Monthnotes – September 2023

Monthnotes – September 2023

September was a back to reality month for me – both at work and home.

At work the first two weeks of the month felt like a time for ramping up. There was a real sense of getting back to work, with my calendar filling up more rapidly with interesting conversations and a health uptick in new consulting opportunities.

But I still had a slight sense of reduced energy for work. I was mindful that this could have been the lingering effect of my health scare earlier in the year, having had an extended break, the changes at home with our eldest off to uni or something to do with how I was working.

After a bit of soul searching mid-month, I realised that I needed to be more patient as I developed my consulting practice.

A number of more experienced consultants had warned me that they’d underestimated how long it would take them to hone their proposition, develop marketing and find new interesting work. My experience so far was matching theirs.

So with that realisation, the second half of the month felt much more fulfilling.

I kicked off with several new clients, which gave me a fresh burst of energy with new relationships to build, interesting problems to solve and new people to learn from.

And I deliberately invested time into professional learning and my business itself. I’ve underinvested so far in new business and marketing, so I put time into that and have now got much more organised and systematic. The degree of ongoing mental load this freed me up from surprised me.

I launched a new framework for leaders who are scaling technology businesses too.

I’ve been working on this for several years now, on and off. It’s intended to capture the things that I wished I’d known when I began scaling tech businesses in 2014. There’s still lots to do to improve it and start making it work harder for me, but it feels good to have it out there and be getting positive and constructive feedback.

At home I managed to get away for three nights with my eldest son before he went to start his first year at university. We took our motorhome to Pembrokeshire and enjoyed outdoor activities including coasteering and surfing together.

Last weekend my wife and I then dropped him off at his university halls to start his degree.

We headed back home as two parents feeling an odd mix of intense sadness and immense pride simultaneously. Our house feels a bit empty with the three of us remaining at home. We continue to adapt and work out what him leaving home means will be different for each of us.

I’m also learning a new sport – touch rugby. I’ve not played any form of rugby – nor indeed any other team sport – since I was at school 30 years ago. I wanted to try to take up a new sport to play socially and to put myself in the situation where I needed to learn something that I had no prior experience in.

The feeling of being completely novice at something is one that I think you tend to experience less as you get older. I feel it’s important to put yourself in new situations and seek new experiences deliberately. Touch rugby proved to be great fun to play with a friendly and supportive group, so I’m looking forward to playing each week and continuing to learn and improve.

Music this month…

Back to work means a lot of music that helps me concentrate when I’m working. This four hour live set from John Digweed earlier this month at Salón Metropolitano has been a regular on my playlist.

Reading this month…

Finally got around to re-reading Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull. I read this when it first came out nearly ten years ago, but it was definitely worth picking up the new edition and reading again. There’s new content too, which is interesting to read alongside the original text from the first edition. Catmull is a reflective thinker and uses his leadership experience at Pixar to draw out wider observations about the nature of leadership and culture in growing businesses. It’s a really worthwhile read for anyone leading creative or technology businesses.

Cycling this month…

81.3 miles

Running this month…

Tapering towards a 50 mile ultra next week plus a cold last week means lower miles for the month: 41.5 miles.


I work as a fractional Chief Operating Officer (COO), consultant and advisor. I created the B3 framework® for company building and I also write a newsletter called Build for leaders who care about creating resilient and sustainable businesses.