26 October 2014

The view from my hammock

Admiring the view

Right now, I’m very lucky to be taking a break in one of the most idyllic places on the planet, one of the only places where I can switch off to some extent.

Necker Island.

Returning here always feels like returning home at the end of a long journey. Watching the sun come up with an espresso in hand and a head full of ideas, I remember why.

Amongst the stunning coastal views and tropical plants you are sometimes lucky to see a giant tortoise, plodding along across the sand. They remind me of the saying ‘slow and steady wins the race’ – something that I’m not particularly good at, as I like to do things quickly. If there is something I can improve or change, I want to make that impact as fast as possible (hence the name UKFast).

Yet, when I come out here with Gail and our three girls, I am reminded of the importance of slowing down at the right times – an essential part of the race, in my experience. Having said that, I’m not sure to what extent we’ve slowed down, canoeing with Coco, playing with the girls, and taking the zip line (a handy shortcut) to Turtle Beach.

How many entrepreneurs or businesspeople are guilty of sitting in an office all day, every day, never looking up from their screens other than to attend endless meetings? Is this the way to keep a business alive and vibrant? Chaining yourself to your desk might make you feel like you’re doing the best for your business, but I would argue that this approach limits your vision, as you only get one perspective. When you’re too close to the canvas, you can’t see the whole picture.

Inspiration comes in many forms and, for me; there is nothing more inspiring than visiting new places. This year I have been all over the world learning in every location, picking up leaflets, books, napkins – any source of creativity that I like and that could spark something new within UKFast. After my trip to Amsterdam earlier this year, which in my view is a real frontrunner in design and one of the most creative places in the world, our in-house design team were inundated, not only with the books I bought over there, but with other little bits of creativity – photos of train stations and store fronts, menus and tickets, the list goes on!

It’s the same on Necker, where the bright sunshine and the range of beautiful colours light up every corner of your imagination. There’s something about losing yourself in a place like this, watching the ebb and flow of the waves against the shore, that clears your thoughts and frees up your mind for new ideas. It’s astonishing what stepping away and physically moving yourself out of the day-to-day of a business can do.

As I swing in the hammock, waiting for the girls to get up, my phone goes. It’s a text message from the team at Le Farinet. It has just started snowing!

I run my toes through the sand and smile.

“See you soon!”

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