Dean's Speaker Series | Alan Lock, MBA 11, Director - Business Development and Operations, Icarus Or

Dean's Speaker Series | Alan Lock, MBA 11, Director - Business Development and Operations, Icarus Or

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happy new year hey guys welcome back from break so a lot of you especially after day one came up to me and asked me and told me that hey you know we really love the storytelling element that you guys spoke about and we want to learn more about how we can get engaged with that this upcoming speaker and as a component of that dean's speaker series is just that so dean speaker series is one of the highest profile speaker series at berkeley haas every few weeks we have high profile speakers come in and talk about their experience both professionally and personally today we have alan speaking but upcoming speakers include a few of these individuals right here and you can see the dates and times so please make sure to attend because this is an extremely valuable insight that we get these panelists that we'll be seeing in the next few weeks and others upcoming in the next year or year and a half are all built up from the student panel that you're seeing up here with christina ian syrah peter and wakunda and of course you guys can definitely apply for the same position next year as well and build out which panelists you want to hear from now especially after day one one feedback that we got a lot was that dean harrison rocks so with that i'll pass it over to dean harrison to introduce our next speaker [Applause] good morning everybody it's so nice to see you again i'm really excited to have almost the entire first year mba class here today in anderson auditorium for those who are watching us live stream because all our dean's speaker series are live stream i'm anne harrison i'm the dean of berkeley haas welcome to today's dean speaker series we have a unique opportunity to hold today's dean speaker series during our full-time orientation which is known as week zero now before i tell you more about the dean speaker series i would like to take actually a moment of silence to acknowledge the humanitarian crisis that has befallen the afghan nation and the heartbreak that this must bring to veterans who fought there so let us take a moment of silence to reflect thank you thank you for doing that the dean speaker series is one of many opportunities you'll have to enrich your mba experience i hope you'll take advantage of these events in your time here you can check out the dean speaker series website you just saw that we have a number of really exciting talks that are coming up you can also watch past teen speakers series they're all on youtube and they're all on the website and just to give you a sense of the diversity of speakers we have just last year we had lieutenant general richard clark who's the superintendent of the u.s air force really an incredible charismatic speech you can watch that we had scott galloway who's actually an mba from haas he's a serial entrepreneur he's starting his new company now called section four he's also got his own radio tv show really amazing guy you can watch him we had the visa ceo come so really a diversity of backgrounds so let me turn to today's speaker today i am so pleased to welcome alan locke back to haas as an alum of our full-time mba program class of 2011. let's give him a round of applause so alan is joining us remotely from the united kingdom where he lives with his wife and five-year-old daughter alan's story is one of perseverance and innovation demonstrating the ultimate ability to pivot prior to his studies at berkeley allen started a career as a submarine nuclear engineering officer in the royal navy however at the age of 24 and only a few weeks before his first operational submarine patrol allen lost much of his eyesight due to a rare genetic condition alan had to rebuild a professional career from scratch and with the challenge of being legally blind he first spent four years at hsbc bank in london before deciding to pursue an mba at haas after he graduated from haas allen returned to the uk as a member of the british telecom mba intake and he worked for seven years in strategy operations and program delivery never to shy away from the next challenge in 2019 and left to start his own business in the jewelry industry it's called icarus originals alongside his professional career allen was also able to set not one but two world records as a blind adventure athlete alan i know i speak on behalf of all of us in haas we are so grateful for alums like yourself who go beyond themselves taking the time from your busy schedule to share your story with us you are the perfect person for today's week zero theme aspiration at haas and so without further ado please join me in a warm welcome for alan locke thank you so much dean harrison um i guess i better ask that perennial question on zoom can everyone hear me okay hello i'm just going to check everyone can uh can hear me okay that's coming through yeah we can oh joey okay sorry after 18 months of being on zoom calls and sometimes sticking on mute then that's a challenge um first of all i'm extremely flattered and grateful to be invited back to uh back to house to give this talk um house was a huge part of my life i had incredible time at the university i actually met my future wife to be within the bay area so i carry a huge number of happy memories from uh from the course of my colleagues and what it's meant for my my life my life off the house so today um i'm going to talk to you for the next 45 minutes as the dean alluded to around the theme of aspiration and to me that means pursuing your ambition pursuing your goal and in my case i have a very personal story around trying to pursue a goal in spite of the adversity that uh the life can throw up for all of us so either i've turned my my talk seeing beyond limits um which as the dean alluded to you can understand the sort of bit there what i'd like to do is if you take nothing away from this talk ask you to consider just the importance