What inspires you?

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 09.39.39It’s interesting how large sporting occasions can inspire us. How many of us runners find ourselves with more of a spring in our step having watched the World Athletics Championships or the London Marathon? Just seeing world class athletes such as Mo Farah achieve fantastic results can leave an imprint on us.

And I think we can all do with inspiration. When times are tough it is very easy to start focussing on the negative and to get bogged down with what things are not going to plan.

A far more positive approach is to move past those obstacles and focus on what you can do to move forward. Concentrate on those things you can change rather than on those things you can’t.

At the end of the day we live in a pretty prosperous country and have terrific opportunities residents of the developing world could only dream of.

Coming back to a story which inspires me – my father (an author/historian) in the process of researching for a book met a very wealthy German entrepreneur. He had been a fighter pilot in the Luftwaffe and my father had brought him together with the American pilot he had been in a dog fight with – they both tried their best to kill the other. Now they are the best of friends.

Whilst a great story that is not the inspiring bit for me. This ex-fighter pilot had found himself on the wrong side of the Berlin wall when the East Germans started building it. He left his home and fled to the West with his family and only what they could carry.

By the 70s when we went to stay with them near Frankfurt he was a very successful businessman. He lived in a large house with an indoor swimming pool (complete with wave machine!) and had 5 colour televisions. We stayed in their adjacent three bedroomed guest house. You can imagine the impression this made on a 10 year old whose family had only a couple of years earlier aspired to 1 colour television!

The thought that in just over a decade someone could achieve so much whilst starting with so little is very inspiring.

People do extraordinary things. These people are usually extraordinary individuals but if we can take inspiration from their example we can become, if not extraordinary ourselves, certainly more positive and motivated.

Fiona 🙂

Let’s not be defined by our woes!

I wasn’t sure what to expect when we visited the 911 memorial at Ground Zero. Truthfully, I think I expected something quite tacky and schmaltzily American that I would not be able to relate to.

The reality was a very moving memorial on a scale I was quite unprepared for.

I found myself very moved by the huge twin reflecting pools, which are sited in the exact footprints of the twin towers. Around the edges are the names of the nearly 3000 people who perished in the attacks on New York and the Pentigon, with those on the planes used to create such distruction and the NY firemen who also perished.

Around the edges of the memorial site, the rebuilding of the World Trade centre is well underway. I had not reallised that nearly every tower in the complex was destroyed on September 11th 2001, either directly, or later as a result of damage caused by the falling debris from the twin towers.

Some of the new buildings are being rebuilt in the foot prints of their predecessors and others, such as the completed new 1 World Trade building, are close by.

Incidentally, if you look at the skyline of downtown New York today the dominant 1 World Trade building is, I think, more beautiful and impressive than the tower it was named after.

The builders have learned from the problems caused by the way the original towers were built and the result is, hopefully, a far more resilient structure.
I think the way the Ground Zero has been developed is a real lesson for all of us in business.

The mixture of remembering what happened whilst moving on and rebuilding was spot on.

In business we often dwell on decisions we have made, which turned out to be wrong, or worry about things we have no power to influence.

Instead we should acknowledge mistakes we have made, so we can learn from them, and focus on positive actions we can take to make sure our businesses are stronger in the future.

I don’t think we should let our businesses should be defined by the problems they face but how we respond to those problems.

Fiona 🙂