My blog over the last six years has mainly been about sharing wisdom from the world of work and insights from those environments. This post is a little different. It is about acknowledgement and connection - things I am beginning to realise are far more important in leadership development than pontificating. I have left secure jobs often over the years - for many reasons - mainly because I have been passionate about pursuing new things. It is the one year anniversary of my own business. I want to write this post today in gratitude of my father. He taught me when I was very little about the Fox and the Little Prince - made me believe very deeply in the idea that you are responsible for what you tame. I have worked in prisons, with young people in care, with accelerating those in disadvantaged positions for leadership roles, those in the advantaged for even greater heights. I am passionate about Curiosity and Agility, about Bravery and Courage. It has defined the work I do and the work I have stopped doing. My father doesn't have legs. He lost them both to Diabetes. But he continues to drive my belief in myself - sometimes when running your own business isn't easy, when you worry more about money than ideas. I want to thank him for always making me remember that Education is about teaching people how to think, not what to think. It has informed everything I do. When I was 21, he read me a poem by J.P. Cavafy. Ithaka
As you set out for Ithaka Hope your journey is a long one Full of adventure, full of discovery. Laistrygonians, Cyclops Angry Poseidon – don’t be afraid of them: You’ll never find things like that on your way As long as you keep your thoughts raised high, As long as a rare sensation touches your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops, Wild Poseidon – you won’t encounter them Unless you bring them along inside of your soul Unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one. May there be many summer mornings when, With what pleasure, what joy, You enter harbours seen for the first time; May you stop at Phoenician trading stations To buy fine things Mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, Sensual perfumes of very kind- As many sensual perfumes as you can; And may you visit many Egyptian cities To learn and to go on learning From those who do know.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you are destined for. But don’t hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years. So you’re old by the time you reach the island, Wealthy with all you will have gained on the way. Not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the Marvellous journey. Without her you wouldn’t have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, You’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
It informs my life till today. I did not understand at that time what it could mean to disappoint. I understand now that perceptions of disappointment come from many different places; from the context and the history every person brings to the understanding of their current experience. There is no one person who has a net wide enough to hold everyone. It has taken me decades to separate out my stuff from other people's stuff. But your wisdom has held me for over forty years, Daddy.
Thank you, Professor Frank Cecil Henley Rumboll. You rock my world.