The past, the present, the future: take a lesson from Ebenezer Scrooge this Christmas

Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol was first published on 19 December 1843. It tells the story of a bitter old miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, and his transformation resulting from a supernatural visit by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come.

The story’s message of forgiveness, generosity, hope and redemption resonates to this day, it possesses life and business lessons that are every bit as relevant as they were in Victorian England. It is also responsible for giving us many of our holiday customs, including the name ‘Scrooge’ for a miser, the exclamation ‘Bah, humbug!’ and the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ itself.

The core of the story is how Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserable, self-focused businessman is transformed into a generous and joyful human being, thanks to the intervention of the spirit of Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s business partner who died seven Christmases ago, a tormented ghost to reveal the fate that awaits a terrified but recalcitrant Scrooge.

He informs Scrooge on Christmas Eve that those who do not walk among their fellow humans and treat them with care are condemned to forever walk the earth as spirits who can only observe the things they would now mend, the people they would like to help.

He also drags a chain with heavy moneyboxes and padlocks on it as he walks in spirit form and tells Scrooge that he forged the very fetters he must wear for all eternity while he was alive and indifferent to the needs of those around him.

Scrooge learns that the chain he has forged is a fearsome thing that dwarfs the one Marley must drag behind him. The ghost offers to help Scrooge and tells him that three spirits will visit him to help in his possible salvation.

What follows are visits by three spirits of Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas yet to come. Each spirit guides Scrooge through his own experiences and illuminates the experiences of the people whose lives Scrooge has touched. The spirits succeed, and Scrooge is transformed by their visitations.

Business might be the furthest thing from your mind at this time of year, but as we all gather around the Christmas tree and dinner table it is worth reflecting on the values that A Christmas Carol highlights, and the insights it offers to enrich our business thinking:

The Ghost of Christmas Past shows us the value of perspective. While in the company of the Ghost of Christmas past, Scrooge visits Mr. Fezziwig’s warehouse, where he was an apprentice, just in time for their annual Christmas party. What ensues is an evening of joy, laughter, feasting, music and dancing that awakens a long denied aspect of Scrooge’s personality.

As the evening wanes, and Scrooge and his fellow apprentice are pouring out their hearts in praise of Mr. Fezziwig, the spirit provokes Scrooge to reflect briefly and regretfully on the mistreatment suffered by his employee, Bob Cratchit as a result of his own behaviour.

The contrast to Fezziwig’s leadership, in his sincerity and consistency is plain to see. Fezziwig’s leadership is born of high regard for the people he employs, the Christmas party serves as a celebration of relationship that are already rich and rewarding.

Perspective gives us a sense of what really matters. You must be able to recall, in the heat of the moment, what is most important. If perspective is lost then it is easy to get lost in the transactions of the moment, in doing what is easy rather than what is right, or with a longer term view for your business. Perspective enables us to view our business at a more strategic level, and in doing so, offers greater awareness and options.

The Ghost of Christmas Present provides the second insight to Scrooge and that is the importance of knowing current reality, seeing where you stand in the moment of today. The ghost helps him observe the lives and intentions of others, he gets to see how his employees interact with their family and discovers that the youngest is a little boy, Tiny Tim who is crippled and sickly of body but great in spirit.

The wealthy business-owner could not hold a candle to the brilliant light of Tiny Tim’s heroic spirit and loving heart. The child’s example touched the old miser’s heart. Scrooge was inspired to admit his mistakes and open his heart by Tim’s spirit, in spite of living in a crippled and declining body.

Scrooge sees what he is missing in the moment and how his way of thinking and behaving impact not only his life but also the lives of others. As a business leader, you must know where you stand if you are to form any realistic plans and make positive changes.

Although we can’t accurately predict every factor that will affect business even one year into the future, we need to starting to think now about the possible long-term influences that will change our business, and where the gaps are. In order to prepare your business model today for the future, it’s time to start thinking further into the future now – but you do need a firm grip on reality today in order to move forward.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come The third insight is the need to be brave and seek a transformation for the future. When the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come takes Scrooge to a forlorn, unkempt grave site, Scrooge sees his own name written there on the gravestone. He begs the spirit to give him another chance. Part of what Scrooge learns is that his deeds have directed his future. His greed caused him to give up the love of his life. He recognises he needs to change.

After the visits by the three spirits, Scrooge sees what his greed has cost him. He sees people who have so much less than he does and yet that they are far happier than he. As a result of this insight, he is motivated to contribute to charity and to speak kindly to everyone he meets.

He even promotes Bob Cratchit to the position of partner. Scrooge had a faithful employee in Bob Cratchit, but he treated him with disrespect. Scrooge rarely gave the man a day off and even begrudged him burning enough coal to keep warm while he worked.

After the three visits however, Scrooge realises it is not too late to radically change his life. When Cratchit arrives at work a bit late on the day after Christmas, apologising by saying he fears he was ‘making rather merry’ the day before, Scrooge tries to reprimand him. However, the former old miser can hardly contain his newfound joy. Not only does he forgive the infrequent tardiness, but he offers Crachit a pay rise.

The business insights and lessons from A Christmas Carol are clear: first, step back and gain perspective in order to know what is most important; second, take an honest look at your current reality in order to know where you stand. Finally, understand that you have to look forward at all times, and identify where you want to be, and make adjustments – no matter how uncomfortable – to ensure the changes you need to make are enacted.

If we look at this a little closer and at the same time stand back, what are the personal lessons we can all take from A Christmas Carol as we head into the Christmas break? We all know that holidays are good for us, giving time to reflect and evaluate the past year, where we currently stand, and what we can see ahead. However, many of us do not take time off to reflect, we are constantly ‘on’, solving problems, in front of us putting out fires, thinking of ways to grow faster, bigger, better, but in truth, running too fast.

A holiday provides a great opportunity for personal growth in an accelerated way. Yes you rest, you catch up on sleep, you read a book or two, you may be even be lucky enough to fill up on vitamin D and get some sun. But above all, you constantly reflect, absorb and learn. So, what are the key lessons?

The greatest reflection of yourself is how you use your time Whatever you say about what really matters to you, the true test is where you place your time. Whatever you say your priorities, that statement will only be true if your calendar reflects it. The only reason for time is so everything doesn’t happen at once, but don’t wait, the time will never be right.

