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The two things I wrestle with most are how to keep things in perspective and the energy up. Working with smart people who push/organise/inspire me, external inputs such as podcasts, yoga and sessions with a brilliant exec coach all help. But they’re not my secret weapon in the battle for never-ending energy and perspective.
My secret weapon is the tatty Brett Lee ball that sits behind the keyboard on my desk. It’s just a standard, used, five-and-a-half-ounce cricket ball, not much good for anything now and Lee is no hero of mine, so it has no real value. But what it represents and what it can connect me to make it priceless.
It’s 4.30, say, on a damp Thursday. Holes in my shoes mean wet feet. We have two pitches looming. My podmates president Knox and chief strategist Snow are engaged in endless, grating, Spurs-based banter while strategy director Vogt is peddling Tangfastics again, which she knows I have a weakness for.
Three phones go off with messages that knock the important stuff to the back of the "to do" queue. Tension rising, I turn towards the cricket ball, focus on it and, through it, connect with another time and place.
The sun’s blazing, the grass deeply lush, the whites impeccably white. Total calm hits immediately. I am at the wicket, bat in hands. My inner Geoff Boycott ("Dig in, see it through") is in equilibrium with my inner Ben Stokes ("Give it a whack, see what happens").
Everything is in focus, and the mind and the body’s energy are at one. I’m in the zone. I turn my gaze back from the ball towards reality with renewed purpose and clarity, ready for anything. I resist the Tangfastics. That’s why that ordinary-looking cricket ball is my secret weapon.
Jamie Elliott is chief executive at MullenLowe London