21 + 21 – that adds up to 42, my favourite number…

…the meaning of life and everything (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy), and in I Ching the hexagram means ‘increase’. It’s a time to expand, develop, be strong, be generous, to replenish, and use wealth and resources wisely for the greater good. 

Happy New Year!

I want to say upfront, that I am feeling blessed. In the maelstrom of Covid-19 I was kept busy by some fantastic clients including Air BroadbandCatherine Jones of CambridgeChapter ZeroEFS Manufacturing, the Milner InstituteRolling Versions,  Small and Green and Socia. And Zoom groups like The Marketing Meetup and Drive made me still feel connected to a wider community.

2020 – was a year of ifs – if we keep our distance, if we wash our hands, if we work from home, if we stay in, if we wear masks, if we can get a vaccine.

2020 –  and all it’s ifs, gave us the gift of perspective and gratitude. It showed us what is important and makes us full; and what is enough; what society means; how close to the edge we live; that being selfish can have serious consequences; that kindness fills hearts. And that climate change is real and needs our urgent and undivided attention to make amends.

We are still in the ‘ifs’ with the new strain, but vaccines that were ‘ifs’ are now no longer a hope, they are hitting the ground and running – to help us get back on track.

For 2021, the world of design gives us, not one, but two colours of the year – a soft grey and lemon yellow, chosen for being uplifting and hopeful, ‘warmth’ and ‘dependability’ ‘Ultimate Gray’ and ‘Illuminating’. Colour combinations last used after rationing ended in the 1950s and following the financial crash of 2008, when cheer was much needed. Expect to see those colours filtering into brand palettes, interior designs and new season clothes.

The idea for this newsletter was sparked by a favourite poem of mine ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling, and even though you’ve no doubt come across it before, or various parts of it. ‘If’ remains for me ‘the’ poem for the entrepreneur, and it feels right to take it into 2021 when we may well be ‘winging it’, or going with the flow (wu-wei) as the year unfolds.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

I’d love to hear how you are, and what you think of my newsletter, please drop me a line 😉