of having a very clear goal in your life uh it can be anything inside and outside of work but you need something that's going to give you that fire in your belly to get you up in the morning and drive you onto her towards the horizon now clearly the very facts that you've um or elected to undertake an mba and indeed being accepted at the house indicates that all of you uh certainly have a huge amount of ambition and you will you're coming to hass in order to pursue those goals yourself but i hope my story can just illustrate just how important it is for us to have a very kind of clear goal something that gives us that drive and again when life knocks you down the most important thing is to have a goal to get back up for so if we click forward onto the first slide please i'm going to tell you very briefly about my background how i lost my eyesight just the impact that that that gave me so we've gone to the next slide um there is hms vengeance it's one of our nuclear submarines in the royal navy i at the age of 24 i imagined i'd found my dream career i had never considered in my life that i'd be doing anything other than joining the military it's something that i desire to do from very early age i went through the whole process in the uk we have a cadet process and then i was fortunate enough to be taken on uh initially by the royal air force uh where i was being trained as air crew i was actually four millimeters too short to be a pilot so i've been trained as a as a navigator which i think goose rather than maverick and um that's what i intend to do as my career um the the royal air force decided to to cut down on the number of aircrew so eventually i transferred over to the navy and i can commence my regular officer service in uh in 2002. and i guess i was at that stage in life and dare i say this is particularly prevalent for for young men where you uh you you think you think you're pretty invincible um there's a certain level of possibly arrogance but certainly that confidence in life but you're sort of aware that um problems and bad things can can occur but that bad luck tends to happen to other people and i was i was sort of rudely shaken out of this so at the age of 24 i was being trained as a uh as a nuclear engineering officer um interestingly if you go to the next slide i thought i'd drop in um just for interest so that this is a um this is what a nuclear reactor looks like on a submarine um i have checked this is a picture that is uh that can clearly be shared but that was my that was to be my profession i was going to be operating nuclear submarines reactors i expect to do that for the whole of my career um however a few weeks before uh christmas uh 2004 and indeed just a few weeks before my first submarine patrol i i woke up one morning and it's got a very long story short i i really struggled to see it i struggled to read i naively thought this was uh at worst i i needed glasses or you know possibilities a bit tired um but after visiting the optician and where they couldn't fix anything and subsequently to a couple of doctors um i rapidly realized something was was not right and within the space of a week that's right and within the space of four weeks i'd gone from being um fully sighted for whatever better phrase quite a quote completely normal being able to do everything that you would expect at that age um to being first partially sighted and then um registered and blind so legally blind and if you go forward on to the next slide please um you'll see a very sort of crude cut out of the um of the eye and my sight lost there was no heroic story i guess i was just very very unlucky that due to a very rare genetic condition called juvenile macular degeneration i'd essentially lost that a large amount of the the retina um when i was told this i i said okay what's the cure it turned out there wasn't one and unfortunately there's unlikely to be one on the horizon uh for the foreseeable future i'm surprised to say this this wasn't the happiest time in my life um i think i got told two or three weeks before christmas as well so it was um it was pretty depressing all round and you can imagine uk weather that time of year is not great so you you're having this news against the backdrop of uh pretty grim skies um and without i guess hammering home the obvious this was a huge turning point in my life um i could speak for hours about the uh the impact that this had both practically and uh psychologically but the best way i can i can uh describe it is i went into the doctor's surgery before my diagnosis and i went in there with a very clear view of what the rest of my life was going to be like and i had that planned out that's what i trained for um you know i could do all the things that she would expect to do i could drive a car i could even fly an aircraft um you know i played lots of sport all the rest of it when i got told this and the actual impact of my sight loss i effectively came out um legally blind i knew my career was gone um my engineering degree i was not going to be able to use in a civilian job um i couldn't i couldn't drive handing my the key is my first car and was given essentially a bus pass and there was a myriad of of other challenges that just impacted every um every aspect of your life and i i guess i say that not necessarily for sympathy because i think we can you know look around the world today and clearly there's there's people in a far worse position than this but more to emphasize that i suddenly found a huge uh obstacle put in front of everything from the most mundane day-to-day activities but literally i you know i would struggle across a road um getting anywhere was a huge logistical nightmare um [Music] and even something as basic as i i struggled to sort of recognize my uh my friends or prices of items in shops so a huge challenge that um i had to deal with and again to condense a very kind of long story i had about 12 months where i was in the process of leaving the navy i was pulling my hair out thinking what on earth am i going to do and i i guess i was stuck in this quagmire of um