Friendship. Final thoughts. Until next time.

Well, I didn’t accomplish nearly what I set out to do before leaving. But I’m actually quite ok with that, because there were some unexpected time sinks this week. Friends needed me to be there for them, and when the unexpected occurs, you prioritise. That’s about all I can say.

Work highlights:
• The boardroom in the Hub was finally completed and usable. The noise and dust of construction are very disruptive. Later in the week, cabling began. It’s incredibly disrupting to have phone lines down for weeks and wireless up and down, but that should all be drawing to a close now.
• SeeSawDo jumpstart: SeeSawDo paints crèches and sells children’s books. This was very interesting to me; one aspects is obviously much more leveraged than the other. But something that had not occurred to me because I don’t live in this space: how much of what goes into making a properly-functioning adult starts in childhood, and specifically in creative thinking as a result of children’s books and stories. I can completely not result to growing up in an environment without children’s books and with very little adult stimulation. Well, we all know we are a product of both nature and nurture, and as trivial as it might seem (how is children’s books a social enterprise??), well, children’s books that children can actually relate to may be one of those basic things.
• Greenpop jumpstart followups: I had asked Greenpop to think into some implications from the learnings out of their jumpstart. It was great to hear them report back, and see the influence that we had had on their business but that they are making happen. Of course, there’s also just something about Greenpop. Although by the time we finished, all the paleo food from the potluck lunch was done so I had to make myself some eggs (and Jeremy called my diet fundamentalist which is actually probably the best description I’ve heard).
• We had a couple of introductory business development meetings this week, one of which was completely out of the blue but left my mind reeling.
• I also had the pleasure of reviewing & copyediting a Heart Capital intro letter that some of our awesome interns put together. Good to get that done!

There were also quite a few occasions over the course of the week when I caught that my mind was immediately going to the same place as that of my boss. There were a couple of times when we had significant divergences, too. It is interesting to see how such different backgrounds can result in similar gut instincts.

The other thing I was reflecting on this week was that parable of the two shoe salesmen who were sent to Australia. One sent back a telegram about sales potential saying something along the lines of: “Terrible market opportunity. Natives don’t wear shoes.” The other sent back a telegram saying “Fantastic opportunity! Natives don’t wear shoes.” That’s most definitely how I see social enterprise in South Africa. There are people who want to invest and people who want to start companies (actually this is broader than just social enterprise, but point taken). When we and/or others can provide the missing ingredients, really fun stuff is going to start to happen.

Highlights of the last week of full training before the Games:
• Super fun team workout designed by Chris with some complicated rules, designed to test and stretch our team communication.
• Because my hand was still torn up from pullups, I didn’t do the 45 pullups in one of the workouts so instead I did something I’d never done before (in this volume) which was 21-15-9 burpees (or, as Kerry called them, “speed burpees” & ring rows where I had to bring my body from my head about 30cm below my feet up to level with my feet. Always fun to try something new!
• Brought the guy who might come work with us and is the first person I’ve so far met to recruit himself to CrossFit. Now we will see if he signs up. 😉 Although I must say it would be quite weird to have someone who I both work with and train with.
• Another BodyTalk session. This stuff is amazing; kind of like Kundalini yoga on steroids.
• Our team workout Friday involved heavy (70kg for men, 48 for women) thrusters. I surprised the heck out of myself in this workout; there were three of us doing it (me and two of the guys), and I essentially managed to do almost half the reps myself. But the boys made up for it on the chest-to-bar pullups and partner carry. Now in an echo of a joke from about a year ago I sprained my finger by stopping the bar from bouncing with my left index finger (resulting in an awesome text from Chris when he asked how the workout was and I told him I sprained my finger: the first word of his text was “Why?” as if I’d done it on purpose!). Heh. But overall I was quite pleasantly surprised with my performance. Getting stronger.
• Saturday morning some good muscle-up practice (my hand finally permitted this, and you don’t need your left index finger for the false grip). I nearly got one, but didn’t want to tire myself out pressing the hell out of a bad position to get my first one then I failed to pull to the right point after that. And so we keep working.
• Saturday afternoon was some of the most fun I’d had in ages! Well even before running the track was actually locked so we had to climb over the fence. Exhibit A in not letting something get between you and something you want. Once on the inside, we did an all-out 400m (72 seconds, I wasn’t thrilled and probably could have gone a bit harder, but still a 3-second adult PR). Then we did an all-out 200m (31 sec). I was much happier with this one. Then I ran death by 200m, in which I added 20% to my max 200m time, and then ran 200m repeats with 2 minutes rest until I couldn’t hit that time anymore. On the fifth repeat I was quite upset that I had just barely hit my time and so had to run a sixth repeat. Yep, it was that painful. Good stuff.

As I sit here now, my finger sprain and hand rip are both healing. Some injuries (the ankle, which is still bothering me a lot), the finger, the ripped hand: some things happen in seconds but the impact lasts for weeks or even months. Other injuries from overuse you can see coming and sometimes you’re smart, sometimes less so. Chris was saying on Saturday that possibly the reason why I’ve seen such dramatic strength gains these last 2-3 months has been that injury has forced me to rest (here’s the kettle calling the pot…), but he also commented that the better you get the more critical diet, rest, and recovery are. It’s all in the decision-making, I guess.

