Changing minds


Or, just, changing.

You would think, by now, that I’d be smart enough to know what was what. I’ve been smart enough to stay out of the rings for four months, but not smart enough to quit the training entirely and rehab my shoulder.

I started seeing a physio called Mark this week, who was recommended by Carla, who had shoulder injuries for years that Mark sorted out. Problem being … the therapy is worse than the disease. I literally get nauseous from some of the exercises that I have to do. I think what makes me the most ill is to realise just how bad my shoulders, both of them, are.

Now I can take lynotherapy ‘rip my stuck fascia from my muscle’ pain, and I can take acupuncture twisting needles into the head pain. Not that I can’t take this, but there is something so literally gut-wrenching about dry needling in compromised tissue that makes me walk around dazed after.

FML. In happier news, this was testing week and I got a new max snatch, and push press. The snatch was not surprising since I’d been pathetic at getting under the bar until being forced to practice 3x a week. The push press not terribly surprising either considering that I’d started at 40kgs for form and progressed up to 60kgs for multiple reps. But then I lost concentration for a second when I went for 66kgs and missed.



All in the head. Made the lift easily next time around.

Speaking of all in the head, my gymnastics: always has been a weakness. I think six months ago I could barely kip a handstand pushup. At the end of this cycle: 13 unbroken, no problem.

And toes-to-bar? There’s this gymnastics kip that makes the exercise something less like swinging your legs back and swinging them up (which takes long AND tires the grip and lower back), and more of a v-up/GHD-situp type of a move that if you don’t know what I’m talking about it doesn’t matter: the point is, I could never get the movement right. Something would always go wrong with the initiation, or whatnot. Carla taught me how to do these in under 10 minutes.

This is what happens with a good coach and a motivated learner.

Now: motivation. Motivation to do is one thing. I have always advocated that you must coach someone’s intrinsic motivation for them to want to work hard at whatever they are doing. Easier said than done but at least the concept is there.

My style is not to browbeat staff any more than you should try to force a sale. All you do is create resentment, and resentment leads to disaffection, and that goes nowhere good. I was very happy to have one of my newer staff members repeat back to me something I didn’t even remember teaching: that if you are discontented as an employee, you will tell your co-workers and seed discontent, and one bad apple can ruin the entire bin, but this only happens if you are disempowered, not listened to, or in fundamental disagreement with the strategic direction.

Very little do I try and hammer home more than that: if something could be done better, bring it up. I can’t fix what I don’t know about. And they do. AND I LOVE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS. Because it means they trust me, at least to some degree.

Now, how to get people to listen to you when they don’t have to is another matter. You can be charming. But at the end of the day, you cannot make people understand.

Another thing I drive home: knowledge is power, and context is knowledge. If you don’t have the context, you’re going nowhere. Try and design a wireless network without knowing trigonometry. Good thing I don’t design wireless networks but at least I now know about interference and backhaul and line rentals and radios and what a CPE is (and why saying ‘a CPE’ isn’t even grammatically correct!).

We had this week a meeting with three of my absolute favourite people in telecoms (only one of whom works for me), in a strange alley mall restaurant called The Italian Job, and it reminded me for all the world of what four ethical people do when they want to have a smoky backroom meeting. They sit and decide what they want to do to make a fundamental shift in the country (let’s just start there), and how to manipulate the chess pieces to make it so.

Also, that coffee hearts make someone grumpy! :D

Also, that coffee hearts make someone grumpy! 😀

Two of the three joined us for rugby that night in our partner’s box at Newlands. The third sadly had to go to PE for the weekend, but he was replaced by George, and we like George. I did learn that it’s best not to get into anything resembling a drinking contest with George. Especially the day before a CrossFit throwdown competition.

Why I lost the throwdown. True story.

Why I lost the throwdown. True story.

Note to self: you cannot drink heavily, then roll out of bed and expect even moderate competition to roll over and be beaten. And let this be a lesson to me. One that I seem to recall learning about 18 months ago. Hey, arrogance can get the better of any of us.

