29 August 2010

I have just returned from a business trip with my wife and business partner Gail. Its ironic that I have just been half way around the world to Fiji on a business summit, to realise that the answer is inside of me.

I went to learn about business and the “next step.” Every year Gail and I go to the place where we spent our honey-moon. Rangalli Island in the Maldives. It is a 3 week break, the first 2 weeks as a family adventure with our 2 daughters, and the last week really having a focus on ourselves and the business. It is a time when we look at the skills we are going to need to bring into the business to continue to help it develop and also the skills we personally need to develop. Running a business of 200 people requires very different skills of one of 50.

The reason so many businesses fail to grow their revenues over the £1,000,000 per annum mark, is they fail in this area. But every year we have gone away and found answers. This year we broke the habit and spent time in the Caribbean and then in the British Virgin Islands. It was undoubtedly the right move and it opened our eyes in so many ways.

I met some amazing people and made some life long friends. I learnt a great deal about the “bigger picture” on this holiday and was given so much great advice. This last break was no different. Yet although we went to learn about the business, I can confidently say we learnt more about ourselves.

There was one evening when we meditated. Gail does yoga at home and previously I always declined the offer to join the ladies as I consider a good workout to involve a huge amount of sweat and pain. I have to say the experience I had was nothing short of extraordinary.

No one has ever explained to me the feeling you can get from meditating and so I suppose I simply view it as a waste of time. Boy, how wrong can I be. And for those of you who know me really well, don’t worry you’ll still see me on the squash court, this is something I am just going to add to my life from now on.

It didn’t affect everyone in the same way. However if you can imagine a place where you were taken back to a life changing event in your past, where you are able to visualise and revisit that time with absolute clarity and observe all the emotions that you experienced as if you were outside looking in, then you are beginning to understand.

For me, I went to my avalanche accident. Yet I can now say with certainty, that was no accident.

I focussed on all the coincidences surrounding the avalanche event. The people I was with that day, 2 doctors in a group of 7, is this possible? A thoracic heart surgeon and a casualty doctor?  An officer from the British Army, a man who’d rowed across the atlantic for fun, Lee a salesmen like me who was the first to start assembling a shovel whilst everyone looked on in horror and disbelief as I was sucked deep underground. Just amazing guys. If any one of them hadn’t have been there, I’d have surely died that day.

So this is where I went. Deep below the snow. I watched the boys waving to me as they tried to warn me of the impending danger. This is a visual I have never seen before as it had previously been wiped from my memory. I relived every tumble and every last gasp of air before plunging below the surface to my grave.

Whilst in this place I got the opportunity to say thank you again. 9 years ago in the same place I said thank you to God for all the amazing people in my life. My girlfriend Gail, my parents, sister, family, friends I was able to list many people in the few minutes before loosing consciousness. I am now convinced that even after my bodily functions started to shut down and I stopped breathing, I am 100% certain, my thoughts carried on as I saw things this time that I do not remember the first time around.

Whilst meditating with my eyes tightly shut, a tear rolled down each cheek. Sage put her hands on my forehead and my entire body felt electric. I felt every nerve end tingling as if there was pure electricity running throughout my veins. I can’t explain all the coincidences in my life, I don’t want to understand them. I can’t explain what happened during that meditation and I don’t want to understand it. For me it was simply an opportunity to say thank you for all the amazing things in my life.

Don’t worry I am not going to start getting all religious on you. My experience was within me. And this is what I think I have learnt the most. It is so easy to start chasing rainbows when actually, happiness and fulfillment are here at home, deep inside you.

My job now is an interesting one because there is no doubt in my mind that everything has changed. When you get a second chance it does make you look at things in a different way. I am regarded by my friends as a highly motivated individual, but what I am feeling now is just off the scale. The only challenge now is “time.”  There is so much to do and so little of it. And if time is of the essence, focussing on the right outcome has to be the biggest priority.

Never a truer word for me here at home in Wales. The rain is pelting down outside and the wind is beating at the door. I enjoyed the heat of Fiji, but nothing beats the mountain air.

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