Some businesses are doing extraordinarily well given the pandemic, but many are not and the road ahead is foggy. Most of the working population has also had reason to pause and consider its use of time – which, more than money, is the scarcest commodity of all.
Money doesn’t make you happy in itself, whilst not having money makes life difficult. So, assuming you have a roof over your head and food on the table, your measure of worth to yourself, put into sharp focus during periods of economic downturn, has to be about more than making money. I thought it would be worth sharing some personal practices, how I am structuring my time in order to grapple back control and create impact through times of extraordinary change.
Impact on a personal level for me is defined in a Venn diagram of family, community and work – your own emotional equilibrium comes from making a positive impact in all three areas. Get too obsessed in any one of these, and the other areas of importance quickly suffer and, selfishly, your own happiness too. Life is a juggling act, but it is worth considering so you can simplify the best inputs (time) to get the best outcomes (happiness and impact).
During lockdown I used this model to take on specific projects in each of these impact areas – rather than getting lost in the woes of an 85 per cent hit to my own business in 2020. Taking an example from each area – I am organising “World in a Day” as a national cycling community to raise £250k for NHS Charities Together, I took on a project with my six-year-old daughter where I would run and she would cycle every street in Edinburgh (507 miles of streets in 67 days) and in work rather than struggling on with an events, conferencing and travel market that has been the lifeblood of my work for the last decade, I have pivoted and focused my work time on a completely new area of work for me – investment firm Eos Advisory and its focus on impact investing.
Once again, impact in this sense has to be more than solely financial gain – there has to be a quantifiable greater good. Untold challenges in the world call for inventive minds and entrepreneurial spirit, character traits that Scots have long been renowned for. Most people will know me as a cyclist, having pedalled around the planet twice – but I am not the best cyclist in the world, I doubt I am the best cyclist in Edinburgh. However, I do have the quiet confidence to spot opportunities, build teams and belief behind ideas – and this habit is often what is most important to succeed.
A few weeks ago we invested £1.7 million into Cumulus Oncology, alongside the Scottish Investment Bank, Alba Equity, Apollo and Investing Women, in order for Clare Wareing and her team to scale Europe’s first and most successful oncology drug discovery accelerator. This is our 12th investment and the legacy of these businesses will clearly be judged by the greater good that they create in the world, as well as their valuation and financial returns.
I’m not claiming to always get these things right – but I do spend time thinking about them. A quiet confidence in your ability, a healthy dose of obsession and a bloody good plan is important in times like these.
I wish you all well with the road ahead, hope you have good fog lights and wish you clarity of impact. From the £5 trillion FAAMG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google) technology giants to every individual citizen of the capitalist world, if we can redefine our purpose by impact, where financial growth is only one part of this equation, this will certainly help us better qualify our time as well spent.
- Mark Beaumont, record-breaking athlete, author, broadcaster and partner at Eos Advisory
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