Susan's Musings

Just Thinking Out Loud

Girls and Golf

When I went along to support a Charity Golf event, I decided that the next time I went for such an event, I wanted to have the option of actually playing.  I have therefore recently started Golf lessons.

They say a lot of networking and business is done on the Golf course.  Though it’s not my motivational, it’s nice to know that I have already made a couple of friends.  As they are both learners as well we’ve started arranging to meet for extra practice time in between the formal lessons.

When I went to the Golf Club for this purpose on a late Thursday evening I noticed that there were a fair number of children – girls and boys alike – taken lessons.  Now that weren’t as many girls as there were boys, but I did begin to wonder whether this may be one of the avenues through which barriers to women in business are ultimately broken down.

So may I ask – does your daughter play Golf? 🙂


Copyright 2013. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated


The Eyes of a Child

I know it’s probably not the end, but I’m glad that there has been a ceasefire called in Gaza..

Even though I have studied it from the perspectives of history, academia and the Bible, I’ve I never fully understood the issue of  The West Bank. I hear people

speak of Israel’s right to defend itself; the folly of Palestinians imprisoned in their own homes and all the other common arguments and I must say –  I don’t believe it’s a simple case of right or wrong.  Sadly it’s inevitable that if things are viewed in simplistic terms there can be no lasting progress.

I find this completely disheartening because one of the worse things as far as I’m concerned is the image of destroyed homes with young children looking wide eyed at what used to be their homes.  I observe them and wonder what long term impact these images will have on their minds.  Will they lead them by miracle to say ‘no more’ or will it lead to a hate and a desire for revenge in their latter years.

I hope that the ceasefire can somehow last, but for that to really occur people need to take the time to understand other people’s point of view, look beyond themselves and compromise.  After all these years of false starts it seems almost impossible but once in a while miracles do occur and there are things that the yes of a child should truly never see.


Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

The Good and Bad in Us ALL

When the Jimmy Savile scandal first broke, I had no idea how bad things were, but I knew there were bad – the abuse of anyone is bad, the abuse of a child is heinous. So for someone to abuse numerous young people over an extended period of time with impunity ….. words cannot express.

It’s also astounding that normally when someone is accused of a crime – even if they are caught red handed the crimes are referred to as allegations until proven in a court of law. I know Savile is dead and cannot be tried, but even though people may question the extent of his crimes, people are quite categoric about his guilt.

Even his nephew, Roger Foster who originally started of by stating that “The guy hasn’t been dead for a year yet and they’re bringing these stories out. It could affect his legacy, his charity work, everything. I’m very sad and disgusted,” has now come to a different conclusion.

He is now quoted as having stated that, “I cannot understand for the life of me how a guy that did so much good in his life – with the work that he did, his charity work, his trusts, the people that he helped – could have such a dark side to him that nobody knew about.”

Going on to state that “I have this memory of what the man was like, what he meant to me as a person. I still have part of me proud of him, not proud of the way things have turned out, but proud of the things that he did in trying to help other people.  I am so absolutely devastated and disappointed that this dark side is the side that he will be remembered for.”

The only thing is whilst his nephew has now reached the point of accepting the wrong that he’s uncle did, he still talk about a part of him that is still proud of Savile.  I guess this is because of the good that he did.  The only thing is the more that is revealed the more the question arises as to whether there was actually much good in Jimmy Savile as he’s motives are now questionable. Was he really out to Fix It and make the wishes of children come true or was he just using the programme as a means to evil ends?

This question is heightened by a statement of Paul Gambaccini a Radio DJ  who stated that “On another occasion, and this cuts to the chase of the whole matter, he was called and he said ‘well you could run that story, but if you do there goes the funds that come in to Stoke Mandeville – do you want to be responsible for the drying up of the charity donations’. And they backed down.”

It’s not just the threat, it’s what we choose to believe – can someone that does so much good, do wrong, such that Esther Rantzen stated “You see, one child’s word against the word of a television icon, one who was renowned for raising money for charity, who knew everyone from the Prime Minister to Princess Diana, who was knighted by the Queen and the Pope, I think no single complainant dared speak out before.”

