August 12, 2021

‘The Kristina Formula’ (When Your Business Day Goes Horribly Wrong)

I admit it.
Sometimes I do let my emotions overtake me.

I mean…
Were you able to watch any of this year’s Tokyo Olympics…
and not be filled with awe and wonder at human courage, endeavour, daring, commitment, resilience?

By Saturday evening I thought that my capacity for awe had been well and truly filled. Stuffed in fact.

Until that comment from Sir Christopher Andrew Hoy, MBE.
“Chris” to you and me.

His voice rich with supressed emotion.

What was surprising was this.
He wasn’t expressing wonder at any of the breath-taking performances of the previous 10 days.

In fact, he was talking about an athlete who can no longer perform.
She can no longer walk.

He was paying homage to Kristina Vogel.
That former German track cyclist.
That former German track cyclist with 2 Gold and one Bronze Olympic medals.
That former German track cyclist who – in her spare time – had notched up 11 UCI World Champion performances.
World Champion.
Eleven times.

But why “former”

A cycling accident in 2018…
Left her paralysed.

Her career?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that she had faded from the world of sports.
Yet the truth is quite the opposite.

Chris Hoy’s emotions spilled out because she is now even more active in encouraging the next generation of athletes (and the infrastructure that can propel them).

Now she is even more inspirational to her peers.

Rising from the deepest, darkest disaster…
Her mantra now is this:

“I’m Rocking The World from My Wheelchair!”

What perspective!

What you and I do today.
We’ll struggle to remember much of it… in less than 30 days.

What you and I say today.
We’ll chuckle at the naivety of our views, opinions and assumptions… by 2022.

What you and I are thinking today.
Oh, My Word!
Pray that they never invent a machine which can project all that onto a screen, so that the world can see!

Why do we take ourselves so seriously?
When much of what we do will have such a trivial impact on our lives?

Why can’t we lighten the spirit of our business…
by laughing at our own supposedly-intelligent antics?

Why do we allow minor frustrations…
to consume our days and fretful nights?

As Kristina would say:
“You’re Alive, Aren’t You?”

I can rejoice in the fact that I have meaningful work to do. Work that tests my resolve. Because it matters.

In that work, I can love and appreciate those around me… whose hearts might be parched and shrivelling from lack of appreciation.

I can serve my clients and my team… so that their lives are enriched (rather than merely financially richer).

I can bathe in the voices of my children and grandchildren… who just want to know that ‘Daddio’ and ‘Silly Grandad’ regularly notices them.

This week a colleague and I reflected on the colossal effort that so many of us have invested in a mission-critical project.

And suddenly, we saw the funny side of our intellectual wrestling and worrying.

We started laughing at ourselves.
We couldn’t stop.
We were utterly, utterly helpless for minutes on end: unable to breathe.
We couldn’t even speak.

“Laugh? I nearly died!”

But I didn’t.
Did I?

And that’s the point.


Thank you, Kristina.