A golden era of Rugby

A golden era of Rugby

I try and tell myself that it’s important to enjoy the Rugby win or lose, which isn’t that difficult supporting the All Blacks, who win over 90% of their games,  or if you go back for the last 115 years or so, 78%.  Making it the most successful team anywhere, in any sport, league or country.

Well that feels better already! I woke up this morning wondering if it was a (bad) dream. No, it wasn’t.  I was suffering somewhere in the grief cycle. The grief cycle! Really? Shock-Anger-Resentment-Acceptance-Hope. Time to get a grip – it’s a game. Sports!

I love Rugby, especially the All Blacks. I’ve watched every game since 2008 which has been a stunning era in New Zealand Rugby. Even when they lose, they’ve sorted it out, taken the learnings and grown some more legs.

The trouble with a RWC playoff game, is that there’s no coming back. Well not for “four-more-years” (ouch). Hardly seems right, we get to change the government more frequently than that!

So what to do? Phone a friend, listen to some talk back (very briefly) to realise how really troubled some people are, find something that means something special to you other than Rugby – some selfish indulgence – maybe a new project, and if you’re stuck remind yourself that England would have to keep winning until long after you’ve gone to catch up!

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The last twelve years have been a golden era of Rugby for the All Blacks. It hasn’t ended, they won’t be #1 now on the official rankings or holder of the Webb Ellis Cup. But they’ll be back before you know it, thrilling us with entertaining and fast-paced rugby and a Haka that only us Kiwis get.  And mostly winning!

Stephen

p.s. Webb Ellis is the supposed inventor of the game of Rugby Union. He was an Anglican Clergyman. Little did he know he invented a new religion for New Zealand. He might be disappointed I sense.

Driving seemed more interesting

Driving seemed more interesting

Not long after I left school I went with Mum to the University of Canterbury to enrol in a BCom.  It was at the reasonably new Ilam campus. I had studied accounting and economics at school and thought that being an accountant might be a good idea, and Mum and Dad were keen too.

We enrolled. From memory the annual cost was $108 – that might not be the exact figure – but it’s in my mind for some reason. Maybe $115?  Anyway, it wasn’t much and the fee included the Student Union charge, and all papers.

Not long after that I got hold of a Police recruitment brochure. It was a colourful landscape booklet with photographs of driving fast, shooting, putting someone in a headlock and plenty of physical activity. It must have appealed more than the BCom because I applied and after interviews, tests and background checks no doubt, I was accepted into the Prince of Wales 25th Cadet Wing at the New Zealand Police College.

It was 11 months of training: marching, the law, giving evidence, typing, report writing, dealing with domestic disputes, handling death, basic crime scene work, physical training and lots more.  The Police had a real sense of belonging and I feel my time “in the job” served me well for what followed.

iStock-459908461.jpgBut it always bugged me a bit that I didn’t complete my BCom and the accountancy that would have followed. I commenced another BCom near the end of my time in the Police, and later, when it was reasonably obviously unnecessary for my career, I pursued other study, supported by the SFO.

Later, becoming a partner in what some say is an “accounting firm” where I am now brought new life to the memories. 

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So, earlier this month when I attained the professional certification to be an accountant it was far more rewarding than I had imagined.

While you’re still upright it’s never too late to live your dream.

Go for it!

Stephen

The Mule

The Mule

The Mule is a 2018 film directed, produced and starring the 88 year old Clint Eastwood. He plays an older man called Earl Stone, a horticulturist who specialises in Lily cultivars. I couldn’t help but think of my Dad, of similar age, healthy and energetic and life-long horticulturist.

But there, fortunately (!), the similarities end. Earl has a problematic relationship with his family – he’s focussed only on the Lilies and related events – and sacrifices family and family events for his passion.

Earl becomes, unwittingly a mule, running cocaine across country for a Mexican Drug cartel. Any more information and I’ll have to put a spoiler alert out, but it’s beautifully filmed, and very tense.

iStock-491697130.jpgHe’s a man without the filters of needing to prove anything which is why he’s such a successful mule.

In the end, the film is about family, time and paying attention to the relationships that matter to you. You can buy anything almost, but not time.

I wonder if the film is intended to be cathartic for Eastwood – he reportedly has eight children from several relationships – and one of his daughters plays his on-screen daughter.

A gripping, at times funny, film with a strong message and a typical Eastwood ending that isn’t feel good but kind of is.

Enjoy*.

Stephen

*Time with those that matter.

Acting with integrity

Acting with integrity

Last week my team shared a dinner out to celebrate promotions. We celebrated everyone there and those that were promoted were invited to say a few brief words.