To know what you think, write it down I don’t see many people writing stuff down these days. For me, I am constantly scribbling ideas, comments, thoughts, notes, conversations into a notebook, to let it see light, it’s the best way for me to clarify what I actually think about something. ‘Writing is the painting of the voice’ said Voltaire, for me, I realise that writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted.

Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity You can’t artificially generate curiosity, so you have to follow where yours actually leads. Curiosity ends up being the driving force behind learning and the thirst for knowledge. ‘Millions saw the apple fall but Newton asked why’ said Bernard Baruch. Curiosity did not kill the cat, conventionality did. What are you curious about in your business?

Get outside Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air and remind yourself of who you are and who you want to be. Being on holiday gives you freedom from the usual routine, to breathe the air without interference and to just do stuff. What you think of yourself is much more important than what other people think of you. Be yourself, everyone else is taken, so give yourself some space.

Pay close attention to what you do when you’re alone When no-one else is around, or looking, or talking, when the house is empty, when the afternoon is yours alone, what you choose to do says a lot about you. Pay close attention to where your mind wanders in the shower. Your natural wanderings are your compass to what’s truly interesting to you. Equally, it’s bad enough wasting time without killing time.

Self-control is a finite resource I’m good company for me, I like the idea of solitude, being alone and being content with myself, but I fear loneliness, the pain of being alone, and I’ve never been lonely, an exposed position. However, you can only ask so much of yourself each day, you’ll snap or warp or splinter if you ask too much. You have a limited capacity to direct yourself a certain way. I now realise there are boundaries to being independent.

Put yourself in places that make you nervous Nerves are really the only way to know that you’re being stretched. If there hasn’t been a moment of nerves in your life for a month, it might be worthwhile asking if you’re pushing hard enough. Step outside your comfort zone into the learning zone. If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got. Great people did not achieve great things by staying in their comfort zone.

Listen to your own pulse Money can’t buy you happiness, but consciousness can. I read Laura Vanderkam’s book, ‘168 hours: you have more time than you think’ recently. She talks about thinking of your week in terms of 168 hours, instead of seven 24-hour chunks. When you look at your week from that perspective, you have more time than you think. This book is a reality check that tells you I do have time for what is important to me.

Ebenezer Scrooge shared the tendency we all have to become myopic when we focus too long on the same thing and we forget to look beyond our horizons. The lesson from A Christmas Carol is be aware, alert and alive – live for the moments of serendipity and synchronicity. Sleep. Hydrate. Learn. Move. The basics are key. You strive to be conscious in all areas of life, relationships, raising children, your work, but we all need more awareness and clarity.

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year, Scrooge vows near end of the story. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!

Having re-read the book, and written this blog, I already feel more relaxed and more deeply connected to myself and refocused, that’s not been the case for a while. So now ready with new things identified to learn and habits to unlearn, I’ve already begun to create and continue a healthier, more authentic life rhythm that’s best for me. And the thing is, in doing that, what I give to those close to me and what I develop for myself will be so much better.

No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused, wrote Dickens in A Christmas Carol. The simple, yet eloquent story continues to teach us much about ourselves, and what it really means to be a successful person.

Masterchef: step out from your comfort zone into your learning zone

It’s been a tense few weeks, but after a neck-and-neck final, singer Kimberly Wyatt was crowned winner of Celebrity Masterchef 2015 on Friday evening. Following a gruelling three-way cook-off against X Factor and Big Brother celebrity Rylan Clark, and television presenter Sam Nixon, the American was good value for her triumph.

We know who you are, the people at home know who you are; what we’re about to find out is: can you cook or not? That’s how judge Gregg Wallace welcomed the first round of contestants, and it was a fair summary.

On Celebrity MasterChef, the only necessary qualification is absolutely no cooking skills and a willingness to expose your inadequacy in a series of daunting challenges. I haven’t a clue who these celebrities are. They’re clueless in the kitchen at the start but by the end of the series you have to admire the dishes they produce.

First up was the invention test, which required creating a dish from pork fillet, chicken wings, butternut squash, wild mushrooms, chilli, prunes and pears. Hopefully not all at once. Unable to correctly identify the slab of pork in front of her, one contestant opted to cook the chicken instead, with a sauce of her own invention, consisting of mustard, red wine, water and flour.

Aussie judge John Torode raised an eyebrow at that: It might be good for hanging up the wallpaper, but I don’t know how good it will be for dipping chicken in. Another contestant had the nerve-racking job of handling the stunningly expensive £200/kg Japanese wagyu beef at top restaurant Novikov in London.

The previous episodes saw contestants cook Michelin-star dishes for some of the country’s best chefs, and then came the real challenge. With much fanfare, the arrival of critics William Sitwell, Tracey MacLeod, Jay Rayner and Charles Campion sent chills through the kitchen.

This brought various harsh comments. Never one to mince his words, or his food, Jay moaned constantly. The ever stoic Charles said: It’s vague, it doesn’t reach out and say ‘I’m a pie’, and after seeing burned pastry crisps, Charles growled: The whole plate looks like it should go straight into the dishwasher.

In the episode prior to the final, Rylan went for a trio of purple lavender mayhem – a violet crème brûlée, some flat purple lemonade and frozen lavender bits – using liquid nitrogen to make up part of his wacky dessert. Tracey praised the purple trio, saying it shows promise and individuality, before Will summed up his thoughts: It’s a whole new level of ostentatious lunacy, the amazing thing about this that nothing tastes like lavender.

In the final episode, Rylan, Kimberley and Sam all displayed brilliant culinary skills, having learned from Michelin-star chef Angela Hartnett. In the closing task, Rylan attempted to make a chocolate and ice cream pudding inspired by The Shard. While he didn’t quite plate up in time, the judges allowed him to finish his construction, applauding his ambition and inventiveness. The judges named him the most improved contestant ever to take part in the show.

Sam created the notoriously tricky beef wellington, managing to sidestep any issues and impress both Gregg Wallace and John Torode. He also delivered an ‘absolutely perfect’ sticky toffee pudding, according to Wallace.

