The HR Juggler

Day 21: Time To Think?

Posted on: December 21, 2013


Day 21 is written by David Goddin, who can be found over on Twitter @changecontinuum and over on his People Perfomance Potential blog.

Artwork for today (and every day!) is by the brilliant Simon Heath.


It’s a gorgeous spring Sunday and I’m lying on my bed. I’ve managed to stumble upstairs, struggling for breath, almost delirious with the agonising pain striking across my body. Lying down on the bed the pain seems barely manageable and my mind wonders… is this it?

A few months ago I turned 40. I think of my kids; I think of my wife; I think of my life. If this is the place & time that it all ends then in a strange way that’s OK. There’s sadness in that realisation of course but my 40 years have been full of fortune & fun. I’ve been lucky and if it must end now then so be it.

Isn’t it funny how the mind works…

It’s early August and we’re on holiday in Orkney staying in the house I grew up in. My liver function is finally back to normal – that 40 year old gallstone that decided to shift that Sunday and dramatically block a liver duct is no more. My energy is back to normal and I thank my lucky stars once again for the life that I have. I know I’m fortunate.

This home of my childhood, Woodwick House, hasn’t changed much at all.  Slightly neglected by absent owners and failed attempts to sustain a hotel business, the gardens are overgrown yet still full of enormous beauty both within and behind this wildness. Nestled between the sea and the hills this natural setting can never be anything but beautiful.

The house itself, though fading, is still a safe haven from the elements and a place for family and the noise of life. Empty, lonely quietness doesn’t suit this house well and the ravages of time are showing. This home needs life, a loving hand & sustenance. I’m glad that our presence here brings life back into the bones of this old home and that our weeks’ rental may somehow help sustain this special home.

For some it’s perhaps a strange prospect, returning to a childhood home to stay for a week as a paying guest. For me it feels perfectly natural and welcoming. Like ancient friends, the place & I seem to remember each other well. Though we parted 25 years ago, I remember every nook & cranny like it was yesterday. The mind is a strange and powerful thing isn’t it…

Experiencing it all again, I’m reminded of the life I once had here – one full of exploration, adventure & self-sufficiency. It’s a place that’s taught me a lot.

I know it’s where my love of the landscape & nature started. It’s where my father taught me to shoot & fish. It’s where my interest in gardening started. It’s where I first earned money on the farm next door. It’s where I first saw business ventures start, grow, succeed & fail – the cycle of entrepreneurship perhaps.

It’s where I learnt about breaking rules. It’s where I learnt about the freedom we create for ourselves. It’s where I learnt about the importance of connectedness. It’s where I learnt the value in stopping and looking at the world. It’s where I learnt to become myself.

It’s a place where the noise & connection of familial life, friendship and community can all coexist happily alongside learning & commerce. In fact I can’t help but think that they must coexist to sustain this special place & the people who stay here.

This reconnection to Woodwick House has come at an important stage in my life and it’s surprising the reflection and appreciation this old friend has prompted. It’s been in the company of family & friends whose enjoyment and exploration of Woodwick I’ve found affirming. Perhaps just as it should be!

It’s providing a stake in the ground for me to revisit & better appreciate where I’ve come from, who I am and what I might achieve. It’s provided a fulcrum for some change in our lives now.

As a family, we’re focussing on our happiness – making choices and decisions that we now see we’ve long put off out of fear & laziness. We’re more appreciative of each other. We’re better for it.

As a business, I’m refocusing and pushing through some very exciting projects. Work that reclaims why I started doing what I do. Work that reflects my clients ambitions for me. Work that helps leaders and organisations develop & create sustainable change in ways that recognise their capabilities & needs.

In doing this I have tremendous support from family, friends, peers & clients. They are the people who will help me be the best I can be, especially at those times when I’m the only one who can’t see what that might be!

3 Responses to "Day 21: Time To Think?"

Dear David,

I didn’t realise that you had the debilitating gallstone event in August, see, the Social Media often doesn’t give you a full picture of others’ lives. I’m glad to hear all’s well now.

You have some beautiful childhood memories to look back on. The house sounds like just one of those places that truly is a home. Thanks for sharing and wishing you all the successes for the future in every way. I hope to see you sometime in 204. Bina. X

A wonderful post – a year that made you think and reconnect with the important things and a sound foundation for the future ahead. Thank you for sharing. I hope you and your family have a very happy Christmas and I look forward to seeing you early in 2014.

[…] managed to dig up a photo of David Goddin’s childhood home to base a sketch on for his post on Day 21. In it, David reflects of the need to use where we’ve come from as an impetus to drive […]

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