Lessons From Life
I am a great believer that we learn from experience and that sharing those experiences can be very powerful. When I was a student I used to love telling stories and I would tell them over and over again to anyone who would listen.
My flatmates noticed when I repeated a story or a new one was coming and would chant “Staple Story” to warn the new listener or to try and shut me up. So it seems only sensible to have a section on this website which could include my staple stories from my career and personal experiences.
Hopefully you will find some fun, a bit of sadness but also a recognition or connection but mainly a morsel of food for thought.
I had a painful divorce 19 years ago after my wife left me and subsequently I moved away from Sheffield. Sadly I’ve seen her at a few funerals since and it has smarted. I could see we had both been invited to a mutual friend’s 50th weekend party and mini-festival. I wanted to see my other friends but not her nor the guy she left me for.
My wife has been encouraging me to let go and forgive my ex for years but I couldn’t, as I believed I needed her to say sorry.
In 2013, I started wearing my Red Kickers to all my business meetings. I now understand there is some research from Harvard Business School indicating that wearing red shoes enhances perceptions of status and competence: Washington Post. Anyhow below is the story of when I bought my first pair.
I’ve never had any real fashion sense but was very fortunate that I grew up in London and just before I was going to university Dicky Dirts had a closing down sale. I walked into a scene of carnage as I entered the shop – I think it could have been a record for how many people you could cram into per square foot of shop. People were wandering around with arms full of merchandise with glazed grins and wide eyes scanning for more bargains.
I quickly found a couple of pairs of jeans, a few shirts, a duffle coat, some brown cord dungarees (I know!) and a size 10 red Kickers left boot – the holy grail. Now where was the right one?
Back in 1980 I ended up in Dundee on an Outward Bound course with a cross-section of c50 other young people. On this course we didn’t climb mountains or ford rivers, instead over three weeks, we faced some of the very real challenges that exist hidden in our communities. I experienced 4 placements including: intermediate treatment (pre-borstal): a psychogeriatric ward; decorating the home of an MS sufferer; and most dauntingly- a ward with about 25 patients where the highest mental age was c18 months.
When I was a student I worked as a volunteer in a hospice serving drinks to the patients and their relatives. One morning I went into a room and met a young mother who was clearly 30-40 years younger than any of the other patients. She asked me if I would buy her some orange squash and as I was back in the next day I readily agreed.
That afternoon I went to my nearest supermarket and bought the best and most expensive bottle of orange squash. The following day I went back to the hospice and gave the bottle to the woman. She asked me to take the money from her purse and I explained that it was fine and was a gift. I then stupidly had an argument with this dying young woman about who should pay for the orange squash.
Leeds City Council approached me to gauge whether No.6 would be interested in sponsoring hanging baskets in the city centre. Initially, I was very dubious but requested some details on costs and possible locations.
I couldn’t believe our luck when I saw the map. I realised how cost effectively we could position ourselves audaciously within the physical centre of the legal market. This would allow us to create impact, promote brand awareness and position us as a chambers with a cutting edge.