Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Time is Now

I’ve been talking a lot lately about moving between Survive, Revive and Thrive.  Greg Foran, CEO of Air New Zealand, told me this morning that he was proud to report that this great airline was finally ready to Revive – a relief to all New Zealanders.


And Robin – timely as ever – is working on a poetic reflection of this idea during which he reminded me of Mother Teresa’s take on the concept.


Yesterday is gone.

Tomorrow has not yet come.

We have only today.

Let us begin.


Live Life Slow.



Monday, June 21, 2021

Wishing and Hoping

Robin sent me this.  Watched it twice a day!  Still laughing.



Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Throwback Thursday – Happiness Runs

December 23, 2014



Was this a precursor to Covid-19?




Just spent a pretty miserable few days fighting the Adenovirus – and losing!!  Doctor believes I picked it up on the Sydney – Dallas flight nine days ago.  It’s highly contagious and commonly referred to as ‘The Killer Cold’ – more information than I needed.  Characterised by violent coughing fits, phlegm on the lungs, raw throat, incessant sneezing, blocked ears and in my case, viral conjunctivitis in both eyes (my first and hopefully last experience of this little gem – think grit under your eyelids, pink or red replacing white and baby blue (!!) and seeping gunk jamming your eyelids tight).  Lovely.  No sleep, no energy, no focus, no fun.


Two things helped though.


A nursing Sister friend, Gill Belchetz told me “You will get better”.  A simple but powerful thought.  And two year old Cameron cheered me up no end.  I asked him – after a classic two year old boy’s penchant for wayward destruction – are you a good boy or a naughty boy?  He looked me straight into my (pink) eye, grinned and said “A Happy Boy”.  Lest we forget.


It’s great to be celebrating Christmas with friends and family – and recovery is under way.


Happiness Runs.



Monday, June 14, 2021

Doing The Right Thing


My eldest son Ben posted this on LinkedIn yesterday.



True leaders shine through in times of crisis.

None more than Simon Kjaer.

On a harrowing day in Copenhagen, Kjaer started the day expecting to lead his team to victory against Finland. Instead he became a hero for other reasons.
When Christian Eriksen suddenly collapsed, Kjaer was one of the first players to his side and started performing CPR. Knowing the gravity of the situation, he ordered his teammates to form a human shield to give privacy to the situation for the media’s glare. He then went and comforted Eriksen’s wife during the terrible unknown moments.

Kjaer showed calmness under pressure, he demonstrated awareness, and showed empathy. He played a key role in saving Eriksen’s life while also doing his best and bringing the team and nation together in a traumatic moment.
The role of the football captain can be seen as symbolic in some countries but in the case of Denmark, they don’t have just a captain but a remarkable leader.
An example to all.




Sunday, June 13, 2021


50 years ago, I left my North Country home Lancaster and headed south on my first great adventure – with three year old daughter Nikki in tow – to the biggest city in the world – London Town.  The epicentre of everything I held dear – opportunity, growth, disruption, and excitement.  The chance to make something of myself – the chance to make dreams come true, the chance to make something happen for me and my family.


1971 – the new series on Apple shows it all – Oz / Bowie / the Youth Revolution.  Spellbinding.  Our time was then.



Thursday, June 10, 2021

Foodie Friday – California Dreaming

A week by the Pacific.  JSX Airlines’ 30 seater from its own terminal at Phoenix – no queues, no security hassle, 16 passengers, three check-in stations, temperature checking, business class seating – the nearest thing to private jet service at public pricing.  A joyful return to the skies – to Burbank (not the dreaded LAX).  Luggage hand-delivered within five minutes of landing, no queues, no lines.  Door to door: Desert Dream, Carefree, AZ to Oceana, Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica in 3½ hours with zero hassle.


An early dinner at a favourite haunt, just a walk away from our hotel – The Blue Plate Oysterette.  Upscale but super-casual seafood – open kitchen – fresh Branzino, NZ Salmon, Sea Bass – all prepared simply.  Six/seven different types of US oysters, great raw bar of cerviches and shrimp, views of the ocean, low key, vibrant, locally sourced from California fishermen, and daily pick-ups at LAX for more exotic choices.  We stuck to the basics – a dozen oysters – Minter Sweets from Skagit Bay, Tomahawks from Menemsha Pond, Sequim Bay Sapphires and Kumamoto from Baja (they also had Kiwi Cups and Kaipara from New Zealand).  Trudy had Sea Bass tacos and I had a Branzino from Greece – grilled in its skin with chimichurri.  A change from our desert life to the seaside – and how good does fish/seafood taste when you can smell the salty sea air and feel the fresh sea breeze?


A lunch in the Saturday sunshine – in Malibu village – 25 miles from The Oceana.  A great drive along the Pacific Coast Highway – surfers out everywhere hitting the waves – rubbernecking at the beachside homes of Cher, Lady Gaga, Barbra Streisand, Brad Pitt, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, Miley Cyrus, Bill Murray, Robert Redford, Goldie Hawn and a few others.


Then to a beautiful vine-covered patio/garden at Tony’s Taverna.  The place for delicious, classic Greek food – a mezze of taramasalata, pita bread, grilled octopus with olive oil and lemon, marithes (whitebait), spanakopita and some veal/lamb sausages.  No room for a main – just Horiatiki salad and a classic Greek yoghurt with cherries and honey to share for dessert.  A taste of the Aegean – in Malibu.


