If you’re not growing you’re dying . . .


Sir Steve Redgrave

Sir Steve Redgrave

Years ago I had the great fortune to interview Sir Steve Redgrave about his amazing achievements as an Olympian.  I interviewed him for a book I was editing ‘Perfect Vision in Management’ by Bob Patmore.  Steve (he was just Steve Redgrave back then!) was an absolutely charming man.  He was hard to get hold of – he was and is a very busy man, much in demand for his pearls of wisdom.

We had a few aborted calls where we had planned to catch up and then the time didn’t work for him.  So we would catch up quickly and reschedule for a better time.  I remember that serving as a great lesson for me:

Just because someone is busy and can’t take your call, it does not mean they don’t want to speak to you.  

He was incredibly busy and when we did get to speak properly he could not have been more helpful.

So, persistence pays off – and so do good manners.

One of the other big lessons I took from my conversations with him was this – I’m paraphrasing:

If you try and short cut, or cheat, you’re really only cheating yourself.

The words that echoed in my head – and still do, years later – are these.

‘If we’d performed at the same level we had at the previous Olympics (when he also won), we wouldn’t have even qualified to be at the Olympics!’

We know that life doesn’t stand still.

That is more true now, in my opinion, than ever before.

No time to learn about those new tools, app’s?  No time for your own personal or professional development?  No time to stop, review, evaluate what you’ve learned before you move forward?


Other people are finding smarter, better, easier ways of doing things that help them accelerate their results.  You’re in danger of getting left behind in the same way that Sir Steve talked about.  If you’re not improving, you’re diminishing or potentially growing stale, shrinking while others move past you.

I had this cartoon on my office inboard for years back in the 80s . . .

Too busy cartoon

So if you are too busy to learn, grow and master whatever it is you do then I invite you to press ‘pause’ on life for a moment.  

Most people don’t – they’re too busy being busy.  Busyness is not good for business.  This is so fundamentally important to me, my partner and to our business that we’ve been taking one day a quarter, every quarter, to press ‘pause’ and help others reflect too.  If we don’t get the lessons from the previous quarter we can’t move forward as sure-footedly.

We’ve been doing it since 2003/4.  And it definitely makes a difference to our business and to the businesses we work with who regularly take time to do this.

Yes, of course we have a structure – it fits around the one page 9 box NEEBS Model (that’s the Nine Essential Elements for Business Success).  We’ve had people skim over it and use the one page summary with its 9 boxes to do an outline plan, and of course there is a whole system and a workbook to back it up.  We give the one page model away freely . . . it’s even on my Linkedin profile as a download.

So – whether you join us, another group, or DIY, please . . . press ‘pause’, review your last quarter’s results, recognise the things you’ve achieved that you hadn’t even thought about (and that were never even on your plan!), then plan ahead for your next quarter.

I could say so much more but I think you get my point . . . don’t get left behind.  Don’t keep doing things the same way because ‘that’s how it’s been done in the past’, or ‘it’s always worked before’, or you’re ‘just too busy’ to have your own Personal Development Plan or 90dayplan.

As L’Oreal would say (give yourself the gift of time) ‘because you’re worth it!’ - and so are your team, your customers, your suppliers and all your contacts.

Yes, I’m passionate about it . . .


If it’s for you – here’s the link to our 90dayplanning events – next one 1 July, then 7 October in the Midlands, UK.

You can download the one page 9 Box NEEBS Model from my Linkedin profile or by asking for it at mary@marycollin.co.uk


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