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Monday
Nov052012

On giving up

Saturday 20th October was my first run since the half marathon two weeks earlier. I planned for about an hour run. The first 20 minutes or so were fine and by the halfway point I realised I was going a bit faster than usual. then it started to hurt. Not my legs or my knees but my heart and chest. It was painful not just uncomfortable. I couldnt see how I was going to run another 15 to 20 minutes. So I told myself, just make it to this bus stop and see how you feel. Slow down a bit up this hill and then use the downhill stretch to get your breath back a bit. It still hurt. I didn't want to continue but I didn't want to give up. I knew why I was in this position. I was out of practice and I had gone off too fast and I wasn't using the right skills and techniques.

So I started telling myself finishing didn't matter. I focused on the next small step - reaching the next bus stop, the church, the big road junction. Every time I reached that small target I was able to push myself a bit further. I went a bit slower so I wasn't damaging myself. And I made it to the end.

This was a practical and valuable lesson. I learned another way of overcoming the desire to give up. I learned to slow down (rather than stop), to plan and make small steps, to reach the end by working through the discomfort (without causing myself serious damage) and gave myself another experience of making it through after I thought I wouldn't. So the next time I'm tempted to give up I can remember this experience and know that I can make it to the end and reach my goal.

Sunday
Oct142012

One hour, fifty six minutes and thirteen seconds

That's what it took to run my first half marathon at the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday 7th October 2012. Ten weeks earlier I couldn't run for fifteen minutes without wanting to throw up.

This has been a lesson to me in setting a goal (a SMART target), following a plan, making it work and achieving (and celebrating) the end result.

I will continue running and will definitely sign up for Royal Parks 2013. As far ideas about the London Marathon... well never say never but my next challenge is learning how to draw.

Friday
Sep212012

Can't run or can I? Help me raise money for UNICEF

I've never been good at running. I keep fairly fit by walking a lot but I never believed in myself that I could actually run 'properly'. One Friday night, just eight weeks ago, I read a piece by Dave Hill in the Guardian on my phone about the Royal Parks Half Marathon and thought "why not?"

So eight weeks later, a very good pair of well engineered running shoes and a commitment to practice - running three times a week - and I'm just two weeks and two days from the big day. http://fundraise.unicef.org.uk/MyPage/drsimondavey

I'm doing this for a number of reasons:

1. I run a Saturday school intervention programme which is all about raising young people's aspirations, resilience and achievement. We work together so they believe in themselves, tackle challenges and get better and better at the things they thought they couldn't do. Running is something I thought I couldn't do. So I chose to try, made a plan and got on with it. A half marathon is a big scary but achieveable target. If my twelve year old students can take a risk and try 'impossible' things I damn well should.

2. I am committed to supporting children to have a better life wherever they are both through my work and sponsorship. Raising money for UNICEF feels like a good thing to do.

3. My mum died at the beginning of this year. It made me realise more than ever that life is too short for excuses and that I should stop saying I'm rubbish at things and either do them properly or forget about them.

So this is me doing 'running' properly. It's not hard. It took a goal, practice, the right tools (running shoes) and here we are. I've already run 13.25 miles in training in 2 hours 5 minutes so the distance holds no fears.

If you would like to support UNICEF (and I will run 13.1 miles two weeks on Sunday on their behalf), please donate at http://fundraise.unicef.org.uk/MyPage/drsimondavey

Friday
Jun082012

Developing ability, belief and character - as easy as ABC

One of my great pleasures is leading the Emerging Scholars' Intervention Programme, a Saturday school which supports girls from schools in Newham, London.

We work with a diverse group - multicultural, multifaith and a variety of attitudes - but they share one passion. The intention to do better and make something of themselves.

We have structured the programme around three things - developing ability, developing belief and developing character. It's as easy as ABC. We support them to improve their skills, to encourage a positive and growth mindset and to develop the character and characteristics that enable each one of us to take risks, fail and get up again and succeed.

You can learn more about the programme at www.esipforest.org.uk - it's as easy as ABC...

Thursday
Jun072012

Jumping off the cliff (together)

There are known knowns - things we know we know.

There are known unknowns - things we know we don't know.

And there are unknown unknowns - things we don't know we don't know.

Where would we be without the wisdom of Donald Rumsfeld?

As a consultant I have two primary uses - to help clients find their 'known knowns' and 'known unknowns' (and work out what to do about it) and to spot the 'unknown unknowns' coming. I'm not psychic but the value of experience (and expertise) in the projects I work on means I can see the potential risks and challenges coming. I know what should happen (and when) and what might happen (and in most cases how to avoid the negative implications).

I liken it to jumping off a cliff. New ventures, projects, call them what you will, are scary. They're the unknown unknowns. I know the project might look to you like we're jumping off a cliff. And we are. But I've jumped off this particular cliff before. Sure, the weather is different and I've never jumped off it with you but I know the equipment we need and the safe space to land. You can stand there and admire the view if you want but you needn't be afraid. We can take the risk and make a safe landing together.