How making tea widened my life and business.

How making tea widened my life and business.

I recently made it to 50. I know, pretty cool hey, I'm told it's the new 40. Time to celebrate the milestone.

Well, whilst as milestone marks a distance - the length between two points - when and how do we measure the width of our life. Do we ever reach out and touch the sides?

We live in a fast paced, ever more automated and artificial world, rushing to reach our destiny. We make plans, we strive to reach targets, set our goals and desire to fulfill the dreams on our vision boards. Our thoughts are time travelling into our future along a hopeful path paved with success and happiness.


STOP - look now,  look all around (I’m sounding like Duran Duran now - a teenager of the 80s) here is your life. As we reach out and widen our outlook, we start to connect with people, places, panoramic views unseen in our previous blur as time flew by. A vision that extends beyond life’s fast track superhighway that’s heading into tomorrow’s oblivion.

The slower you go, the wider you’ll live.

Have a nice cup of tea

“Tea Rosie” - that’s a statement said so fast, it’s meaningless and thus never made it to a question mark. (In case you didn't know, Rosie is my wonderful wife)

Tea bag,
hot water,
dip, dunk, squeeze,
add milk and . . .

mug placed on Rosie’s desk as I pass through the office. That mug of tea is void of any connection to life. It’s an empty lifeless liquid. I may have saved time, however, had little to widen or enrich either of our existences.

Let’s try again.

“Would you like me, to make you, a cup of tea Rosie?”

Tea leaves
Filtered water
Tea Pot
and the special milk jug - Rosie loves that jug, I think it’s the one we bought on our holiday in the Isle of Wight.

and as the water is boiling I lay it all out on a tray which encourages far more care and attention to detail. There is emotion and feeling in this pot of tea. It delivers a collective connection of satisfied enjoyment. We appreciate the moment of life’s value that in the pot. We are both in a moment of happiness.

Slow down, smile and connect to happy.
This is your life, enjoy its width.
Its length has a habit of taking care of itself.

Me, a perfectionist?

This may sound like I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to making tea. I’d rather frame it as taking the time to take pleasure in the attention to detail. Slowing down and taking time to reach a wider perspective. To enrich the experience. To feel more alive. It’s all about getting enough detail for today and leaving the perfection for tomorrow.

“The race to chase perfection is an infinite task.”

All this talk about making a cup of tea is fine, but life is more than just tea. So, here’s how it relates to my "Digital Alchemist" business.

“How much do you charge for a 5 page website”

This question used to deflate me and got a sarcastic reply like, "how long is a piece of string". They used to teach sarcasm when I worked in corporate world; I’m now a recovering sarcastic.

STOP, step sideways. I’d rather explore the sideways. Tell me more about your business, your hopes, fears and dreams. How is your website going to help you to help others; let’s explore the width of your website. What is it’s true purpose? What's your true purpose? We’re talking a key marketing asset with width, we are making a digital cup of tea. We're attempting to connect your business to life; let's not rush its creation.

And helping you widen the perspective on your business, and your life, helps me widen mine. We develop, we progress, we both win. We should celebrate over a nice cup of tea.

I discovered I was born to be creative in Co. Galway

The Digital Alchemist was born to be creative

A 60s child

That was me, no hopes, no dreams, not a go getting goal in sight, just happy being fed, watered and my nappy regularly changed. But the seeds of creativity had been sewn. I was born to be creative, I just didn’t realise it yet.

A logical start to life

A logical life pursued, I could eat mathematical equations for breakfast and possibly out whit Pythagoras by the time I left the education system. Whilst on the contrary, I failed my English exams. My path of complicit mundanity continued as a 20 year purchasing career begun. I progressed and learnt my trade (it’s harder than you may think, knowing how to buy stuff) but my soul was not on fire. There were sparks which ignited creative ideas; there was much obtuse and sideways thinking which had a total disregard for any boxes, however, those seeds were starting to shoot up and branches were growing in new directions.

