Where to you get away to have ideas?

My wife sent me a text about how Elton John would  go away to Chateau d’Herouville in France (the “Honky Chateau”).

The text said: “Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics one morning at the recording studio and brought them downstairs to Elton, who put music to it and recorded it with the band that day, doing just three takes.

Stowing away to France was Elton’s way of entering a creative environment free from distractions – there was no entourage and no phones. The Chateau could even keep the Black Knight at bay, as it was surrounded by a moat.

The result was part a very productive songwriting period for Taupin and John, who composed 12 songs over a four-day period, including “Daniel.”

I am a big believer in “getting away to create”. Personally I am now on my private island “Swan island” (see picture) where I am spending about two months isolated with just my family (and some good friends visiting from time to time).

Traveling like crazy for most of the year is great for my inspiration, but to CREATE I can not live on inspiration alone – I need time to just be with my thoughts, time to reflect and time to work with my hands in the garden to give my mind peace of mind to do “its thing”.

These two months on my island is gold for my creativity. Where do you go away to give your self the time to create?


My last speech in Europe for the season had me speaking in Berlin and I had the opportunity to end my speech by sharing 4 photos taken 30 years ago as the wall fell.

3 from the West (where 1000’s of photos was taken) and then the one photo taken from the East which became “Picture of the Year” in 1990.

I show these pictures to illustrate the value of taking a different perspective.

And it is very true for speakers as well.

As keynote speakers we need to give a perspective to the audience that is giving the audience an opportunity to look at the world in a different way.

I became a keynote speaker at 27 because I had written a university thesis on “Internet and marketing” and I could give a new perspective on marketing.

I wrote about about creativity in developing countries and it gave me the opportunity to give a new perspective on creativity by looking at the advantages that people in developing countries had in regards to being creative.

I spoke about creativity coming from China in 2005 (When I moved there) at a time when people still had no clue that creativity could come from China (now 15 years later people understand it much better.)

And now I am writing a book about what we can learn about creativity by learning from different cultures around the world. A perspective that very few people know anything about.

If you are not getting enough keynote speeches ask yourself this question: Is your perspective different enough to stand out amongst other speakers and are you giving the audience a perspective on your topic that is different enough for clients to be interested in booking you?

If not, how can you tweak your topic/speech to become more outstanding?

In summary: An outstanding speech stands out.

(Picture of me standing next to a piece of the Berlin Wall that stands outside the hotel where I spoke.)

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Normally on ProfessionalSpeaking.com I write about the things I do or have learnt about becoming a global keynote speaker.
Today I will write about one thing I DO NOT do, but plan to become better at.

I am talking about “batching”.

I have committed myself to write one blog post for ProfessionalSpeaking.com every Monday, and virtually every Monday I have done it for the last five years. But the last two Mondays (and a few others) I have missed it. Not because I did not have anything to say, but because life got in the way. (I traveled Singapore – Zurich – Copenhagen – Stockholm in the last ten days with 3 speeches and 7 interviews being done during these ten days.)

IF (!) I would have created a library of “back up posts” I could have posted one of those when I did not find the time to write a new post of the week.

But because I do not have a library of back-up posts I did not post anything these last two Monday.

By writing this post I am hoping to not only inspire you to create a series of blog posts that you can have as a back-up but also to inspire myself to do the same.

Hopefully this will lead to more posts being posted on Mondays as planned.

(And for those who are by now used to getting posts on professional speaking every Mondays: Do accept my apologies.)


(Picture from one of the events I spoke at last week.)