Kimberly dished up loin of lamb with celeriac puree, which the judges declared ‘an absolute triumph’. Her ‘Sinatra cheesecake’ – ‘served my way’, she joked – was also a hit, leaving it down to the wire as to which contestant would take the top spot. Kimberley tackled every task as if it were an attempt on Everest, and deserved to win.

A celebrity MasterChef final is a departure from reality television convention. No big fat record deal or celebratory fist-bumps from Ant ‘n Dec await the victor. Instead, the kitchen epic is all about the journey and the insights it offers into the human condition. It’s about ambition, learning and determination..

As ever though, the charm lay in the suspicion that the contestants, for all their alleged celebrity, really were rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in, each with obsessive concentration throughout, because the challenge to themselves was more important than winning overall.

Forget being in a rock band, my inner-teen self has been unleashed again, now I want to be in a top restaurant kitchen! That feels like a rock star adrenalin rush. I want to hang out with the dudes in the kitchen and cook like that. I’ll even wash the pots just to be there. I’m reliving memories of all the TV cooking shows I watched, from Fanny Craddock and Johnny, to the Galloping Gourmet to Delia, Rick Stein and James Martin.

I’m pretty awesome in the kitchen.. My speciality? Big portions of fantastic tasting food. No fancy presentation. Lots of nice flavours. Anything Mediterranean, no boring baby vegetables on the side nonsense, or big white white plates with empty space, oh no, fill it up. I don’t do fancy and I don’t do show off, get it covered with piping hot rich, home made sauces.

As far as I’m concerned, food is about taste, texture and simplicity, cooking is not an opportunity to make a climbing frame out of vegetables or building blocks out of meat. My food is chunky and unpretentious, a bit like me! If you came round to my kitchen you’d have an amazing time, there’s nothing that my old battered tins of herbs and spices can’t improve.

Take artisan sausages, homemade speciality ones from your local butcher. Seasoned with Italian spices, seared in hot avocado cooking oil. Oh and rhubarb. I love rhubarb. I can’t get enough of rhubarb. Rhubarb and okra sweet and sour soup, a classic Vietnamese dish, or Danish rhubarb cake with cardamom and custard, and my signature dish, pan-fried mackerel with rhubarb coleslaw.

But back to Masterchef. For me, to win the competition you have to be resilient and brave, I don’t think the cooks who are best at the start win, it’s the ones who learn the quickest and improve. It’s all about learning and absorbing the experience.

There’s something inspirational about seeing the level of contestants’ effort and passion laid bare and vulnerable.  Each contestant struggles with the constant presence of the challenge to their ability and confidence, triggering anxiety. Hands shake uncontrollably as they struggle to place the final drizzle of gravy on the plate.

Under pressure, the dignity of someone utterly wholeheartedly committed to his or her craft is incredible to watch. This is competitive cooking that is hard to imagine, and they produce unbelievable dishes. The effort really gets to me, by committing to their goal, they truly expose themselves.  By trying so hard, they leave no room for comfort should they fail.

How many of us commit ourselves to our business like this?  Very few I suspect. Most of us settle for a bit of effort but we seek to avoid at all costs any loss of dignity, the risk of appearing foolish, or being criticised.  We don’t put ourselves out there, exposed, vulnerable for all to see. They step out of their comfort zones in the glare of national television and bare their soul. And sometimes their sole.

As always when looking at something like this, I always look for lessons we can take into our business:

Bosses come in all shapes and sizes and have different personalities Greg Wallace is kind, wants them to succeed but is firm and professional. John Torode is sarcastic and likes to watch people sweat, quick to anger, but has plenty of heart too. Occasionally lessons come at you in a loud, angry voice, others supportive but still critical. You can focus on the anger or you can hear the lesson.

Keeping it simple can be the best option Sometimes the contestants try to take it too far, using a particular ingredient just to be different. Occasionally it works, but it’s a risk and the competitor with the simple, well-prepared dish rarely goes home. Attention to detail and back to basics are good business principles.

Strategise before filling the pans The contestants have to think through each and every small activity from the ingredients they require, to the time allocated and presentation. Little time is given but it has to be quick, effective decision making, goal driven. Having a clear strategy is key.

Have a Plan A and Plan B After strategy, to obtain the desired culinary result, a good plan is needed. Kitchen malfunctions highlight the need for agility, to be able to respond quickly and have a contingency. All businesses operate in a dynamic environment and unplanned events having adverse impact occur. The ability to recognise these risks and to respond with a back-up plan is vital.

Stay cool when the heat is on What happens when the dish doesn’t turn out as expected? Yes, you have a Plan B, but Plan B is now under extreme pressures and there isn’t time to deliver fully. You have to stay calm and present what is completed with conviction, even if failure is on the back of your mind, go with what you have.

Be goal-oriented and time-aware As the saying goes, If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen. In each episode there is a challenge, with a clear goal, but a ridiculously short amount of time to complete it. The contestants are motivated to win, but it’s remarkable how much pressure the contestants put themselves under to achieve success.

Be clear about the big picture – the end product Contestants visualise the process and the end product.  The same applies to business outcomes.  We need to use our imagination, to visualise our goal, to see it, taste it, feel it, smell it and keep it in our heads at all times through the ‘cooking’ process.

Leave yourself enough time to test the final product Contestants are often asked Have you tasted it? and often their response is No. Sometimes such trust in their own ability pays off, sometimes it doesn’t.  It’s a big risk to take in business. Leave yourself enough time to not only put the final product together (plate it up) and make sure it works, but to also test it.

Masterchef is a good example of getting out of your comfort zone. It’s important to push the boundaries. But what is the ‘comfort zone’ exactly? Why is it that we tend to get comfortable with the familiar routines? Simply, your comfort zone is a behavioural space where your activities and behaviours fit a routine and pattern that minimise stress and risk. It provides a state of mental security.

The idea goes back to an experiment in 1908, psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dodson explained that a state of relative comfort created a steady level of performance. In order to maximise performance, however, we need a state of relative anxiety, a space where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal.

This space is called Optimal Anxiety, and it’s just outside our comfort zone. Too much anxiety and we’re too stressed to be productive, and our performance drops off sharply. The idea of Optimal Anxiety is familiar to the Masterchef competitors and anyone who’s pushed themselves to get to the next level to accomplish something. I call this the learning zone.

