To&Phro 5

I’m listening to Yo-yo Ma’s third recording of Bach’s Cello Suite as I sit down to write this.

As a one-time wannabe cellist, I watched the Inspired by Bach TV series in which Yo-yo collaborated with other artists on a series of works — that’s right — inspired by Bach. That was the second time Ma recorded the Suite.

And of course, there was Ma’s first recording of the Suite in 1983, the one for which he won a Grammy.

The little boat I take to work every day

At work, we’re a new team and, as such, we’re in a collective process of working out what was promised versus the reality with which we’re faced.

For some of us (me), it means that the brand promise isn’t necessarily in line with how parts of the organisation are thinking (or working).

For others, it’s hitting home just how hard it can be to prove your worth in a large organisation, and do so without putting noses out of joint.

In both cases, shrieking and crying foul aren’t going to get us anywhere.

Dogged persistence, a gracious approach and integrity to our mission will.

In other words: it won’t happen over night, but it will happen.

I’ve spent my career being a sprinter and, for the most part, it’s served me well.

I say for the most part*, because running headlong in to client’s issues with vim and gusto is precisely what many of them want to see.


Rather than being someone who’s carried change through an organisation, my work, my teams, me: we’ve just been catalysts that set others off in a direction. Some direction being better than none, you see.

This time around, it seems different.

Rather than being the one champing at the bit and crying foul when purchasing won’t move fast enough, I seem to be comfortable with the fact that fulfilling our mission will take time. In fact, it will probably take years.

It seems that I’m becoming a marathon runner, something which I did not expect.

If you sit very quietly, and look intently, you’ll realise that you’re in the middle of a city. Slottskogen, a stunning park right on my doorstep.

And so I return to Yo-yo Ma.

He won a Grammy in ’83 with J.S. Bach: The 6 Unaccompanied Cello Suites Complete.

Inspired by Bach won and Emmys and Geminis in ‘98.

And here he is, 20 years later, with Six Evolutions — Bach: Cello Suites.

The guy just does not give up.

With each recording, he brings a different lens on the Suite, and a new evolution in his playing.

Of course, critics will argue over which recording is better. Others will continue to bemoan the lack of period correctness in his interpretation.

But what is impossible to ignore is the way in which Ma has dedicated himself not only to his craft, but the exploration of some of the most incredible music ever written.

When I grow up, I wanna be like Yo-yo.

To (move towards):

  • The sense of emergent calm and purpose regarding my work
  • Small victories and proving our value before we bite off the big chunks

& (keep going)

  • Playing llama to the goats
  • Smashing my daily Move goal

Phro (move away from)

  • *Sprinting. It’s not good for my mind n’or body in the long run

The week ahead:

  • Interview synthesis
  • Proposal writing
  • A couple of gym sessions
  • A call with a really cool mobility incubator in Los Angeles