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I recently visited Edinburgh, a city I love, and to make this trip even more pleasurable I met up with an old friend Tom Chambers who owns Alive.Photos – Celebrating Life. to get some new headshots taken. Check out my website to see one of these!

 As part of my morning, Tom asked me to be a part of a project called ‘Authentic 10’ which involved me sitting in silence with him for ten minutes and him then taking a spontaneous shot to capture my image. In my ten minutes I was drawn to thinking a lot about the city and the people I’ve met there and realised it has had a substantial bearing on my life in the last few years. 

As the Major Events Director of British Triathlon, I was asked to chair the Steering Board that delivered the ITU World Duathlon Championships in Edinburgh in 2010. This board was made up of all the stakeholders in the event such as City of Edinburgh Council, Sport Scotland, Visit Scotland, UK Sport – organisations who had helped fund the event. My task was to ensure their singular and collective objectives were met whilst supporting the Operating Committee and their objectives. Walking near Arthur’s Seat I was taken back to the transition area and the course – as well as having a role in the Opening Ceremony where I stood outside Holyrood in 30 degree weather clad proudly in heavy duty tartan trews – and I was struck that perhaps what I am proudest of is the fact that we met as a genuine team after the event and celebrated the successes.

In 2013 when I was in the early part of my role as CEO of the British Athletes Commission I had the opportunity to learn mediation techniques as a way of resolving disputes involving athletes. I was taught by Home – Core Solutions (core-solutions.com)  run by another friend John Sturrock KC. During my time at the BAC I was able to deal with any number of disputes before they escalated to the point of no return, but I now also realise that my time spent learning about mediation taught me so much more.

In my time of reflection I concluded that I have probably become a better listener, more willing to understand someone else’s point of view and to work collaboratively to achieve a sustainable solution. Maybe the early signs were there running the steering board up to 2010 but I had missed them at that time.

So, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to revisit Edinburgh and learn more about effective interaction and engagement… it’s safe to say that finally the penny’s dropped.