In our Quaker Meeting this morning, someone read a poem by Wilfed Owen. Others spoke of grandparents, some British and others German who'd fought in the Great War. And on my way to Meeting, I walked past former servicemen, proudly wearing their medals, preparing to mark the centenary of the armistice outside Norwich's City Hall. It all brought home the futility of conflict and the need to find better ways to resolve the differences that can spark tension.
It is all too easy to have a view about the political and economic issues that can lead to conflict. What is far harder is to work on are the battles we fight with ourselves, as we strive to balance comfort and familiarity with the need to grow and develop. Business, so much a metaphor for life, requires us to learn new skills and challenge often deeply rooted attitudes. The risk of not evolving is to be left behind, as others fill the space we could and should occupy ourselves. But we all need to undergo fundamental change at key turning points in our lives.
Over the past 30 years, my work has become increasingly focused on applying business skills in ways that deliver sustainable social change. It's why I set up Swarm Apprenticeships. It's also why I've been happy to lead Norwich Mustard from idea to a trading community business. But the time has come for me to prepare for the next stage of my career, which will see me writing full time, initially at least as a biographer.
Next autumn will see me attending university for the first time in my life, studying creative non-fiction, leading I hope to an MA. The change from social entrepreneur to full-time writer needs to be gradual, and so with the exception of a few key meetings, I'll be taking the rest of 2018 off, to think, reflect and contemplate the future I am planning.
2019 will only be different if we make it different and change cannot come about overnight. I'm starting that process of change today. How about you?