Wendy Kendall

And I said to her, when I grow up, I'm going to be a scientist. Now, I grew up in a little cotton mill and my mum worked in a chippy and my dad worked in a battery factory. This kid turning round and kind of declaring I'm going to be a scientist. And I remember her looking in the rear view mirror at me and going, "Oh right then. You just keep thinking that love." And I was like at five, "I think I will keep thinking that then. That sounded like encouragement to me."

Wendy Kendall

 

Wendy Kendall.JPG

Our 77th episode is with Wendy Kendall.

 

Theme: Follow your passion and stay with it till it works out.

 

We talk about: 

🧠 Helping people embrace highly disruptive transitions.
🧠 Inspiring psychologists to have valuable and sustainable practices.
🧠 And how she announced at 5 that she was going to be a scientist.

 

Bio

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Formerly a military psychologist, Wendy recognised key parallels between the strategies for high impact military leadership performance and transitioning influential corporate leaders across international borders. 

Her business, founded in 2003, creates executive leadership tools and programs for global companies enabling them to better capitalise on their employees' talents and measure talent return on investment. 

In 2018, she started to mentor other psychologists through group and individual coaching to develop valuable, fulfilling, and sustainable practices that contribute to society. 

She now helps psychologists across the world to collaborate, innovate, and inspire the next generation of psychology practitioners.

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Michelle:

Okay. Thank you ever so much for joining us today Wendy. Did you know what you wanted to be when you were a little girl?

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Wendy:

I take it you mean when I grew up? Cause when I was a little girl, I just was a little girl.

 

Michelle:

Oliver wanted to be a dinosaur!

 

Wendy:

I probably wanted to be all sorts. So there's a funny story about that because I remember, gosh I must have been really little, maybe five or four or five years old. That's before my sister was born. So, four or five years old and I was stood on the back seat of the car as you do back in those days as you did back in those days. I think we were waiting outside a factory for my dad to come out. I can just remember kind of standing on this bench seat at the back of this car and kind of having my arms and looking out the back of the back window. Kind of turning my head round and saying,...my mum was sat in the driver's side, obviously she'd driven the car there.

 

And so I can see her face in the rear view mirror. And I said to her, when I grow up, I'm going to be a scientist. Now, I grew up in a little cotton mill and my mum worked in a chippy and my dad worked in a battery factory at this point. This kid turning round and kind of declaring I'm going to be a scientist. And I remember her looking in the rear view mirror at me and going, Oh right then. You just keep thinking that love. And I was like at five, I think I will keep thinking that then. That sounded like encouragement to me. But to be fair, I didn't really continue on that. I mean I, you know, I was the kid that was always crying at the front of the class during maths because I couldn't get the blinking sums right. And then I loved English lit and art and drama and music and all of those things.

 

So I didn't know what to do when I went into my A Levels. Yeah. So then I didn't really know what I wanted to do when it came to do my degree and everything. So went to the cinema with a boyfriend and it was when Silence of the Lambs was out. Some I'm sat there, watching this film about the serial killer, and Clarice Starling came to the end of a path. And at the side there was this sign and I must watch this film again to actually verify my own story. But, there was a sign at the side that said something like Centre for the Behavioural Sciences. I thought that just sounds wicked!

 

So next thing, paper prospectuses, you know, you had a library of paper prospectuses at the time and managed to find a couple of degree courses that were behavioural science and that's what I went to do. So ultimately I came full circle back around to the little girl who was five years old telling her mum that she wanted to be a scientist when she grew up. So I was a little bit prescient apparently.

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Michelle:

No, it's interesting because I remember watching that film the first time, so we weren't quite old enough to go to the cinema, so we had to wait for it. So we're sitting in a really...my friend had a farm, well she didn't, her dad had a farm and upstairs it was quite creaky and creepy and it was almost they built a house and they built a bit onto the side of it so you were kind of walking up and down, really creaky, dark in the middle of the sort of Berwickshire countryside black as day. Me and her all huddled up, under a blanket, probably 15 years old watching this film. I was similar to you. I was like, Oh, that's amazing! So between that and Cracker...

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Wendy:

Yeah. Cracker was on when I was at uni. So then I felt cool. Oh, and then you got, Oh my goodness. If you thought as a psychologist that, you know, it's bad when you tell people your job and people make assumptions about what you do. Then during the time of Cracker being on the tele, it was even worse.

