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February 2021

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Once you realise that money doesn’t make you happy.

A very specific kind of tension disappears.

For good.

Tension.

Sometimes in business.

There is tension between the best business to build for making money.

And the best business to build for making you happy.

Because more often than not.

These two things are not quite aligned.

Pull. 

There’s an almost physical pull.

One way.

Then another.

And it’s really tricky trying to work out which way to go.

Until of course you realise that money doesn’t make you happy.

Because when you do.

This very specific kind of tension disappears.

For good.

The first thing Izobel uttered this morning.

The very second she awoke.

Was a question.

This question:

Daddy.

How did we get home?

She asked.

Home.

Being in lockdown.

Izobel and I hadn’t actually been anywhere to come home from.

So I was pleased that Izobel’s 4 year old imagination had whisked her away.

Silently.

Invisibly.

To goodness-knows-where as she slept.

Maybe Izobel was wondering how she got back home to her bed from a glittering palace.

A fine royal habitat.

Crafted from pearls and set amongst the clouds.

Or a spinning purple planet.

Floating way beyond the sun we know.

Buzzing with beings that only she knew.

Or a watery world beneath the sea.

Dark and beautiful.

Where Izobel had ridden seahorses as she snored.

So eventually.

I asked her,

Izobel.

Where have you been?

Where have you just come home from?

Izobel paused.

ASDA.

She replied.

Lockdown.

Lockdown is hard.

Our points of reference are fewer.

Our worlds are smaller.

And whilst I am not worried for a second about Izobel’s racing imagination reigniting.

I do feel sorry for all children right now.

The lack of children playing with children.

The lack of pure childlike adventure.

And the simple, free-flowing ideas that only all-children environments can create.

Shaping stories.

Making magic.

Fuelling dreams.

Soon. 

It’ll not be long, now .

Until our children can once again chat and play with each other.

Spinning tales of palaces.

Planets.

And watery worlds.

But until then.

Until we are back together once more.

Dreaming of ASDA will do.

My Izobel.

Sometimes.

She gets left in the corner.

And I hate it.

So if it ever happens these days.

You can be sure it’s because of something worthwhile.

Play.

Sometimes.

Izobel wants me to play.

And I can’t.

Because I’m developing Always Wear Red.

Or Old Post Office.

Or I’m helping others to build their brands.

Advising them. 

Writing for them.

And it’s because these things I do take me away from my daughter.

That I do them in exactly the way I want to.

Making damn sure that I enjoy it.

Lose Twice.

In life.

You can lose twice.

And so many people do.

I know I used to.

Doing work I didn’t really ‘feel’.

Work that also took me away from those I loved.

And it’s fucking stupid.

Izobel.

My Izobel.

Sometimes.

She gets left in the corner.

And I hate it.

So if it ever happens these days.

You can be sure it’s because of something worthwhile.

It is ‘The Year of the Individual’.

The year where the express individuality of ‘you’ is of paramount importance.

This is year where your difference is what you should be shouting about.

Not shrouding.

This is the year where the fuckups that shaped you should be celebrated, thanked and retold.

Not ashamedly hidden.

This is the year where the only glass screen you should look to for affirmation or adulation is a mirror.

Instead of joining the misguided millions that fish fruitlessly for felicity in phones and laptops.

This year is The Year of the Individual.

An essential celebration that never, ever gets old.

This is The Year of the Individual.

No matter which year you choose to read it.

Don’t be late.

I bought my Rolex for two reasons.

First.

To see what it felt like to own a Rolex.

Second.

To see what it felt like.

To me.

For other people to think I owned a Rolex.

And it delivered brilliantly.

In the exact way I wanted it to.

It worked!

On both counts.

So I don’t regret for a second investing the money.

In fact.

It was the best £40 I ever spent.

It Worked!

When I say it worked.

I don’t mean it actually worked.

My Rolex told the time correctly for a week or so.

And even though that’s not what the nice man on the street in Hong Kong suggested would happen.

I didn’t mind.

My Rolex.

Two things.

I may buy an actual Rolex one day.

As finances allow.

Because I did like the way it felt.

And with regards to how it felt.

To me.

For other people to know I owned a Rolex.

I discovered that I couldn’t care less.

Brand.

There’s a brand lesson in there too.

For my brands.

And for yours.

And here it is.

Great brands know what they are for.

So have a think.

What’s your brand for?

Because if you imagine.

Even for a second.

That a Rolex is for telling the time.

(Even if it’s a real one).

You’re way off.