Sunday, January 1, 2012

Out with the old ... in with the new

So as a fresh year starts, I look back with happiness on 2011 and look ahead for another good year.

2011 brought with it some challenges and successes at work, continuous travel (as usual) and great satisfaction from my family.

On the work front, there continues to be a lot to do to develop the business. To make sure we are staying different and competitive. We are focussing more and more on developing great products and outstanding experiences, and I am loving every minute of that. At the same time, we continue to try and break down the bureaucracy within the business and keep ourselves dynamic. We are making steady steps in that direction, but I wish it could be faster. Sometimes it can take a lot of time and effort to break down well established norms and cultures, but its an effort worth making and I know we will succeed and progress and be all the better for it.

In any case, I am satisfied with some great products we have launched in the past year, and other products that we have been developing that will see the light of day in 2012 … Its exciting times, as long as we can keep the momentum and excitement internally.

Personally, I ended 2010 having dropped 12 kilos in 3 short months, and so 2011 was a year of maintenance and getting fit. I am happy to report that I did indeed maintain my weight throughout the year, and feel fantastic for it. It took me 6 months before I went out and changed my wardrobe (to smaller and fitting clothes) as I was literally petrified (and remain so) that I would pile the pounds back on … but a mixture of extreme discipline and profound satisfaction at the results I have achieved keep me motivated enough to stay off the chips and greasy food (excepting the occasional indulgence). I have also used the opportunity to work on my fitness. Football games 3 times a week (when I am in Dubai), running with my kids, and 100 push ups, sit ups and squats every morning have all combined to give me a fantastic new lease of life. I feel more energetic and capable than I can remember from any point in my life!

For my family, my travel is always a challenge, but I try to ensure that my time at home is truly “time at home”. Reena continues to be amazingly understanding and supportive, and as a result the kids continue to do well and thrive. This year their piano skills have jumped, sportingly and academically they have grown and I’m glad for the amazing quality times we had travelling together (skiing twice, Scotland, London for the summer, a cruise to see so much of Europe and time in the region sailing in Oman). I look forward to more time creating memories in 2012.

And I cannot close a summary to my year without talking about Arsenal. They started the year competing for 4 trophies and ended the season in May with nothing! The new season began worse than disastrously, but they picked themselves up from an all time low point and ended 2011 in the top 4 of the Premier League and in the knock out stages of the Champions League. This not only makes me happy and proud, but it also inspires me. I take many lessons and analogies from Arsenal, none more than you can bounce back emphatically from being almost down and out.

So with a great year behind us, I look forward excitedly to 2012. I look forward to the kids growing and developing. I look forward to the exciting business prospects ahead, despite the threat of a global economic slowdown. I look forward to a successful season for the Arsenal, and I look forward for me to get more time with my family at home … could this be the year I finally get my travelling down to a more “normal” level? … I hope so.

I wish you all a Happy, successful and fun filled 2012.

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