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Michelle:

Brilliant. Brilliant show. I don't know whether it's aged very well. I think it's probably not.

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Wendy:

I don't think I've ever seen an episode of it again, since it was on the TV.

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Michelle:

No, I'm sure it still exists somewhere.

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Wendy:

Yeah it will be on YouTube or somewhere like that.

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Michelle:

Yeah possibly. It might be the next investigation. So, you doing your behavioural science degree. Whereabouts in the country were you?

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Wendy:

South Wales.

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Michelle:

Okay. And then then what was next?

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Wendy:

Well then again I was clueless and so, end of third year, gosh, I ended up in the assessment centre for the civil service and just finally decided and got back down to like the final assessment centre before I really thought this is not going to be for me. So I remember phoning up or emailing or something and saying, I've decided to withdraw and they were quite offended. I'm sorry, I don't think it's what I want to do. So again, just walking past the notice board in the department and there was a flyer pinned there for Cranfield and it said, do you want to have flying lessons while you do your master's degree? And I thought, hell yes.

 

So it was advertising the MSc in applied psychology. And it was part of the college of aeronautics at the time. The applied psychology unit was within the college of aeronautics. And so that started sounding quite cool then. So we're going from kind of Silence of the Lambs to Top Gun. Yeah. And so that was sounding cool again. And then it was saying, we go up in airplanes and we do disorientation flights and you can have some flying lessons. And it's all very cool. So I remember going to my third year tutor and she said to me, what are you going to do? And I said, I'm thinking of applying for that master's degree, but I don't think I'll get in. So I didn't know. And she said, dear lady, she said to me, well, I can guarantee you if you don't apply for it, you definitely won't get in. Oh yeah. You're right.

 

So I did. And actually it was pretty straightforward to be quite honest. And so I turned up at the college of aeronautics in 1995. Initially, I was quite excited because Cranfield at the time was nine guys for every one woman. So you can imagine it's going to be an awesome year ahead of us. And when we turned up there, we realised they were all engineering geeks and we were pretty crestfallen at the outset of the year. So it was a course of 10 more or less 10 women, I think 10 women, one man. And those of us who didn't have a boyfriend or a partner at the beginning of the year, by the end of the year we'd all met our life partners. So many pairings around the world of psychologists with aeronautical or other engineers because of going to Cranfield and we couldn't work out whether it was just that by the end of the year we had found the little gemstones or whether we'd just lowered our standards.

 

So I've still got lots of kind of really good friends around the world where we all kind of met at Cranfield and where they're all still happily married with their hubbies that they met during that year. So it was an amazing year really.

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Michelle:

That's brilliant. People will be applying to Cranfield in their droves after this!

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Wendy:

Now that's 25 years ago now. So I'm not vouching for the quality now, but we used to say like, no one tells you it's essentially a dating site. Mind you, I mean really plugging into some stereotypes here about going to university to find a hubby and which I didn't at all. Just a funny year. A very funny year. It's a very strange place Cranfield. Wonderful and strange.

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James:

Cranfield school of matchmaking. A new faculty.

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Wendy:

Exactly. Exactly.

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Michelle:

Awesome. When you graduated with your master's, did you know what was next?

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Wendy:

Well, I had done my master's thesis with the school of management and that had been linked to potentially doing a PhD with them and it would have been a really cool PhD to do. It was doing it with someone called professor Gerry Johnson who was a strategy guru. And wrote a very famous kind of strategy book and it would have been like a really cool PhD. But as I went through the assessment process for doing this PhD, I remember going to the interview and they were asking me all kinds of questions and one of the questions they asked was how is this work that you're doing? Which was looking at the lessons we can learn from the aviation system and behaviour in the aviation system and how can we apply it to corporate decision making? And they asked me this question about how are you going to expand on that and how is it going to be relevant to organisations? And I couldn't tell them.

 

And I realised the reason I couldn't tell them is because I had never been in a corporation. I was 22 years old and I'd never worked in a big company. So the idea of spending another three or four years becoming some kind of ivory tower expert in that when I'd never actually done it, I was really questioning why I would, whether it was really the right thing to do, whether it was the right decision for me. So I ended up applying again. At the time the British Psychological Society had a nice paper jobs booklet it sent out every month with its monthly magazine. And again, just by the by, they happened to be advertising for positions with the ministry of defence. And again, I read some of the things that people worked on. I was like, Oh yeah, that sounds really interesting. I'll go and do that for a little while.