But I did get what I needed to get done work-wise done. Some big signatures, a massive payment, and a few solid hours with our rock star new accountant to make sure we got all of our cost allocations correct. I swear.

I also made time for some social stuff … training & dinner with Sheraan from one of my sister companies, dinner with Sam at Olympia Café, and between that, the rugby, and the normal evening activities, I was pretty full up for the week.

Oh, and we had our going away party for Jeff, who is leaving us to go back to the USA. It was another nice team bonding experience … on a pirate ship on a harbour cruise! Except for Adam, who was stuck working the Loeries. But it’s ok. Apparently the food is good. We like the Loeries.

I crashed a bit on Saturday and Sunday, the same day Carla taught me the toes-to-bar, I very nearly passed out doing a 90kg front squat. Legs perfectly strong; CNS not so much. Guess that PR will have to wait for another week; but I then took a lovely trip out to the winelands to see my friend Riaan and unfortunately for me, it turned into a bit more of a drinking day than I had anticipated. But he was saying he’d been stressed and needed to unwind with a good drinking session, and in a way, I’m 100% on the same page. Plus we got to see the house he grew up in which was sooooo beautiful it reminded me of rural England or France.

The house. Only slightly improved by Instagram.

The house. Only slightly improved by Instagram. There was also a white horse in the woods. I sh*t you not.

I’m feeling a bit out of sorts like I’m a bit stuck. But I suppose laying foundations whether it’s sport, work, or life, needs to be done before you start building the castles you see in the air.

Still. What I wouldn’t do for a couple of changes. Land grabs don’t last forever, and it’s not unlike doing burpees with your hands tied behind your back.

Best solution? Untie the hands.

Oh yeah? And when others doubt you? Let them talk to people who know. We may no longer be in high school but passive-aggressive non-communicative sh*t happens in business too.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

  • “Iran? I don’t think I can go there.” “You can’t. I can.” – Ellie & Craig
  • “They can swim together.” – Craig
  • “Because she’s not screaming in pain.” – Mark (physios!)
  • “Who’s he?” “He knows who you are.” “Oh. That’s not good.” – Ellie & Adam
  • “I guess he’s only human.” – B
  • “You’ve spent enough time in America. You know what a Monday morning quarterback is.” – Ellie
  • “Just don’t do it.” – Sheraan
  • “Three sublaxations will cause some havoc.” – Byron
  • “Jeff, can you swim?” “Um. If I go in, you go in.” – Rudolph & Jeff
  • “I didn’t ask what you did to charm him. I asked who he was.” – Ellie
  • “Well, I used to drink a lot because I was unhappy. Now I drink a lot sometimes because I’m stressed.” “Which is a grownup word for unhappy.” – Ellie & Sam (touché!)
  • “Your writing skills have trumped your ability to run the meeting.” – Dale
  • “Context is key.” – Dale
  • “I just need … 10Mbps-15Mbps.” “Oh. I thought you were talking about how much alcohol you were going to give him.” “Yeah. He can drink a lot. But we’re not buying the alcohol tonight so that’s ok.” – Rudolph & Ellie
  • “I’ve got your back.” – the one person who I really need to!
  • “Hey I guess that makes me your boss, too.” “Hey. Careful what you do with that.” – Ellie & Dominic
  • “Who are we trying not to piss off?” “Everyone.” – Ellie & Dominic
  • “That was it?? Look. It’s already melted!” – Anita (hail)
  • “It would take a long time to break me down.” – George
  • “You can’t change people.” “I changed Stefan!” – Ellie & George (probably true)
  • “Well that’s just the first step.” “What’s the second step?” “I don’t know. I haven’t thought of it yet.” – George & Ellie
  • “He has a subtle way of asking questions.” “Not that subtle. I don’t know if he got what he wanted. But I got what I wanted.” – Rudolph & Ellie
  • “I need to fill you in on our strategy. Do you drink tequila?” – Riaan
  • “Two of our devices are taking a reading off of meat because we know there’s no heart rate in it.” – Riaan
  • “You have a great team.” – Arno










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