We all know that when you really challenge yourself, you can turn up amazing results. However, pushing too hard can cause a negative result, and reinforce the idea that challenging yourself is a bad idea. I call this the panic zone, and the next is blind panic zone, where you really are uncomfortable.

You should operate with optimal anxiety in the learning zone. Staying in your comfort zone is neither a good or bad thing. It’s a natural state that most people trend towards. But don’t demonise your comfort zone as something holding you back, we all need that headspace, but Optimal Anxiety is that place where your mental productivity and performance reach their peak.

So ask yourself:

  • Have you identified what the next level of success looks like?
  • How often do you review how you’re performing, examining what’s working and not working? Too often we focus on what is being done as opposed to how it’s being done.
  • When is the next opportunity to learn some new skills?
  • When do you envisage you’ll next get out of your comfort zone to embrace a challenge?
  • Are you curious, focused on the art of possible and the future?

As Gregg says: Cooking doesn’t get any harder than this. Business life does occasionally throw eggs at us. We have to be ready with our oil and seasoning, and the world is your omelette. Mary Anne Radmacher’s words sum up this attitude: Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says ‘I’ll try again tomorrow’.

Autonomy, mastery & purpose – business lessons from learning to play golf

Hobbies are important to have as interests and a focus for constructive use of your spare time, and for many of us sport plays a key part, as participant or spectator. For me sport is a vital ingredient in my everyday life, providing physicality, camaraderie, emotional highs and lows, and an opportunity for a lively exchange of opinions.

However, as the football and rugby seasons come to an end, Summer sports beckon and for me none of tennis, cricket or athletics has ever captured my imagination as a participant. That leaves us golf. But why do hordes of people gasp at a tee shot when they have no idea where it will land? Four-day extravaganzas of umbrellas and blokes carrying the players’ kit, too lazy to carry their own gear? And the lambs’ wool sweaters in mauve and lemon and the trousers unashamedly called ‘slacks’?

Despite my reservations as to my social, political and psychological fit to the game – ignoring my latent lack of talent – I’ve started lessons to heave a small white ball 350 yards down a wide expanse of grass, onto a finely manicured area of very green grass called, appropriately, a green, and down a small hole. I wouldn’t say I’ve made it my new hobby in response to a midlife crisis, and I’ve not yet invested in an entirely new wardrobe, but I am inwardly enjoying the challenge as I’m used to playing my sport with bigger balls.

I’ve already accepted it’s a question of accepting extreme frustration and being determined when doing something knew, such is my inability to secure any degree of consistency with golf. But when searching for my ball somewhere out on the course about two miles from civilization, this set me thinking, how well do we know ourselves, what we really like and enjoy, what are we good at, what we’d like to change about ourselves, what we’re not good at, what we dream of….and what’s the point?

So take a new activity you’re investing time in, like golf. Golf is frustrating. Even if you are a feeble newbie hacker as myself, you occasionally hit a splendid shot. The memory lingers, mocking you every time you slice it into the bushes or foozle a two-foot putt ten minutes later. You know you can hit it well. So why don’t you do it more often?

Game Theory tells us it is theoretically possible to birdie every hole. Indeed, it is theoretically possible to do 18 holes in 18 shots. But no one ever comes close to this ideal. Golf constantly reminds us that we don’t quite measure up. This is annoying me immensely.

I once hit a perfect shot. It was a municipal pitch and put course in Cornwall, one sunny summer day. I was 17. It was a five-iron from the tee that dropped straight into the hole bouncing happily as it did so. I won’t say my golf life has been all downhill since then, as I’ve never again hit a small white ball so flawlessly. In fact I’ve never hit a small white ball since, I gave it up for rugby.

But 35 years on, I’m back on the course. It’s all about knowing yourself, your capabilities and stretching yourself. I am being unreasonable in my aspirations to achieve, comparing myself to those golf geniuses on Sky Sport. I seem to be competing against myself more than I’ve ever done in anything else I’ve done before, seeking constant improvement against my own shortcomings and ambitions.

So after my third lesson, I’ve jotted down some notes, reflecting on my learnings and motivations. I’m minded by Daniel Pink’s book Drive, and the role of intrinsic motivation, the kind that comes from within yourself, and the three elements of the motivation formula he identifies – autonomy, mastery, and purpose – as to why I find myself pursuing a standard of achievement in something new to satisfy an innate internal desire.

Autonomy Our self-direction is a natural inclination. Pink asserts we’re all built with inner drive, some folks are just in a higher gear than others. I’ve never been passive and inert, I’ve always gone hell-for-leather and go the extra mile as standard. Apparently this is because I have what Pink calls ‘autonomy driven motivation’. I’m curious about what I can achieve as a challenge to myself.

Mastery We want to get better at doing things. It’s why learning a language, new sporting technique or a musical instrument can be so frustrating at first. Mastery is the desire to get better at something that matters. Firstly, it is a mindset, in that we believe we can get better. Second, mastery is a pain, in that it involves not only working harder but working longer at the same thing. Finally, mastery is an asymptote, or a straight line that you may come close to but never reach. My golf feels very much like this at the moment!

Purpose People who find purpose in their life unlock the highest level of the motivation game. Pink says that it’s connecting to a cause larger than yourself that drives the deepest motivation. Purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning and into work without groaning and grumbling — something that you just can’t fake.

Purpose provides a context for autonomy and mastery. It addresses the situation that even when we get what we want, it is not what we need. It’s connected to the drive to be different. I guess my purpose with golf is to be the best I can, for me, in the context of ensuring I become more patient, more reflective and practice to ensure I learn a new skill.

Interesting stuff and I’d highly recommend Drive. My point of departure from Pink is that in golf you play against yourself and that you need to enjoy it, and from musings born of frustration, I have identified a number of points in golf that are reflective learnings for a broader perspective to complement Pink’s trietica for my business activities.

Technical competence To be a golfer of sorts, you need certain competencies and skills. You need to know how to swing the club, whether it is an iron of a driver or a fairway wood, and I need a coach to teach me these technical skills.

Business is no different, you need to have certain competencies, such as management and leadership, strategy and finance skills, and you need training to develop and update these skills continuously. Both business and golf require hard work, constant practicing and growth of a skills set.