It actually goes further, a couple of weeks back, I met an older lady at a supermarket. We ended up talking about the case.  She mentioned that she had met Savile several times as she had a son at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. She went on to say, there was also something about him that she didn’t like that led her to avoid him, she went on to comment on the evil that he did – concluding on the note – but he did so much good – he was just a great philantrophist.

It reminds me of the comment that someone interviewed made about Lance Armstrong following on from the revelations about him – “I’m disappointed in him but I still think he’s one heck of an athlete”

The truth is yes, there is good and bad in all of us and it should be acknowledged, but when I see the media continuing to show photographs of Savile with a grin and/or swaggering around with a cigar drooping from his mouth i.e. the celebrity image.  I wonder whether they have truly come to terms with the gravity of his crimes.  After all, when someone is accused of a crime, the media normally look for the ugliest possible photo of the person that they can find so that people know how evil the person is – even though the person has not been proven guilty.

With Savile there seems to be no doubt, so whilst we recognise that there is good and bad in us all, I’d like to request that the media reconsider the photos of him that they show and the image that it portrays. i.e. that he is possibly still someone to be celebrated.


Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated




Beyond the Man in The Mirror




There’s a lot to be said about looking in the mirror and seeing yourself for who you are – warts and all and working to improve upon yourself or even just accepting yourself as you are.

This week I was, however, reminded that there is also a time to look beyond the mirror. To listen and accept the positive things that other people have to say of you, to accept the good that they see in you and what you do– even if in your mind it represents a magnified view of you.

It reminds me of the words of a young man who was mentored by Usher who said of Usher, “ he believed in me until I was forced to believe in myself”

I believe that as you begin to believe and take steps towards becoming that “magnified” image, even if it’s sometimes scary, there is a strong possibility that you just might become that great person that others see.

And everyone wants to be the best that they can be – don’t they?


Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

We are Punished for Our Virtues


I have a fascination for tattoos and what they mean to the bearers. I mean what leads people to get images or words engraved on their bodies when everyone says that the process is rather painful.

I did once think that if I was to get married, instead of a wedding ring, I would be nice to get a tattoo of a wedding ring. The only thing is I would have to find someone crazy enough to want to do the same thing.  Besides it’s a painful process and I don’t like pain.

However, I remain fascinated by tattoos and the more I observe the imagery, read the wording or ask people about the meaning of their tattoos and the reason for getting them the more intrigued I become.  Maybe one day I’ll right a book.

This thinking was reinforced early today when in a casual conversation I noticed the tattoo on a man’s arm – “We are punished for our virtues.” (Fully quote, : We are punished for our virtues: we are only ever truly forgiven for our errors ?#Nietzsche” – I looked it up) Asked why he got the tattoo he explained that he went through a very difficult period of live which included going through a divorce and therefore got the tattoo.

On a more positive note he explained that he was planning on getting a tattoo on his other arm that symbolized rebirth and new beginning with the hope and belief that his life had/would soon turn around.


Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.


Communication Breakdown

It’s now over 10 years since I virtually work up one morning and decided to book myself on a holiday to Japan.  My original plan was to go by myself , however, a friend intrigued by the idea asked if she could come along and we went along together.

I must say, I was really and truly pleased that she came because aside from the fact that she is generally good company, it was the first place that I ever visited where most of the people I encountered spoke very little English. Whilst her task for the trip was to make all the arrangements and decide on the must go places to visit, for some reason I was given the task of learning Japanese.  I task that I failed miserably at achieving.  As a result we spent a lot of time bowing to people, smiling and pointing to things.

The exception was when we were introduced to people who were referred to as English experts. Then we had the opportunity to speak English, the only thing is sometimes the expertise of the experts was quite limited.

Under such circumstances I found myself adopting a very bad and to be honest rude habit – I would speak louder or speak slower as if that would really make any difference.

I was reminded of this recently during a conversation that I had with an associate when I got frustrated at my inability to get my point across and ended up having a rather frustrating conversation.

