Taking A Moment

Sunday, January 1, 2017
Written By : 
Richard G. Watson

The beginning of each year is always greeted with enthusiasm and a lot of noise; lots and lots of noise. We count in the New Year or count out the old year, whichever way you want to look at it, and most of us look forward to a new year, a new start, another chance to get it right (ok so that’s the cynic in me talking).  We drink a bit too much (maybe way too much) and after a moment’s reflection, life begins again.  Of course, this year is going to be ‘so’ much better than last year.

It’s amazing what a difference just one day makes – from 31st December to 1st January, it’s 24 hours but in our minds, it’s a whole world away from where we were to where we are.  We take time to be thankful for the good things that have happened during the course of the year, and sometimes just to be thankful that the year is finally over!

But sometimes I wonder just what we could or would do if every day was New Year’s Day.  Imagine the new year’s resolutions we would write, the plans and promises we would make and the excitement of the day (minus the New Year’s hangovers of course).

Of the people that I am fortunate enough to call my friends, two immediately come to mind.  They don’t know each other, have no business connections at all, and very little in common (apart from being my friends) except for one important characteristic – to both of them, every day could be New Year’s Day. They are remarkably driven individuals and see every day as an opportunity to begin again, to get it right, to find new opportunities, to boldly go where no man … well, you get the picture.

So, what makes them different?  One word – passion … and focus; okay that’s two words but the meanings are completely entwined and inseparable.  Each time I meet with either one of them, I feel hugely motivated by them, somewhat in awe of their clarity of mind and ability to plan, and often embarrassed that I am not more like them.  It is always a privilege to be in the presence of highly intelligent and highly motivated people, at the same time it is humbling. Let me give you one page from each of their ‘books’.

1. In recent weeks, apart from contemplating my navel over the holidays, I set aside time to review my business during 2016 and see what we could do better in 2017 – do more of the good, less of the bad, and diversify my business.  I scratched my head a lot, wrote down copious notes, talked too much to my business partner and to others in my line of business, my family of course and my friends.  And I had one of many coffee meetings (love my coffee) with a good friend of mine.  While he is not from my industry at all, he asked lots of questions, he probed into the details of my business and he sought clarity at times when I was less than clear; and then has started to take notes.  Interesting I thought, just a coffee chat between friends, and he’s taking notes ...

A week later we caught up again, and he showed many several hand-written pages with my business model, ideas we had discussed, areas of opportunity, and possible areas to diversify. Wow, I was speechless.  But not for long.  We have had several coffee meetings since then, and his focused and selfless approach has been invaluable to say the least.  Why did he do that? Well, firstly because he is a good friend and saw a need; and secondly, because he couldn’t help himself! His passion/focus was such that every aspect of his life was and is dissected, analysed and all opportunities identified.  No stone left unturned.  And it has made him very very successful.  What a valuable lesson for me.

2. Turn back the clock about fifteen months.  The end of the year before last, another time of contemplation and star gazing.  And dinner with another good friend of mine.  He is one of those friends who started as a business contact and then a client, and it quickly morphed into friendship but still with a distinct business focus.  Each time my wife and I are invited for dinner at his house, we never say no.  It’s always a great night out, and we get to mingle with other likeminded or un-likeminded guests (my friend loves to mix things up, throw the cat amongst the pigeons and watch the feathers fly).  All part of the fun of the night.  Good food and wine, and fascinating conversation (debates?).  It’s always entertaining.

One particular evening at his dinner table, however, my friend’s focus was completely on my business.  Over several hours, three courses of food and I don’t know how many red wines, he proceeded to tell me everything that was wrong with what I was doing and why.  I listened, debated, questioned, and even took out my phone to handwrite some notes.It was not the dinner conversation that I was expected, but was arguably the one I deserved.  It set my head spinning, in a good way.  After we said our goodbyes I realised that the discussion … no, the debate – had helped me enormously.  It had forced me to focus on my business and myself as a business owner, and accept good constructive criticism from a very successful, very focused and passionate, good friend.  Again, what a valuable lesson for me.

I think you can guess what point I am trying to make here.

If I have to make a New Year’s resolution, it will be that each day I will make a New Year’s resolution.  Each day is a new year.  And a new start.  A refreshing way to think.

Now to put that into practice …



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