Best foot forward


Feats of physical endeavour are always rather humbling and I have untold admiration for the thousands of runners raising vast sums for worthy charities as they staggered their way through 26.2 miles last month.  The determination they demonstrated is phenomenal, not least David Wyeth who collapsed with exhaustion just a few hundred metres from the finish line whilst muttering in defiance “I have to finish…I have to finish.”  Wyeth was helped to the finish line by an act of selflessness from another runner who sacrificed his time to mentally and physically get him to the finish.

Another friend recently completed the fiendishly challenging Marathon des Sables – 250km across the Sahara desert in 50 degree heat.  What motivated her to take on such a challenge, I wondered?  Essentially she knew she could do it and wanted to prove to herself, and blow me she did just that, raising a staggering £30,000 for charity in the process.

Our long-standing client, Gerard Basset OBE, takes on wine challenge after challenge just because they’re there and he wants to be the best, constantly pushing and challenging his intellectual and oenological abilities.  He consulted numerous sports stars, memory coaches and psychologists whilst training for the Sommelier World Championship, which he finally won on his third attempt.

We have just launched the 15th anniversary of the NatWest everywoman Awards, the country’s most highly regarded programme for female entrepreneurs.  Over the next eight weeks we anticipate hundreds of inspiring entries from women whose enterprises have grown beyond expectation and often in the face of adversity.  Over the years we have shared many extraordinary stories and it is one of the great privileges of our work to see the impact we have on these businesses, “it got me on a list, which took me to Downing Street” said one, another was invited onto the Women’s Business Council, many more are called upon for media comment on a regular basis, raising their profile and putting their business in the spotlight.

Whilst for many of us, armchair appreciation of sporting achievement is about as close as we get, we can learn a lot from the marathon finishers and the everywoman award winners.  Every one of them shows determination, selflessness, focus and strength.  What vital skills these are in sport, in business and in life.

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