You can only really ever control these three things: What you focus on, how you think about that, and what you do about it. Aimed action, not feelings or stories, is what produces results in business and life.
But it’s not always obvious or easy to do. That’s why feelings and stories are so very important – they help us to know what we want, face up to the reality of where we are, and lead ourselves to close the gaps.
I have stories to tell. I have done some things I'm really proud of (and some things I'm really not).
I've taught literacy to people four times my age, buried my Brother and then done all I could to undermine the apartheid government that sent him to his death, chaired elections of illegal street committees in South African townships, had my life threatened more than once, bucketed sewerage out of my church basement so that inner-city pre-schoolers could get to class, helped my Father to die when his inspiring, powerful life had run its course, hosted Nelson Mandela, co-presented with Desmond Tutu, been pushed out of the church because of my stance on inclusivity & diversity, written for an LGBTI newspaper and sports magazines, run very long distances including the NYC Marathon barefoot and the Marathon des Sables, been frustrated by corporate martial arts, co-developed some amazing leadership interventions, witnessed some big leaders face hairy challenges and keep their values, and little leaders face ordinary things and become controlling and authoritarian, and travelled to many parts of the world. I've also failed friends, lost my way, over-thought, under-asserted and over-expected.
And I've thought about the meaning of it all as I've gone along.
I've been speaking professionally for over 30 years and published a book on diversity and inclusion (Right of Admission Reserved) and my own columns in the print media (The Pink Tongue newspaper, Go-Multi magazine, TRAIL magazine) for over 12 years. If you’d like to read some of my stories you can do that here. If you’d like to have me tell some of them, in the context of your business challenges and goals, contact me directly.
My goal is to use my stories to connect people to their own story, to challenge them to make their own choice to live and work with purpose, courage and integrity.
Being superficial and overly simplistic takes a special effort. You have to overlook all the evidence that there is more and maintain vigilance against life's depths.
We’ve walked down the old railway to the pizza place. The potato, apple and onion rosti with beetroot hummus was clean and complex with a welcome-home aroma.
My mother who is 78 has a weed dealer. He supplies it as oil in a syringe. Ma keeps it wrapped in cling film in the fridge, between the half lemon and the coriander.
There are two kinds of pain. The first kind should be endured - keep going through this and you will grow. The second kind of pain should make you stop.
It was on Wednesday, while munching sandwiches in the lunch break during the leadership strategy session, that Gary put the idea in my head.
I have given much of my thinking about a sweaty life in general, and ultra trail running in particular, to the subject of "Why?" (Published in TRAIL Mag)
I'd been breathing, eating, and dreaming my first Marathon des Sables. Then I learned that dreams evaporate easily, especially when taken too seriously.
Running barefoot and without a watch, I encountered the hospitality of the NYC Marathon and discovered a thin green line above the city's hustle and bustle.
I’m running a trail. And so are you. What matters most is how we run the trail of life - the skill, the style, the courage. Run well, Friend, this is a one-way route!
Do you know what other people do while you’re out running trails? Some people sleep longer. They roll over and relax into high thread count soft Egyptian cotton.
As three women stood chatting in a car park, a would-be robber held a knife to the throat of one of them, aged 82 years, and demanded her handbag.
"It must have been miserable up there," the woman said to me. "No," I replied, "It was a privilege." And it was thanks to the dog that saved my life.