John-Paul Flintoff: Everybody needs a Marie

how to change the world

Everybody needs a Marie

By John-Paul Flintoff

Four years ago something remarkable and wonderful happened to me.

I published a book called How To Change The World and a woman got in touch out of the blue to tell me how good it was, and how it could help her country, Greece. (I still find it a bit weird to write that sentence.)

As it happened, I told her, the book was going to be published in Greece. So she said I should ask my Greek publisher to get me onto the line up to speak at TEDx Athens, then (and maybe still) the biggest TED event outside California. I called the publisher, and they duly made some calls, but the event was only two weeks away and the line up was fixed. Feeling obliged to this enthusiastic and supportive woman I called to let her know the disappointing news.

But Marie Efpraxiadis wasn’t so easily put off. She contacted the organisers herself. I have no idea what she said but suddenly I was on the line up.

I loved going to Athens, being photographed and interviewed, meeting some wonderful people, and hearing that some of them found my talk useful and even inspiring.

None of this would have happened without the strong and active support of Marie. Everyone needs a Marie! But you can’t ask for a Marie – she has to spontaneously present herself. And I think that this means we all get the opportunity, every so often, to present ourselves as a supportive, enthusiastic Marie to someone else.

Lucky us.

Postscript. One way I’m doing that is by training people to speak. More here.

Posted: November 23, 2016


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