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Posted by Sarah Brown on 22 Sept '22

Five reasons this summer was memorable

It feels like it has been a long summer of ups and downs, but I also think I have learnt a lot.

Laughing and crying for the Queen

Who can forget the Queen's brilliant double act with Paddington Bear, where we finally found out what she kept in her handbag?

And who will forget where they were when they learnt she had died or the moving ceremonial that has taken place?

All the photos of her smiling made me happy and sad at the same time, and her commitment to service reinspired me to fulfil my mission of changing the world by helping people achieve their aspirations and having a life well lived.

All staff are equal, but are some more infectious than others?

This summer, we did a cruise around the UK and Ireland. As passengers, we had to do a covid test before boarding the ship but didn't have to wear masks on board.

The staff, however, were expected to wear masks. It became evident that the more junior the rank, the more likely they were to wear a mask correctly. Some waiters wore a beard/chin mask, and when we asked a restaurant manager why he didn't wear one, he gave a garbled explanation about having to change each hour!??

We chatted to the staff; as you would expect, some had stopped wearing masks properly because they could see their bosses didn't take mask wearing seriously. It was the most visual example of the importance of consistent values I have seen in an organisation.

The staff were good but let down by their management, and in an environment where safety is paramount, I was concerned about the consistent application of other critical safety rules. Once one rule is negotiable, then all organisational values are undermined.

Read more about why values are the key foundation of a robust corporate culture.

It's not just us

While visiting Kylemore Abbey on the west coast of Eire, I came across a driver who ferried people around the gardens three days a week. He also worked four evenings a week and was a farmer but complained that he couldn't make ends meet. It is easy to feel that the UK economy is doing particularly badly, and maybe it is, but others are suffering as well.

Travel allows us to have perspective.

Our beliefs can be wrong

As I explained in an earlier blog, I, like many others, considered Germans efficient and expected German railways to run on time and be of high quality; I couldn't have been more wrong. You can read the detailed blog here, but since I wrote it, I have had confirmation that, and I quote from an anonymous source offering rail holidays, "Deutsche Bahn has been a huge problem on most of our tours this year".

Perception is NOT always reality.

Words do two major things: They provide food for the mind and create light for understanding and awareness.

Jim Rohn

The impact of words

Since 1985 Eire has been running the TidyTowns Awards, resulting in people keeping their towns clean and beautiful. The focus goes beyond Britain in Bloom, which focuses on horticulture because tidy means clean and smart in many ways.

They are very similar schemes, but the words used result in Eire feeling cleaner, and a tour guide who explained the competition certainly thought it had that impact.

I accept I may have had rose-coloured glasses because I was on holiday, but it still made me think - the words we use affect the results we achieve.


As the saying goes, "every day is a school day", and I think at the moment when there is so much change, it is crucial to approach each day with a curious attitude rather than a fixed position. Being curious will help with flexibility and being open to unexpected opportunities.

Using your values and vision to help you through difficult times

Working together to change the world

Finally, eat that frog

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Tags: values leadership