THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

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So – on the 17:43 from Colwyn Bay to Newport, arriving at 21:15 then hopefully a short cab ride to The Hilton for some kip before my first visit with a brand new member of my Top 20 Club tomorrow.

I know I keep harping on about the wonders of train travel but I firmly believe that selling my car last year and reverting to public transport was one of the best decisions I have made in recent years.

I have to admit that I miss the company of Jon Barrow, who valiantly drove me around the client base in 2012 but his job as marketing co-ordinator for 7connections has now reached such epic proportions that we simply cannot waste his time ferrying me, even though he was such a hit with the clients (and their teams).

I will have completed around 5 hours on trains today, following my first client visit of the year with my friend Trevor Ferguson and his team at West End Dental Clinic in Colwyn Bay – but I don’t mind because it allows me to keep on top of the emails, the content creation and the project work.

Really good to jump on a Go To Meeting with JB, Tim Caudrelier and Karl Taylor-Knight this morning (first time this year) and have a bit of a giggle as well as dealing with the serious stuff of a busy month ahead.

My own coaching practice within 7c is getting close to full (close to – so keep the enquiries coming in) and it will soon be time to look at how the other fee-earners in 7connections can do the same – as well as continuing our exploration of how we can help clients virtually, rather than Elvis having to be in the room (even though Elvis loves it).

I bumped into Chris Potts while out running early this morning (which I often do, walking his lovely labrador, Ben) and we exchanged New Year best wishes and quick catch up on each other’s progress.

I’m so glad to see Chris looking well and busy after being caught in the BKH apocalypse, for which I will always feel partially responsible.

Chris is one of the nicest people I have ever met, in or out of dentistry, and deserved better treatment then he received towards the end of our failed business venture. He has been gracious enough to continue as a friend and that speaks volumes for his character and integrity.

It was very strange to leave home for work this morning – after 2 glorious weeks where I have been able to work in The Bunker and share dog walking duty with Annie, as well as an occasional working coffee with Jon B and my eldest daughter Rachel who went back to Queen Mary’s a few days ago.

2013 was one of the best Christmas and New Year breaks I have enjoyed for years and, once the liver has recovered and the paleo nutrition has been fully restored, I expect to be feeling as fit as a fiddle by the end of January.

Do I enjoy all this business travel and 100+ nights in hotels every year?

I miss being away from home – of course i do – but this is who I have always been – a road warrior since my 40’s and accustomed to it.

It remind me of all the emails that begin with “I know you are busy but…..” and the social media posts that comment “I don’t know how you do it – at your age.”

Do what? This is normal – I’ve been busy since about 1970 and I get things done.

Although Annie doesn’t like me being away for more than a couple of nights – she does enjoy the first two – a chance to catch upon some of the TV favourites that wouldn’t float my boat and also (I bet) some long phone chats with friends. There may even be a odd soak in the bath by candlelight with the TV on her iPad Mini – it has been known – she is so decadent.

I’m deep in the throes of my dryathlon – so when i do finally get to my hotel room tonight, it will be straight to bed (too late to eat) – a bit of a read (working my way through Crime & Punishment at the moment) and up early for a run, social media and brekkers before my new client picks me up from reception.

I’m so looking forward to meeting a new team tomorrow – I have noticed that his PM has been checking me out on Linkedin – I wonder what she is expecting? 😉

One more observation – I’m working with an extra 25 or so clients this month on the Get Your Year in Gear programme. The first few days are about reflection – highs and lows of the previous years, strengths and weaknesses, tolerations.

I am privileged to read (very confidentially) these documents – and I have been humbled in the last few days by the honesty with which the members of this temporary community have opened up and shared their hopes and fears.

I truly wish there was a way I could share them all with each other – and with you – so that you could see how much we are all duplicating our experiences.

We all think we are on Planet Me – population one – and then I read the same stories over and over again:

  1. not enough hours in the day to get everything done

  2. not enough time at home

  3. not enough earnings in spite of long hours and risk

  4. not enough fresh air and fun

  5. not enough self care

  6. not enough control over money

  7. not enough appreciation from their team

  8. not enough self-confidence

So many of them are beating themselves up.

I wrote to one of my clients the other day, who was bemoaning his shortcomings – and quoted to him the words of Tom Whittaker, who I was privileged to meet at Everest base camp in April 1998, during his third and successful attempt to become the first disabled person to summit the mountain.

After his safe descent he emailed a phrase that has stayed with me all my life – through all the ups and downs:

“I prefer to be defined by my abilities, rather than my disabilities.”

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