Psychological competence I need to understand the psyche of golf to better manage myself over 18 holes, to deal with the good, by avoiding becoming complacent, and to deal with the bad – I need to put the bad hole behind me and concentrate upon the holes ahead. Learn from the bad hole and apply the lessons to the holes ahead of us says my coach. There is a saying, applicable in golf as in business: Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you will be right.

Play within yourself In golf, you cannot allow yourself to attempt shots you cannot play, for which you do not have the competencies.  I’ve found this out to my cost, as I simply try to do the impossible, frequently. I have an inner belief that far exceeds my physical prowess. You do not need to smash every tee shot or iron shot with every ounce of power you possess.  Stroke the ball, play within yourself, says my coach.  I unfortunately struggle with this guidance.

In business, you need to apply the same rule.  Trying to do everything at full tilt can be disastrous.  Growth is something that needs to be managed carefully, nurtured from somewhere, and you need competencies and a culture that enables it.

Be alert to the environment In golf this entails the wind and rain, as well as factors such as the slopes and shapes of the fairways, and the shapes, slopes, and speed of the greens.  As a golfer you need to keenly focus on these factors and take them into consideration. Some of them change continuously and will have an effect on the shot you need to play – how you approach it and what club you need to use.

This is equally true for a business context, events and changes in the economic environment have an impact on your strategy. You need to be alert and take notice on a continuous basis in order to develop and implement a strategy that will allow you to better serve the needs of your customers.

Deal with the competition In golf, you need to understand who your competitor is and what you need to do to outwit and outplay him. However, you primarily need to focus on what you are doing yourself as you only have control over your own game.  Play your own game and not the game of your competitor.  Again I struggle with this, trying to emulate the play of far more experienced players.

Again this applies to business, you need to develop your strategy in a way that is different and better than the competitor.  Do not focus exclusively on your competitor – the true driver of success are your customers so focus upon a strategy to find, win and keep them by delivering value. This does not mean that you ignore your competition, as if you ignore your competitors you will find yourself irrelevant.

Be values-driven Here I refer to values such as integrity and character. The nature of golf is such that honesty is non-negotiable as you score yourself. You are frequently the only person that will know whether the ball moved before you hit it or not. If personal integrity is not part of your make-up, the game of golf will degenerate into chaos and become pointless. Already I’ve seen signs of people playing to win above all else with a liberal and generous interpretation of the rules.

The saying goes To lie to others is immoral, to lie to yourself is pathetic, and is true more than ever in business. Business ethics are essential, the world is now sensitised us to a lack of integrity in big business, and yet we find that it still takes place.  Greed and dishonesty have become drivers in business. To win at all costs a credo that has the potential to hurt society as we have seen in recent years.

Knowledge Golf requires lots of knowledge, for example you need to know the layout of the course and individual holes. This is important as you determine when to use an iron or the fairway wood, when to use the driver on the tee, or when to use an iron, where to chip and where to put.  You need to know where you need to take your medicine and take a drop shot, and where you can take a chance.

In a business context, we also need to know what is going on in order to develop new market space that will enable us to make the competition irrelevant and grow the market in new areas. The knowledge parallels of golf and business are clear, combing intelligence and insight create impact.

Respect This is an important aspect of golf. You need to show up, on time, dressed appropriately. When the other player is playing, you stand still, out of their line of sight, and you do not chat while they address the ball. You do not keep the players behind you waiting, you repair your pitch mark and your divot holes. All common sense really, but it’s vital a framework of respect is in place to enable the game to be played in the right spirit.

You do the same in business, you respect your customer and employees, and show respect to the society you do business in.  Operating without this virtue is a sure way to lose business from customers, loyalty of staff, and your brand reputation.

Innovation I have seen Rory Mcilroy shape shots that are amazing, I’ve tried to replicate them in my back garden to no avail, threatening the sheep stood watching with interest as the little white ball shoots in a random direction. McIlroy, faced with a certain set of conditions, and knowing the course and having trust in his skills, repeatedly comes up with shots that have a high degree of consistency in their execution, yet are unique.

In business, innovation and creativity is vital, doing more of the same will lead you nowhere, you will fall behind and lose customers.  Changes in the environment require lots of innovation.

So three weeks and three lessons into golf, I’ve adopted a share-listen-reflect-learn approach to acquiring new skills and knowledge. Pink’s motivation trietica applies – autonomy, mastery and purpose – so does the maxim if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

My drive is to continually seek to achieve a ‘Personal Best’, adopting the personal life motto of explorer Ernest Shackleton – reach beyond your expectations – and make it happen where it matters most, inside.

But, it’s just golf, deceptively simple but endlessly complicated. I know it’s really played on a five and half inch course, the space between my ears. After all, it’s not how good you are that matters, but how good you want to be.

16.2% of the year is gone, what have you done?

At the outset of each new year, collective humanity sets out to better itself, resolving to eradicate our unhealthy habits and cultivate healthy ones. But while the most typical New Year’s resolutions tend to be about bodily health, for me the most meaningful ones aim at a deeper kind of health through the refinement of my mental and emotional habits.

It’s an intriguing thought first thing on the first Monday morning in March that the new year is not so new any more, we’ve done 16.2% of the year, and by the end of the month we’ll have swallowed 25% of the year.

My working life has a drumbeat which has order and chaos intertwined, and whilst I have a determined focus, it’s hard to set priorities consistently as through opportunity, spontaneity and serendipity good stuff generally happens to me which means it’s hard not to get distracted by the constant flow of stuff and pulls on my time.

I try to follow the Eisenhower Box (http://jamesclear.com/eisenhower-box) of determining the urgent but not important and securing a sustainable and scalable level of productivity, drizzled with some nice to haves, but before you know it another week will have passed by. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not sleepwalking into a random future feature set, I do have a plan based around a set of macro assumptions – it’s not all improvisation like a stand up comedian – it’s a plan based on an ideal future state and the steps required to make it happen, it’s just that sometimes stuff comes at me which can either boost or batter me.

I also read an interesting blog by James Clear (http://jamesclear.com/), which talks about the two identities we all have – Big Me and Little Me.