 

So I ended up becoming a military psychologist for seven years and that it was fascinating to be fair, the kind of things that we ended up working on. My first project out of college was, and bearing in mind this was again 24 years ago now, was helping to integrate dismounted infantry, soldiers on foot, into a distributed, interactive virtual reality system. So it was properly cutting edge technology and I ended up going to New Mexico to a virtual reality conference back then and going to visit the various kind of engineers that were working on that and just trying to figure out how could we get these jobs represented within virtual environments. And I mean, VR is really coming to the fore now. I mean, thinking about where it is now for military applications it probably is where it needs to be, but 25 years ago you can forget about it.

 

So yeah, it was really interesting and we were pushing the boundaries of technology of what we could really do with that at the time. Yeah, I did all sorts of things. I think the second project was working for the chaplain general looking at values and standards in the army. Entirely different. Yeah, I did Air Accident Investigation for a bit. All sorts.

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Michelle:

It's a really good grounding, I suppose, for any psychologist isn't it? So possibly that the good and bad that big corporates have to offer?

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Wendy:

I think the theme that has run through my career, starting with working in the British Army and then going and developing my own consultancy and so on is this element of how do you help people embrace highly disruptive transitions. So, you know, when the proverbial hits the fan, how do you help people not just cope, but actually hit the ground running and thrive in it. And so yeah, that was something that struck me. So I ended up having the opportunity to move overseas and in all just real naivety, I just said, well, I'll set up my own business then and hadn't got a clue really about what that meant. But just kind of got stuck in. And one of the things that we did when we moved, because we were moving with my husband's job and his employer, a big organisation, it centres on this one or two day training course for learning how to live in France. And I mean he's French. I'd been with him for a while then. I've got all my in-laws are French. So we were a little bit curious as to what we were going to learn that was going to be ground breaking for us. 

 

And what I realised, they started telling us about all this U-shaped integration curve. So people experience these brand new environments they go into a bit of a depression, a bit of a slump, and then they finally climb out of it. And that's what this U-shaped integration curve essentially meant. And I was looking at that thinking, well, it's a flipping good job we didn't teach soldiers that they have to go through a U-shaped integration curve when they get deployed overseas so is this really relevant? Well, how about teaching us how to hit the ground running? How about teaching us how to use this as something that's transformational? Cause we're looking for better. We're not doing this so that it can be a bit crap and eventually we'll crawl out of the slump. It's not the most inspirational message I've ever received at the beginning of a project or a life change.

 

So yeah, that's what eventually ended up kind of stimulating and underpinning the work that I did with corporates then, which was helping people in corporates to hit the ground running when there's been a radical shift in their environment. Yeah.

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Michelle:

Hmm. So that's you in France setting up your business coaching mostly?

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Wendy:

Well, no...tonnes of assessments. So loads of development and assessment centres and then a lot on corporate mentoring. So we did about seven or eight years accompanying Airbus in setting up and integrating and really kind of spreading across the company, their corporate mentoring program. Kind of doing that so that it really worked and delivered something beneficial to the company.

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Michelle:

So what was the reason why you chose to set up on your own rather than trying to find job in France?

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Wendy:

Oh, well I went for an interview. So I sent out a CV to the one place where I thought they might want someone like me and I got an interview. So I flew over there and it was the most diabolical interview process I'd ever experienced. Just casting my mind back. Have I ever had a worse interview experience? I really don't think I have. So it was a series of unstructured chats with people just literally being taken from one office to the next and parked in front of people, asked a random series of questions, and had some quite catty comments. So there's obviously a bit of a dynamic of do they don't they want this kind of person? Does your face really fit around here? You know, it wasn't entirely comfortable. And I came out at the end of the day and got in the airplane and went home. And I thought, Oh God, what am I going to do if I get offered a job there now?