Change was afoot

By the turn of the century my path had steered away from corporate life development and gone down the road of my own personal development. I studied and then taught Tai Chi which led me on to become a Reiki teacher too. This energy was driving me towards my creative future, although I still didn’t realise it. I needed a shift, a kick up the . . . the synchronicities of life were mostly passing me by.  We had a family holiday in Ireland, yes I was in my 40s. It was my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary treat. Whilst I learnt never to order ½ pint of Guinness, I more importantly discovered part of the world that had me transfixed with wonderment.

When a few years later an offer to head to Connemara for a walking and exploring-the- hills holiday came up, I was there, first in the queue. It seems like we'd traveled for days, Stansted Airport, Shannon, Galway, Clifden, Letterfrack, Tully Cross, Renvyle. We'd arrived at the west of the west coast, on a good day I’m sure you could see America.

Something changed.

If you know me, you'll know I am NOT a morning person. So to wake at 5am for a solitary walk along the coast line to practice some Tai Chi on the grassy shoreline,  with just a few cattle as my audience, was a rare experience indeed.  I was calm, at peace with myself, the world, and our universe. I was simply being. I was myself, my truest creation of me. It was a pivotal moment, there was a sense that time had stood still. Someone had pressed the pause button.  That child with no hopes, no dreams, had been waiting to step into this day. The seeds had been sewn and life had nurtured them to be ready to flourish into life. That day was the start of a new season, new shoots in spring and my creative purpose was born.

Hello creative life

I began to see the synchronicites that were falling at my feet, transformations took place. Within 6 months I had resigned from my Group Purchasing Managers job and started my web design business. Someone had not only hit the play button, it was on fast forward. One single ticket to creative central station please.

The Digital Alchemist was born to be creative

It's infectious

After 15+ years, when the creative thoughts start flowing, I still get a feeling of being truly alive, I’m buzzing with an infectious energy that radiates inspiration. If you are close enough to get caught up in the zone, you may be taken over by thoughts and ideas that you have no idea where they came from. This is what happened at our recent Effectifying Business Bootcamp. Ideas started flying around the room, pennies started dropping and light bulbs switched on. We were giving life to the seedlings of business transformation ideas.

The Digital Alchemist was born to be creative

So thank you Co. Galway

As a thank you to Co. Galway for giving me a life-changing light bulb moment, I’m coming back to deliver another Effectifying Business Bootcamp. This time, I’ll be accompanied by my two best Irish buddies, Howard Huges and Alan Hennessy. Are you ready to live in the moment of inspirational creativity?

It’s going to be effectifying! Don't take my word for it, here's what they said: Customer Testimonials

Don’t give me your elevator pitch

Don’t give me your elevator pitch

The claustrophobic elevator

My Dad could never take the lift, it was the claustrophobia, the confinement of sharing that little box with other people trying not to look at each other hoping they would be elevated to the next level and the doors would open to save them from human connection.

I have a claustrophobic reaction to the idea of being greeted with a polished, overly rehearsed sales script to tell me what you do in under 60 seconds. Frankly I’d rather take the stairs. Well, it is better for my fitness regime!

Every journey starts with the first step

“Hi, let ,me give you a hand with your bags”

“Oh, right, OK, thank you”

There’s a small business conference on the third floor - smart brain mode kicks in . . .

“Are you going to the business conference?”

“Yes, third floor I think, I’m here early so I can set up my display”

“What are you displaying?”

“A few bits and pieces to promote my floristry shop that’s just opened in Fuller’s Lane”

“Oh, I know . . . is that the one next to the Butcher’s shop? You’ve only recently opened?“

“That's it, I opened two weeks ago”

“How’s it going - you must be juggling lots of stuff”

“Tell me about it, I never realised how much there was to starting up a business and then there’s all the admin and accounts, me and numbers are not best friends. I love flowers, not numbers”

“Ha! Well I’m an accountant that loves helping small business with their numbers . . . oh and I love flowers too. I need some for the weekend, off to visit a friend who’s not too well. I’ll have top pop in.”

