Carpe Vita News

Celebrating the life of a great man

It is 20 years ago today that I lost my lovely dad.
Here he is below with my nephew Ashley.

As much as any loss can be difficult to deal with, I think about my dad often.   I decided today rather than feel sad for not having him around and grieve for what I lost at such a young age, I was going to instead, celebrate the life of a great man.  I decided to reflect on his amazing qualities and remind myself of the things he used to say and do that have helped me grow into the person I am today.

I chatted with one of my sisters about what we loved about him and what we admired the most.  The things we said sprang to our minds the moment we thought of him were…


- His love for his family and always being there when we needed him.
- He would always be there to help friends and family at the drop of a hat.
- He was someone you could rely on particularly in times of need.
- He was very practical and loved to make things especially if it was for his family.
(I remember sitting for hours watching him build a beautiful puppet theatre for my sister who had made a puppet at school.  His craftsmanship was to be admired)
- He would always create work of the highest quality.

My mum and dad set up a business when I was 3 years old.  They had a goal and despite having 4 children decided to pursue it to provide a better future for their family.  They achieved their goal within 3 years and despite whatever me and my sisters have taken from that experience, I can only admire their vision and determination to realise a better future for their family.

They worked as a team, demonstrated real drive and determination and a work ethic that has been instilled in me and I continually demonstrate in my life.  I admire my parents passion to take a risk and be fantastic role models to us.

Even though today is a sad day, celebrating my dads life and all that I learnt from him to shape the way I am today has helped me to enjoy a lovely day in the sunshine.  I am thankful that even if I only shared a small amount of my life with my dad, what I learnt in those few years were very special and, I will always cherish those memories.

Whilst we all have sad moments in our lives, we can always find joy and appreciate what we admire in each other.  Take time to seize life, celebrate and thank those around you.  I believe my dad knew what I thought of him but wow, what I would give for a few minutes to tell him again.

Who do you appreciate?
What is it that you appreciate about them?
Go and tell them now. 

Posted in Appreciation | Comments Off

What lessons can we learn from Chris Froome’s success?

With all of the talk about the Royal baby this week, it seems a shame that the fantastic achievements of Chris Froome last Sunday have been pushed to the back burner.  Chris is the second British cyclist in the last two years to win the Tour De France under the amazing leadership of Sir David Brailsford at team Sky.


I read with awe the news articles on the amazing achievements of Chris who by the age of 28 won his first ‘Tour De France’.



Chris Froome, to quote BBC Sports, throughout his life has shown the same Iron will and relentless determination to succeed that helped him through the high mountains of the Alps and Pyranees over the past few weeks and triumph in the toughest and most famous bike race in the world.

Chris started cycling at the age of 11, his first bike was borrowed from his primary school teacher.

Chris watched his first Tour De France at 17 and by the age of 28 won it, in its Centenary Year, the first cyclist to win a Tour De France following the Lance Armstrong doping revelations.  He gave up studying for his economics degree after two years to focus on his cycling and pursue his dream.

In 2008 at the age of 23 Chris undertook his first ‘Tour’, the same year he lost his mother to Cancer.  She would never see him ride in the greatest cycle race in the world.  He dedicated his win to her in his speech stating, “Without her encouragement to follow my dreams, I’d probably be at home watching this event on TV“.

David Kinjah the man who introduced Chris Froome to road cycling said “He always wanted to go further.  He wanted to discover his own world”.

Chris’ Fiancée said “He was always the guy who wanted to get across to Europe and do the Grand Tours like the Tour de France.  A lot of the people he was competing against thought it was a pipe dream and he always thought he could make it.  He used to grow his own bean sprouts because he had read they were good for recovery and he would try all sorts of things”.

What have I taken from reading these articles?