apathy in despondency and i really struggle to reconcile uh i guess that that lost future that was going to be with the situation i was in now and it was it was particularly cruel i guess uh you know never a good time to lose your eyesight but at quite a young age um i felt quite cheated and i think what what drew me out of this was i eventually um realized after after several months i thought well i i can't live the rest of my life sort of thinking what what what could have been um i could see already how easy it was going to be to sort of drift into that comfortable apathy of um you know just trying to sort of shut the world out and and um and and you know try and ignore the present i guess that escapism to just because i i felt so um depressed frankly about you know going forward and again this was against the backdrop of all my colleagues going off and doing things i wanted to do so i eventually realized that this was a real fork in the road because if i didn't pull myself out of this quagmire i could see what my future was going to be like i was going to turn i imagine probably someone was quite bitter about the pass i wasn't really going to achieve anything and i was going to i guess waste the opportunity that in spite of this problem you know i know the challenges i was um you know frankly i was in a sort of middle class family so i wasn't going to starve and um you know i had the benefit of you know growing up in the first world and and having education so i thought well i can't i don't want to waste that um and i want to see how i can get out of this situation and what i reason was the thing which was holding back was i'd lost that goal i'd lost that goal in my life which was my military career and that focus and drive that gave me so i reasoned i needed a new goal in my life and something that was going to help me drag myself out of that despondency and just as importantly um channel the negative bitterness anger and frustration in something which is going to be much more productive than positive so i i looked around i thought how can i how can i resolve this and um in parallel with building a new career i knew that i wanted some enormous challenge that was going to soak up all that frustration and um and and uh i guess that pent up energy to do something and i knew i'd i'd always been someone who loved sports i loved to challenge so i wrote down the my sort of bucket list i guess of these any any kind of ambition or aspiration i'd ever held harold loosely and i came up with four um it was to swim the english channel um to run the something called the marathon designer which is 151 mile uh ultra marathon across the sahara desert um ski across the south pole to antarctica and we're across the atlantic ocean i figured uh well these are clearly going to keep me busy for a while and if nothing else this is going to just soak up all that frustration and give me a big channel to um to use that pent penta energy and i guess sort of anger in a way that's going to be very productive and i knew that it if for nothing else it was going to keep me so busy i just wouldn't have time to think about my uh my condition so um if we click forward a couple of slides please um i'm going to talk to you today around probably the the toughest of those challenges which was road in the atlantic ocean and i say this in the spirit of using this as a to illustrate my um my the point i'm trying to make about a goal not particularly to uh to self-aggrandizement because frankly lots of people have done this in better times and with um with more with more uh severe disabilities in some cases but this was uh this was the challenge which i think encapsulated idea that idea of pursuing a really tough goal and overcoming those hurdles to get there so if we click onto the next slide uh please this indicates uh what is the challenge um there's the distance itself is 3 000 miles you you follow a relatively standard route from the canary islands all the way across to the caribbean and the challenge itself is really to um do as it says on the tin you row without power um across the atlantic ocean the main rules are that you are self-sufficient so you you you can't have a uh you know there's no boat essentially dropping off supplies everything you carry with you is what you take and uh you can't take any assistance um join that voyage so essentially once you leave you're on your own um i was keen to do this first part of my challenge but i i dovetailed it with uh raising money for a uh a deafblind charity because i reasoned let's if i can dovetail my aspiration it's something positive and particularly a charity which i clearly had an affinity with and i thought that would be a terrific way to like say channel that um channel that potential bitterness and frustration that i did have so on the next slide um you'll see us there in our boat gemini even i'm not crazy enough to um uh to to run across the ocean on my own uh if for nothing else my my navigation was like to be pretty awful um so there's my colleague matt borum my growing partner and myself and matt we set this project in train in early 2007 like a lot of huge endeavors and indeed like a business 90 percent of the effort is unseen so in the 12 months preceding us leaving on our voyage here there was a sort of vast amount of work to bring this project together from scratch and that's frankly a talk in itself around taking a very nascent idea there was literally just a a dream in my mind all the way through to something which was solid and realisable and this covered everything from um pitching to my employer at the time hsbc convincing them to sponsor us and that i could i could undertake this and take this in a way that was going to be deliverable we had to build a boat we had to train we had to deal with all the myriad of of potential problems and obstacles but both of us had that desire to work across the atlantic and for myself especially was it was even more marked because if i was to do this i would set the world record for the first visually impaired person to run across any of the oceans and