• Matthew Hoddinott

Creating Time & Clarity

Before we go any further, this isn’t a “Simon Cowell” sad story, where we go on to show amazing talent on the X Factor. I can’t dance or tell jokes, and this is so positive, for me, and anyone else who can relate to this.

It’s been 900 days.

900 days since I walked out of The Fox & Hounds after having my last alcoholic drink, for now. I slurred goodnight to Andrew and Steve and went home to bed, promising myself, as I had done nearly every night for 30 years, that I wouldn’t drink tomorrow.

And for once, I’ve done it. In fact, I’ve done it 900 times now.

Live, sleep, repeat, 900 times. Which is essentially what I always did, with the exception that my day would metaphorically end with the first sip of my drink of choice.

Luckily/unluckily, unless I was on site, driving or operating heavy machinery (which I never did), I’m in an industry that is very social, where it’s easy to say “let’s discuss it over a beer”. In fact, all too easy. And indeed, there’s award ceremonies to go to, client entertaining, sports events and the ever popular “I know a little pub on such and such street”.

As I mentioned above, the first sip would mark the end of my day. If I were with customers, this could be at lunchtime or earlier. And whilst I would often carry on working, emails, phone calls etc, you would never truly be present after that first sip.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not evangelical about drinking, I don’t advocate that it’s the right choice for everybody not to drink. indeed, in truth, if it was my last meal, line up the Sancerre and Lager, let’s crack on. I’m not pious about it, it’s just the right choice for me, for now.

So how does this relate to time and clarity?

The mare fact of not having a drink has given me a minimum of 5 extra hours a day. A space where I can be more productive, playful, insightful or just relaxed. A space where I can focus on work, my amazingly supportive family or as importantly, myself. A space where I am able to focus on the task in hand, complete it and excel. Or listen intently, empathise and guide. Or create with words and colour, to inspire.

I awake prepared and ready to face the day. Indeed I awake with a routine such as running, something that would have been unpleasant with a thumping headache or dehydrated mouth. I experience the space and clarity for beautiful creative insight, rather than wondering which shops I’ll pass on the way home to buy a 4pack and a bottle of cheap wine.

I was asked this question a few weeks ago, within 10 minutes of “virtually”meeting someone :-

“What are you bringing from your past that’s serving you for the future” (thank you, Gillian Thomson)

It took me a while to think about it. The obvious answer would have been the age old Pre-programmed verse of, my experience learnt from working with market leading businesses, the projects standing as a testament or the wonderful network of people I’ve met along the way.

Instead, my answer, was to explain the story above. I explained that I’ve spent 30 years in management/leadership roles, (15years at Director Level) knowing that it can be a lonely (yet infinitely rewarding) place, where at the times I believed the only chance of turning off my busy brain, would come when the bottle was finished. This soon becomes routine and then habitual.

But, like all thought generated habits which can be broken, when you do break them, then you create the time, space and clarity.

Now, I have more time, I am more insightful, I am more creative than I have ever been. That additional few hours a day has given me space to breath, to remove the pressure from myself, and from that, enabled me to speak, with authority, on what can be achieved, where you can make a difference and where you can truly inspire.

So, 900 days. In the average working life, you get 2304 working Monday Mornings. I "show up" and enjoy each and every one of them, doing what I do with passion and commitment. Serving my clients and their colleagues to the best of my ability, helping to deliver their aspirations.

I’ve always believed that each new day is a blank canvas to create your day upon. If I can help you or your team, do the same and be the best version of yourselves, to encourage vulnerability, strength, and passion, then please, let’s have a conversation. I help create more time, more space and more clarity, and as a result, better results.

Certainly don’t sit down and have a drink promising that tomorrow you won’t!!!

Create a beautiful day 💛🙏

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