Paul McVeigh

Embracing Bad News


Mar 20


I guess embracing bad news comes just a little easier when you realise that it isn’t just you that’s feeling the pressure the Covid-19 outbreak has brought to all of our lives.

Everyone in the world is in the same place right now. Fearful? Quite probably. Frustrated? Again, yes. Confused? I’d say there’s a lot of that going around as well but that’s hardly surprising when you consider how our collective senses are being assaulted by the media at the moment. This might yet draw some into concluding there really isn’t much point doing anything now other than booking the sofa for a few weeks and working your way through Netflix.

There is another way of looking at life right now, dark as it might seem. To quote Bill Gates:

Embrace bad news to learn where you need the most improvement.

Think about it. The easiest thing to do right now would be to take time out. The situation at the moment is pretty much out of our hands and there’s not much we can do about it other than to stay at home. Especially as that isn’t a decision that’s yours to make. It’s already been made for you.

Yet the decisions that we do opt to take over the next few days are not only going to affect the way we live our lives over the next few weeks and months. They could also affect it over the next few years as well.

Covid-19 will, eventually, work its way out of the news. So where do we want to be on the day that happens, the one where the PM tells us the bars and clubs can open again, professional sport can resume and everyone can go back to work. What happens then? Do you yawn, stretch, get off the sofa and turn Netflix off or will the seeds of what you have sown in the preceding weeks and months now be ready to shoot?

With unexpected time on my hands, I’ve recently been doing a lot of research into e-Learning. It’s a learning system that is delivered directly to the end user via the internet using, for example, your laptop or tablet. A means of utilising technology in order to facilitate education for anyone, at anytime and anywhere.

It’s a system that has been embraced by Jazz Gandhum, the CEO of e-Careers. Jazz was UK Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017 and, when you get to know him and how he always wants to provide the very best for the people who work with him, you’ll understand why.

His use of e-Learning was so effective that it made me realise that this was really something I needed to get involved with, and, alongside my colleague, Gavin Drake, offer it as part of our work with Mindspan.

Introducing e-Learning as an option for clients will make us so much more accessible to a great deal of people. So I’m now working on programmes that can be delivered in this manner and am very much looking forward to doing that. Business growth that would never have happened, had it not been for the Covid-19 outbreak.

Something that definitely didn’t happen as a result of Covid-19 was the opportunity I had to fly out to Asia to present my Keynote Speech at Microsoft in Singapore.

The type of booking you dream about having. One that I have spent ten years working towards. Am I disappointed not to be going?  Yes. I most definitely am. But in amongst that disappointment, I’ve taken time to step back and think about what that means. The meaning that I have given to this scenario is that Microsoft believe I am the sort of person they want to spend time with their people. I can’t help but feel good about that. Besides, the booking has only been postponed. I’ll be heading out there at some point in the next few months and am thoroughly looking forward to it.

But here’s the thing. I’ve now got two to three months or so to improve on what I was going to present to them in the first place. To make an even better impression. To be in a place where they want to book me again and again. That’s another place I wouldn’t be in if Covid-19 had never happened.

I don’t know if Bill Gates will be there on the day. If he is, I’ll certainly remember that quote of his I gave earlier. About embracing bad news and using it as an opportunity to push on and learn about yourself, who you are and what you need. It’s about having purpose in your life. Even when it seems it can’t get any darker.

Paul McVeigh training with his PT!

I don’t want to lie on my sofa and watch Netflix all day. So I’m keeping to, even during this lockdown, a regular routine in my life. I still get up at 8am. I still do my yoga. I still eat a healthy breakfast. I needn’t bother with any of those things right now but I’ve chosen to make the very best of this time that I can.

To add another challenge to this unexpected time at home, I am planning on losing 10 Kgs by working online with my PT Luke Matthews because when life does start to get back to normal, I want to be ready.

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