I've enjoyed a number of different - and very diverse - careers.
During an adventure-filled decade in the Special Air Service, I've been charged by elephants, slept on by a yak and shared a trench with a large, and as yet unidentified, snake. On reflection, I reckon those were probably the easy days.
In Bosnia my mission was to serve as a strategic advisor to senior commanders struggling to maintain the fragile peace which meant, at times, putting myself in the line of fire between rival factions. In Afghanistan I led teams into combat against determined and heavily armed insurgents whilst on Mt Everest my job was simply to manage the transport of five tonnes of stores and thirteen climbers halfway around the world, through Nepal into Tibet, up a very large hill and back again.
Out of uniform, I've led complex multi-million dollar negotiations for major IT firms, managed the construction of a few data centres in Europe, been a bodyguard for the rich and (in)famous, an advisor to the film & entertainment industry and a helicopter pilot.
But that's just part of the story.
Here's what I haven't done (an abridged list, I have to admit):
- I haven't cut off any part of my body and eaten it in order to survive
- I haven't won a medal for anything since primary school
- I haven't drunk my own urine - ever. Or anyone else's for that matter
- I've never been able to stand up in a canoe - but that's no reason to stop trying
Along the way, here's what I've learnt (in broad summary, of course):
- I've learned that complex problems are just a bunch of simple problems in close formation so always seek to master the basics first
- I've learned to challenge conventional thinking - especially my own - and look for even the smallest of improvements
- I've learned to pick myself up after failure and take just one more step when it was the last thing on earth I wanted to do