Let’s start with the personal one.
I am going to improve my health and fitness, and to evidence that I will drop my weight to below 80Kg by the time of my birthday in June, and I will make lifestyle changes to keep it there for the rest of my life.
About 5 years ago, I started taking my health and fitness reasonably seriously, and I managed to drop my weight from 100Kg to 90Kg within a year. I’ve held it steadily below 90Kg ever since, but since Covid, only just. There was a point in December 2019 when I got down to 80.4Kg – the lowest my weight has been since my early 20s – and then the pandemic hit. All my good habits fell away. The excuse I gave was that we were in lockdown, so it was ok to indulge a little bit (sometimes more than a little). In my case it was booze and baked goodies. The scale quickly gravitated upwards, and for the last 2½ years my weight has been north of 85Kg.
Last June, I turned 60. It’s the new 50! I still feel young at heart, but I’ve noticed my body is getting older. My Mum will turn 94 this month. She describes herself as a young woman inside an old body. She is doing amazingly well for a woman of 94 – she is compos mentis and still living on her own – but there are things she can no longer do. Now is the time for me to make some changes.
My life goal is to live to be at least 101 so my wife, Kate and I can celebrate our 80th wedding anniversary. I’m very lucky – we met when we were 17, got married at 21 and are still very much in love. Living to 101 means I’ve got to be around for another 41 years. Now let’s put that in context: 41 years ago, I was 19 years old. Still a teenager! 19 + 41 + 41 = 101. I only have one body and it’s got to last me for at least another 41 years, so it’s time for me to take better care of it.
So, what changes am I going to make?
- Cutting out baked goodies, sweets and desserts. Until I hit my weight target, they are cut completely from my diet. It isn’t easy, but that’s how I got down to 80.4Kg last time, and for me abstention is easier than moderation.
- Cutting down my intake of carbs. I love my carbs, but they don’t love me. I’ve looked at going carb-free but there are too many foods Kate and I really enjoy that have carbs, so this one’s going to be reduction rather than elimination. It may well be harder than the first change, but I’ll give moderation a try!
- Eating more protein and vegetables. My intake of fatty foods is about right based on the research I have done.
I’m not saying this is the right approach for everyone, but it’s a few changes that I can make to my lifestyle which I believe are sustainable and will deliver the result I am looking for. When Kate and I celebrate our 80thwedding anniversary in August 2063, I want to be fit, healthy and free of disease. So, I’m making these changes now and I’m going public for added accountability.
Two things that are not changing are my daily meditation practice and running three times a week. In a world that is full of distractions, meditation and running help me to stay calm, focused and connected with the Universe.
Let’s now turn to my professional goal, which is linked to the work my team and I are doing at Funding Focus.
Our mission is to level the uneven playing field that female and underrepresented entrepreneurs of every gender face when raising capital. This is something I have already committed publicly to spending the rest of my life on, and it’s going to take time. That fits well with my life goal of living to 101, and I’m happy to reaffirm that commitment for at least the next 41 years.
My professional goal for 2023 is to raise at least £100 million and complete the IPO (initial public offering) of Funding Focus Investment Trust plc. It will invest in businesses founded by female and/or underrepresented entrepreneurs of every gender. And that’s just the goal for 2023! Longer term I see this as more than a £1 billion fund.
I’ve been working with my team on launching the fund for over a year, and we announced it publicly at the last Funding Focus event at the London Stock Exchange, but with the war in Ukraine, the collapse of tech stocks, the meltdown in crypto and the disaster that was UK politics in 2022, it didn’t happen. No matter, I’ve always said it’s a case of when, not if. Let’s do it in 2023!
This fund is going to be different. It will be listed on the London Stock Exchange. One of the biggest complaints I hear from founders is that they find the world of venture capital and private equity to be opaque and impossible to navigate. By being publicly listed, we will bring transparency and openness, and over the longer term we will level a very uneven playing field. Additionally, as a public company our announcements will be picked up on the news wires, thus amplifying the Funding Focus message.
I would love to share more with you about the fund, but due to regulatory constraints, at present I cannot. Once the prospectus is approved and published, I can be much more open and will be happy to share details.
Finally, I commit to giving you a quarterly update on progress towards both of my goals.
Once again, Happy New Year!
With love and gratitude,
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