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  • Giles Sibbald

returning to a place…

why a multi-hyphen, company of one vibe works for me

This is the second piece that I wrote in July 2019.

The quote from Mandela below was absolutely on point in June 2019 and is absolutely on point now.

The ups and downs of anxiety, elation, frustration, confidence, anticipation, calm continue to be part of my every day life.

I don’t own my internal power yet.

I kinda rent it for a while and then give it back, rinse and repeat.


The memories hit me as I walked through the door. I was taking a bit of time alone in Spain the week after I left. I hadn’t been back for a while so I had a bit of apprehension that I couldn’t quite place.

My neural networks were probably waving the white flag.

All the new thoughts hatching from the seismic change in my work life were now mixing with the old memories.

I saw this quote from Nelson Mandela: “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to see the ways that you yourself have changed.”

How true. I thought back to the times that I have felt this.

I caught up on podcasts, discovered new music – hearing a fine continuance of the rising of The Membranes - and reminisced about 40 years of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures,

I took care in what I ate and drank and exercised every day. That sounds unforgivably smug but I guess the point is that, for a variety of reasons, I’d wavered with my own vitality, well being and resilience over the past two years. Being able to carve out time for my health was needed then and will be needed in the future.

Gut feelings count for a lot with me.

And I read the Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon and Paul Jarvis’s Company of One, both of which are excellent sequels to the 100 Year Life by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott.

Lynda and Andrew’s insights gave me the foundation for understanding the profound changes to our working lives that we are all experiencing.

Emma and Paul’s books are the head honchos for building multi-string bows that allow you to create a definition of a working life that works for you.

In Paul’s case, success is not defined by exponential scale-up and consequential never-decreasing circle of investor and would-be investor meetings, but by a broader, less myopic definition of business success established on creativity, purpose and autonomy.

Our freedom of expression is compromised when we don’t own our business.

I want to run my businesses in the way that works for me and is based on my values.

If you haven’t read these thought-provoking books, I’d really recommend them even if just to give you an alternative perspective on what it means to be an entrepreneur.

It wasn’t all self-care loafing though. Honestly. I’m thrilled that my inspirational partner, Saskia Nelson, has taken me on to help with her awesome Hey Saturday and Hey Tuesday businesses. I mean, I’m doing the nerdy stuff but nerdy is ok and Saskia is really, REALLY good at the creative stuff. Check her out here and . I’m really looking forward to these businesses flourishing even further.

I played the ‘cello when I was a kid. Passed Grade 8 and promptly gave it up. The teen angst in me couldn’t quite reconcile this beautiful classical instrument with my (what I see now as quite myopic) love of loud punk rock and hardcore music.

So I consumed music for years acquiring vinyl, cassettes, CD’s and gig tickets. Who’d have thought that I’d now be in the wonderful and frightening world of playing drums and actually working on a new music collaboration (no, I'm not playing 'cello….). The first live gig is approaching.

More to come on this.

I’m on a colossal and breakneck music industry learning curve. I need and want to know the nuts and bolts – from tour management to financial management to marketing strategy – this is what I enjoy.

I went on a short tour with The Ramonas, driving them around Germany, selling merchandise and loading equipment. Grittiness on the road has moved on a bit since Henry Rollins’ legendary “Get In The Van” diaries but touring requires calmness, sacrifice, a sense of humour and endless (often futile) quests for ice cream.

It was a lot of fun. I’m eternally grateful to the band for trusting me.

You rule.

There is more to come if I continue to believe in myself. Lose the imposter syndrome. I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Experiment.

This is exciting and what a new working life can look like.


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