i knew emotionally that hitting this goal at least giving everything i could to achieve it would act as a springboard and a catalyst to really really rebuild my self-confidence um in light of what had happened to me so after a year of all this preparation um we left lagamir in the canaries on the 11th of january 2008 and if you go onto the next slide you'll see us um rowing out of the harbour tell you a little about about the boat uh she was called gemini 24 foot long built in christchurch in the south of england it's not particularly comfortable um there's a you've got a small cabin at either end the forward cabin is for storage at the rear you've got a space which is probably no bigger than the um the trunk on a large suv i guess and that's where you would sleep we carry all our food it's all freeze-dried we we make our water from desalination and we have solar power to uh run our electronics and navigation but essentially was a rainbow it was under our power to take this across the atlantic so we uh we departed on the 11th of january uh 2008 and the first few days actually was pretty enjoyable i thought this is in some ways quite quite nice i'm i don't have the worry about all the paperwork and the problems of getting this to fruition i'm essentially just out there to do to do a really simple task which is get us safely across in conjunction with matt the 3000 miles across the caribbean and um actually the fact that i was now i guess taking as i put it sort of taking action to realize one of these goals in a sort of weird sort of way this is the the way that i could fight back against my um my sight loss in lieu of any any medical cure because i was out there doing something in spite of my uh impairment that i i probably wouldn't have considered plausible even you know even with my site several years before but um we were rowing four days in actually quite nice if you if you go forward onto the next slide you should see a uh quite a nice sunset um pretty calm seas all nice and dry but this was the pretty much the best weather we had over the whole uh whole voyage because that night i'd finished my stint on the oars matt took over i crawled into the cabin to get some sleep and some point during the night i could feel it was getting a bit rougher and matt jumped back in and said look it's wind's picked up we'll put it on the c anchor and just see how we get on short it'll be fine tomorrow morning so the next morning um pretty dodgy night's sleep but i i lent out of the uh the hatch for my cabin and if you slowly just click through the next three slides please you'll get an idea of how the conditions has deteriorated um and we were faced with waves and skies and winds that were like this and if you uh please just stick forward on to the next slide and the next one um it just gives you an idea of of um what that was like so we we put the boat on what's called a ciancus like a huge parachute that would keep you roughly in one place and we then had to stow everything lash down yours and essentially hunker down in the um in the cabin the the conditions were it wasn't quite a storm but it was pretty bad and what was worse is the the wind and the swell were trying to push us towards south africa and we can row maybe at three knots if we're really pushing it but if the sea is trying to take you five or six knots in the other direction there's just no point in rowing you're just burning through calories so we were basically stuck there and um i suppose if i can draw a slight parallel with recent events uh with regards to kobe we didn't know how long this was gonna uh last it turned out we were stuck in our cabin without any kind of warm food and essentially just after having to live in this tiny space for the best part of two weeks uh there's very few times in my life that uh i've been relieved to be quite sure i'm five foot six uh you know stopped me from being a a pilot uh really annoying to get served at the bar sometimes and understand me i wasn't first in the uh first in the pick for my school's basketball team but at this point i being able to squeeze into the cabin at least sort of sleep there in relative comfort was uh was only one one silver lining from that but we had to essentially ride out this right out this storm with no knowledge of how long we were going to be there and it mentally it was obviously tough as well as physically but i just held on to the idea that i'm i'm out here against the elements i have this goal to achieve we're going to get thrown these challenges and ultimately this will end whether we'll will improve and we just need to work through this to get through the other end so if you click on the next slide please um eventually after two weeks the weather did uh did improve we've taken a complete battering we one of our components had flooded we lost some supplies and now i am there just trying to do some running repairs to the to the vessel before we were able to um continue growing but from this point onwards you know barely sort of 20 days into the voyage we were at least able to sort of battle our way down um just above cape verde and then we swung across and headed um westwards straight to the caribbean and from this point forward the voyage really sort of settled into a sort of day-to-day grind against the the elements and against the distance so i thought the best way to describe that to you would be to just just give you an idea of the day in life on board um we would wake up two hours before sun sunrise uh after a pretty dodgy night's sleep and you can imagine you're there in a pretty horrible sleeping bag generally wet um you're getting rocked around all the time but you wake up you you're on yours for two hours then um you just before sunrise you'll start getting the breakfast on breakfast most important meal of the day incredible how for morale how important the food was and we would we would sit down we would boil up the freeze-dried food we did this sort of 900 calorie porridge and just shovel food into us and then we back on the oars and we would do two hours rowing 20 minutes rest two