100 Days of Commuting

After having week off – away from London and away from work. I was full of renewed energy and lots of ideas.  My ideas were mainly for the creativity project I am working on at work.  Unfortunately, the energy quickly drained upon entering the office.  This week has been a complete drag.  I feel incredibly demotivated.

Rush hour in London Waterloo station

My commute is long and unyielding. London is busy – full of rude people, all in a rush to get somewhere.  Every week I spend at least 15 hours commuting; most weeks (especially when school is in term) it’s closer to 17.5 hours.  This equates to at least 60 hours per month and a whopping 660 hours per year (based on 11 months – I’ve kindly given myself a month off, aren’t I lucky?).  Scarily this works out as 94 working days! 94! This might as well be 100!

100 Days of Commuting

What could I spend 100 days doing? There are a lot of things I could be doing: pursuing my interests for a start.  I used to do a lot of photography but it took over my life, well truth be told Instagram took over my life. I was also faced with internal conflict about whether photography should be edited and whether I should be digitally enhancing my photos.  The result was I stopped.  I’ve had some time to settle the internal argument and I am ok with the editing – I see my photography as an art now so the editing process is about creating a particular look.   I want to make a return to it but not on Instagram.   I just need to find the time.  I think I may undertake an iphonography project first – take a photo everyday.  See where this takes me.

I enjoy water sports but my current lifestyle does not cater for it.  I could be out kayaking and enjoying the river. Last week I went canoeing on the Norfolk Broads, it was so peaceful and hundreds of miles away from the hustle and bustle of this crazy city.  Even the coastal resort of Great Yarmouth was an amazing break.  I love being close to the sea and would love to live on the coast.

It’s so important to take time out to reconnect, however this makes returning to work incredibly hard.

On Monday, my first day back at work, my bus got caught in traffic, I therefore missed my train and thus I arrived at work later than I’d planned. To top things off, it was pouring down with rain.  My renewed energy had probably drained out of me before I even arrived at work.

Reconnect and Remember

It was a combination of all these things that reminded me why I am planning my big escape.  I need a change in lifestyle. I need to reclaim my time. I need to stop commuting. Reminders are important otherwise we easily lose track of what we are doing and why, and the motivation evaporates.

I am planning to escape because I want to live my life on my terms.  Thankfully there is a long weekend approaching, time to invest in Project Escape.

My personal brand

This week I attended a workshop entitled “What’s your big idea” held by The Happy Startup School.  I’d registered to attend a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for networking opportunities without a BIG idea to hand.  At the time I thought it might be good just to go along and see who else was there and absorb.

A few days earlier, whilst at work, I was discussing a major barrier to future proofing the organisation and how this problem might be solved.  Thinking about that, I saw an opportunity – a startup opportunity, so I used that as my big idea.

I actually had another idea en route but that one is far more challenging.  In short, I am suddenly having ideas. Not lots, but some, and that’s a good start.  I feel alive. I haven’t felt this way for such a long time.

The workshop

The session was very practical and required a lot of brain work.  Despite the fact that I had previously covered some elements as part of my recent things to do, I still found it challenging because I was discussing it with someone rather than just working on my own and we were approaching it differently to how I’d previously covered the exercise.

One of the tasks was about identifying our values.  Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work.  They should determine your priorities and deep down they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out as you want it to. Your values define your character.

They impact every aspect of your life:

  • Personal and work behaviours
  • Interaction with friends, family and colleagues
  • Decision making processes
  • The direction you take in life

We talked about Why, How, What.  Although I had done this before, I didn’t really appreciate its meaning until Carlos, our trainer, talked us through it.

I was interested in finding out more so I watched Simon Sinek’s TED talk  How great leaders inspire action.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

If you don’t stay true to your values, you are less likely to persevere.  You have to truly believe in what you are doing.

Who am I?

Why do I do what I do? My Vision and Mission

My vision is of a world where everyone has the power to create opportunities for themselves and to achieve their dreams.

My mission is to empower people by providing them with the skills they require to help themselves.

How do I do it? 


My values: collaboration, sustainability, honesty, accountability, Empowerment, ambition.

My behaviours: I am enterprising, resourceful, adventurous and solution focused.

What do I do?

I listen to other people’s goals and help them identify what skills they require to achieve their goals. But as I am a firm believer that you create your own fate, people need to be responsible for themselves.

Good things do not just happen; people need to want it and they have to take the right steps. I help them take those steps.

I have been doing this in everything I do. I’ve only just realised it. So this is who I am.

This got me thinking about My Big Idea and whether it fit with who I am. I think it does. Ultimately it is about enabling people to help themselves. I am therefore progressing this tennis ball.