(Creating your Business Plan for life and work)

November 1988 – Nightfall in Berlin

Even though it is dark this evening, this part of the Berlin Wall is lit up from the spotlights coming from the watch towers of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) guards from the Eastern side of the occupied zone. I can hear their dogs barking and can see the guards watching me through their binoculars – for once they are not tracking me with their semi-automatic weapons. They are definitely getting friendlier over there, but I am not sure why.*

Leaving our Flat in Kisselnallee in West Berlin and running towards Spandau Forrest for a long run, I am now running along a track hugging the Berlin Wall.  This has been my daily route for the last 18 months, since we arrived as a family on New Year’s Eve 1986 and, like all of my runs, I am lost in thought.

We have had an exciting time in Berlin, our youngest daughter Bettina was born at the military hospital and now I have received my posting order for Colchester.  It will soon be 1989.  I am not going to wait until 1st January, or when I arrive back in the UK, to start planning my objectives for a new tour. I need to start thinking now about what I am hoping to achieve in my first year and over the next three years.  So I start to think and I start to plan. It’s a long run, I have plenty of time to think about:

  • Buying our first house and setting down roots for our family
  • Passing my driving test (stuff always has got in the way until now)
  • Getting promoted! An ambition to make Warrant Officer as soon as possible
  • If I want promotion, I need to deliver on a large scale project of some kind as the competition is fierce
  • Becoming a track athlete for a top running club. Chasing trophies and medals both for my teams and individually

I need to get up and go…. take a leap forward!

November 2018 – In autumnal Colchester

It was raining heavily last night but this afternoon the sky is blue and the leaves are golden and red, both on the trees and also on the pavement, as I ‘enjoy’ a long run through the streets of Colchester. Sunday runs are always the best for thinking and creative thought because there is no deadline I need to keep, so once again I am lost in thought and those thoughts turn once more to planning for the coming year.

During the last 30 years, since leaving Berlin, I have exceeded my personal aspirations and dreams and it is now about holding on to what I have and what I have achieved. That is a challenging objective in itself and one I have to work hard at every day.

Therefore this afternoon, my focus, during this this long run, is all about 2019 Business Planning for the company I work for www.dosh.org.  Again I cannot wait for 1st January, I need ‘to get up and go…take a leap forward’. 

We think our company and team is dynamic, progressive and driven so I need to think big, very big! Our criterion for a plan for 2019 will be:

  • Do something nobody is expecting – by being audacious
  • Creating a wow factor for the people we support
  • The difference we can make in another person’s life
  • Make ‘commitments’ because we are committed to doing what we say we will do. (we are not in the business of ‘wishing’ or ‘hoping’)
  • Endeavour (showing real intent to see things through to the end because ‘trying’ doesn’t cut it)
  • It has to be viable and sustainable
  • A plan for the unexpected


“Take the first step in faith.  You don’t have to see the whole staircase.  Just take the first step” Martin Luther King

By the time I have completed my run, I have sorted (in my head) the majority of the objectives for 2019. I now need to consult with my colleagues, they may have better ideas or they can improve on the ones I have (they usually do).


I am always excited by the coming of each New Year, it is an opportunity for change, development, growth and reinvention, both in my personal life and also my work.  So November is a time for reflecting on the current year and planning for the next one.

I have until the end of December to complete the first draft of my company Business Plan. In part 2 of ‘GET UP AND GO! TAKE A LEAP FORWARD’ I will share with you what we have agreed on.

All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.

T.E. Lawrence


*             I thought there was something different in the atmosphere coming from the East when I was out running that night in 88; however I could never have predicted the Berlin Wall coming down six months after I left Berlin.  For a flavour of what it was like to run along the Wall, here is a short video:  ‘The Wall of Berlin 1988’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R09JKtlxq6g    A good reason to always plan for the unexpected?

Running in Spandau Forrest 1988