There were three key points that I learnt from this conversation:
•    People have different communication styles. Adapt your communication style to your audience. You have more of a responsibility of communicating in a manner that is clear to them than they have of interpreting and understanding your message
•    If the person that you are speaking to does not agree with or understand the point that you are trying to make, no matter how frustrated you may be, repeating the point several times will not make any difference. Neither will speaking slowly or shouting.
•    No matter how important your message is, if the person you are speaking to is not receiving, don’t try and force it down the person’s throat.

Selah ?

Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

Just Keep on Moving

I drove down to Milton Keynes Shopping Centre earlier today for a meeting with Waterstones about my new books.

I hadn’t realised that the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile was taking place in the City Centre.  This led to some closed roads and the need to do a bit of meandering to get a parking spot.

Having parked my car I walked towards the shops only to get caught trying to cross the road by some of the event’s participants running along the road.

Being that it was such a lovely afternoon and I had plenty of time on my hands, I stood relaxed waiting for the participants to pass by, listening to the beating of the African drums being played by the side of the road as it did so.

As I stood watching it was fascinating to see the diversity of the participants from those in costumes to the other participants of different ages – parents with children and people just going along by themselves.  There were those that were running and also those just walking along. There was even a lady with a pushchair.

All of them were just walking towards a destination at their own individual paces.  As they finally all passed by and I crossed the road, I found myself thinking – as we all go in the new week, let’s keep on moving by whatever means necessary, regardless of whatever odds we may encounter.


Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

Basketball & Drums

I was at a game of Basketball – MK Lions against  the Leicester Raiders on Friday.  Unfortunately, MK Lions didn’t win – we lost by a miserly 3 points. I’m not going to give you a full analysis of the game,, but I must say it was a good game – full of energy both from the players and the supporters.

I specific mention the supporters, because like most basketball teams the Lions have a drummer who beats a drum as the game goes on.  When every the Lions  have the ball the supporters chant Lions to the beat of the drum, whilst when the opposing team has the ball, they chant defence.

At the last game I attended the drummer wasn’t around and the whole atmosphere was subdued.  I tried to get the supporters to chant lions and defence as the opposing team beat their drum but it didn’t work.  I couldn’t get a chant going – it was like trying to breathe to someone else’s heartbeat.

You see to me the beating drum is like a heart beat with the supports creating an atmosphere that spur the players on. Yes, the players would still probably play well without the support of the drum and the chants of the supporters, but I believe that the support system provides something extra – inspiration; a sense of belief and purpose; strength to push on against the odds or when tired.  Haven’t you noticed that in sports teams often do best in front of a home crowd?

The truth is in life, we all need a good support system to spur us on i.e. those special people who provide us with inspiration or whatever it is that we need to take us on through both the good times and the bad.  As I continually develop and grow I’m constantly reviewing my support system, in order to try and ensure that I have what I need to help propel me forward as I’ve come to  recognise that I’m no way an island and I just can’t make it on my own.

Reflecting back on the game, maybe one of the reasons why Leicester Raiders had an edge over us in the game is that not only did they come with their own drum, they also had a supporter with a little microphone who stood in front of the Leicester supporters spurring them on to support the Raiders. And the Raiders truly did raid us, scoring the winning 3 points just as the game to an end.


Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

Happy Valentine's Day – or what should I call this?

The prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets.The prettiest eyes have cried the most tears. And the kindest hearts have felt the most pain ~ Will Smith

 I must say – last Sunday was surreal.  I woke up too early at 5.30am. Playing around with Twitter on my IPhone I noticed that Whitney Houston was trending.  Strange, I thought, as I’d been playing the “Waiting to Exhale” CD just before I went to bed.

The news that Whitney had passed away left me feeling void. I quietly read the growing commentary and listened to the news as she was eulogised. Later that morning, I noticed that Bobby Brown had started trending. Largely it was people raining insults on him and blaming him for Whitney’s death.  Sad I thought – he may not have been the best influence on her, but he was Whitney’s choice.  Besides which, it’s over 4 years since they’ve been divorced so ……

Whitney’s passing was really enough for one day, but it does not reflect the totality of what made my day surreal. You see later that evening I noticed from online messages that people were searching for someone within my network who had left messages on his Facebook page that indicated that he was contemplating suicide. Looking at the recent history of his communications, the signs were there that he had been crying out for help.  Unfortunately, it seemed that no one had picked up upon the extent of his distress.   Fortunately his attempted suicide failed as he was found on time – he is now in hospital.  The messages of love, support and appreciation of him as a person are now pouring in.

