Monthly Archives: August 2017


“To reach a port, we must sail – sail, not tie at anchor – sail, not drift.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt


I was in Coverack, Cornwall last week and saw this boat in the harbour and I started thinking about drifting – not just at sea but in life, or whether we are anchored to anything, and whether that ‘anything’ is useful. An odd thought perhaps and it may well have been at the moment I needed just one more Cornish cream tea or a Cornish pasty.

There are so many metaphors from sporting activities, and as I was learning to sail, I found those linked to sailing really interesting. Some might even say clichéd. But I love them, they’re so expressive.


Since I returned, I have to admit that I did find it hard to settle down into “normal” life, whatever “normal” is supposed to look like. And if I was to admit it, I had perhaps drifted into things that appeared at the outset interesting and exciting, and also to some extent, feeling as though I “should” take on a particular role, rather than be more discerning.

What is normal

In the job I’d done prior to sailing, I had a great team; we supported each other and worked together with a clear end in mind, always considering the art of the possible. And as a racing crew, I loved that team spirit and wanted to replicate it in the work that I undertook following the race. Achieving the art of the possible.

Yet what I too often found in some of the work environments was a situation where some people were more interested in retaining the status quo, or told me that ‘it had never been done before, so it can’t be done’. For those of you who know me, you can imagine how I felt hearing those kind of words.

Yes, grrr and gnashing of teeth!

So back to the picture of the boat – to get away from drifting, it was time for me to take stock. And to do this, I worked with a friend who helped me to challenge and consider what was important to me, to think about my personal anchors in life, aka values. In other words knowing what I value most, recognising my guiding principles. This is what we came up with and which I thought I’d share with you: Family, Friendship and Integrity along with Curiosity, Courage, Authenticity and Fairness.

Thank you to Malin for helping me define what is important to me. Now that I have this, I can more constructively figure out what next so that I can find an environment, and a role in which I can be the best that I know I can be. I also had a conversation with a coach called Dan Beverly who helped me focus, knowing what my values are, on how I get to where I want to be.

Am I there yet? Not quite.

Yet I am closer to being there than I have been. And I have the end in mind – working with curious, authentic people, who want to be the best they can be by being courageous and fair, living and working with integrity, in what they do for themselves, their team and the organisation – and ultimately for something much bigger.

If, as you’re reading this, you’re wondering where you’re at, what next, and/or what’s important to you, I’d highly recommend that you take time to define your own personal values and goals. I’m not suggesting that you should take on a round the world yacht race in order to help you to be clear about who you are and what you stand for, yet I do encourage and perhaps challenge you to have that conversation with yourself.

My challenge to you to do this is not just for the sake of securing a great job but also about living your life to its fullest. Some of you may have read the articles by nurses working in palliative care, about regrets of people who are dying. The top five regrets were noted as:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
  4. I wish I’d stayed in touch with friends
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier

Reference: “Inspiration and Chai”

I dare you – have that courageous conversation with yourself if you haven’t done so already. And then consciously choose your path – set your sails and aim for that destination. You might end up drifting every now and again, but you know what – with a good anchor, even when the tide might appear to be dragging you backwards, your anchor will hold until the tide turns and you can then move forward once more.

Need some help with that conversation – drop me a note , or catch up with Malin, Dan or Lesley (my inspiration for racing the yacht that she a year earlier had sailed around the world 😉 ) You can reach Lesley at







How time flies

Has it really been over two years since my last post on this blog site? Yikes.

Since I finished the round the world race, I felt that perhaps I didn’t have anything “worthwhile” or “exciting” to share. And there are rather a lot more spokes than spinnakers at the moment.

This year, it appears that I’ve ridden, rather than sailed, almost 5,000 kilometres, of which 54,000m has been ‘up’. That’s sort of the equivalent distance of six times up Mount Everest. Before I competed in the Round the World Yacht race, I’d ridden about 3,000km to this point in the year. I did another Etape du Tour aka the amateur stage of the Tour de France in 2016 and then again this year as well as riding in the London Prudential 100 mile event.

In my first year back after the race I really didn’t want to do anything that stretched me physically and mentally. I shied away from anything that was, as I saw it, a challenge. I was tired, exhausted even and didn’t “need” anymore challenges.

How the pendulum has swung since then.

A friend of mine told me that the London 100 was an ‘event’ and not a “race”, at which I screwed up my face and thought, “hmmm, what does that mean?”. A little bit like the quizzical look I had when talking about what I would be doing during 2013/14, and some people would have a different interpretation entirely (to me) of what it was. The clue of what I was embarking upon was in the title. Simple and clear, a “round the world yacht race” – obviously…..!

A lot of what has happened since the race has got me thinking about the meaning of the language that we use (that I use), and its impact on others (and on myself). I’ve spoken to groups about my learning from the race experience, my preparation for the race and my experiences since returning, focusing on how we choose to do things, or not as the case may be. One of the people who inspired me, when asked about what she did, says that she, “sailed around the world” whereas my description of exactly the same event is, “I competed in a round the world yacht race”.

When I thought about continuing with this blog, I was struck with questions to myself about whether people would still be interested in hearing from me.

Just that sentence with the words, ‘struck with’ makes me take a step back. Was I actually hit with a question? Of course not, yet, the word ‘strike’ suggests to me, being hit, and in that happening, stepping back (or being pushed back). And that is in fact what has happened, what I allowed to happen. I’ve stepped back from doing what I love doing – writing, and sharing my ‘thinking out loud’ moments.

What are the words that you use most frequently and how do they impact how you think and act?

I’ve had so many exciting moments and quite a few not so exciting moments since Christmas 2014 – think time stuck in the doldrums kind of moments. I’d like to re-kindle my love of writing and thinking out loud, and take some time over the next few weeks, or maybe longer, to share with you some of the “what happened next” episodes to “spinnakers and spokes”.

So here’s to raising the spinnaker once more, to heading downwind in a leisurely, cruising kind of way. The sun is shining; the birds are gliding above us, perhaps even Trevor the pigeon will reappear on deck. Remember the smell of fresh made bread as the dawn breaks, with the dolphins leaping, leaving behind glowing silver phosphorescent streaks in the still waters of the ocean.

Those words and the images they evoke leave me with a sense of calm.

Here’s wishing you all a peaceful, calm week ahead.