Big Me is the version of yourself that comes out when you’re at your best, the identity you display when you fulfill your potential, live up to your values, and achieve your goals. Big Me is who you are when you’re fully engaged in life rather than partially engaged. Big Me is you on top of your game.

On the other hand, Little Me is the version of yourself that shows up when you’re inconsistent, when you lack focus, and when you fall short of your potential. Little Me is that side of you that makes excuses and hesitates when faced with uncertainty or discomfort.

Here’s the thing about Big Me and Little Me – they are not different people, they are two versions of the same person and these two versions of yourself compete to show up on any given day. So what makes the difference?

We all have good days every now and then, days when we feel motivated, productive, powerful, and healthy. But having a good day every day is really hard. What makes the difference between the days when you show up as the Big Me version of yourself versus the Little Me version of yourself? In my experience, your habits make the difference. The top performers in nearly any field of life have developed systems and routines that help them make better decisions each day.

So that’s what I took into 2015, clear the clutter and a desire to perform near the top of my game on a more consistent basis, be a Big Me, then I have to understand how to build habits that stick. From this I identified the five barriers I needed to overcome that were holding me back:

  • Lack of time due to too many commitments
  • Inconsistency with taking action
  • Procrastination – almost laziness at the extreme
  • Self-doubt and lack of confidence
  • Lack of clarity and focus

So, at the end of February we are 16.2% through the year, how are my resolutions, plans and strategies made with good intent and purpose, shaping up? How many will involve a ‘note to self’?

My four primary personal targets for 2015 were as follows:

  • Stop procrastinating, saving work for tomorrow, and waiting to be inspired to work. I like to save stuff up until I absolutely have to do it to meet a deadline, and work most effectively by putting myself under pressure. This technique is a high-risk strategy, but hasn’t let me down since I went to university in 1981. Yet.
  • At the same time, stop working at an unsustainable pace and to do things better, you have to stop doing so much. Stop mistaking confidence for competence. Stop getting defensive (not that we’re accusing you) and if you can’t stop doing any of these things… stop believing you have to be perfectly perfect every time.
  • Stop being so positive – research shows it’s not all that helpful for achieving your goals, and stop overdoing your strengths (lest they become weaknesses). Speaking of things that don’t work, stop searching for a silver bullet to your strategy dilemmas for clients.
  • Stop sitting so much. Seriously.

So, note to self. I have just re-read my 2014 diary and am much struck by the rapid haphazard gallop at which it swings along, sometimes indeed jerking almost intolerably over the cobbles. Still it was a good year, and if I stopped and took thought, and planned it more, I’d lose some of the spontaneity and new stuff that it swept up accidentally, several stray new opportunities and relationships which I should exclude if I hesitated, but which are the nuggets of the heap.

I was going to have a resolution ‘Stop Thinking So Much’, but there is a paradox here, what are we ‘doing’ when we do nothing but think? Where are we when we, normally always surrounded by our fellow-men, are together with no one but ourselves?

Occasionally I give myself a good talking to, but as I’ve got older I’m simply becoming more curious about everything and wander off down every garden path to find stuff out. My latest interest is bee keeping. Don’t know why, but just got loads of questions about it.

Consider the crucial necessity of never ceasing to pursue questions, those often unanswerable questions, of stuff we don’t know. Behind all the cognitive questions for which men find answers, there lurk the unanswerable ones that seem entirely idle and have always been denounced as such. Whilst I live in the moment, for the moment, 2015 will be a year where I just want to do more reading and thinking.

On how one orients himself to the moment, Henry Miller wrote, depends the failure or fruitfulness of it. Indeed, this act of orienting ourselves to the moment, to our own selves often leaves us fumbling, frustrated, discombobulated. And yet therein lies our greatest capacity for growth and self-development. I think something of this in me lies in my capacity to get lost in public libraries as a child. Oh, and supermarkets, beaches and football grounds.

I once read a quote from the pre-Socratic philosopher Meno. It read, How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you? I copied it down, and it has stayed with me since. The question struck me as the basic tactical question in life. To calculate on the unforeseen is perhaps exactly the paradoxical operation that life most requires of us.

So, this year for me was all about being more focused and reducing ‘the art of straying’ – not finding my way and losing myself. That thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost.

But before I run out of time, show my inconsistency, start to procrastinate, share too many of my self-doubts and lose focus…here are my reflections on 2015 so far.

Stop sitting, walk and be more present

No one has made a more compelling case for the bodily and spiritual value of walking than Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau reminds us of how this primal act of mobility connects us with our essential wildness, that spring of spiritual vitality methodically dried up by our sedentary civilisation – note I make a special point of differentiating the art of sauntering from the mere act of walking. Walk in silence, an expedition or tour, either way just get out of the building more, and I have.

Driven by urgent, dangerous and apparently irresistible drives, from hysterical acquisition of ‘stuff’ through to lust (‘perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame/savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust’), and being a bit sorry about that, then I do feel more present.

Make my life wider rather than longer

It’s knowing perfectly well that from the moment we are born, we are dying and yet, as the time clock ticks louder and louder and amiably lollops towards lights out time, being greatly surprised and personally offended by this every day as there’s just so much I want to do. In reality, it’s the most humdrum and unremarkable intrusion of all in my head, and I’ve not quite promised my children ‘I won’t be a burden’ – and then being a burden, and being a bit – but only a bit – sorry about that – but the clock is ticking so this year I’m going to pedal just a little bit slower.

Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realise that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is, we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it. Life is wider if you know how to use it.

Being genuinely happy and getting pleasure from work

I’ve taken a very long time to understand the difference between happiness and pleasure in my work, but getting there eventually. And being happy about that. I’ve resolved to work with a smaller, fixed number of clients this year, those who I respect, I can add value, be more intimate (doesn’t mean we are going to go on holiday together) and most of all, where I get pleasure from working with them. I do need the civilising influence of my wife to avoid the dark primordial spiral of gluttony and shabby indolence in my personal life, and I’ve used her as my mentor to declutter my work life and identified my ‘ideal’ client.