“Please do and I can give you the low down on how much I hate numbers”

3rd floor - that’s my workout down for the day! Ding! The elevator ejects a group of grey faced business suits.

“I look forward to that . . . Oh my name is Jonathan by the way”

“I’m Sandra, thank you so much for helping me with my bags”

“It looks like it will be a good turnout today, hope it goes well, I’ll pop in on Saturday”

“Thank you Jonathan, see you then 🙂 ”

People should not be pre-programmed robots

An open positive human connection allows a conversation to flow, nothing staged, no polished rehearsed speech.

“I’m Sandra, I’m a florist, I have a flower shop” - yes, I know you are bored already.

Life is a conversation not a rehearsal. The magic of conversation is when the journey of two people talking to each other, reveals insights that a set piece would typically restrict. We discovered that Sandra hates numbers and is currently too time stressed to go looking for an account - it’s way down her to-do list. Equally, Sandra has met a well mannered, thoughtful and caring accountant. Not only did he help carry her heavy bag up 3 flights of stairs but he’s going to buy flowers for a poorly friend.

Did either of them thrust a business card under each other’s nose, did either of them try to sell, sell, sell! No, each of them had a natural conversation that made them feel good.

Next time you need an elevator, take the stairs and make someone feel good.

Instagram Live – What’s the story?

Instagram Live Story Telling

I love my desktop PC

I’ve never been a fan of Instagram (there, I said it). Call me old school but I love my desk top PC, powerful Intel dual quad core processor, two wide screen monitors. It’s the command centre of my office world. Have you ever tried using Instagram on a desktop? I wouldn’t bother; this social media platform is designed for mobile smart phones. Now there’s no better device to record live video in the field, on the go, capturing the action of the moment.

Capturing the moment

When Instagram joined the live streaming arena, they followed their heart of doing what they do best - capturing that instant, a moment in time. And Instagram Live takes that snapshot of a moment from a picture to a video broadcast. Show the world (well your followers who are tuned in) what’s happening right here, right now. Show them the view of  the world as it fills your memory. Be in that moment of visual creation together. Viewers can post comments in real time, as it happens. You can make them feel part of he conversation; let them share in the creation of the moment. Now here comes the rub; end your broadcast and puff - your moment of creation is now suspended in a temporary reality. Your audience participation, their likes and comments are gone, lost in history. Your audience can’t replay your masterpiece of videography or listen to your invaluable words of wisdom again. But wait, there is a glimmer of hope to be able to retain your broadcast for prosperity. Instagram’s latest update allows you to download your video, albeit a raw copy, void of audience interaction or any statistics. It’s your copy, for you to decide, what you want to do with it.

Sharing the moment

The ‘in’ thing to do is to re-purpose it. Make use of your moment of video creation on one of your many social platforms. You could post it on Facebook . . . wait, you could have saved yourself the trouble and broadcast directly to Facebook Live with more granularity in targeting to your profile, page or group audience. Equally, you could have broadcast on Twitter or Periscope, or is that now the same thing? Answers on a postcard please. Anyway, what about Youtube, Vimeo . . .

So what’s the story here

With all the technical expertise at Instagram’s disposal, there must be a company policy decision to restrict the usability of Instagram LIVE. A decision not to have your live broadcast library available on your Instagram feed, not to save comments, not to provide statistics. A decision to make it difficult for you to know or remember who watched you live, what questions they asked, what you promised to follow up on. Seems strange, right?

Perhaps, we need to live in the moment. Capture the beauty of life as it happens. Tomorrow has a habit of looking after itself. It also has the ability to deliver many more moments worthy of broadcasting and sharing with friends, colleagues and business associates spread across our globe.  

So jump on Instagram live today and start sharing your story.

You'll find me on Instagram at