March 27, 2020

Being Part of Something Wonderful

It could have been an embarrassing episode, couldn’t it?

Wendy and I standing in the chill night air, on our front drive, clapping like crazy and whistling and hooting madly.

Reasons to lock us up somewhere quiet. Let alone self-isolate.

But it wasn’t.
Because, within 15 seconds, the doors of houses in our little West Sussex Street burst open.
And silhouettes, back-lit by explosions of light, stepped out into dark.

Clapping like crazy.
Blowing whistles.
Banging on pots and pans.
Cheering their heads off.

An episode lasting a mere few minutes.
But worthy of collective laughter, waves, shouts and halloooos.

We were Clapping for The Carers.
Instinctively knowing that we were joining millions of others.
And loving every second of it.

Loving showing that we care.
Loving showing that we’re capable of Love.
Loving showing that we prize more than our own comfort and convenience.
Loving showing that we’re more than our everyday routines and our clamouring for More Lifestyle.

This tiny enemy that we’re wrestling with has stripped us naked.
Naked of our pretensions and our strutting and our lording over this stunning, fragile, tiny, precious planet.

We’re driven back to what truly matters.
And it isn’t the striving for Bigger and Faster and Better.
The lunging for money and short-term convenience.

As I went walking at 6:30 am yesterday, I saw things so clearly.
This world really is more beautiful without the smog and the noise of our travelling pollution.
Nature could be more glorious without the poisoning of our unnecessary demands.

So, this is what has occurred to me.

We’re being roused from sleepwalking into a future which our children will never thank us for.
We’re being forced to face some uncomfortable questions about our so-called First World Civilisations.

We’re being asked to wake up.
To rise beyond our personal hopes and fears.
To embrace our responsibility for others.
To change.
To transform.

Nothing less than this kind of awakening can save us from the chilling shadow that our present casts upon our future.

As it is in Life.
So it is in Business.

As Leaders our responsibility is to “Eat Last”.
To serve and nurture and develop.
And not so that we can gorge on Extra Layers of Stuff in our little empires and homesteads.

To recognise when (most times) we’re part of the problem.
Which means that – having founded and built this thing – our stepping-aside is often part of the solution.

To treasure our businesses as Conduits and Sanctuaries.
Places from which Good emanates.
Places in which Love and Joy is manifest and consciously designed.

The day will come when others will speak about us.
When they’ll eulogise about our impact in this world of business.

None of our hallowed metrics will figure in that speaking.
All that will be left will be the reasons why others relished our presence here.
And the mark that four decades of our striving left on society.

Let us hope that others wish to stand on their doorstep and cheer your efforts-on-their-behalf on that inevitable day.