11 things I learned at The Do Lectures

1.  Fear is powerful – emotion is powerful
I learned that many, many people are scared to camp in the rain and that even more don’t want to be cold. But I also learned that fear can drive you on and once you push on through, the feeling joy and success on the other side is immense.

2.  Thinking differently is essential
People become jaded. We need to think about new ways of thinking. I learned that very few people like to peer outside of their comfort zone. Staying within your comfort zone won’t help you think differently. Meet new people in new places. Think differently. Think that every action has balance, a consequence; in sustainability, in the world and in the way we live in it.

3.  Sean Carasso
If you went to Do 2012 you already know him. But if you didn’t, please, I urge you: find his story and listen to it. His story is amazing, his achievements humbling. There are very few people in the world who can tell stories of such darkness with energy and positive light.

4.  Humans need the outdoors
Walking on grass is fun. Constant rain is OK. Outdoor showers are invigorating. I learned that brushing your teeth, outside, every day, looking at rolling hills is soul restoring. I also realised that the frosted glass in my bathroom window blocks our fabulous view over the English countryside. Little things.

5.  People are amazing
People want to make a difference. They just need to be shown a way, a direction, a thought and given permission to stop and think about it. And about how they can help. You can start by giving people an opportunity to talk and by showing them how you want to make a difference. As the saying goes: be the change you want to see in the world.

6.  Tim Smit for Prime Minister
If creative thinking will enable effective change, then Tim Smit should be Prime Minister. Simple.

7.  Do speakers
An inspiring, world-leading, game-changing, future-designing, life-saving, creative, powerful, passionate and exciting collective. Every one had a different story, each one inspiring and in its own way, moving. All very different, but each left me with a new thought, idea, or skill. I learned to listen to everyone with an open mind.

8.  You can never have too much Welsh food
I learned you cannot have too much homemade Welsh bread: fact. Don’t argue with me, dieticians… Welsh cheeses: I learned that they – and their Welsh chutney friends – taste divine. Welsh beer: OK you can have too much. And your head will hurt. But you’ll be glad you did.

9.  Banish negativity
Young brains are more effective, more open to change and more alive. By banishing negativity and opening your mind to possibility and opportunity, you’ll reap the benefits. Remind yourself every day and do a 24 hour positivity-only challenge. If you fail, start over again.

10.  Stop
Take time out to do nothing. Take time to be still. Christians would say: Be still and know that I am God. Meditationalists (just invented it): Be still and find your inner zen. Parents: Be still and find you have yoghurt in your hair. I’ve learned that whatever approach you take, it all works. Be still.

11.  Ideas change things
The Do mantra. Live it.


Find about more about The Do Lectures


Time. We read a lot about it. Mainly how we don’t have enough – and how difficult the times we do have are. Or will be. Difficult times: they are ahead of us, you know.

And behind us. In fact, as a child of the 1970s I can’t actually remember a time when times weren’t difficult. One of my first memories as a child growing up in 1980s Durham was of the miners’ strikes and Arthur Scargill marching through the town centre. We moved south during the late 80s – boom time; but finances were difficult then. Then the crash – difficult; negative equity and interest rates passing 10%. I remember it all well.

My first job was with Go – BA’s low cost airline in the late 1990s – people wanted to save money, times were not as they had been – but they weren’t great. We couldn’t afford to look flash. We must save costs. Then an investment bank in the early 2000s – bonuses not what they used to be. Lunches not what they were.

And here we are. 2012. Times are tough. Things are bad. Again. It is tough out there.

If you have your own business you will know this more acutely than many. It’s tough – and you are busy! Not enough time in the day – chasing every client, every piece or work, every penny. You are hard working, committed to your company, passionate about what you do and you truly care about your customers. You do it because you love it – but you have to make money.

The bottom line is if you are not making money, your business is an expensive hobby.

When times are tough standing still is not an option. But where do you find the time?

Invest. Invest. Invest.

Invest in time. And invest your time wisely. Time to take stock of where you are and how far you have come. Take time to plan. Time to look at where you want to be. And take time to work on putting that into action.

Times may get better. They may get worse – we can’t do much about that. What we can do is make time to plan ahead, plan a strategy to weather this storm… and the next.