Archives for posts with tag: Different

Breaking the mould is one of the most underrated achievements I can think of. We’re so conditioned to conforming to the norms and adapting what’s already there to create something ‘new’. Which isn’t new, really. Then, when someone comes up with a truly different musical genre, device or way of doing something, you’ll hear people say, ‘well, that’s obvious, I could have done that.’

Yeah, but it wasn’t, and you didn’t! Maybe it was hiding in plain sight, but it’s only obvious in hindsight.

Have you been to Gloucester Motorway Services? It’s not like other motorway services. At all in fact. The building and landscaping is great, the decor is not at all what you expect, and the seating is comfortable. The toilets are clean and well kept. The food is lovely and reasonably priced. I’ve been in twice for a short break – it wasn’t there when I lived in Gloucester and I probably wouldn’t have gone since it was so close to home – and their decaff latte is probably among the top 3 cups of coffee I’ve ever had.

It’s got a farmhouse theme going on and sells some really nice products. It is, in fact, the complete opposite of a motorway services place. It’s genuinely breaking the mould. You’ll never look at one the same way again.

It takes an approach like this to make you realise that all motorway establishments don’t have to look like grimy monstrosities with toilets that resemble a war zone.

Oh, and it’s been awarded an architectural honour as well. A motorway services establishment! Awesome stuff.

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I’ve often wondered why soccer clubs and coaches don’t spend more time working on their players’ throw-ins. It’s the most neglected part of the game, and yet it can be so powerful.

When I used to watch the destructive force of the long throws from retired Southampton and Ireland’s Rory Delap, I wondered why more didn’t do it, or develop it. You can’t be off-side from a throw – I know this because my Mum told me, true story – and when you see the havoc that it creates for defences when someone launches the ball in a fast, straight line from the touch line to the 6-metre goal area, you realise what a game-changer it is.

Here’s the thing though: in your business or organisation, what’s your equivalent of the long throw? It’s worth trying to find it.

Black Sheep

Black Sheep – No More Stigma

The old phrase ‘the black sheep of the family’ was never complimentary. The black sheep was the child that didn’t conform, perhaps underperformed, and was even shunned by their family and the wider community. There was a huge stigma attached to the term.

This was in the days – and to some people these still are the days – when standing out was not good. We should submit to the collective good and pull our weight for the team – or so the prevailing thinking went.

And submit we did: we did as we were told, we kept our heads down, and we made sure the peg went into the hole.

Except, we wouldn’t be any where near as far progressed as a race if it weren’t for the black sheep, those who dared to be different, or who simply were different. If there’s a recurring theme among the people who changed the world we live in, politically, musically, technologically, it is that they took the alternative, less trodden path and weren’t afraid to see where it ended.

While walking with family friends in Connemara on Ireland’s rugged west coast to survey the devastation after some particularly bad storms a few days ago, I came across the scene at the top of this post. A black sheep among white sheep, facing away from me and the only one unmoved by my proximity. A good picture, I thought, to support my view that far from there being a stigma attached to being the black sheep, it’s something to be celebrated for the difference, value and variety it brings to us all.