Last night was one of those nights. I’d finished late and by the time I unwound and switched off the light it was almost midnight. I started listening to my audiobook and at 00:30 I was still awake. I work up again at 2, at half three,just after four and then my alarm clock went at 5. When I woke my kids up at 6 my eldest daughter asked, seeing the bags under my eyes
How are you today Daddy?
I was so tempted to tell her exactly how I felt. Instead I said
I’ve Never Been Better
It had the great virtue of being true and inspirational. True because whilst I was tired I knew I was going to spend the day doing what I love with people I care about deeply. Inspirational because as I said it it lifted me up from the self doubt and self pity that tempted to overwhelm me.
Then I started off on a pointless 200 km round trip to pick up a bank fob that I had meant to pickup when I’d done the same trip the day before and forgotten. Like I said life couldn’t be better. Just after dawn I was driving through beautiful jungle covered mountains, watching the white clouds cover their steep green slopes like the divet covered the form of my still sleeping wife.
What Makes Me Tick?
As I drove I returned again and again to the question
What make me tick?
I thought about my life, my school, my childhood and tried to understand what makes me different. What was the path that led me to where I am today.
As I drove I had a moment of epiphany.
I love changing stuff. It’s not the process of creation per se. It is the breaking apart of old outdated, outmoded structures. I was never a punk with a desire to trash everything because it was traditional or authoritarian. No it was a rejection of anything that was accepted and inefficient.
If it worked well – great. I’d use it and be satisfied. if it didn’t work well or didn’t add value then it drove me nuts.
Pointless Authority as the Enemy
A great example was going to Chapel. We had to do this 2 – 3 times a week. Whilst I had no strong feelings about religion I did have strong feelings about being forced to go to church. This was especially true when I hadn’t been taught to pray effectively and as a consequences never got anything from God (Channeling teenage thoughts here – now my thoughts are more mature).
I put a huge amount of ingenuity into
- Avoiding going to Chapel
- Not getting caught
I lost most rounds with my house master but that made the wins so much sweeter.
Break – Disrupt – Improve
This pattern repeated and repeated. I found myself in organisation after organisation that was inefficient and woefully incapable of doing what it was meant to do. Naively I took the mission statements at face value and came up against the twin whirlpools of organisational culture and top down management. Can you imagine me being a yes man and climbing the greasy pole?
Nope. It didn’t happen.
What happened was that in the right organisations I was lucky enough to break things, disrupt the way that they worked and then build something much better. In the wrong organisations I was yet another victim of office politics.
Build a New Jerusalem
This is the why of Denis Oakley. I love working with small businesses because I see the failures of most businesses. I also see the shadow of the New Jerusalem that they could be and that is what I reach for throughout my work.
There is also a wonderful subtext – when I work with startups and small businesses I get to set myself up against the corporate giants who stand in for the authoritarian church of my childhood. How can we beat Google? Can we break LinkedIn? How can we disrupt Apple’s business model? How can we change the world.?
It’s Never Been Better
What a life!
Its never been better