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How Sting Got His Songs Back

When I was a kid, our house was always filled with the sounds of The Police, Lou Reed, The Clash, Psychedelic Furs and The Cure.

But mostly The Police.

As a seven year old, having two older brothers (aged 17 and 19) meant I was more likely to be boogying down to Roxanne or Message in a Bottle than The Wombles.

So, when this TED talk (above) crossed my inbox recently, I was completely mesmorised by its relevance to my own childhood experiences – and how they too have impacted my life.

Sting reflects on his early years growing up in the shipyards of Newcastle, describing how it not only shaped the path of his future, but was also a fountain of inspiration in his work as a songwriter many years later.

He tells how one day, after living the life he had always dreamed of as a boy, the songs simply stopped coming. Going back to his home town ‘roots’ as an adult was the key to reopening the door to his creativity.

Our childhood experiences can significantly influence who we are, how we view the world (and ourselves) and why we think the way we do as adults.

What we fear, what we seek, what repels us, how we behave – these things often stem, at least in part, from our experiences growing up.

This has profound relevance to leadership.

Alfred Adler (world renowned philosopher and psychiatrist) once said that we develop our desires and drives during our childhood, then our whole adulthood becomes affected by those experiences.

Although this is stating the obvious, we often forget about it when viewing ourselves through a leadership lens.

How did your childhood shape your life and where you are today?

What attitudes and beliefs do you hold about yourself and the world that come from your childhood experiences?

How does your early life seep into your behaviour as a leader?

And when you have a spare twenty minutes, watch this moving TED talk, where Sting weaves a magical story of how his childhood shaped his destiny and gave him back his gift for song writing after a period of writer’s block.

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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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