hours rowing 20 minutes rest and generally speaking we'd row anywhere from a solid eight hours to as much as 12 hours a day alongside uh feeding ourselves doing the maintenance to the boat navigation all the rest of it and during the night um generally speaking we we both jump into the cabin for six hours leave the boat to try and drift with the current and then do everything the next day and i guess this is a good example of where you've got any huge goal in our case it was just grinding down these miles uh and if you look at anything in any big challenge in its entirety you know i remember looking at our gps and um you asked matt to read it off and he said look we've got 240 uh sorry 2 000 and 223 miles to go such an enormous figure you just don't even want to think about it um and the only way you could mentally adjust that was to break that down a day at a time and think when i wake up this morning i'm going to row as hard as i can i'm gonna make sure that we stay disciplined so we don't damage anything there's no issue with the boat and i know that if i do that and i get through to the end of the day then there's a lovely freeze-dried meal waiting for me but more importantly i will have chewed through 10 20 miles and all that's a small step i just need to keep doing that day in day out and as the phrase goes you know how do you eat the elephant a small bit of the time then we knew that ultimately that would get us through to the um to the end goal it's it's a real cliche and i always get asked this but it really is a sort of mental challenge ahead of a physical one um so that was really our our uh our sort of day-to-day experience that was our world for uh the next two and a half months it was you know interspersed a few times with uh seeing other ships on the horizon some great stars at night i couldn't really appreciate i could sort of sense what it was like and we also saw some wildlife um on the next slide we were lucky enough um [Music] if you just click forward onto the next slide please you should see some oh there we go um some dolphins we were thought to have to see some terrific wildlife out there that um again i couldn't really appreciate but luckily matt had his camera we were able to take the photos and in some ways it was whilst it was physically immensely extremely challenging it was a privilege to just have that experience out there and even to to have the opportunity to take on this challenge but eventually after what turned out to be another two months of rowing we took a look at the gps one morning and it looked like it did in the next uh in the next slide please i couldn't see this as you can imagine but matt said look we've jumped below 100 miles 99 miles to go to the caribbean um so we knew we were within touching distance we just really focused on not not causing any problems we didn't want to we could we could still have essentially lost the goal at this at this age at this stage if there had been a problem with the boat as it turned out we had our last big storm which i remember hunkering down in the cabin thinking the boat was going to break up but as it turned out we survived and it chucked us forward towards barbados and if you go on to the next slide please uh there we are arriving in uh ports and charles at barbados uh 85 days three hours and 20 minutes later so we definitely hadn't set any speed records we were sort of below average i mean generally the times are around 65 to 70 days but i was just relieving ecstatic to have got across and to have to have taken something which was this just an idea and turn it into reality um and if you click forward on to the next slide there's a there's a rather unflattering picture of myself and matt there for those of you who wonder i uh i lost my razor uh on day four um sadly it's somewhere rusting on the bottom of the atlantic uh so i had some no choice really to to grow a beard which i think you'll agree doesn't really fit me but we uh we arrived imports and trials there sadly that's not our boat in the background but you should be able to make out uh gemini just behind our legs i'd lost 30 kilograms i think i weighed 55 kilograms when i um when i arrived so it's a it's a great uh weight loss program um interestingly you you lose your you don't really use your calf muscles on the boat because you're never really standing up or walking anywhere i remember when i got off the pontoon um the first thing i did was was to fall over i just just didn't have the strength in my legs to to do something as as basic as walking but despite this i was it was a watershed moment i guess in my life um i've been fortunate to set this world record which essentially goes to show that you can get a guinness world record for anything as long as you're prepared to do something very niche where there's probably not too many other people competing with you but in spite of that for me personally it gave me a huge amount of confidence i guess both as a an individual but also opening my eyes to what was possible and again i i tell this story not because it's any sort of great feat so far as myself in concern but essentially to illustrate that i was someone who pretty much the worst shape and size possible for a rower and i started this whole endeavor with simply an idea and but what kept me going was an ambition to achieve this yes i wanted to do it for myself yes i it was great to do that for the charity as well but ultimately i wanted to prove to myself and to give myself that confidence the rest of my life but hey you know what despite any problems despite the chance of sight loss i'm gonna go out there and take on the biggest challenge i can envisage and that's the thing that's gonna put the fire in my belly and keep me going and as it turned out that really was a watershed moment for my life when i came back that's spurred me to actually expand my horizons including applying for berkeley house to study in the full-time mba program always be very grateful and relieved that they let me in and indeed this experience and that of being from house just broadening the horizons