Yes, I’m tired. It’s been a taxing couple of weeks, and the trip back to America was draining both physically and emotionally, and then getting back here has also been tiring emotionally – a lot more than I expected it to be. Those long plane rides take a lot out of the body even though you don’t necessarily realize it, and even though I haven’t really been hit with jetlag on the return side I am just tired. My workouts this week and actually even post-the CrossFit Fenway one last week have been significantly sub-par. Yesterday’s way the first beach workout at Cape CrossFit, and consisted of 5x 60m sprints, followed by “Sandy Helen” which was 3 rounds of about a 500m run on the sand, 21 kettlebell swings, and 12 burpees. Now that’s the sort of workout that I should just absolutely crush, but for whatever reason I didn’t run harder than maybe 80% on the runs. Why? Mentally tired but even as it was by the end burpees I was just tired and slowed way down.

Add to that a couple nagging injuries that aren’t bad but that I have been ignoring and hoping will go away(hope is not a strategy), and it all adds up to that my body is telling me I need to rest. So I asked one of the athletes in my gym for advice on how much to rest and he told me to rest the entire week until next Saturday and just stretch, and do mobility work. Now although I don’t like this very much at all, he is absolutely right. I suppose it makes sense anyway, that if I’m going to do something I generally tend to do it all out, so that should include rest as well. I will probably do some yoga but not as physical activity but for the mental clearing aspect of it, and will take it as easy as I can. I’ve known for a while that I needed to take some serious time off, but I guess I may as well actually do something about it. So funny to write this now because I am thinking back to the weeks when I would use any excuse not to make time to go to the gym, and actually that was the unnatural state for me, thinking back on it.

I was even tired at work on Friday: my brain would not engage very well at all. I spent a lot of the day co-ordinating meetings for next week, and did have a good check-in meeting with the Hub host, and a business development meeting in the afternoon.

Friday evening was interesting: first I dropped off beer-brewing ingredients I had smuggled into the country at a friend’s house, then went to the Woodstock Industrial Centre to an art opening at /A Word of Art. The artist was named Roger Ballen and his work was interesting and mostly somewhat disturbing and uncomfortable. Well, you can look at it. Anyway my colleague and I went, and there I ran into a bunch of other people that I knew (someone from my apartment block and yoga, and a couple who train at the gym). We also had a celebrity show up, Yo-Landi Vi$$er from Die Antwoord. Very cool. But anyway Roger Ballen gave a talk and maybe it was my tired brain or maybe he is so right-brain that I just couldn’t understand him but he would be talking and I would realize that I just had not processed anything that he had said. Very, very strange. Apparently I wasn’t the only one having this problem, however. But regardless, I was smoked so I went home, cooked some steak and salad and went to bed as quickly as I could.

After the Saturday workout about 6 or 7 of us ate brunch at Sandbar. I am pretty sure almost everyone at the table had the Mexican omelette (sans the bread, of course), although many of them did not eat the chilli sauce. Apparently my consumption of the sauce was unusual for some reason. I don’t know. So we were rejoined on this morning by a guy who had been in Sweden for a few months visiting family. He’s happy to be back, and I’m happy he’s happy, and also it’s good to have him back. Also, selfishly, I like having him here because he is quite wise and gives me good feedback. We all need friends like that.

Anyhow, after eating I went to the Biscuit Mill to pick up some meat, and for once I actually managed to go through a whole visit without bumping into someone that I knew! So that was good because I was trying to hurry to get to a farewell braai for this girl that I know from the gym at Oudekraal Beach just south of Camps Bay. That was good fun, we hung out there for a couple of hours, braaied, and talked. The most amazing rainbow showed up and stayed out for a long time – it was absolutely fantastic. When the beach closed at 6pm we moved to the rocks by Bakoven until it got dark and a little bit cold, at which point a couple of us went out to dinner followed by, in my case, a little bit of Alexander (the movie, actually this is not code name for another CrossFit workout!) and a lot of red wine. Ouch, feeling that today but other than that a super fun evening!

Now, I am working. I didn’t get as much done as I had wanted on my trip to America last week, prompting this conversation at work on Friday:
• “Yes, I’ll be working on Sunday. I didn’t really work at all last week.”
• “Oh Ellie I am so glad you didn’t work last week!”
• “Well I’m not! Now I’m behind!”

True. So, it’s about time for me to explain what I do. The organisation I work for is called heart and we are an incubator for social enterprises. This is a term that does not have an industry standard meaning, which is why everyone and their brother can get away with calling themselves social entrepreneurs. Be that as it may, we define the term as a for-profit business the raison d’etre of which must be to create some sort of positive good in the world: social, environmental, etc, etc. So as an incubator we have a methodology combined with tools, templates, policies, and procedures that can be used to take a business from concept to operation, or can refine an existing business and nurture it to help it succeed. Associated with this incubator is a fund firm that provides seed capital for the enterprises that are incubated. Imagine a venture capital fund, but here the investors are looking for what we call blended value returns: commercial returns, yes, but the money goes directly into enterprises that are making a difference at grassroots level. So, a real social investment.

Now the other part of our business is a founder, owner, and operator of social enterprises, and I run this part of the business (since August). These are all in relatively early startup phase, with two more on the way. Now because these are real businesses with real customers, products, and competitors, I obviously can’t go into extreme detail in a public forum about what exactly is going on. So, the short version of what I do is business strategy and management.

…and with that, time to get back to some planning.


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