Freezing the moment

PauseI’ve reached that time.  The time where all of the plans you have made, singularly and collectively, bear fruit. The planning was good and has given us a perfect start for achieving our vision. A vision that will always be aspirational and yet together we agreed that we’d celebrate success at each stage because it wasn’t going to be easy.  And this is one of those times.

No one told us it would be like this.  Sure, there are books on this stuff.  Books that we read voraciously prior to the start and whose knowledge we shared morning, afternoon and night.  Some of the advice didn’t suit who we were and wasn’t considered, some was dated and dealt with similarly, save for those valuable lessons learnt.  Everyone is different, so we knew that in order to be successful we’d have to come up with something ourselves whilst taking into consideration the advice we were given, both verbal and written.

We decided on our shared vision and set about creating a strong plan to achieve it. Everything we have to do is important, however agreeing our responsibilities is key to the success of this.  Each person understanding what they had to do, when they had to do it and critically, how it should be done.  We agreed on an approach and felt that appropriate challenge and a small amount of risk taking was important to achieve the right outcomes.

We mapped out all of the critical things that needed to happen and decided on the order and the owners for each.  There wasn’t a need for brown paper or post-it notes to map it out, but we talked, a lot. We also spent a lot of time understanding the risks.  The vision is big, so it’s fraught with ‘danger’.  The risks needed to be fully understood and where necessary, mitigated.  We also had to identify those areas where risks could be taken.  The best outcomes aren’t achieved by playing it safe; they’re achieved by daring to dream a little, then being bold when the time is right.

Locations were an issue. They needed to be factored in as these can drastically alter a plan or damage relationships if handled badly.  The location issues had significant impacts on key stakeholders too, which required careful thought and ownership. We are desperate to succeed, but trampling on everyone to do that will make it fail and we want to avoid that at all costs.

Despite all the detailed planning, there have been a significant number of issues, which in turn have caused tension and stress. The team behaviours have left a lot to be desired at times during these periods and yet, we were always able to come back together, resolve the differences, learn the lessons and move on. We’ve learnt a lot about ourselves throughout the course of this that has made us stronger, wiser, more empathetic and better able to judge future situations and confrontations. This has been vital, in order to achieve the vision.

There have also been a lot of laughs; I’d have gone mad without those!  Parties, movie nights, comedy shows, and lots of singing and dancing!  It’s important to celebrate the small wins and identify those times where the stress required a release. We used a variety of methods to do that and they’ve all worked well.

So here we are and like I said it’s time.

I want to freeze time right now as these moments are almost perfect. We can take a lot of credit for it, but it’s been a team effort with everyone doing their bit when required.  If I had to do it all again I wouldn’t do it any differently because everything we have done has got us here and this is where I want to be right now.  We’ve got two amazing children. They’re like a project but more much more complex. You need to be a strong leader and role model. You have to plan ahead and decide when to let them take risks. You have to create an environment and an atmosphere in which they can flourish and grow. You have to remind them of their responsibilities and encourage them to be who they want to be. You have to let them fail in order for them to learn. You have to keep reminding them of your expectations and deal with the issues when they’re not met.  And you have to pat them on the back and reward them for the small steps that they take.

They’re 7 and 6 now and have the whole world at their feet.  The vision we have is one where they are happy, healthy and feel like they can achieve anything they want. And I hope I’m around to see that.