actually allowed me to use it as a springboard for my um my next challenge which was to reach south pole and very briefly if you if you click onto the next um uh the next slide please there was us three and a half years later um it's a team including one of my colleagues andrew jensen from my house class and um and a friend from from tuck and there we are on a joint expedition to try and help me become the first a blind person to ski from the coast of antarctica uh across to the south pole and on the next slide uh we're very relieved that we did get there we got there uh third of january 2012. um it's not in the picture and i was trying to find the photo but we did did take a little aussie bear there as well to take to the south pole so if we go on to the um the penultimate slide please the um i actually want to finish with the obligatory sort of lessons learned final thoughts um obviously i could i could talk at length and there's a huge number of um themes that fall under aspiration but again if you take nothing else from the talk i think what i've tried to do is illustrate through my own life experiences how important it is to have an ambition a goal some aspiration in your life and it seems really self-evident but it's amazing how easy it is to drift through life um it's actually incredibly easy in modern civilization because we have so many distractions um there's a degree of affluence that we previous generations would would be aghast at and i think just the the pace of modern life it's very easy to perhaps sort of slip into something and you you wonder a few years down the line was that actually what i wanted to do was that the goal i was trying to pursue um and i think it's from my personal experience um it was so important to have that beacon on the horizon something to aim for because i was having to deal with my own adversity which sight loss and that challenge didn't go away throughout this whole process you know i have more challenging day in the days than others but what's always kept me going is the idea that i'm not going to be beaten down by this adversity i've got something to focus on and i'm going to give it my all to go and reach there and i think as i've tried to put there there life is going to knock you down life isn't a fairy tale we're all going to face challenges and i think um clearly the last 18 months has demonstrated we don't know what's around the corner but also i think it's it's helped highlight the importance of resilience and um and the importance of having that goal and following on from that again be action oriented um you know very very easy to sort of talk about doing something to think about the goal possibly to convince yourself out of it but a lot of people can talk about doing something a lot of people talk about starting a business um or indeed trying to take on a task some sort of challenge like row in the atlantic but very very few will follow through and actually take the action to do that and and finally again we don't always uh succeed um i've taken on challenges both professionally and personally where it hasn't worked out but you know what every time um i've taken something away from that i've taken a learning um and at the very least i've been able to look myself in the eye and say um that i've given my all to try and achieve an ambition so the final point i'd um i say just to wrap up hopefully broadly on time um if we go on to the next slide i guess just to get a berkeley house logo in there um i've talked to i thought a lot about um goals and ambition and just to leave you with one thought from my experience at house and perhaps some advice and firstly you're joining an incredible incredible um institution and part of a an incredible broader family i know when i was in your position um 10 years sorry 12 years ago uh sat in the auditorium and i was incredibly nervous because i was i was joining as a student that was registered blind um yes i had a stick i didn't really always want to use that but i remember the first time i i said to my classmates and i i put out the call and said guys i'm um can can people help me i'm gonna be i'm gonna really struggle taking notes uh i'm probably not gonna be the best person accountancy can people be aware of that and perhaps help me out by taking notes possibly giving me a lift logistically and i was overwhelmed by the positive response and all the offers i was given and i think that really reinforces the type of um community that has built and the very final point i'd say and going back to my um the message which i i hope might my talk has helped to deliver you have an incredible opportunity before you over there uh over the next two years um so point where i'm i'm sort of i'm envious that i can't go through this experience again all of you will be joining hass possibly with a very clear ambition of what you want to do or at least an idea of how you want to change and develop and i would encourage you to take advantage of all the opportunities you have there both within the alumni community geographically where you are in the bay area your fellow students and and the staff there's an incredible amount of resources and goodwill and just opportunity there which sometimes you only see in retrospect so whether it's considering starting a business um making a career change in something completely different um or just really expanding your your horizons by working internationally i encourage you to take advantage of every single opportunity you have a house and you're joining a the wider alumni family of which i'm a part and ultimately that's a lifelong connection and we're all here to support you um and in my own small way i hope that today has been being part of that so again welcome to house and uh best of luck with um with everything and again thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today [Applause] thank you ellen for such an inspirational story uh now we'll move on to the q a portion and just to keep it more personable um i'll open the floor to anybody who's asked questions just raise your hand and i'll run around