Board rash.

Board rash I discovered, can develop as a result of friction between one’s torso and a surfboard due to sand adhering to the wax, this is easily remedied by wearing a rash-vest. Unlike, I couldn’t help musing, the friction and tension I had observed developing during a board meeting the week before.  The feeling of discomfort however was probably similar.

For the first time this summer, I tried surfing, it has always been something of a wistful desire. Sitting on a board waiting for a wave and then feeling the slight swell of the ocean, paddling hard, becoming aware of the bubbles of water at your feet, the surface of the water ahead of you changing to peculiar flat swirls with almost a stalling motion signifying the moment to get up. Then up, the adrenalin rush, the feeling of being literally on the water at the behest of nature is just breath-taking…..

That moment was, in truth, the odd nanosecond amongst hours in the sea, falling off more times than I can recall and many times realizing the moment had passed. Much ingested seawater later, I can just about ride a (little) wave.

A delegate appeared in the break at a recent workshop and said ‘leading’s hardest when people are upset or emotionally charged, the rest of the time it’s ‘relatively easy’, right? ‘Well, yes’, I said ‘a leader that notices what’s going on and takes action especially during tough times will stand out significantly from those that notice what’s going on but don’t actually do anything.” ‘No quick fix then, okay, thanks’, he said and went off for a coffee looking thoughtful.

Metaphorically speaking, we can either take action and go for that wave even if the net result is more seawater and another plunge into the sea, or we can watch the moment go by, observe from the sidelines and wash up on the beach. Alternatively we can act and get stuck in, the experience is richer and the more accomplished we become. Awareness develops and that’s better for everyone!

In 1969, two young men Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer set up RipCurl.  The culture and ethos today is still all about the surfer and the sea although there is of course now a mighty successful commercial element too. It is a great case study of noticing what’s required, getting stuck in and doing something about it – be it product or a changing market. The people who run the company were and still are the test pilots. And even today on a clear day with a brisk wind running straight from the land, you’ll be pushed to find anyone in the RipCurl offices  – hurrah for that!

Billabong, the embattled global surf brand, in contrast, has perhaps not taken action where it may have and has just announced losses of almost $860million.

An inspiring adventurer and explorer I know oft lives by the adage ‘better to die on the adventure than to die waiting for it’, he has achieved much, is a brilliant motivator and has made many things possible both for himself and those around him. This adage may be a little extreme for some of us, however if taking action makes the difference, I reckon it’s worth the risk. As TS Eliot put it ’only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go’.

Have a fabulous autumn and if you need a little assistance in how far you can go, you know where we are.

My warmest wishes,



Happy Happiness Day!

If you’re happy and you know it…….…… know the rest of the song.
Today, March 20, is the first ever International Happiness Day – various government figures are talking about Gross National Happiness (GNH); the promotion of equitable and sustainable socio-economic development, the preservation and promotion of cultural values, the conservation of the natural environment, and the establishment of good governance. 

Now that’s all very well and I do heartily agree with the need for an equitable and sustainable way of moving forward as a race.
However, I wonder if, as with many things,  it also starts small and local, maybe even at your breakfast table this morning. Ask kids about happiness and they’ll often talk about wonder, sweeties, fun or as my eldest daughter commented, quite unprompted when hearing the news ‘I feel happy when I’ve helped make some-one else feel happy’. That brought a tear to my eye and made me feel happy I can tell you…..
To feel happy with self-esteem and confidence about oneself is a wonderful thing (though sadly not a given).  It is life-enhancing and enables us to gets through the rough times as well as the good. 
I heard Dr.Charles Eugster, the 93 year old, former dentist turned bodybuilder talking on the radio earlier and if he can’t teach us all a lesson about the right attitude to life, I don’t know who can.  His mission was to turn the heads of the 70 year olds on the beach  (way to go!) when at 87 he thought he was getting overweight, this led him to hire a former Mr Universe to build his body and he’s done just that. 
The exuberance, passion and general joie de vivre that exuded from him was extraordinary.  His message on life in a few seconds –
·          *   Be passionate about something
·          *  Have a reason or relevance in your life
·          *  And exercise
He said of his recent experience ‘ It changes your appearance, it changes your energy and it changes the way you think’. Now that’s a fabulous reason to be happy. 
If this all sounds slightly kooky to you, it’s also the Spring Equinox today so longer days are on the way and that’s definitely something to be happy about. 
As a friend said recently, the day comes when we only regret the chances we didn’t take……and invariably it’s the taking chances that leads to happiness.  
Have a very happy Happiness day, whatever you’re up to….

2013 begins at the end of your comfort zone

As Walt Disney magically said’ If you can dream it, you can do it”. 
I’ve recently been fortunate to meet three very inspiring people, Rob Jonas, Business Leader (and extreme sports competitor), Liz Dimmock who is cycling around the world next year not only to beat a record but also to raise a £1m for charity (, and Leah Dunthorne, an Olympic coach.  All inspiring in very different ways, though with the utter, unshakeable belief in what they CAN do.
Many of us however, might feel that the self-belief required to achieve whatever others do or even more importantly what we want to do for ourselves, is unpredictable at best. Self-belief, with-out wishing to ‘personalise’ it, sometimes appears to have the power to depart at the critical moment.
All is not lost, the message from these individuals is also that you can always find some-one to help you out and get you started.  Pick whatever it is and find a willing helper to assist  you and your self-belief along the way. There are passionate people everywhere. 
What are you dreaming about that actually, you can do and who will help you get started?
Might 2013 be the year that you turned the dream to reality, there’s a movie there somewhere…….
Have a fabulous New Year, look forward to hearing about your plans for this year, sometime soon.

What’s your passion?

This weekend I felt very privileged to attend The Goodwood Revival meeting in West Sussex.  A veritable hotbed of exquisite historic cars, aeroplanes, fashion, music and memorabilia of a bygone era, not the mention the superb motor racing for which the event has an unrivalled reputation.
I believe it was Fangio, the Argentinean Formula One racing driver of formidable achievement who said, “You need great passion, because everything you do with great pleasure, you do well”.
From a spotless original 1965 Ford Transit, The Shelby Cup, a tribute to Dan Gurney to a grid value of c £300,000,000 worth of historic race Ferrari’s  – the magic and sparkle one could almost hold.   Now for those of you who are not particularly interested in things ‘petrol-head’, this is not the purpose of the post.


It was the passion and unbridled enjoyment that was palpable. Not only for the cars, the planes, the history, the racing, the clothes (that’s another post entirely) the atmosphere at this event was inspiring and extremely pleasurable. I met people from all walks of life, had conversations with more strangers in a day than I’ve done for ages and met one or two celebrities to boot. The passion of individuals for their cars, racing, the era, the clothes or just to enjoy a day at Goodwood House, was incredible.


I don’t think there was one vehicle, plane or person there that wasn’t immaculately turned out, well maybe one or two, but you get my point.


It may be the legacy of the success of the Olympics, the sheer passion and attention to detail for this event by Lord March and his team, or the sunny day that made the difference.  However, living in challenging times, with volatile markets and economies, if finding our passion for what we care about makes such a big difference; to us, our friends and families, our companies, motor-racing events, then surely that’s the way to go.


As Disraeli said “ Man (or woman) is only truly great when he acts from his passions”.


What’s yours?