About Helen

Helen Whitten

It’s six years now since I sold my business, Positiveworks, to Sixth Sense Consulting. These years have opened my eyes to all the possibilities that life offers us and how we tend to lump experiences into subjects like ‘childhood’, ‘career’, ‘marriage’, and ‘retirement’, when, in reality, each of those events has chapters, often many different chapters, that fall under the same heading.

In those first years of ‘retirement’, I continued my enjoyment of writing poetry and then, when Covid came along, I wrote a novel, No Lemons in Moscow. I never thought I would have the patience to write over 300 pages, let alone to edit, re-edit, and re-edit, those pages. But I did. So watch this space as I intend to publish, one way or another, in 2023!

And this is what I mean about discovering different aspects of oneself even later in life. I feel intuitively that there is something new developing somewhere inside me now, but I don’t know what that is yet. It reminds me of watching a small baby when they are about to crawl. They don’t know exactly what is coming, or how it will change their lives, but they start practising the movements long before they achieve the result. Some people would say that new things only happen when you are young. I disagree, I think new things can happen to us, and within us, at any stage of our lives. And in the meantime, I am putting together a new collection of poetry, The Safety of Small Things, so keep your eyes out for that next year too.

You may want to know more about my career life before you read my blogs, maybe discover my qualifications, and put my work into a context, but how does one describe oneself after retirement so that people understand the training, experiences and development that has taken one to this particular place in life? I might say woman, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, writer, poet, coach, researcher. Someone else might just describe me, were I to be hit by a bus tomorrow, as a ‘pensioner’. Hmm!

One thing I know. I have always been a writer. And here is a list of the six books that have been published in the field of my professional career as a business coach in the area of cognitive-behavioural coaching: COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOURAL COACHING TECHNIQUES FOR DUMMIES; EMOTIONAL HEALING FOR DUMMIES written with Dr David Beales; FUTURE DIRECTIONS, Developing Confidence and Emotional Intelligence in Young People written with Diane Carrington; AGE MATTERS, Employing, Managing and Motivating the Older Workforce, written with Keren Smedley; YOUR MIND AT WORK, Developing Self-Knowledge for Business Success, written with Richard Israel and Cliff Shaffran, and Reclaim Health, a recovery strategy when doctors can’t explain your symptoms with Dr David Beales, Dr Gina Johnson, Janice Benning and Julia MacDonald. See my book page for more information.

In October 2015 I had my first collection of poetry, The Alchemist’s Box, published by Morgan’s Eye Press. Having written poetry since my school days I have been very happy to receive poetry awards and had my poems published in Orbis, Acumen and other poetry journals and anthologies.

Like many women of my era, born in 1950, I didn’t go to university until I was 39, in 1989, but when I did it changed my life. I read History at King’s College, London, and then went on to study a Postgraduate in Human Resources at Thames Valley University, where I learnt that I enjoyed thinking about people’s development potential. So, having spent the first twenty years of my life in publishing, working for the Art Director of Macmillan as a picture researcher, followed by years working for the historian, Alistair Horne, as his historical researcher on The Official Biography of Harold Macmillan, I retrained. I gained qualifications in Neuro-Linguistic-Programming, and in Cognitive-Behavioural Coaching, in Rational-Emotive-Behavioural Therapy, and also in psychological profiling using the DiSC and HBDI profiles. Then set up my business Positiveworks, in 1993.

My work in Positiveworks took me all around the world, coaching and training leaders, managers, and teams in many different areas of business. So, through business and leisure, I have travelled to more than 54 countries, meeting wonderful people, and learning so much about life and the many different ways it can be lived and enjoyed.

None of us knows what is next but, whatever happens, I consider myself incredibly lucky for having had such a fascinating time and been supported all along by my wonderful sons Rupert and Oliver, my family, friends, colleagues and clients. And now I am blessed with four beautiful grandchildren. What could be better?

I hope you will find my blogs interesting and thought-provoking. Do subscribe, read, share and comment when you can.

Helen Whitten

November 2022