Importance of being a little crazy

This month will see me pass a “life landmark” as I hit 40. The old saying goes that it “all downhill from 40″ so it got me thinking about these things. In the last “almost” 40 years my life has changed in so many ways and as a person I have evolved through various stages, which most people do, a few of which are listed below:

  • Child
  • Teenager
  • Young adult
  • Parent
  • Employee
  • Self employed
  • Business Owner
  • Employer
  • Friend
  • Partner/Husband

While only a bullet point list, don’t think there is really any explanation need for these, you can easily see that throughout our lives we are constantly changing our identity, values, core values, ideals, goals and many other key aspects which define us. After all, what was important to me at 20 (drinking and having a good time) and not so key at 39; not because I’m boring just that my responsibilities have changed.

Having read the book Relax Focus Succeed by Karl Palachuk, this is not uncommon as we all go through these stages. What Karl teaches though is that so many people end up conflicted because we have to act out different roles at different times of the day dependent on where we are, what we are doing and who we are with. When you think about it that way it really is amazing that we are sane at all!!

This was a major thing that I took away from Karl’s book and almost certainly the most difficult to achieve is to align those roles that we may so that we no longer have to change our “hats” dependent on what we’re doing. So hows that working??? Lets say it continues to be a “work in progress” but suffice as to say I will keep trying.

So as the sun sets on my thirties the best advice I can give to anyone would be to find alignment in the roles you play so that you don’t have to change who you are to suit the situation you are in……just be you!

Now I look forward to enjoying some “downhill” cruising for a while now as I come on to my fourties!

Peace out! x

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Guide to stratospheric success

SuccessConfession time; the title of this post was a bit of a white lie…….sorry. But please bear with me……

First thing to get out of the way is that this post is also not about the Go-Giver which is an amazing book by Bob Burg and John David Mann, if you haven’t already read it then do!

This post was inspired by an email I received last week from Richard Tubb which asked the question of “What does it take to be a successful IT business owner”. Something we hear all the time is how people want to become successful, the car, the house etc. So folks go off and they go and get a new job or start a business of their own so that they can become “successful”. But I can honestly say that most haven’t got a clue what it looks like to be successful! Continue reading

Posted in Light relief, Personal Develoment, small business | 2 Comments

Living for the weekend

BurnoutOne of the things that we like to do at work with our clients is to have periodic business reviews. For some clients this is quarterly while for others it is done every 6 months. The idea behind this is to discuss how their business is progressing and what future plans are on the horizon. By taking this time we are able to ensure that the business needs are met by the technology infrastructure that we provide and maintain. The other reason for this is to simply “shoot the breeze” with the client; this is where we talk about almost anything that the flow takes. Continue reading

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Little big planet

There’s a old saying that says “it’s a small world” and it really is. The saying relates in reality to the 7 degrees of separation theory which states that you are only ever 7 connections from anyone on the planet. For example, if I wanted to speak to Bill Gates then there are only seven connections (people) that I would need to make in order to get to speak with him. Continue reading

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S**t I got old!

This morning when I woke up the day was the same as any other, the only difference is that I would be driving down to Westbury to drop off my eldest son at the Army Officers Selection Board so he can finish the competition to get into the Welbeck Officers training programme.

Well, I dropped him off almost 2 hours ago and as I left I felt a little emotional about the whole thing as I thought back to when he was just a baby. The years as he grew up and the trails and tribulations that we have been through, both him and me as well as the rest of the family. Now I can safely say that I am so proud of the young man that he is becoming.

What I wasn’t expecting was that this left me reflecting on how I suddenly feel so old. This year I will turn the big 4-0 and while it doesn’t really bother me as it’s just another event it made me realise that while my brain may still be deluding itself that I’m a teenager I really am not. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve got old but it’s not really something that you pay attention to as it happens regardless of what you do. But then, certainly in my case, I suddenly realised “s**t I am really getting old”.

I guess this is why so many people suddenly panic when they hit 40 and a great many have a mid-life crisis. That realisation that you won’t get any younger and that when you talk to someone who is 16-19 years old about stuff you watched as a kid they just look at you like you’re an alien.

So does all of this mean I’m over the hill? No chance, I just need to realise I am not a spring chicken :-)

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Aftermath

AloneIt’s been a week now since I opened up and bared my soul to the world. It’s one week later and nothing has changed for me. The ground didn’t open up and swallow me whole nor have I been sent to Coventry. What I have found is sympathy from those who have suffered from the same debilitating illness and empathy from those who have not suffered but have some understanding of what it can do. People have reached out to me either via Facebook or more directly to show support and understanding, much more than I thought. Continue reading

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My names Rob and I’m mental

Lonliness“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Feels a little like the cliché alcoholics anonymous meeting, “My names Rob and I’m an alcoholic”. Obviously I’m not an alcoholic but the subject of mental illness feels equally taboo even in the modern age. In recent months the topic has become more prominent following the tragic passing of Robin Williams which was believed to have been brought about by an ongoing battle with depression.