 

Anyway, fortunately they didn't like me either. I thought, well, okay then I can go in to set up my own business. And so I just did it. I just thought, I don't even know what I thought. I must have thought something along the lines of how hard can it be?! But it was genuinely from a naΓ―ve place. But I think sometimes that's the best way to do it. Cause if you really knew what it was going to require, for me anyway, it might have scared me. So, yeah. And I think that the naivety of learning those lessons. So, you know, I went into everything with a fresh perspective, let's say. Absolutely unschooled and I think what I learned is that there were so many things I did in the early days, which were actually instinctively not far off to be quite honest.

 

And so, one of the things I did for example, so apart from doing psychology things, I ended up importing and selling horse food. Love horses. So, we'd gone over there and we have some horses in the field and I wanted food for them. I couldn't find the food I wanted. So I ended up importing horse food. And as part of that I started setting up a newsletter and this was on like Microsoft Publisher and I was writing little articles and then basically emailing it straight from my email account. So no involvement of anything like MailChimp. So it was properly homespun and within a few weeks I got up to over 200 subscribers. I mean this was me doing nothing. Do you know what I mean? And I think I did a lot of things just because it felt like a logical step and because it was something I was interested in and something I enjoyed doing.

 

And I think there's a flip side to it. One is that it makes you do things that are just kind of instinctive and then they work out. And on the other side, I think the downside of that naivety was that I didn't have a measuring stick that said, actually this is going pretty well. And so probably got a bit disillusioned with some things before I should have done. Like I remember stopping doing that newsletter because I wanted other people to write some of the articles and I couldn't get them to do it. And I thought, Oh, flipping heck I'm having to write a blinking article, all these articles. Whereas if I just got stuck into it, actually it was asking for a kind of regional English language, regional horse related publication in France and that could have been really nice. Probably somebody could still go and do it. Maybe I'll do it next year when I go back. Set up a horse magazine in France in English language.

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Michelle:

That would be lush.

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James:

It would. Should try to come up with a title but my brain's blank. We'll get back to you.

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Wendy:

Well at the time, I called it 05 Horses because it's the telephone region zero five, it starts with "zero cinq." And I also I had five horses at the time. And five horses is kind of the minimum because what happens is you get one but you can't just have one so you have to have two because they get lonely. But if you have two, they pair bond and they don't like letting one another out of sight. So then if you take one out, the other one goes doolally. So you ended up....So I had two...and then said, right, well we'll get another one, we'll get a pony for the kids. Well that came as a BOGOFF. A buy one get one free. So then I had four but then they both pair bonded. So you've got two twos then. So then really what you need is five because then at least there's a bit more fluidity in the herd. So the minimum number of horses you can have, and I think a lot of people ended up with five as the minimum. We're all overrun with them. That's a proper anecdote that.

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Michelle:

So funny! We've got two degus. I saw a picture. And Oliver wanted a pet and we kind of did some research and they were easy and not particularly hard work.

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Wendy:

Yeah, they're cute as well.

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Michelle:

They're really adorable and cute. And they live quite a long time as well.

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Wendy:

Yeah, that's what you want.

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Michelle:

And so, we found this pitch, this little video on Instagram, so the degus have got their own Instagram channel. Of course. So the degus breeding site was putting these pictures of baby degus on and I've literally gone, Oh, we need a man degu to make some baby degus. I'm like, no, no!

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Wendy:

You're going to be overrun with them.

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Michelle:

Lots of little creatures. But yes, if we could get away with it, we'd probably have like a whole house full of them. They're very, very sweet. They're not horses. Horses are very hard work and expensive to feed and I'd love one, but yeah, or five!

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Wendy:

Well the expense of it was part of the reason for starting to import it and everything else. So yeah. Could sell it but essentially buy it at cost price then for your own horses. Anyway, it was fun. And you know, it's a business that is about personal contact with people. So literally driving around to different kinds of stud farms and professional yards and things like that and having to be in contact with people. And we managed to get...actually claim to fame. So my friend Doug and Tanya have a son called Tom. Tom Carlisle and Tom Carlisle's now one of the top eventers in the world. But at the time he was an 18 year old lad and I was actually the first person who got him any sponsorship. From the company that I was importing food from. So, we met, made lots of friends and had some fun and yeah.

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Michelle:

Doug and Tanya, I think, did I meet them?

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Wendy:

Yes. You may have done in France. Was it in France?

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Michelle:

Yeah.

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Wendy:

Would have been in France. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. They came to dinner, didn't they? Yeah.

