Friday, 27 July 2012

Carrying The Flame

Seven years ago I was the Head of Talent, Resourcing and Management Information at Lloyds TSB.  I can remember the mixed responses from colleagues when it was announced that the Group was to be the official Banking and Insurance Partner for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.  What a lot has happened in seven years…

This past week has been very busy, with demanding meetings in various countries and also much to do outside work.  Yesterday it was with relief that I returned to my primary base in London.  Late in the afternoon I found myself sitting with a colleague, who wanted to discuss her career options.  It was a sweltering day and the office air con was on the blink, so we decided to escape outside to a café and have a cup of tea in the sunshine (how very English!).  As we talked we noticed an increasing crowd of people making their way past us towards Regent Street.  The Olympic Torch Relay was expected at the end of the road where we sat at 17.17.  It would have been churlish to ignore the event – especially as yesterday was the last day of the Torch’s procession across the United Kingdom (only a river-born trip remains ahead for it today, conveying it to the Olympic Stadium and the start of the Games).

At about quarter past we abandoned our cups on the table and went to join the crowds.  There were no barriers to hold people back, but the significant hoard stood in an orderly fashion and shouted and waved as first the sponsors’ convoy made its noisy way past (much yelling, music and waving of pompoms) followed afterwards by the runner holding the flame aloft.  The Torch travelling around the country has captured the imagination of people perhaps more than most of us anticipated.  Yesterday the flame even had an impact on me.

I like the fact that its on-going success has been dependent on one person passing it on to another, having carried it with pride and briefly nurtured/prevented it from being extinguished.  How symbolic and like the conveyance of knowledge and learning in life.  It was good that a wide range of people found themselves responsible for bearing it, even if only for a while – society is made up of diverse individuals, some more privileged than others, but each with their part to play.  We need many people, each making a contribution, to ensure ongoing growth and success. The torch was not with us for long – like a river it needed to keep flowing towards its destination.  Once the moment had passed the crowds gently disbursed, but it was with a fresh outlook that my colleague and I returned to our table and resumed our conversation.  I hope my words of support and encouragement to her helped to shed a little light on the path she chooses to tread going forwards.

We each have an impact on those around us and have a choice as to the impression we leave behind, as well as the manner in which we can inspire and enlighten those who follow. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for considering me your inspiration for the post!

    Thinking about the flame later, I shared a similar impact to your own. While the pompoms and associated razzmatazz were somewhat a distraction to my personal takeout, the symbolism of the passing on of the flame certainly provided strong imagery for the part we all can play (however small and humble) in passing on our own 'flame', our excitement and passion in our personal and professional values and beliefs to those we touch - and especially those new 'torchbearers' who come after. A steward in time, we are only ever a temporary guardian of our essential essence - a huge challenge to remain anchored in a noisy world - and I suppose the best we can be is to remain true to ourselves and the substance that really matters.....