In 2020 the longest day of the year will be Saturday 20th June and in the northern hemisphere is known as the beginning of the summer solstice. It’s officially the start of the summer with this 24 hours having the longest day and shortest night of the year.
Is summer my favourite season? I have lots of favourites parts of every season, so I’m not just a summer girl, but the longest day of the year is a very memorable day for me.
I’m taking you back to 2012. My mum had gone into hospital on 4th January after being terribly jaundice over Christmas and clearly unwell. Mum was always really fit and well and she was due to celebrate her 80th birthday in May 2012 – you would have never known it – she was fabulous!
But sadly by the middle of January we were told that she had advanced liver cancer and at best had 6 months to live. It was a shock, but I also had a sixth sense that something was really wrong.
On 18th March we celebrated Mother’s Day. I remember wondering what you buy your mum when she is so poorly – I settled for a lovely set of luxurious body and hand creams which we used every day of that week; and a beautiful soft blanket with pretty pink and purples circles – still used regularly in our house and named ‘Nana’s blanket’
It was a painful day – the last day that Mum was up out of bed and watching her open her presents at such a slow and laboured pace was very sad to me – she loved receiving presents and yet there was a lack of energy and huge sadness to that day.
The following day Dad called me at work in a panic as Mum wouldn’t get up and that began the last week with my precious mum. I sat by her bed every day, played her favourite music, read to her, chatted to her and on Saturday 24th March at 5pm she opened her eyes for the last time and then left us. My world changed forever.
So how does this connect to the longest day…well soon after her diagnosis I decided to take part in the Longest Day Golf Challenge for Macmillan. With it taking place in June I was hopeful that Mum would be here to see me finish it and I would be raising vital funds for Macmillan who were brilliant to us during Mum’s illness. Sadly she didn’t make it that far and in many ways that was why it meant so much to do it. 72 holes of golf in one day. It’s ok as I was a golfer, but don’t underestimate this challenge. Supported by 3 of my amazing work mates, we walked over 20 miles, took over 352 shots and played for 13 hours and 10 mins. We raised £3300, which was so heart warming for me even though I was totally exhausted. I took two weeks to get over it as I fell ill the day after we had done it, and in hindsight I still hadn’t grieved for my dear Mum.
Ironically the weather on the day that marks the start of our summer that year was terrible. We had rain, wind, hail and moments of sunshine. The picture above was one of those moments where I truly believe my Mum was with us as the sun appeared through the rain clouds throwing a sun glade across the golf course – as if she was showing me the way.
I wanted to share with you what I learnt that day because I truly believe that many of the things we learn in life also apply to business.
Lesson 1 – There is no such word as can’t
And boy did I think many times that I would need to stop. I wanted to give up and at times didn’t believe that I would make it. There are times like this in business. Especially recently throughout this pandemic, but I try and live in the now as much as I can and now is what is true and where you can make a difference. Always believe that anything is possible – the other option is quit. You choose.
Lesson 2 – Expect the unexpected
Who would have expected hail, wind, rain on a day which marks the beginning of the summer! When we expect the unexpected, that doesn’t mean we have to be scared or even negative, but just be ready to deal with unexpected things that may come your way. Have a mindset that helps you to accept and deal with those moments. They will definitely come in business.
My ‘go to’ question. What’s the worse thing that can happen?
Lesson 3 – Surround yourself with great cheerleaders
My 3 guys who played golf with me that day were just wonderful. Empathetic, supportive, and strong. I needed every element of their energy that day. It was emotional, tough and at times just felt like a mountain to climb.
We need this in business and I have created a wonderful tribe of cheerleaders around me who inspire me, teach me and reassure me in business. Find your tribe.
Lesson 4 – You have to understand the end goal to be motivated
Motivation is a big part of achieving any challenge and obviously my motivation was Mum. I wanted to make her proud and also raise money for Macmillan. In business I am always motivated as every piece of work I do makes a difference and I love the feeling of that! Changing people’s perception of what they can achieve, there’s nothing like it
Lesson 5 – You always have a choice
I had a choice to quit when the hail came. I had a choice to quit when we got that third round of golf when I felt totally exhausted.
We have a choice to do and feel whatever we want to. No-one has that power over you – you choose. I think this is one of the most important lessons I have learnt in life and business. When I lost my Truly Madly Baby business I had a choice as to what I did next. I chose to bounce back and I felt exactly then same on that golf course. I was never going to quit – there was too much at stake in my mind and after all it was all for my wonderful mum.
The lessons I learnt on that longest day will never leave me, and nor will the lessons I have learnt on my business journey. I hope these lessons will inspire and help you to always be the contender who never gives up – you will definitely become a champion.