It was obvious to my wife that something wasn’t right and I couldn't see what it was. As usual I hadn’t been able to hide it. I also hadn’t been able to put my finger on it. Something about the future, my future and our future, was missing. I literally couldn’t see what it was – what the future looked like. I had no vision, no direction to travel and no achievement to look forward to savouring at the end.
It was January 2003 and, like most families in the UK, we were recovering from Christmas celebrations. This time our holiday had been extended to include a nice break as a reward for having recently sold the business I had been running.
Elaine and I were chatting over dinner about a number of family things and particularly what the next few years would hold. We were OK financially but I still wanted to have my mind gainfully employed. Elaine loved teaching and she would continue to teach but probably on a part-time basis and at 52, still reasonably fit, I’d lined up some non-executive directorship work.
It was supposed to be looking good for us. My work would use my strengths and I would be able to offer a lot of experience without being in at the deep end all the time. So…what was wrong? Why couldn’t I see my way forward? What was the future not holding for me? We agreed to sleep on it which, of course, meant it going on some distant “to do” list while we got on with life.
Then it came to me, and I’m really ashamed to say this, in a flash one morning eight years later when I decided to become a Vistage Chair.