Q. Does the fact that I can see the whole of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, from my hotel window mean that:
1. I’m fortunate?
2. My hotel is a long way from down-town Dubai?
Over recent years a transition has taken place away from round crockery toward square crockery… marking the death of silver-service…
The chaos created when a disorganised group of people are left in charge of ‘stuff’ but lacking:
A clearly defined brief;
A coherent strategy;
A desire to collaborate versus compete.
Example: Life on Earth…
Now in my mid-40’s, I reflect that my life’s pretty well been in three discreet thirds…
The first third was mainly (~75%) spent and only partly (~25%) invested as a school pupil through to age 16;
The second third was the reverse with my time being mainly (~75%) invested and only partly (~25%) spent in building my early career in a food-machinery business from age 16 through to 32. There I successfully worked my way up from mechanical engineering apprentice to the front end of the business in sales and business development – with the help of some inspiring people and despite some others…
The last and by some considerable margin the most interesting third has been 100% invested in a diverse variety of business development roles all in the renewable energy sector. I also reflect that this most recent third has been by far the most ‘accelerated’ so far – frankly a blur.
There is no doubt that my own personal trend away from time “spent and/or wasted”, toward time “invested” has borne fruit, both in career-terms and outside of work too in terms of health, fitness, diversity, variety, and happiness.
Of course, what I don’t know, or indeed very few people know, is what fraction of my whole life I’m currently at right now? Three quarters maybe? or even better maybe only half way? or a third of the way through? – who knows?
Therefore, refusing to revert to “spending or wasting” time, I will continue to “invest” the remaining fraction of my life – whatever the size of fraction it ends up being.
My own personal challenge won’t be in maintaining high levels of effort and enthusiasm, but in ensuring it’s channelled toward increasingly meaningful and mindful activities, experiences and people.
I received an email from a guy called Abdullah S. Al-Ariefy who, in a politely worded message, suggested it had been a long time since we last met… only problem for me was that I didn’t recognise this name?
However, we both had the same @Hull.ac.uk e-dresses so I assumed we’d met at one or other University of Hull event and accepted his invitation to meet over breakfast at his home across the road from Campus.
I rang the doorbell and as the door opened the guy was already raising his arms for an embrace… but quickly stopped and said softly “You’re not the Steve Clarke I was expecting”…
He did however lower his right arm suggesting a handshake and gesture with his left arm for me to come on in.
Inside, a traditional Saudi Breakfast had been prepared for the ‘other Steve Clarke’ so, rather than a long catch-up over Breakfast, we shared a getting-to-know-each-other breakfast instead, starting with a variety of sweet Dates and Saudi Coffee, all served by his polite and attentive Son.
I learned that placing the empty cup down on the table meant it wouldn’t automatically be refilled, but tapping it on the table once would be the trigger for his son to refill it.
We then moved through to the dining room where a hot Saudi breakfast buffet was waiting for us, some of which had been brought back from his last visit home, but some of which was available in the UK and had been sourced locally, in Hull.
We also both made contributions to an email for sending later, with Photographs, to ‘the-real-Steve-Clarke’ outlining the nature of our fortuitous accident.
When it came time for me to leave for my next meeting I thanked both Abdullah and his son profusely for their kindness, their hospitality and their generosity.
That wasn’t a breakfast, it was a lesson in kindness and culture.