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Michelle:

Such a small world.

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Wendy:

I mean, their story is so interesting as well because Tom was a talented teenager and got put on a development programme in France for eventing along with his mate Astier. Doug ended up kind of taking early retirement from Airbus and setting up a business and they really worked hard. I mean, they really, really followed their passion and worked really, really hard and went through the global financial crisis with it. So it wasn't easy. And just at the point where they were looking at...well where they were having a really hard time, let's say. Tom went and won a double world championship in young horse eventing. The first time anyone had won both of the world championship classes in one year. And then things changed overnight for them. So talk about a story of kind of following your passion and staying with it until it works out. And now he's doing all sorts of things. Yeah, there's all sorts of stories with them. I'll have to get them on your podcast.

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Michelle:

Oh wow I was thinking yes. As James has got the French podcast as well.

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Wendy:

Oh yeah. Get Tom on your French podcast. I'm volunteering him. Tom probably would be like that, get lost Wendy. Probably not spoken to him for 10 years.

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Michelle:

Awesome. Awesome. So you were in France doing a bit of assessment and development work with the psychology.

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Wendy:

And mentoring.

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Michelle:

And mentoring.

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Wendy:

And selling horse food.

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Michelle:

And your side hustle, making lots of friends. So why did you come back?

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Wendy:

Oh, different things. So it's 2013. So 2012 was a really busy year and it was really good. But then within four months of one another, my mum and my aunty died and they were kind of the matriarchs in the centre of the family. And also the children were getting to an age where they were teenagers and they were thinking of coming back and wanting to do university. And the husband's project was coming to an end and he was going to have to find a new position within the company. And we just said, why don't we go and spend some time living in the north again?

 

So I hadn't lived in the North of England and been close-ish to family for 20 years at that point, I think. So we just got the chance to do that. Herve put in for a transfer with work, got a job over here in North Wales and got the kids both in school and just carried the company across the border essentially. Shut down the limited company in France and opened up a limited company here. And it was my thing. So my thing, the highly disruptive transitions I was mostly helping with was moving across international borders. So I had no excuse for not making a good go of it. So yeah.

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Michelle:

Awesome. And then it was another couple of years before you designed...

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Wendy:

The practice accelerator. Yeah. So I think what had happened was with all that kind of transition. So I had been doing a lot of associate work and I'd been kind of outgrowing the main partnership that I was working in. And it was getting to a point where I was really feeling like the magician's assistant and then I had the experience of my business partner basically having promised how we would share, having had an agreement of how we would share projects, suddenly decided to do a 180 on it and change the terms of how we were working together. And I just thought to myself, you've made yourself too kind of dependent on one individual here in terms of getting your work in. Cause I was mainly working in partnership but I wasn't an employee and I was building that brand but I wasn't building my own brand.

 

And I thought, well I really need to work more on that. So ended up putting a lot of effort into learning about marketing and learning about how to get online. And I had been doing stuff on LinkedIn already for quite a long time, but I guess because of that effort I had other colleagues and other psychologists get in touch with me and say, well how are you doing that? And how are you using your LinkedIn profile? And how are you writing things for your website? And so on. And it made me realise that as psychologists we don't get a lot of that training. It's getting a little bit better. And I think there are also some elements of marketing and sales and things that for some psychologists, or for us maybe as a professional even, don't necessarily fit with our values or how we position psychological services.

 

So I started developing my own ideas about how we could be a bit more psychologically aligned in terms of the content. So, with the coach that I had at the time, I was mulling over this idea of should I do a kind of summer school for psychologists where we kind of worked through some of this stuff for themselves. And I was in a mastermind programme at the time and I thought this is quite a nice format actually. So maybe I'll have a go at setting up a mastermind. I'll just see if anybody's interested. So I put together a webinar, which I can't even remember the name of now. It was something like creating, I can't even remember what it was called. Do you remember? It's the one you watched.

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Michelle:

Was it not something like Creating Valuable Psychology Practices or something like that?

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Wendy:

I thought that was the second webinar that I did, but it may be, I may just have reused the title.

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Michelle:

I didn't see it live, I saw it on repeat.