If not for the actions of those that went on a search for him, those messages could, however, have been for another person – highly valued and appreciated but lost to the world. He or we depending on how you view things was/were (respectively) lucky, blessed, fortunate or what have you.

The problem is it’s a tough world. I said this to a friend yesterday and her response was – “and it’s getting tougher.”  It seems that when things get tough our natural response is often to knuckle down and focus on sorting ourselves out – leaving others to take care of themselves. Fair enough you might say, but aren’t we supposed to be strongest when we pull together?

Even though I’m both an introvert and a very private person, I know that I’ve best overcome problems by talking to someone that I trust about the situation. At the very least the conversation has helped to put things into perspective. More often than not the conversation has generated an idea or two, which has helped to move me forward.

Yet in conversation, on the odd occasion I have mischievously responded to the question “how are you?” by responding not very well.  Because the person that I ‘ve been speaking to has expected the response of “fine, thank you” more often than not they have responded to what they expected to hear rather than what I have actually said.  Now, I know that the example I’ve given is just of me being mischievous, but how often do we miss the underlying message of what it is that people are actually saying to us when we talk to them. Not so much because we don’t care, but more because we’re caught up with our own lives and challenges.

I believe that now more than ever is the time for us to look out for each other. To let the people around us know that we care, that they are precious and will make it through whatever it is that they may be going through. In fact, people don’t need to be facing a challenge to need support– at times it’s about the strength to face the churn of everyday life or the courage and confidence to achieve a goal and move on to the next level of success.

I’m writing this on St Valentine’s Day – a jolly good day to make a start, I’d say. However please do remember the people that may be struggling and in need of a friend, a hug or a simple smile are not always the most obvious. I’ve seen a person crying virtually unnoticed in a crowded room. The single person next door may actually be content in his or her singleness. Yet I’m still struck by the story of the person who told me that the worst form of loneliness is crying yourself to sleep each night, due to the person sleeping next to you.

I think  that ultimately the key is to learn to listen to both what is said and what is not without judging or assuming.

Selah ~ Happy Valentine’s Day People! 🙂

Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

Going Local

Just before Christmas, I was told about a local Farm shop which is said to have some very good supplies.  I wanted to immediately rush along and see what they have in store but I was put off by the snow.  Subsequent to that the past few weekends have been exceptionally busy so I haven’t had the chance to visit.  However this Saturday I will be driving down to Wakefield Farm Shop with a big smile on my face. You see one of the many reasons why I moved to Milton Keynes almost eight years ago was in order to explore the countryside and buy groceries from local farm shops. As of yet, I’m yet to fully exploit the opportunities offered by the various farm shops, but it’s never to late.

Beyond the general desire, whilst I believe it’s also important to support local producers and suppliers. You see whilst I reognise, accept and even see some of the benefits of the global economy that we now live in, I believe that local is still important and if we want it to survive we need to give it support.

The only thing is whilst we have a responsibility to support local suppliers, they simultaneously have a responsibility to provide high quality products and services that meet the reasonable requirements of the public. They also need to help us to help them and not assume that we should automatically support them because they are local.

I say this specifically because I recently received a call from a local business. The caller told me about the services that he offers and highlighted the fact that he was local.  I told him that I already had suppliers but was happy for him to send me details just in case. He asked me whether my current suppliers were local.  I explained to him the criteria that I used to determine the suppliers that I use – beyond the basic fact that they are local.  He continued talking, reminding me that he was local. He seemed to punctuate every sentence with the word local.

I ended the call by asking him to email details of his website so that I could refer to his services if I had a need. He did so. I had a quick look at the website, it had some basic text on it and nothing more. Now for a business that provide services in the creative space, I thought this was unacceptable and was left asking – did he really expect me to buy from him simply because he is local?


Copyright 2011. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

About The Author

Susan Popoola

Susan is a Human Resources Capital Optimisation Specialist specialising in areas inclusive of Talent Management with additional interest in a number of other areas inclusive of Education, Community and Social Justice.

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