Being responsible for a team of highly intelligent, motivated and creative people whose average age is at least half my own is positively challenging. I say ‘positively’ deliberately because there are so many good aspects to the challenge – for me and, I hope, the team. It’s important to say that this in not just any team – this is an alpha plus team of hand picked individuals who are not only lovely people but also highly talented professionals – members of the Idenna family – a responsibility indeed.
The shiny creativity that is woven into every strand of the Idenna fabric is essentially youthful in its daring, originality, intellectual rigour and delivery. It’s not only young people who can be inspiringly creative but whatever age you are there has to be that certain spark. Our team is on fire with energy and enthusiasm. Their sparks constantly land on me and are, IMHO, the best anti-aging tonic available to mankind.
Whereas the individuals in the team are also energetically in the process of ‘becoming’ someone personally and professionally, I, thirty or even forty years further on, have left the becoming phase behind and live a head space best described as ‘being.’ A state where adult aspirations and ego are finally redundant. So when considering team matters I have to remind myself what I was like when I was a young man and remember clearly the pressures and frustrations of becoming something or someone. This frequent revisiting of my past keeps my outlook and empathy tuned into youth.
I am not as physically young as the team. The body I inhabit has done some mileage but so far I have been lucky and still retain most of the energy and strength that I had a young man and arguably more stamina. The team’s youthful enthusiasm for the Cornish lifestyle: surfing, running, walking, cycling, mountain biking, yoga, meditation, travel etc., and even the daily office stretch is as inspiring as it is challenging and keeps me well focused on staying fit and being active – feeling young despite my years.
Then there’s the serious responsibility of managing the finances. Enough said, except to get them right one has to maintain a sharp mind that can differentiate between the needs of the individual and the needs of the business and strike a continually evolving compromise that sustains wellbeing and growth of both in a tough business sector. No need for the mental chewing gum of crosswords or Sudoko to keep my mind in shape – I’m delighted to say that I’ve got real life problems to solve and enjoy using my experience to facilitate real outcomes.
Overall, I am kept very much on my almost-but-not-quite-so-youthful toes by the combination of a ‘being’ headspace, remembering a young ‘becoming’ head space and navigating the financial, social and physical challenges of caring for an alpha team. There is a saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose – it’s whether I win.” I have to make sure we are all winning on a number of fronts.
I have a quiet enjoyment of the youthful sharpness which is always switched on and runs through the whole team – professionally and personally. Never more evident than in the banter and humour, and it’s always positive. Not something that many old people consistently experience at that level or can retain from their youth without being in a youthful environment on a daily basis as I am. It’s really great for me to part of it. The team keep me up-to-date (dare I say woke) and sharp. That said, I could do without it – LOLS – only joking.
There is a saying ‘youth is wasted on the young.’ I don’t agree. Young people need all the help they can get. What it accentuates is that during the long process of growing older it’s pretty much a given that most people lose youthful energy through the attrition delivered by hard knocks and physical decline. Older people would benefit from youthful energy and outlook. The team give me this and I feel very lucky.
As Bob Dylan so aptly put it, “aaaah but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”