Continue reading

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The only constant is change

We it’s been almost 3 years since I last posted anything and a lot has changed.Back in April 2012 we were blessed with twins, a boy and a girl, both healthy kids. Let us fast forward to today and those little babies aren’t so little anymore as they are due to turn 4 this year.

My eldest is 16 and as I write this I am sat in a Travelodge near Caterick as he will be taking his residential course tomorrow as part of his application to join the Army Offices programme. Each year almost 1,000 15-16 years apply for just 90 places to enrol into the programme and I am immensely proud to say that he has been shortlisted to move forward with selection. The funny thing is that I still remember when he was born, when he was the same age as the twins are now and so on.

This got me thinking that the old saying “time and tide wait for no man” is so very true; no matter what we do with our lives, time will still tick on regardless. I’m guessing by now you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this?

Well it’s safe to say that as I get older I understand that time should not be wasted doing things that you don’t enjoy or that isn’t what you want. Life is short and should be grasped around the neck with both hands and then wring every last breath out of it. As we pass through life many obstacles will get in the way of what we want (money, people, jobs, etc) but sometimes you just have to say “to hell with it” and do what you have to do because it’s very rare you get a second chance.

Anyway, that’s my ramblings; It’s good to be back but now I need to turn in for the night as I’m going to make the most of being able to get a whole night of uninterrupted sleep :-)

Rob

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RIP SBS! All hail the cloud

As many of you will have heard by now, Microsoft announced late last week the end of Microsoft Small Business server as we know it. In the most recent version they introduced Small Business Server Essentials which was Pre-licenses with 25 users and included all of the key features with the exception of Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint. The idea of this is that it would be a great introduction to small businesses into the world of a server and should they require it, then they could use Microsoft Exchange via a hosted service such as Office 365. Now with the announcement last week, this is the only version that will remain at the end of June 2013.

The end is nigh

A lot of small IT providers rely on SBS to make up a key part of their sales, hell we shift a fair few SBS servers……so is this the end? Not at all, this simply represents a shift in how we present our solutions to the marketplace moving forward. A lot of IT providers do not like using Office 365 as Microsoft ‘own’ the relationship where billing is concerned and it makes them uncomfortable. The concept that all of us aspire towards is being the ‘one stop shop’ for our clients and the Office 365 billing model goes against this as the client would receive multiple bills from different providers for services. But does this *really* bother the client? After all if we, the provider, manage the relationship for them then there is no real issue. That said Office 365 is not the only solutions. There are a number of ‘white label’ hosting providers that will allow you to provide hosted Exchange to your client with your own branding, this is something that we have done for some time now and it works well.

So it’s all about the cloud then?

Does this mean that we all need to go knee deep into the cloud? Not at all, after all there are alternatives to Microsoft Exchange such as Kerio. With fierce pricing it is a definite alternative to Exchange and more cost effective. What we need to do now moving forward is to talk to our clients and see what they are looking for in terms of their business needs and put forward a technology based solution that will work for them; all be it on premise Exchange, Hosted Exchange, Kerio or some other technology that will empower their business.

Now is a great time to be in the IT business as we see the landscape change so substantially that it will drive creativity and innovation through the IT providers that service small businesses. I for one think that this is a change for the better but like any change it *is* uncomfortable but ultimately you have the chance to shape IT solutions in the SMB workspace moving forward.

Let the good times roll!

– Rob

Posted in IT Community, small business | 1 Comment

I don’t like that!

My kids often say that when I offer them something ‘different'; albeit a different type of food or a film that they’ve never heard of. Ever time they complain I always say, ‘Look try it and if you don’t like it then that’s fine’.

But then I’ve just been thinking that as adults we do exactly the same thing. Anyone who knows me would have heard me at some point say that ‘I hate going into Nottingham’. My justification for this is that it’s too busy, or crowded or some other convincing but lame sounding excuse for what I don’t like it.

Yet here I am for the third week in a row in central Nottingham, yes you guessed it in a Costa Coffee, quite enjoying being here. I mean I drive through it every day on my way to work but now that I am actually in town I really am enjoying being here. Why?

I think there is a couple of reasons for this, the first being that it is actually quite a nice place to visit. The are some good shops, if your a shopper, and there are some good places to grab a bite to eat. While it is a busy place the people are friendly enough. The second reason is it gives me a chance to ‘step off the planet’ for an hour or so. In a really busy day it is very easy to rush from one thing to the next without actually looking at what you are doing or even thinking about it.

So my advise to you is; try something EVER day you don’t like but have never really tried……you might be pleasantly surprised!

– Rob

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