I’m trying harder to focus on doing stuff that earns me a living, fulfilment and learnings opposed to doing stuff that is simply interesting to me. It’s abdication and mental slothness, refusal and sprawl. I start off brimming with urgency about the day ahead, then hit social media and the internet after breakfast, shuddering slightly and staying in that nice, warm zone of ‘this is interesting stuff’. ‘Today’s laurels are tomorrow’s compost’ is now my motto.

So this is Permanance

I’m learning, just in time, to manage my addictions – no, it’s not to prefer toblerone over cocaine and the scent of home baked bread to the smell of marijuana, rather to reduce my Benedictine intake in lieu of more water, not to be personally responsible for 1% of the UK’s annual cheese consumption, and to stop the festering addiction to technology, devices and Apps. Fortunately our rural broadband fails at times due to the vagaries of wet/cold/windy weather and sheep breaking into and eating the BT broadband network kit in their shiny hub box on the lane, but I could just switch stuff off too.

I’m learning to substitute the pleasures of being older for the lost pleasures of youth. Three hours standing at a James concert provides a mix of euphoria and exhaustion viz sitting outside a café with a pot of fresh peppermint tea and a copy of a decent newspaper, staring vacantly into the middle distance. Anger is an energy, but drinking more tea is actually quite relaxing and a mellowing ahead of grey hair beckons.

Unknown Pleasures

Your own frailty never occurs to you, you don’t notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply. You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire. How late it is to begin really to live just when life must end! How stupid to forget our mortality, and put off sensible plans to our 50+ year, aiming to begin life from a point at which I have arrived, mentally and physically, somewhat unexpectedly.

It’s a bit like Sam Tyler in Life on Mars, only in reverse. It’s having too few regrets to mention, but boring on incessantly about them anyway. It’s insisting that one has lived one’s life ‘My Way’ while having in fact behaved exactly like everybody else – bipedal, vainglorious, self-deluded and yet, luckily, just lovable enough.

Egyptian pharaohs, Chinese emperors and European royalty have all consulted with fools, or court jesters, when faced with tough problems. The persona of the fool allowed the truth to be told, without the usual ramifications that might come with speaking blasphemy or challenging conventions. Give yourself permission to be a fool and see things for what they are has helped with all of this analysis.

So, 16.2% into the year, I’m a work-in-progress to wards a Big Me for 2015. We know what we are, but not what we may be. Life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. I aim to learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. Make it matter where it counts, the most, inside. Be a Big Me.

I don’t want a holiday in the sun

I don’t want a holiday in the sun, a cheap holiday in other people’s misery. I echo John Lydon’s philosophy when thinking about my annual break, as once more the Munchausen-by-proxy version of Carly Simon Syndrome of those vanity-fuelled sun-worshipping folks slotted by the swimming pool from 8am to 6pm and do-not-move fills my head.

Where to go? I fancied Mexico, simply from the colour of their shirts and the players’ names in the World Cup – Jose de Jesus Corona, the goalkeeper, why weren’t my parents more imaginative? The town of Oaxaca caught my attention, but it was out of season. Were we in Oaxaca on Christmas Eve, it would be the great Noche de Rábanos, or Night of the Radishes celebration. Got to be there.

The radish is not a vegetable that has figured large in my life at any time, yet historically it is a much-celebrated foodstuff. The Greeks thought them so splendid that they used to make gold replicas. The Oaxacans, however, sculpt them into great tableaux and compete for prizes.

These are not the miniature salad radishes that grace the occasional picnic, but great efforts weighing five to ten pounds that are transformed into entire Nacimientos (nativity scenes), conquistadors, or even historical heroes like Emiliano Zapata. Hand carved root vegetable gifts, nice idea.

There are plenty of people who think they’ve seen baby Jesus in a root vegetable, but not many who can be bothered to carve one. I love a hand-made gift. One of my most prized possessions is a rock coloured all over with crayon that my then five-year-old daughter gave me one summer. To this day it remains the finest paperweight that money can buy.

I also have a pine-handled bottle opener nurtured over 13 weeks in a CDT class by my son James, the highest value item in my Will. Grinling Gibbons, eat your heart out. Doesn’t quite match Salvador Dalí’s surrealist gift in 1936 to Harpo Marx – a harp with barbed wire strings, but it’s a nice piece.

But back to holidays. I like to go somewhere with time to sit and think and, occasionally, just to sit and not think at all. Apart from that, I’m easily pleased. I’ve passed through The Inbetweeners type holidays some 30 years ago, the everyday horror of being stranded between childhood and adulthood, a hundred feet out in social no man’s land – a gig that becomes impossible as soon as it starts, adolescence comes with obsolescence built in. There’s rawness in holidays of that age group, teenage hubris and humiliations, whether they’re scatological or something subtler.

Thailand beckoned, but then I read a piece warning travellers not to take a copy of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. The warning is to be found inside the in-flight magazine of Philippine Airlines (a bit late if you’re on the final approach to Bangkok airport) and has been circulated on Twitter. Passengers are told that ‘Thailand is very safe for tourists’ but are offered five tips to help ‘blend in’: You don’t want to be mistaken for an anti-coup protestor.

I have to say that I’ve never really been that interested in getting a tan. Partly this is because I find sunbathing to be one of the most tedious activities on Earth and partly this is because I’m not in the least bit bothered by the way it looks. Oh, and apparently it’s also extremely bad for you. Tanned skin is damaged skin, you know.

Not surprisingly then, I find the whole trend for tanning a little bit baffling. It’s incredibly narcissistic, isn’t it? I’ve never really understood why, in their quest for the all-year tan, people will willingly go to a salon and submit themselves to damaging ultra-violet light, or why they will sit for hours slow roasting on a beach.

For me, pale is interesting. I’m 100% Anglo Saxon as in Thomas Huxley’s division of humanity, although to be fair, I have a skin tone that could optimistically be called ‘North-of-England olive’ after my two weeks away, but would more accurately be described as ‘Lancashire white’ – not to be confused with the potato of the same name.

Rightly or wrongly, there is a part of me that sees someone with a tan and thinks that they are preeningly vain. I’m sure there must be some exceptions, but in my head, I always reckon that a man with a glowing tan is also likely to have overly plucked eyebrows and probably dries his feet in the gym changing room with a hair dryer. There’s so much that is wrong with that, although I see more blokes doing it.

