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Inspired By…Sukh Pabial


Inspired By…Sukh

Today I am sharing why I have been inspired by Sukh, someone who embodies many of the qualities that I admire both in his business and personally, including gentleness. I don’t think anyone would see me like that! and anyone who has been in the business world for any length of time would agree that gentleness is something that is in very short supply in our often ruthless world. I think that’s why when we met ‘at’ an online business meeting his energy stood out for me. Sukh describes himself as friendly, kind and compassionate, and that’s definitely what I felt.

Even though Sukh was at the meeting talking about his co-working space, which I wasn’t looking for at the time. Even though I didn’t think it would be relevant to me, I couldn’t stop listening to what he said. And remembered him long after the session was over.

As soon as we could, we met (online of course!), and Sukh told me what was behind the business. Although he had always been interested in coworking spaces, what he really saw was the potential to create a community. He said “As a (non-practising) Sikh, community is very important to me. It’s a core part of how I think and operate. We are very community focused in our practise, and I try to honour the practises as best I can. As well as personally having a large extended family and my own three children. Taking that into what I do in business was an easy choice”.

Now, as someone who was housebound for many years due to my health condition, and then chose to work in a solitary profession, this really appealed to me. Whether we like it or not we are social animals, and humans do need each other for their very survival  both physically and emotionally.

After coming from a dedicated London life to lovely leafy Epping over a decade ago, Sukh saw that although it was a great place to live, people still needed more opportunities for connection. And at that time there were no co-working spaces in the town… hence he opened his own. This was obviously such a good idea that other co-working spaces popped up soon after. However, there is only one Sukh, and only one TEC. This is not just a place to work away from distractions at home, he has created a place to meet people from a range of other industries. Current visitors include marketing professionals, coaches, a crochet designer, technology professionals, a disability charity and a writer’s mentor. There are also various evening events including games nights, speaking nights, and there has even been a very well attended Christmas craft market. They pay attention to being inclusive and welcoming to all groups (and dogs!) and this is reflected in the activities they offer.

As with all things there are other very important ingredients, and in this case that’s the hosts. Sukh admits that he couldn’t run TEC without Sarah and Jenna (see it’s official ladies). Knowing that they would have to be genuinely warm and welcoming, was an essential part in the community manager role. The relationships that Sarah and Jenna form with visitors and co-workers help them know this isn’t just somewhere to work from, it’s a place we you are genuinely welcomed, and wanted.

I had first hand experience of this one day when I had an intense panic attack, which wasn’t helped by worrying about what other people might be thinking. As horrible as it was, and it was truly awful at the time, the kindness of the hosts not only reassured me on the day. But have made me worry much less about it happening again in the future. As no-one will make a fuss or think negatively about my condition. Acceptance is priceless for me.

Obviously, I asked Sukh for a pearl of wisdom to help me to be more Sukh, and this is it “I learned to get very ok with realising I don’t have to have the answers to everything. Nor do I have to pretend to, it’s really easy to feel that. But there’s just too many things happening in the world to be aware of. So, I choose to pay attention to the things I can influence, and I hope that keeps me on the right side of right”. Wise words I am sure you’ll agree.

One of the things that Sukh has learnt from starting The Epping Connection is that he is more of a dog person that he thought! and has so much fun finding out about visiting doggies personalities that there will often be pictures of him on Instagram playing with dogs rather than getting on with his work!

And what does the future hold? A well deserved ski holiday with the children, after not being able to join them for the last five years is definitely on the agenda. I am sure they will be delighted to have you join them for a family snowball fight.

Sukh has also just published The Resilience Handbook See The Resilience Handbook

To speak to Sukh, Sarah or Jenna about a place to work, hold meetings or anything else

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I’m inspired by

I read a lot, but there are two writers that I have to pay homage to, for teaching me one of the most valuable lessons in being a writer. Find  your own voice.

This is exactly what David Sedaris and Barbara Comys did for me, and this is all about how they inspired me with their style, wit, and candour; and you never know, they might do the same for you.

Regarding Style, both of my inspirations write in the way that someone might really speak. Not in tangles or high falutin language; which has it’s place of course, they both write in the every-day accessible language that anyone might use.

But, they use those familiar words in such a way that they sing, and carry you along. Yes, I’m that enthusiastic.

You only have to listen to David Sedaris read a story once to forever hear him reading his stories to you, and that’s serious skill. You know you are getting the authentic David. It’s him through and through, he makes it easy to imagine what it would be like hang out with him, to listen to him discussing a television programme, or what we need on our shopping list, or whose turn it is to do the housework.

And that’s something I aspired to from the first moment I read his work, that my voice will become my signature style.

The first Barbara Comys book I read was ‘Sisters by a river’, how I love that book.  It wasn’t written in a classic style, instead being more of a collection of anecdotes, which is exactly how my own brain tends to think. I totally bought into book, and it was only much, much later I found out it it wasn't a memoir, that it was in fact a novel with autobiographical undertones.

So, if you have ever seen me say it was a autobiography there you go, I was sort of wrong, but that’s the power of the book. Barbara writes the extremely dark parts of the story with such a light touch that you can chose not to even see the horrors if you don't want to.  If you have never read her work, get yourself a copy of any of her works, believe me you won’t regret it.     

Regarding Wit, you only have to see David Sedaris book titles ‘Dress your family in corduroy and denim’, ‘Let’s explore diabetes with owls’, ‘me talk pretty one day’, ‘Squirrel seeks chipmunk’.  To name just a few, to know that you are in for a comedic treat. 

What I particularly like is that the title doesn’t necessarily tell you everything, or in some cases anything at all, about what the book is actually about, I love that.  And yes, that did inspire me when naming my first book Down With Frogs.

Once you get into David's books you have such comments as “I hate you' she said to me one afternoon. 'I really, really hate you.' Call me sensitive, but I couldn't help but take it personally.” David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day.  And “Boys who spent their weekends making banana nut muffins did not, as a rule, excel in the art of hand-to-hand combat.” David Sedaris, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

See simple but highly intelligent and effective.

Barbara can be a bit more edgy with her humour, but it’s female, and it works ‘I had a kind of idea if you controlled your mind and said “I won’t have any babies” very hard, they most likely wouldn’t come. I thought that was what was meant by birth-control’ Barbara Comys, Our Spoons Came From Woolworths.

With regard to candour, now this can be a tricky quality to write with. You may want to hold something of yourself back, and that’s fine. But not only do people respond to someone putting it all out there, if you write without putting your heart into it, it shows; and it just doesn’t work. 

That kind of bouncing along the surface might appeal to some readers, but something about it won’t ‘feel’ right, especially if you write about a subject you haven’t lived without really researching it.

This isn’t about adding detail for the sake of it. When I say candour, I am talking about truthfulness, sincerity and integrity.  And both David and Barbara have this is bucket loads, both write about their own families to a degree. David's family really cannot have any secrets left, having been written about in all their wonderful, monstrous and endearing beauty. And if you want to know what it’s like going for a colonoscopy read Calypso.

Barbara on the other hand used her family and husband's as inspiration, using the difficult and traumatic from her life to give her characters life, and an emotional connection to the reader.

The message I hope you to takeaway from this, is that other authors are not your competition, your measuring stick, or a reason not to write. They can be your inspiration, and your teachers.  All good writers read, without exception, so renew your library ticket, visit your local bookshop, or get online and fill up your ereader. Get yourself something to read, and read widely from your genre. 

Let me know what you have been reading and if you have been inspired.

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