with mike uh hi alan i'm nicholas from brazil uh thanks so much for doing that i think sometimes we come across people and experiences that slightly change how we view the world in our lives and thanks for being one of those the question i have is that i think we have things in our lives that are like pillars and define us family sometimes work sometimes other things from what you're from from your story i guess losing the military and your side was a moment where some of those pillars got really shaky shaken and the question is if you think you had to redefine yourself or it was an adaptation and if you as a person you think you had to redefine yourself what have helped you they are and once again thank you so much sure no problem um so yeah i think as you as you put it my the military i guess and that particular career was one of the pillars i guess as you say and i think um when i lost that it was it was challenging i think that's the same for all of us we all have those pillars of um whether it's our profession it's our health our family our faith whatever that may be um i think i think for me going forward if i had to sort of define what i guess my pillars are now then um i guess that outside of the obvious ones which i think probably go for all of us around you know family and um uh our our sort of beliefs and how we see ourselves i think what the experience gave me of losing my sight if i took one silver lining from that it taught me um just how i guess valuable time and opportunity are and before i lost my site i was working under the assumption i think as most of us do that um yes i i've got the rest of my life to do that or it doesn't matter if i pass up this opportunity there'll always be another day i'll do this someday and i think what what that experience did he put it into really stark relief but actually there's so many opportunities that come up in life that we might not get again and that could be for a variety of reasons clearly but i guess going forward what i always try and do in my life is is really see the value of time that every day that's is filled with opportunity even though it doesn't always seem that way i think it's just being open particularly as i alluded to during your studies at house just the immense amount of opportunity and time out there and i just encourage everyone to make the most of that and that's um i guess it takes possibly having having lost um something that perhaps shuts off opportunity to make you realize actually just how important that is and often sometimes we we sort of take that for granted so hopefully that's that's sort of broadly answered your question any just one second hi hello zayn thank you for speech so my question is how would you motivate when leading others how would you motivate people going through serious downsides like i know your story itself is inspirational enough but for people who are experiencing serious self-doubt they might just go like you know ellen you're a superb i'm just a normal person you know what would you say to them yeah so again as i i've sort of tried to um emphasize during the talk the um i am you know very much a regular guy in the sense that i i wasn't sort of stellar at any particular sport at school i'm not um i wouldn't sort of classify myself as uh having a particular special attributes but i've had to go for that experience of that life-changing experience i guess which sort of perhaps forced me to um try and adapt to that and i think when i when i do speak to people um some of you have lost their sight others who are just facing other challenges in their life and what i the best advice i can i can try and give is that um you know all of us are all of us going to face challenges in our life and often it's it's sometimes the more you know mundane ones it can be more challenging i mean frankly being out in the atlantic and having a very clear goal and having people cheering you on at home that was easy compared to you know when i'm when i'm back in in the sort of normal world facing more i guess the day-to-day challenges of sight loss i think what's what's important when we're facing self-doubt is to a realize that you know none of us are sort of huber human we all um we all feel that way we're we often tend to overestimate the capacity and the ability of others and underestimate what we can do ourselves um i think where we where we do face those challenges internally um again i would i go back to the idea of what is it that we what is it you aspire to do what is your ambition and i think you can frame the challenge saying look um if i if i want to get from a to b whether that's you know mentally or if i want to change career i want to try and build some business up from scratch and i have the doubt in doing that none of us are born with that innate ability we have to we have to learn that we have to um work towards that goal but i can guarantee you that when you start taking action and taking practical steps to to work towards that ambition or aspiration whatever that is even if it's something as simple as as as talking to someone or thinking about how you can make a tiny tiny improvement to get yourself closer to that ambition then um i guarantee you that immediately puts you on the path to a better place as i lose you i think the the worst thing you can do and i i sort of had an experience i guess being someone in this trap when i first lost my eyesight is almost just sitting in that status quo of um maybe sort of comfortable apathy and i think anything you can do to try and improve things in a tiny way knowing that you're working towards um that goal that's going to protect you in a much more better and fulfilling place i think is is what you need to um is what the focus should be as as hard as that can sometimes be in in day-to-day life hi ellen thank you so much my name is anjul and i am out of word uh how i can say how grateful i am to be listening to you live here thank you so much for that sure my question is it's just related to your story actually when you mention that especially when we are in the adversity we are