Once more I am writing to you from the future (or the past, depending on how you want to look at it).
When you read this, I will be either on my way to, or moving around London — a fantastic city that was my home for many years.
This may sound strange, but I’m looking forward to the transit as much as the activities I am doing there. (I’m meeting friends while I can because — Game Of Thrones style — “winter is coming” and Covid restrictions could hit again).
A car. And my feet. They are all I’ll…
You spend ages crafting something new and unique. It could be a business proposal, an investor deck, a report, an article, a prototype, a cake, or an entirely new look.
You pour your hours, passion and smarts into making it the best you can. You think about how to to explain and present it.
It’s something a bit different. Not what people expect. But what you think works. You go for it. And then you get one of these three reactions….
Some love it. Others need time to absorb it. A few will delight in pulling it to pieces.
I just read one of the most powerful articles I’ve ever seen on this platform, and I suggest you read it too. It’s by Paul Ryburn, M.Sc. and describes how a series of unrelated and chance events led him into a dangerous spiral.
He made it through, thanks to his own strength of character, and the help of his friends, but it was a close thing.
It made me think — the “normal lives” (each unique) we have created for ourselves… are fragile. …
Remember how much we used to take time with friends for granted?
We’ll do a coffee tomorrow / See you at the game tonight / Can’t wait to discuss it in the office in the morning / All round ours on Friday evening!
These are phrases that few of us have been able to say with total confidence for 18 months now. And as we (in the Northern Hemisphere) head into autumn and winter, face-to-face time with friends could be limited again.
So take the the chance to meet now. Do it responsibly. And once you’ve navigated your way to…
We love to dismiss. People, places, situations — we judge them instantly and write them off. Thinking we’re smart, we walk past and shake our heads.
Worshipping at the altars of normality, popularity and “what the world thinks” does get us somewhere…
It gets us to exactly the same place as everyone else.
And then we wonder why our lives feel so “meh”.
Here’s how to take inspiration from restrictions, irregularity and seeming impossibility just by asking (and answering) three simple questions…
Say you wanted to build your own house, but you had way less money than a “regular” house…
We all think we’re “a good friend”. But we might not be. Being a friend is not something we can be good at when it’s easy, then not bother the rest of the time.
Friendship is not a framed picture on a wall. It’s an ongoing relationship.
And what do relationships need? C’mon class, let’s all say it together please. 1–2–3…
“Relationships need… WORK!”
So, let’s just make sure we’re doing the basics…
The basis of all relationships is communication, so make sure that the channels are open, working and active.
A good friendship doesn’t rely on one person always…
If you’re pitching a project, idea, or product to another person or organisation, chances are you’ll need to give a presentation. Let’s not get into the technicals too much, just the core principles.
Always think of your audience — what do you want them to get out of your deck / video / talk (it doesn’t need to be a powerpoint…)
With the audience constantly in your mind, make sure you’re hitting these core markers:
It may be the 43rd time you’ve delivered this presentation but it’s the first time the audience are hearing it.
If you want them to…
The theory goes like this. When you’re a teenager, your body can play the sport but your mind can’t. When you pass 30, your mind can play the sport but your body can’t.
Emma Raducanu and Cristiano Ronaldo have something to say about this theory:
It’s plain wrong.
Raducanu just won the US Open tennis championship (without dropping a set) aged 18. She had to qualify for the tournament, having been ranked in the low 300’s just weeks ago.
Ronaldo just scored twice on his second home debut for Manchester Utd at the age of 36. He looked the best…
Sport is a megaphone and a microscope at the same time. Break through at a major international tournament and you become a global superstar almost overnight.
Immediately the forensic examination begins. Who is this person? Why are they so good? What are they really like?
People begin to have opinions. And that can be a problem, especially when they stop winning (which everyone has to at some point) and social media gets involved.
Emma Raducanu is 18 and has just made it to the US Open Tennis semi-final. She was ranked in the low 300’s only a few weeks ago…
You can plan all you want, have all the meetings under the sun and steel yourself ahead of time, but when it comes to the major project/big day/delivery phase… things get tough.
The responsibility is yours. If it goes wrong, people will lose money, perhaps their jobs, perhaps even worse.
And it will be your fault. It’s your job.
Your stomach tightens, your sleep suffers, you’re grumpy with your loved ones and life is not fun. If you care what people think of you (perhaps a bit too much), you worry constantly.
But, there are causes and there are solutions…