Until recently, I knew very little about the mechanics of how you go about getting a serious tan, and I cared even less, and then I overheard a conversation on a train between Claire and Hannah. Claire likes a bit of sun, had just got back from a week in Portugal and was as brown as a walnut and keen to stay that way.

The conversation started harmlessly enough. They had a bit of a chat about her holiday, but then, before I could blink, we seemed to be talking about sunbathing and how it is important to make sure you get ‘an all over tan’. What this means – I know this now – is that you have to a) get naked and b) make sure that you frequently change the position of your body so that everywhere catches the sun.

Let’s think about that for a moment. Everywhere. Between the toes? Yes. Apparently that’s important when you wear open-toed shoes. Under the arms? Very, very important in a season with so many sleeveless tops. Don’t forget the backs of your arms either. Underneath the breasts? Obviously. This may entail a bit of strategic lifting and shifting. I tell you. Every day is a school day, isn’t it?

Anyway, still searching for a suitable holiday destination, I then came to the killer social media feeds. ‘Looking for that special place for your Caribbean getaway? The last word in luxury ocean front views, a refreshing dip maybe, we are an art hotel, and each room features it own paintings, and you’ll love our body hugging posteurpedic beds, and our showers feature the latest in alpine massage technology, and each room is fitted with a cooling device that defies gravity, and..’

I know, I know. At that point I gave up and defaulted to my wife and daughter’s relentless search and we were off. So having unpacked and decluttered my mind, and having no access to the Internet, I arrived at the chosen destination. Here are my ‘thinking outloud’ takeaway reflections from my break, a stream of random consciousness and musings that I hope give you some insight into my three weeks in the sun.

The greatest reflection of yourself is how you use your time Whatever you say about what really matters to you, the true test is where you place your time. If you say your priorities are your partner or your kids or your health or learning, that statement will only be true if your calendar reflects it. The only reason for time is so everything doesn’t happen at once, but don’t wait, the time will never be right.

To know what you think, write it down Not having technology and having to write things down myself in a notebook, to let it see light, is the best way for me to clarify what I actually think about something. ‘Writing is the painting of the voice’ said Voltaire, for me, I realise that writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted.

Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity You can’t artificially generate curiosity, so you have to follow where yours actually leads. Curiosity ends up being the driving force behind learning and the thirst for knowledge.  ‘Millions saw the apple fall but Newton asked why’ said Bernard Baruch. Curiosity did not kill the cat, conventionality did.

Get outside Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air and remind yourself of who you are and who you want to be. Being on holiday gives you freedom from the usual routine, to breathe the air without interference and to just do stuff. What you think of yourself is much more important than what other people think of you. Be yourself, everyone else is taken, so give yourself some space.

Pay close attention to what you do when you’re alone When no-one else is around, or looking, or talking, when the house is empty, when the afternoon is yours alone, what you choose to do says a lot about you. Pay close attention to where your mind wanders in the shower. Your natural wanderings are your compass to what’s truly interesting to you. Equally, it’s bad enough wasting time without killing time.

Self-control is a finite resource I’m good company for me, I like the idea of solitude, being alone and being content with myself, but I fear loneliness, the pain of being alone, and I’ve never been lonely, an exposed position. However, you can only ask so much of yourself each day, you’ll snap or warp or splinter if you ask too much. You have a limited capacity to direct yourself a certain way. I now realise there are boundaries to being independent.

You end up being the average of the people you spend your life with You become a reflection of your environment, particularly your social one. Choose people wisely, don’t hesitate to move or change if you know things aren’t right. Equally, everything defaults to mediocre. Most jobs are mediocre, most people’s work is mediocre, most products and experiences are mediocre. Most lives drift in an inertia of mediocrity. Rise above the mediocrity, the mundane, the ordinary. We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. As Steve Jobs said, make a dent in the universe.

Put yourself in places that make you nervous Nerves are really the only way to know that you’re being stretched. If there hasn’t been a moment of nerves in your life for a month, it might be worthwhile asking if you’re pushing hard enough. Step outside your comfort zone into the learning zone. If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got. Great people did not achieve great things by staying in their comfort zone.

Listen to your own pulse Money can’t buy you happiness, but consciousness can. I picked up Laura Vanderkam’s book, ‘168 hours: you have more time than you think’ from the bookcase in the hotel reception. She talks about thinking of your week in terms of 168 hours, instead of seven 24-hour chunks. When you look at your week from that perspective, you have more time than you think. This book is a reality check that tells you I do have time for what is important to me.

You never know where you are on the big wheel You never know what’s coming, you have to have some faith that your moment is coming, but you don’t need to be Speedy Gonzalez all the time. Travel has many joys, luggage is not one of them. Live for the moments of serendipity and synchronicity. Sleep. Hydrate. Move. The basics are key. You strive to be conscious in all areas of life, relationships, raising children, your work, but we need more awareness and clarity.

I’ve become influenced in the last year by Tim Ferris, look him up here http://fourhourworkweek.com/blog/. He’s a big believer and doer of lifestyle design, work and life balance and has redefined success.  His blogs are quirky and thoughtful, and you may get some clues on what to add to or subtract from your own mix as you search to find what works for you.

We all know that holidays are good for us, but if you are in doubt, google the health benefits of taking a holiday. However, many of us do not take time off. We are constantly on solving problems, putting out fires, thinking of ways to grow faster, bigger, better, We cannot imagine how our businesses can function without us. And then there’s the guilt: How can I leave my team? They need me.

But more importantly, a holiday provides a great opportunity for personal growth in an accelerated way. Yes you rest, you catch up on sleep, you read a book or two, you may be even be lucky enough to fill up on vitamin D and get a tan (!) But above all, you constantly absorb, morph, learn. Serendipity will make it that you will always find people to quench your thirst for knowledge, your curiosity for idiosyncrasies, your craving for new experiences.

We all have a tendency to become myopic when we focus too long on the same thing and we forget to look beyond our horizons. A holiday brings that back and more. I feel more relaxed and more deeply connected to myself and that’s not been the case for a while.

So now with new things learned and others unlearned I’ve already begun to create and continue a healthier, more authentic life rhythm that’s best for me, and the thing is, in doing that, what I give to those close to me and try to contribute to the rest of the world will be so much better.