The Gift Edition

November/December Newsletter

Dear friends of Living Teams

The festive time is nearly upon us so this month we wanted to give you all a little gift.

In the form of a story.

We all love stories don’t we?

But how often do we gift them to other people?

This month we decided to gift you 3 stories of our own.

·      Andy’s story of the gift of befriending fear.

·      Tony’s story of the gift of taking the lead

·      Pip’s story of the gift of appreciation

We hope that by telling our stories you will feel encouraged to share yours.

Thanks for listening to our stories – your listening is a gift to us.

Tony, Andy and Pip

The “Living Teams” Team


nov NL friends with fear

Fear is my friend

By Andy Denne

“It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us”. This simple sentence from Marianne Williamson’s “A Return to Love” has provoked my personal growth for 30 years.

It’s certainly a journey. When I was 28, I met fear for the first time.  I ran away – terrified.

It took me 5 years to face it.

A path of constantly “feeling the fear and doing it anyway.” Constantly dancing at the edge then emerged.

The path of trials and challenges has tested and grown me. It is both external and Internal.  It is in the “internal” journey where our light, not our darkness that most frightens us is at its most transformative and challenging.

Now at 58 I realise fear is my friend. I own my authority as a healing leader, a genuine King of my field of team coaching, a masterful tailor of social fabric.

I can feel the fear, taste the fear, hear it, smell it, see it and help you transform it.

We don’t know what lies ahead.  We do know that the path is going to be tough – and there will be fear.

People and teams will need a space they can pause, catch their breath and renew themselves. At work and at home.

All I can give is my promise.  My song. My commitment to serve, contributing in my way to provide spaces of healing and renewal – Recharging with learning, laughter and lightness. Helping us all find the path together.

And the moral of my story is “believe in yourself”.  Trust the quiet voice within.  Answer the call.  Your adventure will take you to your higher self.  When that part of you that is “afraid of the light within” dies – your life will change forever.

Is fear your enemy or is it your friend?  Facing it, gives you courage.  Befriending it – jumping when you are afraid – it makes you stronger.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.  Let us embrace our fears and transform the world together.  Fear is my friend – is it yours?

leading horse

What horses can teach us

By Tony Barton

About 10 years ago I was invited to go on an Equine Leadership course.

We can learn a lot from animals, especially super intelligent animals like horses.

One of the exercises was to lead a horse though an obstacle course whilst being observed by the other participants.

We had already learned that it was important to connect with the horse before embarking on whatever task we were given.

I did what I normally would do in order to connect with any sentient being.

I chatted with the horse and assured him that we were going to be great in this exercise and that together we made a great team, in fact we would probably have a lot of fun doing it.

The horse was not impressed.

The horse did not move.

I tried again – laying on the charm even more – come on horsey my friend, we can do this, let’s go.



Abject failure right there – me and the horse were going nowhere.

We got feedback.

“The thing is” said the horse whisperer in charge of the workshop, “the horse doesn’t know what it’s meant to do, it’s confused.

It appears that you want to make friends but frankly the horse doesn’t need you as a friend – sorry – that’s just the way it is”

“So what the heck am I meant to do then?”, I asked in frustration.

“Lead!” – said the horse whisperer – “as in lead rather than hang out with your new horsey friend!”

“Oh” I said, that sounds logical, “let me have another go”

The two of us stood at the start of the obstacle course.

I stepped ahead of the horse so it could see me as I navigated the first obstacle.

It followed.

A miracle – it actually followed.

We carried on, growing in confidence as we went –  I was “leading’ and the horse was following.

We completed the course to a round of applause.

And I never forgot that lesson.

If you want to be a leader – you need to lead!!!

There you go – that’s my gift you this festive season.

Where are you confusing your people by not being clear enough in what you want them to do  – where do you need to lead?



The gift of appreciation

By Pippa Handford

Organisations spend a lot of time and money trying to retain their top talent, yet lack of recognition and appreciation is frequently a reason why people leave. We all want to feel valued… don’t we?

I wanted to share a little story about our team.

We gathered early in November for our own Retreat. It’s rare we have an opportunity to get together in person so this time was precious.  Of course, we had lots of work to do however we also wanted to ensure there was time to enjoy just being together as a team.

We wanted to celebrate and appreciate what each of us bring to Living Teams so we decided to create an award for each team member.  Andy, Tony and I had great fun sharing ideas for the many positive attributes each member of our team brings. We then thought of little gifts we could give to bring to life the specific quality we were appreciating.

We presented our awards to the team over dinner, taking the time to let each of our team know how much we appreciated them. The gifts were silly and brought a great deal of fun and laughter. It was such a joyful 30 minutes.

Last week I asked the team how their award had made them feel……



“supported and encouraged to be braver”

“even more connected to the team”

“surprised and really chuffed – it’s given me more confidence”

Hopefully the memory of that night, their award and gift provides a lasting reminder of our appreciation. It didn’t cost a lot of money and it didn’t take a huge amount of time.

We don’t need to wait to recognise the big accomplishments either, it is just as valuable to acknowledge and appreciate the smaller contributions too. Regular recognition and appreciation can go a long way to boost morale especially during such times when employee burnout is at an all-time high. Imagine a culture that is deep rooted in appreciation?

Why not give your team the gift of appreciation this festive season?

What special fun awards would you give to your people?

Choose someone in the team to help you with deciding on the awards – it’s more fun that way!

And the great thing about this is that it will make everyone feel good and reenergise them at a time when we all need a boost.

Make time for this – you’ll be glad you did.


Screenshot 2022-11-29 at 15.52.24

Living Teams Rock Moments 

We invite you to take a couple of minutes of enjoy this months aptly named song choice….. The Story by Brandi Carlile.

We’ll see you again in the New Year but in the meantime give yourself the best gift you can – the gift of renewal.

And remember that you are the author of your story so make it a good one!

Festive greetings to you all and thank you for supporting us throughout 2022 – we couldn’t have done it without you.

Tony, Andy, Pippa and everyone else at Living Teams.

Kathy, Roxane, Vittoria, Nick, Vassilis, Dori and Miyuki.

The “Living Teams” Team