I admire the passion and belief in Chris’ goal, he was absolutely clear about what
he wanted
He demonstrated desire, willpower and determination to achieve his goal
He pushed himself further than was required and made difficult decisions
He recovered quickly from the knockbacks and pushed on, always focusing on the
end goal
His resilience

In addition to having a strategy to achieve a goal  I consistently find that belief, desire, determination and will power to quickly overcome knockbacks are some of the key ingredients to realising a goal.

I often come across colleagues or clients who share an aspiration and yet set nothing in place to ensure they achieve it.  Suggesting it will come right one day having often got distracted and influenced by other factors that take their focus away from what they want.

If you were to take Chris’ story and apply the elements that guaranteed his success, imagine what you could achieve.

Imagine a goal that you would love to achieve in your life; a goal you are so passionate about you are willing to face whatever life throws at you, because you have the drive, belief, determination and resilience to achieve it.

Your goal

Consider what your goal means to you.
What is it about your goal that is so important to you?
What will it give you?
How will it make you feel?
How will the result benefit you and perhaps those close to you?

Your strategy

What is your strategy to help you achieve your goal?
How will you know you are on track?
What is your strategy when you face a barrier?
What are you going to say to yourself when you face a distraction to ensure you stay on track?
What actions will you take to ensure you stay focused on your goal?
How will you celebrate achieving your goal and imagine celebrating that now!

Good luck and Carpe Vita!

Posted in Belief, Emerging Talent, Resilience | Comments Off

What are we doing to help our students have the confidence to succeed?

I recentlyhad the privilege of spending a day with a group of female students at Brunel University.  I was delivering a one day Leadership workshop which formed part of a ‘Women into Business’ Programme.  Brunel invite a number of successful female business women into the University to deliver workshops to a cohort of female students on topics such as Negotiation, Networking, Personal Branding, Assertiveness etc.

I asked the students who attended the workshop to share the one most useful thing I could help them with by the end of the day.  I was surprised to hear the majority of the girls tell me they wanted to have more confidence.  When I probed further and asked where they needed more confidence, they replied, “I would like to be more confident in a room of people and feel like I am being heard”; “I want to be able to communicate in a credible way”.  I discovered that these students were studying various disciplines such as Engineering and Law degrees.  Some have ambitions to design aeroplanes!  Others are expected to run family businesses.

These are talented young women, yet they feel the pressure to be able to converse naturally, and are eager to learn the protocol of how to survive successfully in a business environment.

I was amazed at how the ladies I had the privilege of spending the day with, quickly soaked up the techniques in how to communicate their message in a powerful way, how to interact professionally in new situations and how to shake hands confidently.  In a few short hours they had the tools to confidently share their elevator pitch, providing a few succinct sound bites of their proudest achievements, goals they hope to achieve and interests that they are passionate about.  They practiced these techniques and asked many questions.

I regularly hear that companies are telling us how students are lacking the basic skills, but I wonder If we were to ask them what specifically they meant, what the majority of answers would be?  Are companies asking for the same basic skills that students are also crying out for?


There are companies doing a fantastic job providing summer placements, internships and work experience opportunities.  But, what can we do to help the majority of students to be more employable?  What are we doing to help students like the girls I met at Brunel have more confidence? To be able to interact and communicate their talents in a professional way that will help them succeed in a business environment.  Or, provide guidance on how to cope with the transition from University to work life?

At the start of the academic year Universities are awash with companies promoting their programmes, giving guidance on areas such as how to write a CV, interview techniques and how to succeed at an assessment centre. But is it only the University’s responsibility to get students fit for work?  Or, should we all play a part in supporting the majority of students who are struggling to secure work or indeed give them a reality check on the business challenges?  It could be an insight into how to survive in a Corporate world?  It could be teaching the skills that Brunel’s ‘Women into Business’ programme delivers.

It’s not just about students understanding how to get the job, but what they need to do to survive in the role and organisation once they secure the job.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic or indeed the support that you are providing to Universities to develop our future talent.

Posted in Emerging Talent, Graduate Development, Leadership Development, Team Dynamics, Training Courses, Uncategorized | Comments Off

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