As I ponder my ongoing slightly bumpy “Road to Damascus” I can’t help but conclude that these days all the answers seem to revolve around blending. No single bold action or isolated development focus is enough any more. You need an active and curious mind to make sense of all the nonsense and to lead with authority. To exude authority you need to be authentic and derive guidance from you inner spiritual self. And to be the best version of the real you, you need to live real well. Eat well. Work out. Make time for yourself. At all costs stay fit. All these self improvement therapies seem to be intertwined and all need to be addressed in one smooth blend if you are to achieve the ultimate optimal version of yourself. How depressing is that? Don’t I get a day or two off from this hectic highway to personal transformation? And what about if I get sick?
Actually that’s probably what this is about. I’m sick. A bad bug that won’t shift. It means I can’t work out or run or swim. My body is telling me loud and clear that my ideal healing food is pizza and chocolate not porridge and goji berries. Sickness makes my brain muggy and means I get grouchy. All the things I’m trying to banish get bundled together in one snotty rag. I feel like all of a sudden I am forced back into a stuffy room watching the wonderful world outside from afar rather than participating in it.
I’m still a relatively recent convert to the healthy body = healthy mind club and its pissing me right off that I’m having to put it all on pause. But then I need to give myself a right talking to. Because the one truth in life is that you never know what may be around the corner that will change things completely for you, particularly when it comes to health. I remember whilst working in South Korea, having conversations with one of the key executives who ran the Property division, and every time we spoke he would give me a five minute diatribe about how the most important thing in life was your health. Whilst I agreed with him it seemed to me that this was either mildly eccentric – very possible, this was Korea – or was his way of diverting my complaint about the broken toilets on level 4, or (perhaps more likely) it was a pointed personal bit of advice he saved for me, given I was not quite the picture of health and vitality at that stage of my career that I aspire to now. Whatever the reason, all these years on, when I think back it still has quite a profound effect on me, particularly given subsequent events on people close to me, coupled with the absolute conviction and non negotiable blinding logic with which his homily was consistently delivered. There is nothing more important than your health. Believe it.
I’ve been lucky overall. A few broken bones here and there, a few scars and scares, and prods and probes, but really nothing life changing. Others around me have not been so lucky – including family, friends and colleagues. The saddest tale being of my – until recently – right hand man and biggest supporter, who I shall call Dodger. Dodger is a big man with a very big heart, that he puts on the line for others time after time. Advanced in his years but with a wealth of experience and nous to draw on, and a passion to use it to bring others on and help them learn to be better people and better leaders. You would trust him with anything. Sadly he developed what at first seemed to be a limp, but over a protracted 18 month period gradually worsened to the extent that he needed help to get around. Diagnosis after diagnosis ended up with the stark reality of MND. Terminal. Now this brave character battled on defying the odds, and was the epitome of stoicism. Eventually he had to accept that his working days were done and he left a hero, with a powerful send off ringing in his ears. He is still fighting hard to this day. But boy, that brought home to me what the Korean VP was telling me all those years ago.
Again, you never ever know what’s round the corner. You can only hope that your pathway is clear and that you remain in control of it. And if you do, then don’t fritter it. Yes, getting the most out of life can feel a bit overpowering at times. But by God it’s worth giving it your best shot while you’re able to, because if you don’t and that bad day comes, then you’ll see out your days in a sea of regrets. Whenever I waiver – I think of Dodger. And then I think of that Korean VP.
If you’ve got a cold – stop moaning and get over it. Being positive will help chase it away. And remember this duo of truisms of life – there is nothing more important than your health, and never take anything for granted : live each day as if it’s your last. Right, now I’m off for a swim…