Room to Think

On Sunday I was standing 2000 feet above sea level at the top of Black Hill, in the Black Mountains of Herefordshire in western England. It was a glorious spring day with a clear blue sky, fresh breeze and full sunshine. Visibility was at least 60 miles out over the green and brown patchwork of small fields towards Hereford. This area contains some of the best rural farming in the UK close to the Welsh border just inside the Brecon Beacons National Park.

A good day to be alive but this was an area of very tough hill farming and I was under no idyllic illusions about the brutal realities of trying to make a business out of the land. It was also an area in which the UK’s military special forces are selected and trained, testing out every sinew of their endurance and resolve to get through the various challenges. For all that it made me stop and think about the value of the space around me and the need for clear lines of sight in my own life as well as for general navigation.

The last two years had been a time of massive transition for me, leaving a specialist high performance police team at Scotland Yard and going it alone setting up my own business. Although the decision making had not been as relentless as before I had to rely completely on my own resolve and self motivation to get things done. There were no daily briefings to go to or fellow managers to sound board with. Neither was there anyone around the breakfast table, as I had recently divorced, so all in all there had been a general clearing of the decks so to speak.

What I had re discovered though was the value of thinking time and investing that time in your own development. In the early stages of retirement I had been planning my future very roughly and quickly on the “back of a fag packet” until I realised that there was nothing selfish about putting the same amount of effort into yourself as I would into my work projects. I owed it to myself. There began several months of thinking and self analysis. What did I really want in my life? Which areas did I want to specialise in? How much work and leisure time did I want? How could I re connect with all the friends I had lost contact with over the years of back to back operations and projects?

This takes time to do properly and I went through what I can only call an industrial scale distilling process similar to cider production, honing my objectives down bit by bit. However, I could only do this by asking myself the right questions and I therefore took inspiration and guidance from some of the worlds great self development psychologists like Brian Tracy and Anthony Robbins. I was accepted onto the Coaching Academy’s personal performance diploma programme and there began a complete renaissance of how I looked at myself and the people around me. The real treasure of this period however has been the ability to sit and think. Not in a shallow and vague way but deeply and thoroughly. This is a commodity which is largely lacking from modern management with the need for quick results. The revelation it has given me about myself has been a real surprise. Patiently and systematically I am now on a route to building up a new enterprise which suits my values and beliefs. I feel calm and in control of my destiny. Something which was often lacking in my former professional life.

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