Fun & other stuff:
• Lunch with our two super interns Tina & Jenn. Tina is going back to Germany before I return, but I am glad that I got to know her a little. She is so smart, and such a hard worker. Jenn is American and will be sticking around (hopefully with us). She and I seem to have very similar views on America and South Africa, and I look forward to exploring this further upon my return.
• I made a joint birthday cake for Jaco and Denzil. Paleo, of course.
• Rob’s birthday (the founder of Butler’s Pizza). He had a big party at his house. Holiday Murray was cool, the YouTube of Xander Ferreira in Times Square was about as amusing as Gazelle without Xander Ferreira, I met an amusing drunk guy called Josh, saw a bunch of other people, and ate two and a half coconuts. I also decided on this occasion that while I had been thinking that I wanted to throw a big birthday for myself, actually I don’t. I am not at all sure what I’ll do, but it’s going to be small. Possibly very small.
• Dinner with Pete & Mandy. It had been too long since we’d done this; my schedule had been just insane the last few weeks but I always enjoy catching up with the two of them. Especially because there have been a lot of changes and we hadn’t really had a chance to talk through them in detail.
• Yet another Friday night date with Mona. Amazingly, it had been a week since we’d had a good chat, so this catch-up was sorely needed.
• Babett’s birthday & Jeremy’s show on Saturday. So cool to get to hang out with Babett & Tess a little bit and explain the cult to the fascinated civilians. That was a bit of a weird evening all the way around; a bunch of people didn’t wind up coming who were supposed to, and I started feeling severe guilt pangs because I felt I should rather have been sleeping. Still, fun, and cool to hear Jeremy one last time for a while.

So I’m on my way to LA. As some of you may recall, when I worked at AJI in LA was (until now) my favourite job I’ve ever had. Why did I like it so much? Well, jet-setting around the world and then being an expert on AJUS when I was overseas and on the joint ventures when I was at HQ was both fun, a learning experience (especially in how to practice influence without authority), and an ego trip. But even more important, it was the first time and actually the only time I can recall that I worked in a small, tight team where everyone was highly specialised and highly capable. Peter had made a comment this week about how seeing me at CrossFit made him realise that I actually perform better when there is a strong team around me and I think he’s right. Much as I like being a big fish in a small pond, I do not like having to take responsibility all the time, and working with people who are very early in their career is great in some ways but hard in others because you can’t just trust them to take a complex problem and have the fun of talking through approaches but then rely on them to get stuff done. So I look forward to being able to do that at Heart Capital as well, because I am indeed quite tired and drained of never doing as much as I want to do, because you can only do so much by yourself.

Sometimes the standards of a service provider on itself are higher than those of its customer. The business person might think what a waste of capital to hold higher standards than the customer cares about. But then again, at a certain level as well it’s about the intrinsic motivation of the service provider isn’t it? I recently re-found a fortune from a fortune cookie I had been carrying around. It said anything worth doing at all is worth doing well. If you don’t go as hard as you can, or do as well as you could, you might fool everyone around you but you won’t fool yourself. Now you must obviously pick your battles but at work and in your personal life the important things are usually obvious. And with CrossFit, well, you usually train once a day so on those days when I do feel like I let the pain get to me or something else goes wrong; well, it’s tough because that’s your one chance that day to do your best and you’re not going to get those seconds back, and you’re not going to get that chance again.

Until the next time, that is. Until the window of opportunity closes, because inevitably it always does. Life moves on. Life is short hey.

We will see what happens in the next few weeks while I am away, and what my return will trigger. I’ve said this before but I’m not patient by nature but I really do appreciate belatedly when things happen as they should even if it’s not as fast as I might want. As Steve Jobs was saying, you can only connect the dots looking backwards.

• “Even more than just facebook friends.” – Jaco
• “Cake time! Yebo! Cake time!” – Phumzile
• “I don’t do anything in moderation.” “I know. You’re dangerous!” – Ellie & Phumzile (that one doesn’t miss much!!)
• “Just don’t call me sweet. I’ll punch you. You’ve been warned!” – Ellie
• “You’ve even got JOBST calling me princess!” – Ellie
• “YOU can call me sweet.” “Oh yessss!” – Ellie, Jobst (the difference being he never would)
• “I’m distracted by your arm hey. It’s huge!” – Phumzile
• “21-15-9? Good luck!” – Viki
• “When you called me I was in the middle of explaining medium-chain fatty acids.” – Ellie (I say some strange things when I see coconut oil)
• “You’re a bad girl.” – Jobst (don’t ask…)
• “When the miracle comes and dances in front of you, you need to ask for what you want.” – Peter
• “I’m not that bad. Oh, fuck, that’s terrible!” – Rob
• “We have to move the pole.” – Rob (different one)
• “Everybody wants to be happy with where they are at, and it’s fantastic to be able to achieve that.” – Jaco
• “It’s hard not to drool, right?” – Peter
• “That would be the understatement of the day.” – Ellie
• “Yeah, you looked strong!” – Mona (the funny thing was that she sounded surprised. But on the other hand, I suppose it was a bit surprising)
• “Hehe, why do you do as I DO and not as I SAY? ;)” – Chris (… because we’re dangerously similar …)
• “What are you busy doing?” “Practicing muscle-ups.” “Fuck.” – Grant & Ellie (it was all in the delivery)
• “He’s amazing!!” “I know.” “Is he nice?” “ Yes.” – Gabby & Ellie

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