20 December 2015

So with only a few days before Christmas, this is likely to be my last blog for the year, and what a year its been.

I have always been ambitious. I have always been a dreamer. Even from a very early age I dreamt of building office blocks, but when I look back to 1999 and remember the two naive adventurers embarking on an impossible journey, with so much stacked against them, to arrive at this point now is an extraordinary honour and unforgettable pleasure. Whilst the journey is far from over, sometimes its nice to pause for thought.

But when you reflect, what stands out? It’s not the deals we have done, although I am tremendously grateful for all our clients and their unwavering support, but it’s the friends and relationships that really stick in my mind above everything else.

When you set out to create a business, I think you do so with this vision of success, but it’s so easy to underestimate the success you already have with the people in your life and the friends you have around you.

So is success an accumulation of wealth? Or an accumulation of friends?

My Grandfather died a poor man in comparison to most, but I will never forget the packed church and the hundreds of people who attended his funeral. To this day I have never witnessed an occasion like it. But he was a man who invested so much time into other people, whether it was running sports teams or being there for people in the community, he was always there.

He might not have left thousands of pounds, but he left something far more valuable; lasting memories and an inspirational platform for me to follow and emulate. I could live a thousand years and still not live up to his extraordinary work, but there’s the challenge.

So how have you done this year?

Sometimes its easy to feel you are treading water or not achieving at the speed you might like, yet if you roll back the clock a year or so, pretty soon, you see the difference far more clearly.

Whilst it’s a great time to reflect, it’s also a wonderful time to set new challenges.

4th daughter on the way, Jones is definitely outnumbered at home!

4th daughter on the way, Jones is definitely outnumbered at home!

The first of mine is to make the most of every minute with my family and girls over the festive period. Every year I try and get to a point where Gail doesn’t have to work as hard as she does, and every year I fail! In 2016 I have a plan to win that competition. The news is out now at work, so I am sure she won’t mind me sharing it, but we are having another baby. Another daughter in fact, so that will make 4!

(I was supposed to keep it a secret but I couldn’t help myself and announced almost immediately to the whole company in a Monday morning meeting some weeks back.)

When people wonder why I leave the house so early to go to work, yes it’s partially to miss the traffic, but its also partially to miss the chaos that ensues with 4 feisty girls of all ages running around the house. So with 5, I am sure I will be continuing this tradition for many years to come. Gail on the other hand, like it or not, will have her hands full, quite literally, with the new arrival due in May.

So on reflection, all I can say is “Thank you for a magical year.” Thank you to every single one of you reading. Friends, family, new acquaintances, team mates, everyone connected to UKFast however small, past and present. Its been an inspirational year. A year of discovery and a fascinating journey with many more mountains to climb.

Laura Massaro and Lawrence Jones hanging out in the garden, planning for the future

Laura Massaro and Lawrence Jones on the journey to World Number 1

One amazing and lasting memory will be the moment I met Laura Massaro at the Northern Squash Club in Didsbury and asked her “do you not want to be world number 1?”

I won’t tell you her answer, that’s one for her book in years to come, or mine, but she was some way off at the time. I have to credit her with a huge amount of respect for taking on a gigantic challenge, the biggest challenge known to mankind; to be the best in the world in their field. Laura is due to be crowned in the New Year as The Worlds Number 1 Squash player and she has a huge amount of work still to do. Like my journey, her’s is just beginning. But she deserves the biggest pat on the back for her effort so far.

So what are you going to do after you have put your feet up and spent some invaluable and well earned time with your friends and family this Christmas?

Whatever it is, you will be amazing at it! Whatever you put your mind to do you can and will achieve. Make this Christmas holiday the best you have ever had and set yourself up for the most successful year you can imagine.

Lawrence Jones MBE and Family in the Snowdon mountains above Beddgelert, a favourite spot.

Lawrence Jones MBE and Family in the Snowdon mountains above Beddgelert, a favourite spot.

Life is for living, but you have to dream first and don’t let anyone say you can’t do something.

So get yourself a pen and paper and start writing some lists. All things you want to do more of. All the things you might need to stop doing and create yourself a MAP. Set yourself a point in time where you’d like to be and go out and achieve it.

If you need help on the journey, drop me a line on Facebook or this site and I will always answer any questions you have.

Stay healthy, keep smiling and change the world! Someone somewhere is counting on you.

Best LJ

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