this”, and “don’t feel I have the energy.”, which told me she had Visual/Kinesthetic preferences. And these were not being honoured by her line manager.

She also didn’t know how to say ‘No’, and coupled with her “not knowing what else I can do”, also showed me her ‘Away From’ preference - for Fiona the cup was usually ‘half empty’ rather than ‘half full’. She lacked self-esteem, confidence, and the realisation that actually, she already had all the resources - previous experiences - she needed to be able to do what she wanted.

My job was just to help her access these; to reframe her language, to herself and others, to become more ‘Towards’, solution rather than problem based: to get her to say what she wanted, not what she didn’t want.

Two 1 hour coaching sessions resulted in her saying ‘Yes’ to herself more, and ‘No’ more to others. She then changed to a senior executive creative role in another company as well as getting married and having a baby!

JENNIFER, an impeccably well-groomed lady in her early fifties, was, reluctantly, running her own small publishing company. It was a family business, which she’d taken over when her father had retired.

She came to me for what she originally referred to as ‘business’coaching, because she needed help to build up the company to a point where it was financially viable enough to sell it. Like Fiona, Jennifer too had a very ‘Away From’ preference - she wasn’t sure what she wanted, so much as knowing what she didn’t want…. responsibility she didn’t enjoy, and the business itself! In fact the only time her language was about wanting something it was still ‘Away From’…… “I want to get rid of the company”; “I want to get out!”

She did all the writing of articles in their magazines, and let her brother do the sales, “Because I can’t”, she told me. Working with her in three coaching sessions, we reorganised the structure of the company, helping her to reframe her responsibility to it and to the family members. She had hated what she’d been doing, but had still been what she herself called a ‘control freak’!

Together we got her to choose to step back, and encourage the family to take on different roles: she let her son do the writing and editing, her brother was allowed to take the retirement to Spain he’d thought impossible, and Jennifer took over his sales role.

She found that not only did she love selling, she was also really good at it!

Jennifer e-mailed me some time later to say that she and the business were doing so well, the company was financially viable at last, and she was enjoying it so much, that she’d decided not to sell it after all!


Cleaning Up You Act - Part 5


I remember when my Sarah Jane told me she was pregnant - I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry; to me she was still only a baby herself! Just twenty years old! And she’d always been such a quiet one.. We thought she’d never have the courage to even talk to a boy, let alone, well, you know what I mean……!

But maybe, when you meet the right person, it doesn’t need courage, or even words:- a look, a smile in a special way, and you just know inside. As my mother used to tell me

“Minnie darling, when it’s the one, your hearts will say everything you need to hear!”

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This month's featured stories

From ‘CAN DO’ to ‘CAN DID’……..!

In today’s economic climate, we all have to do more with less, and so we’re told that there’s a real and imperative need for a ‘can do’ attitude. Yet one of the most powerful secrets of business success is not just a ‘can do’ attitude, but an ability to ‘live’ your goals backwards. – in other words, to have a ‘can did!’ attitude instead…… and the ability to action it!

So here’s the secret of how to do this:-

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When I was a child, there were two constants in my life….I loved learning; and I hated school. The two were apparently incompatible – with a couple of notable exceptions.

In my Primary school it was George Breeze, the music teacher. The first time I had a lesson with him I sat reluctantly at the piano, waiting for instructions, Instruction! But he simply asked me what I wanted from music, and what it would be like when I got it. Sharing that with Mr Breeze crystallised it in my own head, and also made me feel comfortable… rapport with myself as well as with him.

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