Acting with Integrity is one of PwC’s stated Values and it’s critical to building trust, part of PwC’s purpose. The great thing about true values is the richness that comes bringing them to life. Psychology Today’s discusses the 7 Signs of People with Integrity which calibrated with me.

Firstly, parents who apologise to their children for over-punishment. As a parent, if you overstep the mark, then your children deserve an apology and for you to set aside your pride.

Secondly, bosses who acknowledge their team members’ achievements and downplay their own.

Thirdly, romantic partners who boycott name calling etc.  You’ll know when you’ve acted without integrity by how badly you feel if you resort to name calling to anyone actually.

Drivers who almost never drive aggressively. I’ve started extensively using adaptive cruise control even in the city. It takes almost all the stress from driving. So someone is a few kms slower in front? Breathe. It’s great for wellbeing too.

iStock-938113718.jpgPeople in positions of power apologising for keeping people waiting. It gets easier the more senior you are to keep people waiting, and sometimes it happens because of your role. But don’t get ahead of yourself – whether you’re a specialist or a manager interviewing prospective employees –  that you’re so important you don’t need any humility and humanity.

Coming in sixth is giving someone the benefit of the doubt, when the circumstances are unclear. In my forensic work this is a must. Anything else is an attack on the rule of law, whether that be the law of the land or the work rulebook.

Finally, volunteering. People with integrity help others without a need for reciprocity.

So with that criteria in mind, how do you stack up? We can challenge ourselves on these, and notice these behaviours in those around us. I think you could use some of these to see how prospective leaders stack up.

At our dinner, one of our team who was promoted only referenced the team who had worked with him, and got him to where he was. It was a sure sign of integrity and left a warm feeling all around. This frame is surely the reason why it felt good.

Stephen

 

Only a very few things really matter

Only a very few things really matter

It might run contrary to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but I do increasingly think that only a couple of things matter – health and family – however defined by you, come to mind.

I haven’t blogged much lately because of other priorities. I’ve been walking most mornings and evening for exercise. I blogged about one walk recently through Cornwall Park.

The benefits of walking are well known and it’s helped me in many way:  working more effectively, thinking time, physical health and clothes fitting better!

Add good relationships with those that mean something to you – feels healthy and contented.

I might be overlooking Maslow in this simplistic interpretation of what’s important, which starts with physical needs (health, food) and safety, followed by belonging, esteem and self-actualisation.

My two “what matters” aren’t that high up the Hierarchy – in fact, health is a the bottom. It could be that I’ve got a fair way up Maslow’s needs and I’m heading down again.

It’s part of making life simple – walking, selling excess “things”, focussing on people that matter.

iStock-936370860.jpgA simple life, clear, clean and focussed.

Stephen

 

 

 

Cornwall Park

Cornwall Park

Cornwall Park was gifted to the people of New Zealand in 1901 by John Logan Campbell. It’s my favourite city park – and it doesn’t hurt that I’m within striking distance – for a good walk. I was there over the weekend after dark for a 10 kilometre loop out and back home.

Last year I attended a wonderful talk by the lead landscape architect, Thomas Woltz, engaged by the Park’s Trust Board, to oversee a 100 year transformation. Excitingly some of the projects are already underway. At the Manukau Road end of the Park, which I suspect many people don’t think of as an entrance to the Park, the statue and surrounds have been lovingly restored and invigorated.

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From Manukau Road through to the Green Lane entrance past the sport’s grounds it’s a great route that I never tire of. Cornwall Park “proper” (my phrase) is full of mature trees, farmland, rock walls and Twin Oaks Drive. There’s nothing quite like it.

At night it’s completely unlit which is rare in the city and ideal for deep thought.

Watch out for sheep on night patrols though!

What better way to build resilience?

Stephen

 

A golden era

A golden era

often find myself thinking how many big things are not going right globally: climate change, our management and respect of the environment, fervent nationalism and the resulting damage to democratic institutions. 

I can make small steps on some of these things and show leadership to provide positive role-modelling and examples.

At the risk of sounding shallow there are some things that I think we might be in a golden era for. One of those is television.

Watching detectorists on Netflix this last week was an outstandingly enjoyable experience. So much so I watched the entire two series through twice.

But wait, there’s more. They’re not going to give you the warm fuzzies like detectorists but The Americans, Homeland, Ozark and my personal favourite that I’m waiting impatiently for the third series of, Occupied.

iStock-1032524948.jpgDetectorists involves shallow digging and has deep human truths in it, but Occupied gets uncomfortably close to the current nationalism, foreign interference and environmental challenges as you might wish for. I had to double check that it really was conceived before the last US presidential election. It was.

Enjoy.

Stephen