March 2020


When we choose to take downtime.

In usual times.

We should celebrate that.

But when downtime is thrust upon us.

As is happening right now.

We must be careful.

We must be careful because things grow in the new space.

In The Space Created.

And we must watch that.

We must watch what grows.





An opportunity for you to grow something amazing.

Something brilliant.

Something new.

So stay connected.

Stay structured.

Stay driven.

So when you start again.

As you will.

Be it 1, 3, 6 or more months from now.

You do so from a position of strength.

Build a bridge from where you are now.

To the other side.


Can start today.

There are two kinds of sharing.

And last Saturday.

I experienced both.

Sharing. Type One. 

The first kind of sharing is illustrated as follows.

I popped to ASDA.

And I bought 4 antibacterial sprays.

Then I popped to Poundstretcher.

And bought 2 more.

We don’t need 6.

So I asked our street’s Facebook group who wanted them.

And off the sprays went.

To their new homes.

Sharing. Type 2. 

On that very same Saturday.

Just as I entered Poundstretcher.

There was a Poundstretcher chap un-palleting kitchen roll.

And alongside him.

Following him like an attentive puppy.

There was a brilliantly enthusiastic Geordie guy in a tracksuit.

Talking ‘at’ him.

The tracksuit chap was berating eBay sellers.

The ones seeking a fiver for a toilet roll.

And that’s when the other kind of sharing took place.

As the entertaining Mr. Tracksuit shared the following.

At the top of his voice.

With most of the store:

I only ever have one shite a day, man.

Two at most.

And those cheeky bastards on eBay think I’m going to pay them a fucking fortune.

Just to wipe my arse!

Sharing is Caring?

I smiled.

Because whilst one type of sharing is caring.

The other.

Is actually born from not caring, it would seem.


I appeared on the BBC website last week.

On the subject of Working From Home.

Not because the BBC are particularly interested in what I think on the subject.

But because I was part of a photoshoot.

2 years ago.

And a photo of me.

Working from home with my dog Frank on my knee.

Has ended up in the Getty photo library that the BBC use.


Take a look:

Working From Home. 

That said.

I do of course have a view on working from home.

As I’ve been doing it (on and off) for years.


I’d predict that many people.

And many businesses.

In 2021 and beyond.

Will continue to work remotely.

Maybe not entirely.

But certainly in part.

Laptop Musical Chairs. 

It’s because I have always scratched my head a little bit.

With ‘Laptop Musical Chairs’.

The game that lots of us play each day.

Getting up at 6am.

Picking up our laptops and leaving the house at 7am.

Arriving at work and opening up our laptops at 8am.

Only to pick up the very same laptop.

On the very same day.

At 6pm.

To take it back home and open it up for another quick tippy-tap at around 9pm.

Then pack it away as we go to bed at 11pm.

Before it all starts again the following day.

‘Laptop Musical Chairs’.

Strange game.

5 Things. 


5 things to remember when working from home.

(Notes to self).

  1. Get up. Get dressed. Be at my desk for 7am.
  2. Stay away from the fridge!
  3. Take the dogs out for half an hour.  Twice a day.
  4. Have a 30 minute snooze if you want.
  5. Do a 30 minute exercise thing, every day.

Good luck.

(Another note to self).

Here’s a test.

And once you do it.

You’ll know whether the work you are doing.

Is work that you actually love.

Or something that is little more than a chore.

The Work Test.

Basically, The Work Test is whether you see the Jonas Salk quote.


As a good thing.

Or a bad thing.

Jonas Salk.

Jonas Salk was an American medical researcher and virologist.

Jonas discovered and developed one of the first successful polio vaccines.

And here is the Jonas Salk quote I am referring to:

The reward for work well done.

Is the opportunity to do more.


How was the quote for you?


Or bad?

‘For No One’.

Is a Beatles song you may not have heard before.

But I’d wager that whoever you heard singing it.

You’d know it was by the Beatles.

Paul McCartney. 

Credited to Lennon and McCartney.

‘For No One’ was actually written by living legend, Paul McCartney.

And here Paul is.

Singing it for others.

For one of the very first times.

Strumming his guitar.

And mouthing the french horn part.


Go here:


It was a Sunday.

Mid March.

And it was 2020.


I was sat quietly.

Staring out of the window.

Thinking quite calmly.

About what was about to happen.


I smiled for a moment.

When I thought about the millennium bug of 1999.

The bug that wasn’t really a bug.

But then I got a little gloomier.

Because I remembered.

That today’s bug.

Is a real bug.


I wanted to write just one story about it.

One reference point from early 2020.

For me to look back upon.

From a, hopefully, much more positive and certain 2021.

I wanted to write it for me.

And the people I know.

But then.


I really did start to think about the people I know.

And more specifically.

I started to think about how many people I know.


On average.

Any 1 person.

Knows about 600 people.

So by 2021.

That’s just 9 months away.

It is entirely possible that the 600 I know.

Will have become 588.

My 12.

It is numbing.

Thinking about My 12.

So I have started to think how I can make My 12.

A much smaller number.

And right now.

I am not quite sure what to do.

About My 12.

Or about Your 12.


It’s important to try, though I think.

So I’ll focus on the most vulnerable first.

And take it from there.

I wrote about Fred Rogers here:

A nice chap by all accounts.

Not least because he instilled in all children.

That they are special.


Such a straight-forwardly kind approach was, however, interpreted by some quite differently to how Mr. Rogers intended.

Some considered that such a buoying approach to how children are encouraged and supported.

Produced narcissists.


And eventually oldsters.

That could become defined by a strutting arrogance.


And self-flattery.

Imagining, determinedly, that they can do anything.

My View.

I have a view on this.

I think it is overly simplistic, negative bullshit.

Spouted by the kind of people that can find a cloud for every silver lining.

So I ignore it.

The Golem Effect.

This wee tale is however a neat precursor to what I wanted to spotlight.

The Golem Effect.

The Golem Effect is a psychological phenomenon worth remembering.

Especially by anyone that leads people.

Because if you lead people.

It is such a great responsibility.

It is the responsibility to help them become the best they can be.

To make them feel special.

And so it follows that I’d like to spotlight.

As would Mr. Rogers too, I’d wager.

What The Golem Effect actually is:

The Golem Effect is a psychological phenomenon in which lower expectations placed upon individuals either by supervisors or the individual themselves lead to poorer performance by the individual.

This effect is mostly seen and studied in educational and organizational environments.

So in other words.

A person’s performance declines when supervisors or teachers have low expectations of that person’s abilities.


Help your people to grow.

Take the time to listen to what they want.

Make them feel special.

Because they are special.

And make sure that The Golem Effect is not a part of your organisation.

Because if they can never maximise.

Neither can you.

I thought about my grandma today.

Even though she’s been dead for.


It must be 25 years now.


From the age of about 8.

To the age of about 16.

My grandma looked after me quite a bit.

She made me feel safe.

And important.

Through the years that my dad disappeared completely.

So that’s from the age of 11.

Through the years that my mum.

As a single parent.


And through the years that me, my mum, my sister and my baby brother ran from the drunken stepdad that arrived to disrupt us.

Then to abuse us.

As I entered my mid-teens.

My grandma created such a safe place.

Just by being herself.


Funny thing is.

Even though I spent years and years and years in her embrace.

I don’t think I can remember anything she ever said to me.

Not one word.

I remember her smile.

Her patience.

Her little kitchen.

And her hands.

On my hands.

But I can’t remember her words.

Maya Angelou. 

It looks like Maya Angelou was right after all.

People will forget what you said.

People will forget what you did.

But people will never forget how you made them feel.