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Wendy:

Yes you did. You did. Yeah, exactly. So I thought maybe 20 people would sign up for it. I think the first one I'd literally advertised it for a week and it was before Christmas. I was advertising it and I think on the first one, there were something like 80-odd signups for it. And from the 80-odd sign ups, I didn't even know if anybody would want to do the programme. And Paula, our friend Paula, was the first person who signed up and I was shocked. And to be honest I tried to put her off in the call her.

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Michelle:

No Paula you don't want this!

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Wendy:

Are you sure it's right? Cause I was like, are you sure this is right for you? Because Paula knows so much about marketing, PR, content creation, you know, that was her thing. She's like, no, no, I want this because I want to be with other psychologists working on this. I was like, Oh well that's interesting. Then dear Dom signed up? So Dominic, the conversation I had with Dominic about signing up for practice accelerator. Dom was like, well look, Brexit is going to have an impact on me running my business in Northern Ireland and I can either spend my money on your programme or I can spend it on setting up a company in Ireland. And I was like, Oh yeah, that's very sensible, very sensible. And then the next morning he contacted me and said, I'm spending it on your programme. I was like, Oh wow, gosh, people really do take this thing seriously. Oh my God. And then ended up in a conversation with you about joining it. And that was the three Musketeers. TPPA1.

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Michelle:

The originals.

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Wendy:

The originals! When we do practice accelerator fest, I'm so going to have so much merch. TPPA1 - the originals.

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Michelle:

All the rest are just pretenders.

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Wendy:

We've got the Judge Judy eye roll t-shirts, the screaming sheep t-shirts, Jean Luc Picard face palm t-shirts. Yeah. We've got all kinds of merch that we're going to have to come up with. Yeah. These guys practice accelerator 4, they're TPPA4 - pandemic special. God love them. Yeah.

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Michelle:

Have we talked about everything you want to talk about?

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Wendy:

I think the challenge for me always in life is first of all trying to constrain myself to not following every idea I have. Like, you know, setting up a publishing company for an equestrian magazine when I go back to France or something like that. Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it. But as it is, I've ended up with two businesses to run and I can really see how practice accelerator can grow and there's really a need for it. And mostly I want to inspire psychologists to have valuable sustainable practices and to collaborate across the various kind of silos we tend to operate in much more effectively. And to be much more innovative and we need to be in a much more global network of psychologists. So that's the practice accelerator, kind of series of principles or idea. It's not a very fleshed out vision, but I know those are the things that are important.

 

And then on the other side of things with helping companies to move people across the world. The interesting thing there for me at the moment is that what was a niche topic of helping people in that very specific time to negotiate a brand new environment has now become the global experience. And from a strategic point of view for the business, I'm literally grappling at the moment with this question of do I continue in that highly specialized niche? Because that will still continue somehow. You know, people, executives, businesses, global businesses will still one way or another move people around the world and will still be faced with this.

 

But yeah, all this roadmap in this system that I have is more generally applicable to how we help people embrace highly disruptive transitions. And there's only one of me and somehow I've got to take it...well I say that there is only one of me, I do have a team now, but then it's like, well, how do we grow that? This business here has got a big global vision. This business here has got a big global vision. How do I get from where I am to where those businesses could be? Yeah. That's still my learning curve, my kind of, my growth curve at the moment.

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Michelle:

Yeah. It's exciting though. And it's almost that everybody needs your help. Where do you start?

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Wendy:

Yeah. Well, yeah. And it can be a little bit overwhelming because my popcorn brain kind of says I can help with that. I'm like that woman in Catherine Tate. I can do that.

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Michelle:

I can do that. Yeah. Some of her stuff has not aged well, just to warn you.

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Wendy:

Oh really. Oh my goodness.

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Michelle:

It's like terrible. I'm going to YouTube it. It's hilarious. And you've been down, I don't know whether you want to talk about this, Wendy, about the IFS stuff? A really interesting path and...

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Wendy:

Yeah. So IFS - Internal Family Systems therapy kind of blew my mind a couple of years ago. I think there have been a couple of things within psychology that have been very kind of fundamental to me. So the very first one was being very influenced by Carl Rogers and I remember seeing or reading this phrase, right at the beginning of my career, which was there is nothing about the work environment that means it can't be inherently therapeutic. In other words, work itself can be a place that promotes people to flourish. And that's like a principle of mine. I really absorbed that lesson.

