It’s been a while ….
I’ve skipped 3 weeks of exercise and writing due to the imminent arrival of the TET festival. But I never stopped reading. So I can say with a bit of pride, I managed to finish that Napoleon book.
Napoleon the Great by Andrew Roberts. It was a wild ride and had a very sad ending. Napoleon died in exile on St Helena, an island some considered the most remote place in the world at the time.
I can’t quite imagine what that felt like … a man of his incredible talent, power and energy, left to rot in ignominy until his death.
It also reminded me of my potential plan, to go into self-imposed exile, and made me wonder whether such a move was truly healthy for me. Would I go insane? Could I live without command?
It’s a difficult question. Even today, I felt bereft of many things, going back into the ordinary life of a retail worker, after the high of commanding a huge event. Things don’t feel the same, taste as interesting or fuel the creative energy as much.
Mundane things like restocking a store just seems … wasteful and lethargic.
But now that it’s over, I can finally take a breather and relax a bit.
Just a full warning … this is going to be a very long read. There is a lot to break down and assess.
From an overall perspective, the festival was a failure. Not enough people attended. All the stake-holders did not make money. We all lost.
From a personal viewpoint, I, too, consider it a failure. The energy was not there. The vibes were off and too many points of the festival looked empty. I expended a huge amount of energy, time and willpower and it was all for naught.
Objectively though, taken in context, the festival was a strange pyrrhic victory. Every other type of festival that occurred on the same weekend, and of its type, failed on an even larger scale. Chinatown, on the Sunday, flopped disastrously despite the fine weather. A beer festival had just 10 people, despite occurring in the heart of the city.
We managed to get at least a couple of thousand through the door and everyone somewhat recovered at least a little bit.
We all knew it was doomed to fail. But at least we didn’t fail as hard as the others. A testament to the quality of our event and brand awareness. That we even got that many people through the door, is an intriguing statement, when so many others failed.
But enough about the outcome of the festival. I can discuss that in another blog.
How did you feel about the whole experience?
Wasted. On a positive note, my weight loss dropped to 75kg at one point. But currently I am now at a more realistic 77kg. Still … not bad, considering I was 79 for the past 3 weeks.
The Before 30 Challenge is still on. I broke my skipping rope, in Week 10 and finally got a new one, that I can use and promises to be more durable than any other rope I’ve used thus far.
So beginning soon, I will get back into the routine again. An interesting fact I learned about myself during the festival, was that I didn’t need as much food as I thought. If I could just harness my entire body and mind, I could be a lot more efficient with the food I did eat and operate well on a lower calorie intake.
Being busy, helps me stay in good condition and lose weight.
I need to feel like I am operating at 100% a lot throughout the year, not just once for TET.
Another crucial element I discovered was that I worked out the ability to truly multi-task on a level I have never really found myself doing before.
The best analogy to describe this feeling would be your typical guitar strings.
5 lines, running parallel, separate and all sounding different to one another. But to make a cohesive song, you have to use all of them.
My mind felt like the hands that manipulate that guitar. One string was marketing, another was the TET Theatre, stall holders represented another and the analogy goes on.
At one point, I was actively using all the strings, and running through them all.
They say that you should never half-ass multiple things, always whole-ass one thing.
I think, as a leader, you can’t afford to do that unfortunately. You have to whole-ass multiple things.
And while mistakes and issues were made, overall, the result wasn’t terrible. Yes, I could have helped the TET Theatre with its preparation more. I could have tweaked the budget better and have more control over the volunteer food equipment.
But at the end of the day, I’m one person.
I sound like I am making excuses for those errors. I may be one person, but the entire team relies on me.
I think next year, I just need to make more time. I shouldn’t have done a 10 day working week and then immediately jump into the festival.
To be honest, I haven’t even had a proper break yet. Not a single day to recover since January the 20th. I have worked every day including today, Tuesday, the 4th of February, without pause.
What a depressing thought.
And yet, slightly proud too.
Even now, my mind is still trying to tick the boxes off for the festival.
There are still so many things that never came to fruition, and never truly shone according to my vision.
I guess I still need to work on it.
I wonder whether I will ever truly be happy with anything, until it becomes exactly the way how I envision things. But is that even possible?
Perhaps it is, if I have a clearer vision.
And I know exactly how to achieve it.
Perhaps then, things might play a bit better.
Another recent thing that I have learnt about leadership, beyond clarity of vision, effectiveness of execution and the power of charisma, is whether I am actually any good at being a leader.
I’ve done a lot of leadership roles in the past, but I’ve never actually wondered why people trusted me, why people would even follow me or ask for advice from me.
I never really wondered why people would even respect me in my capacity as a leader.
Nor did I ever really enquire as to what made me think I could be one.
Napoleon, has always believed he was born to be one. I never once thought that.
I may have the ability, but I attribute that to my stubborn and persistent moral code and ethics, that have been born from countless stories of the SAS, historical fiction and the development of my own moral ideas and philosophy and rules that I deem important to me.
Rules like intervening, rather than watching or simply gritting your teeth and getting on with it, despite all the risks and consequences are probably what pushed me into leadership positions, despite my own hatred of authority figures.
Nothing good has ever come out of inaction. It’s always better to do something than deliberate and procrastinate over a hard choice.
It’s why I’m writing again. I could slack off, and forget the Before 30 Challenge, but no, it’s back to the grind again.
I only managed 30 minutes today, and so now, I got to climb back up to 60 minutes again, and try to undo some of the damage such a long break has done to my body and stamina.
It probably doesn’t help I just came back from a holiday in the Gold Coast, where I ate like a King, to compensate for the negative calories intake during the TET festival.
But I’m skipping again and I’m still at 77kgs. So I got to keep going.
I’ve also nearly finished another book, The History of the SAS by Chris Ryan and admittedly it still gets me.
By it, I mean the mythos of the Special Air Service. To this day, they still serve as one of the most important reasons why I aspire to be better. To be fitter, leaner, faster and stronger.
Even though an Army career is out of the question for me, I would love to one day meet a Blade and just have a genuine conversation about their career and what make them … them.
Those men and women, are the real life super-humans, with their incredible will-power and abilities.
And I think daily, about how much I would love to join their hallowed ranks. It’s the same obsession that drives me about racing, how much I would sacrifice to be a Formula 1 driver.
Discipline, Diligence, Determination and Daring.
All of those are tenets that any successful person must have.
I have to improve on all of them.
Week 13 … It’s back on again. Back to the daily training and grind.
Who Dares Win.