and myself!

by Joe Sinclair



and reviews


This will be the final issue of Nurturing Potential for the forseeable future . . . perhaps forever.

It is being devoted to only three items:

1.  An obituary notice for the magazine itself.

2.  An obituary notice for the death of an old friend.

3.  The publication of a number of book reviews.



       A farewell to Nurturing Potential and an explanation of the reason for its demise.

       Proposals for collaboration and the possibility of a house-share, including "an offer too good to be missed?".


       A report on the sad death of an old and loved friend, Mike Baynes.  A backward look at the synchronicity of my meeting with Mike and the demise of both himself and Nurturing Potential - and the straight line linking the two events, separated by two decades.


        The latest and final (or perhaps not!) book reviews.


The explanation is very simple, writes editor Joe Sinclair.  I have in recent months suffered a number of health problems, culminating in a severe attack of poly-myalgia-rheumatica (PMR).  The (seemingly unending list of) symptoms included loss of appetite, weight loss, loss of energy, muscular pains, pains in head and limbs, disturbed sleep patterns punctuated by cold sweats . . .

My failure to attend to these warning signs . . . which appeared gradually . . . was largely due to the pressure of my removal to Cornwall coinciding with the abortion of my London house sale.  In consequence, instead of my country home providing a haven for rest and relaxation, my stress levels were increased by the need to commute regularly between the two houses.  This was not helped when a car breakdown on one such journey resulted in my developing a chill which had me confined to bed for a week.

Clearly it was time to reframe my priorities.  The main need was to discard all those activities that contributed to an increase in anxiety levels.  Predominant amongst these was the publishing of Nurturing Potential as it involved maintaining deadlines.  I am a great believer in the healing power of all sorts of activity, including work, regardless of one's age.  But there is a difference between work that can be performed as and when it is convenient and expedient, and that which one is obliged to perform regardless of time and energy constraints.

Nurturing Potential has been a wonderful experience for me.  Feedback from day one - and continuing still - has been richly rewarding.  I would love to see the magazine continue.  But it would have to be under the stewardship of another, although I would be willing to lend support on an ad hoc basis.

I shall continue to write and publish, but I shall march to my own drumbeat.  I have already started writing a book - principally a collection of articles written by me over the decades, including some published in Nurturing Potential - and this will be published in 2006.  It is unlikely to be a best-seller, but may prove a fitting swan song.

As for the special offer:

I have decided that the London house will be taken off the market.  It will be considerably improved (e.g. double-glazed throughout) and redecorated, and I shall try to find someone to house-share.

If any reader is interested, or knows of someone who may be interested, please get in contact with me.  The house (a town house on three floors in north-west London) boasts three double bedrooms (one with en-suite), a vast living room, dining room, kitchen, and two ground floor rooms set up as offices and utility rooms . . . plus an attractive garden.  Accommodation to be shared can be flexibly arranged.  Effectively, for a rent considerably less than that of a self-contained flat, the house-sharer would have the run of the house during the time I am not there and the (dubious) pleasure of my company when I am.  There might also be some possibility of an arrangement that includes the use of the Cornish house.


I first met Mike Baynes under unusual circumstances.  I had telephoned a woman friend on a Saturday afternoon to ask if she was free to dine that evening.   She was not, but she suggested I might try Mike Baynes's bottle party.

Alas, I confessed, I did not know Mike Baynes.  She then recalled that the party was being thrown on behalf of a social group (I think it was called the 51-Group, or some such, being the year its members had graduated university), but she suggested that I "gate-crash" on the basis that she had invited me to join her there . . . and find some way to explain her own non-attendance.

She issued a caveat.  Mike, she said, was very much a "lady's man" in that he tended to be somewhat of an intellectual snob with other men, but - in true MCP fashion - made allowances for diminished intellect on the distaff side.  "Maybe," she said, "in you he will meet his Waterloo."

Well, I don't know about that!  But we certainly hit it off instantly and each tended to gain insights and expanded ideas from the other.  On my side, I was introduced to a range of personal growth activities that I had earlier merely brushed against.  Together we studied co-counselling and neuro-linguistic programming.  Mike it was who encouraged me to write and publish my first edition of An ABC of NLP.  in 1988 we went together on a fortnight's holiday to the personal growth centre on the Greek island of Skyros.  The photograph shows us flanking Doreen, the catering manager at the Skyros Centre.

Some time later I finally succumbed to Mike's entreaties and agreed to join him at the annual conference of the Group Relations' Training Association.  I had not expected this to be of any real interest to me.

In the event, I found it fascinating and - in my timeworn and boring introjectory fashion - I threw myself head and shoulders into supporting the organisation, including (in due course) editing a magazine, which we named Groupvine, and becoming Group Treasurer.

Most notably, however, was the fact that at that first conference (and I subsequently attended four more) I made the acquaintance of another Mike.  This was Michael Mallows with whom I formed a wonderful, warm and intimate friendship, that persists to this day.   That meeting resulted in a collaboration in the writing of Peace of Mind is a Piece of Cake; an introduction to the NLP/Education Network and collaboration in publishing their magazine New Learning.  And, finally, when New Learning proved to be no longer viable, the wonderfully imaginative sessions that culminated in the setting up of Nurturing Potential.

The picture shows "The Two Michaels" at a GRTA conference.

Thus, the direct line between Nurturing Potential and my first meeting with Mike Baynes and the synchronicity of the dual demise in 2005.

Mike was a wonderfully supportive friend over the years and contributed regularly, if not frequently, to all my magazine ventures.  His happy reunion some years ago with an old friend, Paula, and their setting up home together inevitably reduced the occasions when we got together . . . since I was in the situation of a "fifth wheel".  But it is a matter of much happiness to me that these last years of his life were spent in such harmony and in such a loving atmosphere.  

My thanks to Paula for the joy she contributed to Mike's last years and my sympathy to her in her (our!) loss.


Although none of the regular features of Nurturing Potential are being produced for this valedictory publication, we are making an exception for the book reviews, as we wish to acknowledge and publish those reviews we have already received.

This is partly in appreciation of the splendid book review contributors who have supported this section over the years, but also in thanks to the publishing houses who have not merely provided us with a succession of interesting and thought-provoking material for review, but have also frequently flattered us (and our reviewers) for the quality of our reviews.

We would be happy to continue to receive books for review and arrange for our reviews to deal with them.   Even though Nurturing Potential may not continue in its past form, there is no reason why we should not continue to publish reviews to the vast database of readers who have enjoyed them.

Publishers please note, therefore:  Any books that you consider to be of interest to the Nurturing Potential readership will be gratefully received, reviewed in the habitual fashion, and distributed as before.