in the middle of the storm i have felt from my own experiences one of the bravest decisions i have taken is in the face of adversity and my drive actually comes from that but when things settle down i find myself distracted again and you know directionless my question to you would be when we are not in a situation which are demanding when we are you know safer and surrounding is so comfortable how to keep yourself motivated especially from your story when you are done with your challenges what keeps you motivated when you are resting in your bed that's my question thank you yeah i think that's a really good one and um again as you you make the point that i i've tried to emphasize which is it's yeah modern society really really easy to um sit in that sort of comfort zone i guess and and um and not necessarily pursue the more challenging ambitions um i mean i think ultimately it's an individual decision uh as to what you want to do but i think inherently as i alluded to earlier all of you sat there today have made that active choice to push out your your comfort zone into to do something challenging undertaking the nba so i think inherently all of us have that sort of drive and um what i would say is when you if you do find yourself in that situation where okay i'm comfortable i don't feel stretched that is always a sign that okay let's what can i do to to develop myself to push to push myself knowing that whatever happens i'm going to you know win or fail uh when i'll succeed or fail i'm going to push out my experience i'm going to i'm going to stretch myself and that's how we grow as individuals um so i would just encourage you to all of us have ambitions whether that's inside outside of work you want to take on a new challenge and i think that's what's going to help motivate you and again you're in such a great uh place now at uh at hass and you have this great opportunity and whether it's doing something for to develop yourself or indeed uh you know the world is there's no shortage unfortunately of opportunities where you can use some of your skills to perhaps take on a challenge helping um helping others or seeing how you can uh you can use your skills in that way huge amounts of opportunity but fundamentally if we can that's how we grow we sort of push ourselves trying something new and again whether we succeed or whether we don't we're going to learn a lot from that and that's going to that's going to be the thing that helps us helps us grow and keeps us motivated again ellen thank you for again for joining all of us all the way from uk uh just one last question of the session hi ellen i'm alex and thank you so much for coming and speaking today i we're really inspired it definitely fits the suit of the day my question is around we are ambitious and driving towards taking on new challenges but with that comes a lot of naysayers and people who are going to tell you you can't and so how do you balance that when you have somebody who might say you can't versus the people who are going to help you by saying no because of x like it actually can prepare you for a challenge that you might not have seen in something that you're willing to take on so how do you balance the naysayers and some of the negativity that comes with that but also taking some of that potentially critical feedback and taking it and you know maybe navigating a new path because of somebody who maybe was giving you critical feedback to tell you no yeah but they were really just helping you move forward in a way you didn't think about it so how do you take that critical feedback and motivate yourself with the naysayers yeah i think that's um i think it's a really good question and i suppose i'm going to shamelessly link that back to one of the defining principles and say the um it's the idea of confidence without attitude i guess um i need that sense of of saying well actually i am i am going to try and um push myself beyond my boundaries or try and do something new but at the same time i'm going to balance it up with the humility i guess that i am um i am not a necessarily an expert in that and other people will be able to help me along the way um i i guess from my own experience when people tell me i can't do something and it's it's given in a way that is dismissive and that's me really i guess like a lot of people sort of stokes the fire say well actually i'm going to prove you wrong and go and do that but i think conversely um and again if i if i take anything i've done whether starting a business or indeed doing the rowing network yeah i'm i'm setting out to do a challenge where i am by definition not an expert there so i would be um uh foolish if i didn't um accept and and actually seek the advice supporting guidance of people who've perhaps tried on that that route before so i guess as you alluded to it's that careful balance of having the um the confidence and the the sort of zest and the self belief that i'm going to try and reach something perhaps some people say i i can't but balance that up by not allowing that confidence to turn into arrogance or attitude attitude and actually saying yeah you know what i'm i want some help along the way and if there's one thing that and maybe this sounds slightly sort of utopian but honestly from my experience of undertaking any endeavor in my life people generally speaking love to help other people and particularly if it's a field of expertise they they've got and i've only felt i've only had support when i've picked up the phone and essentially said i really want to do this i don't have the experience can you help me um so yeah i'd bring it back to again it is that idea of confidence without without attitude thank you again alan uh one last round of applause for eleanor the speaker series thanks and again for more inspirational speakers you can always check out the speaker series built on youtube recorded and upcoming ones but on that note alan will let you go for the evening thank you again for joining us always thanks again pleasure you

2021-08-24 01:34

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