Lessons From The Do Lectures

  • 5 months ago
  • 4 Minutes to Read

Enviral’s Marketing Manager, Bonnie Middleton, headed to West Wales to attend the annual gathering of maverick thinkers, disruptors and DOers.

The Do Lectures are often described as life-changing, and in an attempt to explain what happened in the fields of an old Welsh dairy farm, Bonnie shares her learnings below.

“I get the feeling that what just happened is going to change everything” – James Brittan, 2022 Attendee.

I am feeling positively powered up and brimming with gratitude and inspiration after attending the Do Lectures 2023, a magic event that happens once a year on a farm on the coast of West Wales. 

There is electric energy on day one. Attendees arrive at the farm with an equal balance of excitement and uncertainty. The warm welcome in the Cow Shed quickly ensures that we’re about to embark on a journey. Together.

Over four days, we heard from 17 speakers, listening to stories from change-makers rethinking and redesigning their industries to be future-proofed on our ever-changing planet.

We listened to the tales of adventurers paving new ways of living. We learnt new lessons from university lecturers who are radically redesigning the approach to higher education at top universities. Creatives shared how they’re embracing AI to decentralise creativity and bring art forms to people who haven’t always been able to express their ideas. A key theme between the 17 speakers was that we need to think differently and explore new ways of doing and new ways of being.

Six snippets that encapsulate the impactful messages shared by a handful of the standout speakers:

Per Håkansson, the founder of Fewer Better Things shared his personal experience of embracing simplicity. In the early 2000s, Per lived in Silicon Valley, actively participating in the tech start-up revolution. However, he packed it all in and decided to relinquish it all. Per emphasised the importance of recognising our finite reserves of time, attention, and creative energy, which we often squander on trivial matters. He urged us to reevaluate the areas where we invest these limited resources. Per suggested, “We should adopt a broad funnel but a narrow filter”. As we face endless distractions of new opportunities and ideas, we must stick to our purpose and work on the things that matter.

Megan Erspamer, has paved a life of adventure where she climbs mountains and pack rafts white water rapids. She loves mountain biking, ice climbing and ultra running and has embraced a life that excites her, stepping into her true essence. Megan reminded us that we can too, and asked the audience three simple questions that stuck with me over the weekend. “What makes your heart swell? What makes your soul feel alive? What can you feel deep in your bones?” 

Our good friend and Non-Executive Director Hugo Tagholm spoke about his journey to finding his activist voice as an ocean Activist, firstly working at Surfers Against Sewage as CEO and now the Executive Director of Oceana. Hugo’s journey began as a long-haired surf obsessed teenager. He fell in love with the ocean and quickly realised that he could combine his love of surfing with his fascination with marine biology to speak up and start protecting the sea and its shores. Hugo reminded us that we all have a voice and need to use it. We don’t necessarily need to be the best environmentalist, but it’s vital that we do what we can to bring others on board. The fight to protect our oceans and rivers is big, but we can unite to save our seas.

Jillian Lavender, the Author of Why We Meditate, spoke to us about the importance of letting go. Control is exhausting; it’s like stopping a river from flowing. When we let go of control and let be, we can re-focus our energy on accepting the unknown. Jillian reminded us not to overanalyse. “Become established in BEING and then DO. Simply act.”

Graham Fink, a Creative Director and Founder of Fink Different acknowledged our utter uniqueness and how we must use this daily. Graham understands creativity and helps others understand it too. He suggested that creativity should be at the centre of any business. “One idea could change everything; ideas are free, but you’ll need a lot of money if you don’t have ideas.”

Sam Conniff closed this year’s Do Lectures with an incredible talk that blew the audience away. Sam, the author of Be More Pirate, also works closely with neuroscientists as an Uncertainty Expert. Sam brought the crowd along on a live science experiment, filling the Lecture Barn with screams of fear followed by screams of laughter. He quickly explained the correlation between fear and excitement and that they appear the same in an MRI scan. Once you embrace uncertainty, it becomes energy, creativity and opportunity.

Photo Credit: Do Lectures / Jim Marsden

The speakers offer endless inspiration and insight into their lives, sharing how they’re paving the way with big ideas and innovation. However, I believe it’s the magic that happens in between that counts. Whether perched on a haybale, around a blazing fire, or even in a coffee queue, the conversations I had with other attendees and volunteers at the Do Lectures over the four days remind me that pursuing a life of purpose and passion is paramount.

We laughed together and cried together. We ate delicious food and shared stories over long tables. We moved our bodies to incredible music and filled the dance floor with colour and wonder, dressed up in fabulous outfits kindly provided by Lou Fearthstone’s (@luinluland) fantastic pop-up wardrobe!

“The people who are going to change the world are the ones who throw the best parties” – Malaika Vaz, 2022 Speaker.


Photo Credit: Andy Middleton

If you’re interested in watching previous talks, you can head to the Do Lectures website, where they are available for free. Here are four of my favourite talks from the Do Lectures 2022.

Make That First Mark – Alex Jenkins

Why Protecting The Planet Makes Business Sense – Malaika Vaz

From The Block To The Bord Room – Khalilah Olokunola

Our Broken Bits Are Our Superpowers – Gail Muller

Written by
Bonnie Middleton