Let’s be honest for many of us life can be a bit of a drudge. Work, eat, sleep, repeat. Doing our best to make space for family, friends and a social life. Having said that there is no one more grateful for anything that life throws my way than me! ‘Every day is a bonus,’ is my personal mantra, and I absolutely make the most of the time, even negative experiences. I smile in the face of adversity, and on many occasions have talked to lovely people whilst solving my problems. I was lucky that I led a life that I loved before cancer, which gave me incredible life experiences.
But since cancer I have had many more, very different ones, that I could never even begin to imagine. Writing, speaking, giving presentations around the world, being just some. Each day receiving invitations to expand my work, into exciting areas. I truly believed that at the age of 61 the days of new experiences would be very rare, but thankfully they seem to be increasing. If my life stopped now, I would be more than satisfied with what I have seen and done. My biggest achievement of course is creating such a wonderful family with my incredible wife Sue. For me that is the definition of success, being content with life! In recent weeks I have done several things I have never done before, and it is then that I realised the importance of that. For me, money will not change my life much, so it is not really my ultimate goal. The pleasure I gain from fresh experience, far outweighs the temporary pleasures of cash.
I was recently invited to Switzerland, a country I have never been to before. To stay in an exclusive lodge in the mountains with personal chefs etc. We had an unbelievable time, and that will live with me forever. We even managed a trip on a cable car! To think I nearly turned it down because of the travelling! Then a few weeks later, I went to Scotland for a wedding. The ceremony took place in a lovely village church and we had the reception in an incredible beautiful castle. Again something else I had never done before. If we needed any reminder of how lucky we are here are two very recent ones.
When I look in my diary for the rest of the year, I am speaking in Austria in front of an international audience, and am giving two communication master classes to senior management groups. Yet more new experiences! What thrills me more than anything is the fact that most of these incredible experiences, involve helping others. The world we live in is changing rapidly, the way we live/work is very different to even ten years ago, so I feel that we are all going to be enjoying new experiences. Of course they will not always be positive! The way that I work now is such a contrast to what I used to believe was effective for me as an entrepreneur. I always believed that meeting someone was always the first step to working with them. Being ‘old school,’ I wanted to see ‘the colour of their eyes,’ before I could open up. My judgement was pretty good and I could tell in the first few minutes if somebody was genuine. But that process involved a lot of travelling and hard work, making appointments etc.
Now I still retain that principle, as I now use Skype frequently to contact people and understand more about how they work and what they want to achieve. Despite being a man of a certain age I am embracing new ways of working, and the challenge of improving life for others is made easier as many of us are now very open to change. I can create a future without so much reference to the past. Of course what we have done previously is important, but we now have technology and communications that we have never had before, and cannot use our experience to know what the results will be. We are still very much learning and will be for many years.
I can already through my work see troubles for larger more corporate organisations who are not ‘nimble’ in the way they work, and are resistant to change. Too large to adapt to a very fluid market place. To be a small organisation in this sector was once a massive disadvantage, but that is no longer the case. We can change quickly and move on ever shifting sands, we will always be in tune with what people affected by cancer require. Now more and more healthcare professionals can see that what the current system offers is just not adequate. Booklets and emails will no longer cut it, practical support is what is required. There is much of this help, outside the system, and now NEW is the way to go!
Do you find it difficult to embrace new ways of working, or are you enjoying the freedom that they are giving us? Whatever your views please feel free to share them below.
I am an official support partner of the Grove Hotel in Bournemouth. The only hotel in the UK specifically for people affected by cancer and other life limiting conditions.