Lessons from a Greek island – a riff on getting back from holiday

I’m back after a week in Greece, batteries fully charged and ready for The Extreme Business programme – workshop 3 in London today and Manchester on Wednesday, where we will be creatively deconstructing each client’s Patient Experience and looking at how that can be improved.

What was I reminded of whilst in Greece?

  1. We need more peace and solitude to plan. Every morning in Ithaca I had 90-minutes on our terrace, looking over the harbour as Vathi woke and transitioning from Q2 to Q3 in my Full Focus Planner. Invaluable to time to think deeply about what I want to achieve in the next 12 weeks. It’s had me speculating that the first week of every quarter should allow that opportunity;
  2. There’s always somebody with a bigger boat. The boats just got bigger as we spent 5 days pootling around the island on our little speedboat. I know that most of the top 10 biggest private yachts in the world are owned by Russian moguls, Arabian princes and the senior management teams at Microsoft and Apple. The rest of us, we are never going to catch up, so you may as well have as much fun as you can on the boat you are aboard, rather than looking over longingly at the next biggest boat. Life is enjoyable as a game but can be debilitating when it becomes a competition;
  3. We are what we eat. The fresh food in Ithaca was quite wonderful and we consumed more salad and fish than we would at home, simply because it tasted so good. Nutrition is really important to how you feel;
  4. We need more free time. Time away from the workplace. Time to re-connect with family and friends, with ourselves, with art, with nature. There is no reason why that cannot be – it simply needs a plan;
  5. Life is fragile – treat it with respect. One of our Ithaca friends has survived cancer, another has succumbed. Listening to both stories made me even more determined to take part in, complete and raise funds for Cancer Research when we cycle 960 miles in September. Also, to appreciate my own health and that of those around me;
  6. The best time for radical change – is NOW. I continue to make lists of tolerations – things, situations and people that get in the way of happiness – and remain committed to removing those tolerations. The best way to become happy is to remove unhappiness (not to try harder to be happy).

The challenge now is to avoid getting dragged back into “the system”, to avoid sweating over the small stuff, to avoid BSO’s (bright, shiny objects), to remove tolerations and to stay fully focused on what will have the most IMPACT.

Here we go…….


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.