There’s a lot to be said for phases.
People don’t talk about them much because they’re busy focusing on what we ‘restlessly ambitious types’ think we should be focusing on – goals. Or milestones.
But let’s not forget about the bits between the milestones. The phases.
Phases should be:
- Given a duration
A phase is clearly ‘somewhere’. But if we don’t think about and focus on phases properly, those important ‘somewheres’ feels like ‘nowheres’.
And that’s when we can feel lost. Set adrift. Neither in one place nor another. And it’s also why so many journeys never begin.
So do yourself a favour. If you want to leave where you are, and you’re in love with a new destination, give the space between those two things a name.
That way, you are not going from somewhere to nowhere. That’s too much.
And if the space between where you are and where you want to be seems wide, create smaller phases. But give them durations and names too.
(Give them lovely names, I’d suggest. So they feel warm to you. And safe.)
From Marketing to Menswear
I moved from running award winning marketing agencies to a clothing brand with global ambition. This phase was about 3 years long.
Phase 1 was ‘Making Room‘. It was 2014. There were casualties. It was expensive.
Phase 2 was called ‘Magical Future’. This was me writing my wonderful new story. My vision.
Phase 3 was ‘New Friends’. I needed people that understood the destination better than me. So I set off to look for them. Enthused, generous, helpful people. People that understood that I was in a phase called ‘learning’. People that wanted to help me and that saw the value I could add to their lives too.
Phase 4 was ‘True Friends’. This is where I bonded with people that believed in me and what I believed in. I like to think that I helped them too.
I reached my destination and launched Always Wear Red on Valentine’s Day 2016.
Now I have a new destination to aim for. It’s called ‘Proper Business’. I’m working on it, and the phases I need to get there.
It’s about an increasingly beautiful, irresistible and coherent collection, consistent and compelling messaging, better sales, more channels, investment, profitability, camaraderie, brand purpose and more.
Phase 5, which I am just about to enter, is called ‘The Board of Friends’. I need clever, caring people at my side. To teach me more. To help me think more clearly. To see the obvious. To help me deliver on my ‘Creating Confidence’ vision inside a sensible, strong business.
There will be other phases.
Life is short.
If you can muster the confidence – buoyed by an increasing awareness of your own potential as a human being and your happiness as a unique soul in this so-short visit – there are new milestones out there for all of us. If we want them enough.
But entering new phases alone is hard. We need a crew for most phases of the journey. Sometimes different crews for different phases.
And most of the crew must come from the world you crave, not the world you know.
New phases. New milestones. New people.
Photo: This is my friend Suzanne. Lying down. At this exact moment she is standing on the very edge of a new phase – not a new destination. That’s some way off in the distance.
And it’s made of cheese.