waveback is a series of little chapters, an editorial project that shares ways of overcoming the fear of asking for what you want or simply achieving what you’d like to do. Told through real life stories.
Helping to instil a sense of courage, an air of hope and even a hint of direction.
Conceived by Colin Usher and grown with the participation of many motivated individuals from all walks of life and from all over the globe, this project is in itself, an act of positivity. A place to share and a place to absorb.
The hope is to reach those who may be stuck… and inspire.
To share examples of courage, personal development and achievements on all levels in both work life and beyond.
Colin invites you to submit your story and share.
This can be a story of courage, a chance encounter that you didn’t let pass you by or simply, a moment that you grabbed, which hurtled you on to better things.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to submit your little chapter to share.
As long or as short and sweet as you like, you’ll need to include a photo relating to the story and ideally, your headshot too.
The site will be developed in a magazine style as opposed to a simple blog in order that our stories can become searchable by topic and rich in imagery.
All copyright of the material you submit will remain yours of course.
This site is about sharing and is not for profit.
To kick things off, here’s my earliest act of courage, a shy young drummer’s leap of faith…
Whilst in 5th year at school, just 16 years old in 1986, I took a bit of a leap of faith and responded to an advert in a record store in Kirkcaldy, Fife. 'Drummer Wanted' for local indie band. I waved... I called the number and an audition was arranged in a...
A welcome note from Colin (click)
I’ve been toying with this concept for a few years now, trying to decide how to share some important moments in my life to try and help others, to say thanks, but most importantly to give a little back.
I thought about writing a book. Went off the idea!
I needed to steer clear of the self-help genre, which I feel is formulaic and repetitive.
My wife Julia’s mum, Mary Snow, used to say, “On days where you are so low that you can’t face getting out of bed, just make the effort to go outside and smile at a granny.” This has always resonated with me. Not intending to make light of anxiety and depression, this little booster always worked for me.
My philosophy has always been to get out there, introduce myself and make the luck happen.
To take chances on people, pluck up the courage, get myself into the right places at (occasionally) the right times.
This was extremely difficult at the start as I was shy, unqualified, but raring to go at the age of 17 when I left home for the big city of Edinburgh.
Tried college for 3 months. Got a job as a publicity assistant in a theatre. Joined a Glasgow folk band. Started shooting theatre and dance companies. Became the music photographer for The List magazine. All by the age of 19.
Looking back, it wasn’t just the new found courage I’d conjured up that was opening doors for me, it was the kindness of many others who I met along the way, giving me a leg up, words of encouragement, giving me a go when I said I could do it, be that with my photography, design, stage management and even a wee spot of acting.
I love The Waterboys song ‘Somebody Might Wave Back’ where Mike Scott sings “What do I have to lose, somebody might wave back”.
On hearing this song again recently, I’ve realised that waving is what I’ve been doing all this time.
Trusting that people will wave back.
I have set up this project to help share inspirational stories of courage and show to those starting out that it is possible to make your life matter and that you can potentially change the world for the better, if only just a wee bit.
Colin Usher, Nérac, France
In 1997, I set up my first design agency and named it FBD, The Federal Bureau of Design. I grew the business to a team of 6 over a few years. During this time, the dot com boom, we worked with many corporate clients, start-ups and most enjoyably, with bands. To name...
When 2020 came knocking, not once did any of us expect or realise to the full extent of how it would impact our lives. Life for us in France had already been quite tough. We thought we had seen it all and that not much else could happen. We had lived in a historical...
The year 2011 was a big one for my family. My mother died, quickly and without warning, while my husband was in the hospital down the road for treatment of an infection related to chemotherapy for his second cancer in two years. My youngest son, Ben, and his partner,...
It had been another marathon day, teaching Pilates and aerial circus classes for 12 hours. After almost 20 years of self-employment and working in this industry, I was burned out, stressed, sick, exhausted and joyless. I barely saw my family, hardly slept, ate...
Looking back over time, it is surprising to find the number of occasions major changes have been sparked by a wave or some insignificant serendipitous event. Back to 1964 My old fashioned grammar school was unceremoniously merged with a large secondary school to...
In 2017, my wife Marike and I were invited to an anniversary party of a friend. I was going to wave that night, I just didn’t know it yet. Our friend hired a local rock band to play some songs, to make everybody dance and have good fun. Indeed, we had good fun, very...
Can you teach an old dog new tricks? I’m not sure this is an actual wave back. I will decide this when I get to the end of my story which is not just about me but about six lovely people who remained positive and jolly when they really had nothing to look forward to....
I have waved many times in my life, with varying success. Almost always these waves are a result of money worries, having been a self-employed artist for the majority of my life. I chose this road and it offers up an exciting life, but not without it’s stresses and...
In 1993, I was living in a wee flat on Lothian Road in Edinburgh photographing Scottish theatre & contemporary dance companies for a living. One evening I sat and wrote a letter to the photo editor of my favourite magazine, THE FACE. I kept it simple. I introduced...
I have so many “moments” that I’m spoiled for choice. I first noticed the truth of those glib, motivational-type aphorisms, the ones like “I’ve noticed that the more I believe in myself, the luckier I become” or something equally nauseating, so long ago that I stopped...
I run a non-profit art gallery and create arts programming for ten retirement communities. A few years ago a piece of art, a collage, was dropped off for our once a year residents exhibition. I loved the piece and decided to use it as one of the pieces on the postcard...
Walking through the town centre Monday around midday, I saw a familiar figure come toward me. A woman who I knew to be seventy-two but looked much younger. She was petite and was dressed in a smart blue jacket, black trousers and her hair and makeup were impeccable. I...
I never meant to be a special education teacher. I meant to be a famous actress, or to write the great American novel, maybe be a fashion designer, or a world-renowned artist. Not a teacher. The only reason I got a teaching degree was because that was the only way my...
Around the end of 1990 I attended a high school reunion, from our 1975 leaving year group. While catching up and trying to recognise old friends, I reconnected with Jenny. Now Jenny and I were just friends at school, good friends and I was delighted to see her again....
On my long run this morning, I was trying to think of what to write for “Waveback”. I thought of small incidents, like how on a run at the beginning of my quarantine in my childhood home back in March, after a period of not interacting with anyone but my mom and...
It truly demonstrated to me that following that chance meeting, to give when ever you can, in any way you can, is the greatest gift you can receive .
Greg Frey, Western Australia
"And this morning on my run, I thought of why I run. And it’s because of this memory. It’s because someone took a chance on me and recognized my newfound zeal for running."
Victoria Negri, New York
"I set my intention and sent a wave out to the universe, “Look over here! I’m ready for something new and better.”
Pamela Heck, Santa Rosa, California
"Life’s what you make it. But it certainly helps having good folk to support you on your journey.”
Julia Douglas, Nérac, France
"We waved at the world. The way it waved back was unexpected, but it was absolutely delightful.”
Lloyd Jerome, New Zealand
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