Ballueder Thinks (14) – London Calling

I need to look at my notes, but it was mid March 2020 when I last went to London for work. In my mind it still feels like summer, despite the weather, but it also feels like mid winter sometimes. I feel confused what time it is really. Anyway, almost 18 months later, I am back on a train to London.

During lockdown and the pandemic – which I appreciate isn‘t over yet – I have done that journey twice. Once for a work commit, once for a private appointment.

It‘s odd to take a train in and plan face to face meetings. However, what I realised a lot recently was that I got fed up of my desk at home, the same corner of the world. No change, no interaction, no breaks. The days blended into one, call after call, often no break, intense discussions, late nights finishing off proposals. It‘s not the work I ever dreaded, or that I am not hardworking (See my latest newsletter for context), it is the intensity of not having breaks. It isn‘t sustainable, yet you get more done.

I decided that had to stop for me. Hence I am now a member of the Century Club and will be in London two days a week from September. Hit me up if you fancy meeting face to face. Whether I go in peak or off-peak, stay for drinks or not, have lunch and meetings, or just for a change my scenery – it doesn‘t matter. What matters is that I need to break my days and weeks up. Going back to a place with other people, different input, and the opportunity to do business and build relationships in person.

Don‘t get me wrong, I have always worked well from home. I never got the concept of not working just because you are at home. As a matter of fact, for the past 5 years, I have worked 2-3 days in London and 2-3 days from home, a great mix. I‘ve just never realised how much those days in London helped my mental health, as they were seen as ‚normal‘. As humans, we need the interaction with other people. We are social animals.

London is still quiet. Not as busy as it used to be. And that is actually quite nice. The tourists are missing, but seeing real people, sitting on a bus or having a chat with people, is just amazing. I feel like almost newly born. And the highlight, a client lunch with an old friend of mine. We must have known each other for at least 10 years, and we now work together in a client relationship. A small world, small industry, and a lot of fun, chat and banter, catching up over food that is in front of us. I couldn’t have asked for a better lunch date on my first day back. It felt normal too! Thanks!

In other news on my end, there aren‘t many :-). As you might have noticed, I published less blog posts, but I am still writing. I am taking a break from my podcast, and I am thinking about new podcast concepts; maybe in conjunction with a book, as I have loads of ideas.

My journey as an advisor and NED is taking shape with now 3 companies in my portfolio. Additionally I am working a lot in the data space, did some Fintech work over the summer, and I am evaluating how 2022 might look like from a work perspective. I enjoy what I am doing, and the flexibility of being self employed, working across different projects.

I took on a hobby to up-cycle furniture, and I enjoy not looking at screens and learning something new. We are in the midst of changing things in the house, including a garage conversion to an office and utility room, and an extension. In the meantime we got a new water and heating system (boiler), new radiators and need to sort some gas works out – never a dull moment for a home owner. With the shortage of builders and materials, we are somewhat hopeful that part of the work will be done prior to Christmas. Fingers crossed.

I shall be tempted to write more often again, now that I got time on the train journeys, being able to spend an hour doing things I enjoy. You can always subscribe to my newsletter for monthly updates, where I share a short update on myself and then 3 articles each on leadership and self-development.

My website also gets an overhaul in the next few weeks, allowing for a clearer positioning what I do. My focus for 2022 is ‚fractal and interim CRO‘ roles, sales leadership positions, helping companies to establish and turn around sales teams, working on processes and driving revenue. My coaching and mindfulness sessions took a bit of a back seat, but they are still bubbling in the background, with new leadership courses being designed as we speak. Never a dull moment.

Whilst it feels like autumn already, I hope we have a ‚Golden September‘ and a few nice days prior to the end of the year. 2020 feels like it has never happened, summer feels like it has never happened either 🙁

On the 3rd of October, I am joining 50,000 people to run the London Marathon. After a calf injury in June, I am now back on track, wary of whether the calf will hold up, and I am working closely with my personal trainer to make sure I am fit. I am confident at the moment. If you want to sponsor the RNIB – or me on behalf of the RNIB – please do so by visiting my donation page. Any small donation is greatly appreciated, and the RNIB will be pleased. I am not too far off my £3,000 target, but every little helps as they say.

Thanks for reading, sharing, subscribing, donating or just reaching out to catch up. I know there are a lot of people that read my updates regularly, and I am pleased about anyone wanting to reach out and catch up again.