Category Archives: Connection

Begin The Day With A Friendly Voice

Begin the day with a friendly voice, a companion unobtrusive. Neil Peart

I’m leaving Cleveland today, where I have spent an excellent weekend being extremely well looked after by some lovely friends, thanks Frank, Tammy, Melissa, Dan and Tim. I’m heading down the road to Columbus, Ohio, to see more friends, before going to watch Rush play live at the Nationwide Arena.

Rush TicketI am a big fan of this band, expert musicians who ooze respect for one another and the people who buy their records and turn out to see them perform. I’ve seen them play live loads of times, and with the news that this may be their last tour, I’m excited to be having this opportunity. Thanks Carole, for being so generous and helping me make time to extend this adventure.

In preparing to move on, yesterday afternoon I spent 45 minutes wandering and wondering around downtown Cleveland, looking for a mailbox. In my hand were 25 envelopes, each one containing a small piece of original artwork, a ‘kind note to self’, drawn and written by some of the 100 people who came to my Art and Soul of Work session at Summer Brandcamp. I will write more soon on my exciting, humbling, powerful time at this event in Dallas last week, but for now I just wanted to share this idea of a hand written kind note to self, both as a way of extending the experience of spending time with good people, and reminding ourselves of what’s important to us in our own unique way. I succeeding in posting the envelopes, so in a few days time, 25 people will be able to begin their day with their own friendly voice.

Kind Note to Self



Why Do You Do It?

It is 6am, Monday 1st June. My bags are packed, and a ten hour flight to Dallas awaits.

I’m off on an adventure, and in the run up to an adventure, there are two things people often ask me: ‘Why do you do it?’ and ‘How do you do it?’. The answers to both questions are intertwined.

Why and how do I do it?

I do it because I’m fortunate to be part of an extraordinary network of people, nestled within which are many, many such opportunities for adventuring. You are part of that network too.

I do it because my lovely family are kind enough to support me. Rumours that the snoring in our house desists while I’m adventuring are unsubstantiated.

I do it because I ask.

I do it because you never know when your last adventure will come along, seize the day.


This adventure starts with the excitement of Summer BrandCamp. From there I head to Cleveland to meet more friends, to see some baseball, enjoy dinner in great company, and to visit the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Homeward bound via Columbus, where I hope to visit some more friends before seeing Rush play live for the umpteenth time. They are an excellent live band, and this gig will be extra special as this looks likely to be part of their final tour. Thank you Carole for so generously suggesting I extend my adventure to take this in.


Less frequently, people will tell me they are jealous of me going on adventures. To anyone who feels jealous when they see someone else about to go adventuring, I offer this. I know how you feel, I used to feel like this too. The good news, is – there’s a simple cure. The first step is to park the jealousy, the key to that is to decide to go on an adventure. From there, you just push on and make it happen.

Adventuring. I do it because it’s fun, and because I can. And if I can, you can too.

Have an excellent week.

The Gift Must Always Move

Buy a book Read a book Pass the book on

July 2014, a small parcel arrived in the post. I opened it and inside was a book and a lovely hand written letter from my friend Callum Saunders. Callum has kindly agreed to let me share with you the words he wrote.

My dear Doug

On June 17th, you tweeted a photo of a card: ‘Buy a book. Read a book. Pass the book on.’ with the accompanying message, ‘Don’t let your learning end up on the shelf’. This struck a chord. I love reading and learning new things, yet this knowledge invariably ends up on my shelf.

I enclose a book I enjoyed that looks at the role of office work vs making things with your hands – it’s a truly eye-opening look at how we work in today’s day and age.

If you don’t fancy reading it, feel free to pass it on, loan it, give it away. But thank you for encouraging people and making me think about how I store knowledge.

With very best wishes – Callum

If you don’t already know him, I hope that by now you can get a sense of what a kind, thoughtful guy Callum is.

The book he sent me is called The Case for Working With Your Hands and a while ago it came to the top of my reading pile. Having read and enjoyed the book I’ve now passed it on to Richard Martin.

I’m currently enjoying a book written by Amanda Palmer titled The Art of Asking. Laurie Ruettimann recommended it in a recent blog post, and if you, like me, sometimes struggle to ask for what you need, I’d encourage you to get hold of a copy*. In the book, Amanda Palmer writes about gifts as being things to exchange, things to pass on, sometimes literally, as in the above book related example, and sometimes things to pay forward.

There is a phrase in The Art of Asking which is currently resonating with me: ‘The gift must always move’. I love this idea. I frequently wrestle with the question ‘How much is enough?’ and realise that some of the hardest choices we make are around what to keep and what to pass on, and move on from. Yesterday I was invited to respond to this question: ‘What is profitable?’ I wrote the following answer to myself: ‘Giving stuff away’. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten that I have financial needs to meet and fun things I want to do which require the earning of, and exchange of cold, hard cash, and in addition I genuinely believe there is greater overall wealth created in passing stuff on, and in the exchange of gifts between us.

*If you would like my copy of The Art of Asking when I’m finished with it – get in touch. Ask and I will send it to you.