 

The next one was looking at the work of Seligman on flourishing. And so, he was father of positive psychology, came out with the whole clarion call. And then the third one was coming across internal family systems therapy, which essentially says, we are naturally multiple in our personality. And the me that shows up on a podcast is not necessarily the same me that might show up with my friends and so on. And what I loved about it was that it gives me, well, it gives us a kind of systems perspective on what's going on inside people. And it just helped me to understand a roadmap for all of that complexity inside people.

 

So it's just been a complete kind of joyous exploration and I'm still figuring out and feeling my way forward in terms of integrating it into what I do. So I do a little bit with the practice accelerator guys about who's on our inner leadership team and I think entrepreneurship really challenges us internally and also with my global leaders that I work with, we talk about inner leadership team stuff as well. But yeah, that is still ongoing, that strand, I'm still figuring that out.

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Michelle:

Yeah, it's fascinating. People think I'm bonkers when I start talking about it and then like, Oh, that makes loads of sense.

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James:

Yeah, we did that exercise, didn't we? And there's times where like Michelle's Hermione from Harry Potter will start saying, but that's not practical James. This is like years down the line. We were talking about it earlier. I was like, you're talking to my futuristic character here, Michelle. He needs to get this out of his head to say, here's what we're going to come across in like two, three years time that we need to consider. So you know, just let that flow. It's just that voice and then I'll come back to sort of, so what are we doing today then?

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Michelle:

Yes Hermione and his futuristic one sometimes just don't...

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Wendy:

That's such a great example. We call that speaking for parts not speaking from parts and it's one of those really good examples of where in a team you could end up in a real conflict situation because speaking from the future parts and speaking from the Hermione part, you can just end up butting heads. But being able to have that conversation and speak for the futuristic part and you for your Hermione, it enables, it just gives that sense of perspective and distance on it. And also the sense that there are other ways of thinking about this. So it's a little bit of kind of cognitive and emotional flexibility and it just helps people communicate and work through some of those situations that can be otherwise a little bit tense and difficult.

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Michelle:

Yeah. My inner Bart Simpson's the one that shows itself the most.

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Wendy:

Exactly. I remember that. That was such a good day that when we were working on those maps.

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Michelle:

I remember being like, what is this? What is this? And I was like, Oh. And I came back with a whole raft of pictures. These are all of the voices in my head.

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Wendy:

It's amazing when you just start to put labels on them and see the organisation of when they come up. I mean, for me, we talk about emotional intelligence. The cornerstone of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. But what does that actually mean? And for me, some of this work around understanding the inner leadership team is about having very granular understanding of what's going on inside us. That for me is a very practical way of understanding, of having self-awareness.

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Michelle:

That's awesome. I'm really still really intrigued and excited to see where you go with that.

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Wendy:

Me too. I don't know where it's going yet.

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Michelle:

The path will find its way.

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Wendy:

Absolutely.

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Michelle:

Awesome. So, our next section of this podcast will be all around asking some questions, which in a section we have yet to name. We call it the quick fire round cause we don't know what else to call it.

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Wendy:

Oh dear.

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James:

So James has come up with some interesting, interesting questions to ask you.

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Wendy:

Okay.

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Michelle:

I'm going to let him take it away.

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Wendy:

Holding onto my chair arms.

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James:

It's a good seat actually for this question. If you were offered the position of prime minister, would you take it at the moment?

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Wendy:

Probably because I don't think I could do a f**king worse job. Seriously, at the very least. Yeah. It's going to go into political, ideological criticism here. But yeah, why not?

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James:

Have a go.

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Michelle:

Can't be any worse.

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Wendy:

Yeah, I'm not kind of diagnosable with anything, so it can only be an improvement!

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Michelle:

You're not a malignant narcissist?! Okay. Question number two. You wake up to find yourself completely invisible, what two things would you do?

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Wendy:

Oh my goodness. What can you do when you're invisible that you don't do otherwise? Oh, I'd probably just go and sit in on some really interesting meetings, which sounds like a really lame thing to say, but as a kind of researcher or a student of human behaviour how cool to be able to put yourself in the middle of all kinds of things and just kind of observe without having any impact whatsoever. So yeah, I'd probably let myself into the board meetings of some kind of big companies and just sit and observe and make notes. Would my notebook be invisible as well?