An impromptu visit to one of our favourite hotels and stomping grounds – Shutters on the Beach.  A table by the window at One Pico on the beach with the gentle 7pm evening waves foaming in.  The best meal of our stay so far.  Trudy had the Sea Bass with fava beans/purée and green olives.  I couldn’t resist the Halibut (pure white, firm, full of flavour), English peas (irresistible), gigante beans, marjoram and mint citrus – melted in my mouth.


Oh, I do like to be by the seaside,

I do like to be by the sea.


And tonight – a change of pace.  Wally’s – one of the two places we buy our wines from.  A great wine place, terrific selections, superb, authentic surroundings – wooden chairs/tables, open kitchen, surrounded by the world’s finest wines.  We ordered three bottles of the 2018 Massetino (Masseto’s superb second wine) to be shipped home to Arizona and also took some truffle salami, bison salami, banana peppers, petits poivrons to carry home.  We shared the chorizo spiced grilled octopus with mashed heirloom carrots, pea tendrils, lime crème fraiche with black garlic mole.  Then Trudy had a Truffle Pizzetta – delicious and I had Steak Tartare – prime tenderloin, topped with caviar and leek alioli – amazing combination.  A superb change of pace experience – eating ‘earth’ by the sea.


And continuing that change of pace – dinner at Uovo – a tiny Italian spot in downtown Santa Monica – two blocks from the ocean.  Billed as “the one place outside of Italy that serves fresh pasta made in Italy”.  And indeed it is – quite possibly the best pasta I’ve tasted in the US.  All they serve is pasta (from their kitchen in Bologna) – Tonnarelli, Taglionini and Tagliatelle.  I had truffle, Trudy had tagliatelle ai Carciofi (artichoke, olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano).  A great hidden secret to try during your next trip here.


And our final evening – a classic – The Ivy at the Shore.  A North Hollywood / Santa Monica icon.  All pinks and turquoise.  Classic dishes – beautifully cooked comfort food.  Couldn’t resist the fish ‘n chips with a cold beer.


Back to the Desert tomorrow – more Fun in the Sun.



Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Throwback Thursday – Tougher Than the Rest

February 11, 2015


Reminders for all of us as we move from Survive to Revive and Thrive.

I’ve written often in the past about the importance of grit and mental toughness in the boardroom and on the gridiron.  Well, if you want to learn how to cook, ask a chef.  If you want to learn how to paint, ask an artist.  And if you want to learn about persistence and resilience, who better to ask than a U.S. Navy SEAL?

In a recent article in
Business Insider, Wired Magazine writer and founder of the great blog Barking Up The Wrong Tree Eric Barker spoke with his friend and former SEAL Platoon Commander James Waters about how his experiences in SEAL training and deployment align with the latest scientific research about grit, motivation, expertise, and how people survive the most challenging situations.

First is having a purpose and a sense of greater meaning.  Barker relates how out of an initial 256 volunteers in Waters’ SEALS training class, only 16 graduated – a whopping 94% attrition rate.  Research shows that when it comes to physical distress, our brains quit long before our bodies give out.  The difference just might come down to having a higher purpose and an intrinsic goal (“Serving my country is something that matters deeply to me.”) rather than an extrinsic goal (“Being a SEAL would be really cool, and making officer one day would be a powerful position.”).

Confidence is key, but so is staying realistic.  “People in tough situations need to be very realistic about the danger they’re in – but they need to be confident in their ability to handle it,” writes Barker, noting that studies have shown how optimism and despair can often be self-fulfilling prophecies.

It might surprise readers to learn that SEALS spend only about 25% of their time deployed in the field and the rest of their time honing their skills.  There are so many disciplines that SEALS must master, preparedness becomes paramount.  Indeed, Barker cites research that demonstrates how people who’ve prepared have a greater likelihood of surviving catastrophic scenarios “because they’ve already done the deliberation the other people around them are just now going through” and “reducing uncertainty reduces fear”.

Focusing on improvement is another SEAL-worthy lesson.  Rather than frame situations as binary, win/lose scenarios, consider every situation a learning experience.  Take a page from the elitist of the elite: Navy SEALS perform a rigorous debrief following each mission during which they spend 90% of the time discussing what could be improved the next time.

It’s long been said that there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’.  So it goes that lone wolves don’t play well with SEALS.  “Giving help and taking on the role of caretaker [increases] the feeling of meaning in our lives” Barker writes.  Having a support network – knowing that you can give and get help – is invaluable during tough times.

Faced with intensive training that goes on for a year or longer, Waters also learned the importance of celebrating small wins.  And the scientific research on happiness backs up his hunch: a series of small victories has a greater cumulative impact than infrequent big wins.  Recognising the small good things also helps you appreciate that life will always have its peaks and valleys.

Finally, laugh!  “Experts say that humour provides a powerful buffer against stress and fear” Barker writes.  “When people are trapped in a stressful situation and feeling overwhelmed, they're stuck in one way of thinking: This is terrible.  I've got to get out of here.  But if you can take a humorous perspective, then by definition you're looking at it differently – you're breaking out of that rigid mind-set.”

These are the strategies the toughest of the tough use when faced with the most physically demanding and dangerous situations the world has to offer.  Now, imagine applying these lessons in true grit during stressful business meetings, weekend Hockey League games, or with a tantrum-throwing child!