A Better Outlook for 2019

Thumbs Up for Dudsbury

From what I heard in the meeting, the move to Dudsbury Golf Club was warmly welcomed by all who attended.  What a great outlook, literally, for 2019.  Breakfast was great and the buzz from all the business people in the room was tangible, exciting, and inspiring.

We had three key presentations from tough characters!  Cage-Fighters, ex-Navy, and ex-Army business professionals set us up for a bolder, braver, more resilient approach to 2019.

Pushing the Boundaries

Aaron Whiffin confided in us the rather exciting motivations and hobbies he has outside of the business of “Webbed Feet.”  It’s not often we have presenters who remove articles of clothing as part of the message… so we were definitely paying close attention.  What a transformation!  From being overweight and a serious drinker 14-15 years ago, Aaron made that kind of quality decision from which there is no turning back.  Namely, perfect diet, going to the gym, starting running… a course that led to prowess and acclaim in the martial arts.  What was particularly fascinating was the impact the new health regime had on the success of Aaron’s business.  The former way of life adversely affected business, but now, there’s no looking back.

Aaron’s competitions have included power-lifting, strong-man, and dead-lifting.  Another striking turning point was his response to an arrogant Judo instructor.  The instructor picked on Aaron in front of the whole class, leading to Aaron responding by becoming a black belt himself, and as an instructor, beating the chap!  That took years of dedication to achieve that outcome, but it was clearly worth it.

Changes in the permitted throws in Judo, in turn, led to a loss of interest in the art, so Aaron shifted to mixed-martial-arts, or Cage-Fighting, where almost anything goes! This included worrying the neighbours as Aaron and his colleague, Joe, used to practice in the garden shed… You can imagine the scene: two grown men seen going to the shed in the middle of winter, followed by grunts and groans, and then the reappearance, glistening with sweat!

The culmination of this exciting phase of Aaron’s passion for the martial arts was a full-on Cage-Fight at the Excel Centre… where he enjoyed the second fastest victory in the tournament!

Aaron’s hunger for goals that s-t-r-e-t-c-h his levels of endurance have included being electrocuted, swimming through ice, and running through fire.  I guess, at Webbed Feet, passion and resilience come as part of the package!

The message?  S-t-r-e-t-c-h yourself but in manageable-sized sprints, and know that mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body) can impact the success of your business.

Thinking Like a Commando

Andy Taylor-Whyte, of The Inspiration Bureau, expanded on his recent experience with The Royal Marines. The Commando Mindset is something that Andy brought to the group:

being the first to understand, the first to adapt and respond, and the first to overcome.

They apply this to everything, even carrying it around as a card – an ever-present reminder to live the message.  What an excellent code to apply to our own resilience and proactive response mindset in business.

Whatever we face, whatever barriers we find in front of us, we can, if we choose, just crack on and follow those steps in the Commando Mindset – being the first to do something. What code do we live by?  Is it time to revisit our own values, to refine our mindset, and set some s-t-r-e-t-c-h goals?

Leaving Life on the Veg

Gerard Maguire dug deeper into his own story.  Born in Northern Ireland, his parents decided that growing up in Northern Ireland in the 1970s was not the best place to be, so they moved back to Africa for the third time.  In South Africa, there are three main options when you come of age: you go to University, or you join the police or enlist in the army for two years.

Choosing the army, Gerard’s great lesson from those days was that no matter how bad your situation is, how deep and dark the fox-hole, the Sun rises every new day.  Stay resilient.

All things in life change. Our man who has, for us, lived as “Life on the Veg,” is moving through to more of a “Life on the Edge…” of the swimming pool.  He is joining his wife in their 17-year-old business of teaching swimming – Individuality Swimming. We were shocked to hear that approximately 400 people drown each year the UK, the vast majority of these being adults. Can’t swim yet?  Call Gerard.

The advice was clear: if you can’t swim like a lifeguard, don’t jump in to rescue others.  And, if you’re entrusting your children’s safety to responsible adults when they go to the beach, do check the adults can swim!


All in all, it was an action-focused set of presentations.  A better, brighter, fresher outlook for 2019 is definitely helped by a change of location, but beyond everything else, it is what happens between our ears – in our mindset – that determines the quality of action we commit to.

Let’s commit to making braver choices this year, and taking bolder steps – knowing the Sun always comes up on every new day regardless of how many setbacks we may face on the journey. Fortune favours the brave!

Personally, I’m looking forward to Aaron’s next Cage-Fight, with a Great White… just a thought!

Written by Lex McKee of The Boardroom Education

p.s. remember there is a free Making Tax Digital workshop from Stephen Sellers after next month’s meeting.  Lasting an hour, the session will be at the same venue.  One for the diary!