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Michelle:

Yeah.

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Wendy:

Otherwise it'd just be a hovering notebook. I'd be underneath a Harry Potter invisibility cloak with my notebook.

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Michelle:

Everyone will be like, what's that scratching? Where's that scratching coming from?

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Wendy:

I could then start making little comments and they'd be wondering...

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Michelle:

I wouldn't do it that way if I were you!

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Wendy:

Yeah, Ooh no.

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Michelle:

This is a bad decision!

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Wendy:

Actually that'd be even better wouldn't it? Go into some like dodgy companies like some of these, Cambridge Analytica types. And start saying you don't want to do that.

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Michelle:

This is your conscience speaking!

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Wendy:

Yes. That would be good.

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Michelle:

Awesome.

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James:

Question number three. Which famous artist would you want to paint your portrait? Can be anyone.

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Wendy:

This is testing my art knowledge as well. Whose paintings do I really love? Oh gosh. You know, as a horsey girl, I love Stubbs' paintings. But I don't know of him ever painting people, but Stubbs is one. And then the other painter I really like, again, I don't know if he's ever done portraits was Turner. Yeah, very atmospheric kind of thing. So maybe, one or the other of those. I don't know what I'd come out like. That doesn't matter, does it?

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Michelle:

No. My first instinct was Dali. That would be hilarious.

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Wendy:

Yeah, exactly. You do. You want someone who's going to kind of, like you say, turn your face into something abstract really. Definitely.

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Michelle:

That would be hilarious. One boob over here...

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Wendy:

Yeah, exactly.

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Michelle:

Thank you so much for answering our random questions. The question we ask all of our guests is if you get into a time machine and go back to 18 year old Wendy, what advice would you give to her?

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Wendy:

So when I was 18 I was finalising my A Levels. I was really depressed when I was 18 cause I had crazy parents. I would say to her run and get away and don't look back. Sounds evil doesn't it? No. But genuinely I really had to move away to get my head on straight again after the kind of childhood I had growing up. And I did that bit by bit. But I think what I would try and do for my 18 year old is to alleviate some of the guilt I felt doing that of feeling like...because essentially I was co-dependent growing up. So moving away and moving away from some of those relationships and having the guilt trip set on you was quite difficult for me. My grandma was very good about that. When we proposed moving to France and I remember she said to me, because my mum was having an absolute barney about it and guilting me for moving the children to France and so on, and my grandma said to me, what I want you to know is that you need to move and do what's best for you and don't you worry about anything that's going on back here. So I think that's what I would do. That's what I would say.

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Michelle:

Yeah. Well done granny.

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Wendy:

She was a good lady my granny. She was a woman before her time. She would have enjoyed being born 60 years later I think and having a big career and everything.

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Michelle:

Well it's been an absolute pleasure. You've been on our list since we started this, you know, it was pretty much designed in your house.

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Wendy:

It's amazing. It's such a...again, I was listening this morning and looked at number 76. That's absolutely incredible. I mean if you were to transcribe that and put it all in a book, you've probably got several volumes of inspiration for people there.

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Michelle:

There are plans of afoot Wendy.

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Wendy:

I can imagine.

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Michelle:

We're transcribing all the podcasts now as we go along.

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Wendy:

Oh yes I saw that. Yeah.

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Michelle:

Yes. You'll be number 77.

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Wendy:

Love it.

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Michelle:

Well, you are number 77.

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Wendy:

Yes. I'm going to look up the significance of that number as well. There must be a significance in it. Absolutely.

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Michelle:

Awesome.

James:

So if that's of interest to somebody, what's the best place to find you?

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Wendy:

Anyone who wants to connect with me on LinkedIn, first of all, just come and find me on there. So I think I'm just under W Kendall to be honest. But anyway, Wendy Kendall on LinkedIn, my website for the corporate work that I do, helping corporates to embrace highly disruptive transitions is www.wendykendall.com and the work that I do with psychologists is on www.growyourpsychologypractice.com.

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Michelle:

Awesome.

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Wendy:

Cool.

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Michelle:

Thank you ever so much.

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James:

Yeah it's been great.

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Wendy:

Yeah, I've loved it. Thanks for letting me talk your ears off.

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Michelle:

It was great. I could talk to you all day, Wendy. Thank you.

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