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Michael Hayman on the power of transformation

Michael Hayman on Sir Kenneth Olisa and the power of transformation, in his column for Country & Town House.

The urge to transform runs deep in the human psyche. But while we often aspire and yearn for it, in reality it is all too often frustratingly difficult to achieve.

Think about it. From worry to weight loss, from technology to time, family to feelings, which one of these have you tried to transform – with mixed results?

I present a podcast called Change Makers, featuring hundreds of incredible people speaking about transformation. On the face of it you might think I can help crack the code. But that’s easier said than done. While guests often look like they have life sorted, the reality is that successful and sustained change is tough.

I recently interviewed the incredible Sir Kenneth Olisa. He has lived a life of true transformation from a childhood living in a tenement in war-ravaged Nottingham to a life as a successful entrepreneur, which has seen him become His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Greater London.

For Ken, the barrier to transformation is a metaphorical imp on his shoulder: the inner voice that seeds the toxicity of doubt and says that something can’t be done. It is a voice that must be brushed away if you are to have any chance of change.

My own imp is an inner doubt that has always centred on my physical health. I have had a broad goal to improve it for as long as I can remember because from my earliest days, confidence in this area has eluded me. And while over time I have become very active, I still struggle with it.

I’ve learned that the deliverer of transformation is habit. Because habit is an action, which requires energy to do it.

In turn, transformation also needs some modesty and humility. Sometimes we overthink it and dream too big to be able to deliver. The truth is that the smallest wins can be the most transformative if you allow them to be.

And transformation also needs a guide. An expert, an inspirer and, ultimately, a friend. For my own part, I needed someone who would help me not only work on transforming my body but also, and this is the critical part, my mind.

Finally, what I’ve learned about transformation is that it’s not a destination. It is a journey. That journey needs you to take steps in uncertain directions. And it is worth doing because the best of yourself is waiting for you along the way.

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Chapter 1 outlines the concept of mission and how the breakthrough brands of today have succeeded by building a mission that inspires belief, generates a following and instils a purpose beyond profit.