Choose your attitude…

Mid Jan is a hard time to get yourself motivated so spending time and money on the Pendulum Summit organised by Frankie Sheehan was not a easy sell to myself. Surely a day at the coal face in a traditionally quiet time for TPI sales would be a better choice. The winds on a cold wet Friday morning and terrible traffic in East Wall only seemed to confirm what a poor call going to the Conference Centre was. But once I saw the massive numbers there and the event started it was clear that the cobwebs were about to to sand blasted off and a really worthwhile 10 hours was coming my way. What a day!


First Enda Kenny opened it all up. Then Kingsley Aikins added some humour as MC. Jack Black from Glasgow woke us all up with his passion. Then Pat Falvey talked about Life and Everest. He asked us to climb our own mountains as he had done again and again in his incredible life.

Next Debra Searle MBE from England told an incredible tale. She was a school teacher looking for excitement and so joined her husband in signing up for a rowing race to cross the Atlantic 13 years ago. Her husband was a 6’5” rower so her small stature and lack of experience in a boat were not too much of a worry. They prepared well, trained hard and took their place with 20 other boats in Teneriffe. But early on chronic sea sickness affected her husband and things looks doomed from their week one. He had to be collected by the recuse boat after a second week where he was barely able to even function. That should of been that. But while her husband wasn’t able to cope she found that she could. She liked it. Debra decided to try and continue on rowing the ocean alone. After some 120 more hard days, incredible adventures where her life was often under threat, she made it.


She was of course much slower then the other two man finishers that managed to finish but her feat in keeping going alone when logic said she should stop became the more famous victory from that unique race. Her sister’s message to ‘choose her attitude’, when Debra was complaining about her perilous position and she was talking of giving up, deep into the crossing on a stat phone, became her mantra.

She wrote it on the wall that she faced when rowing backwards on her tiny wooden boat. She kept going even where currents moved her back more in the night then she had rowed the previous day. She kept going when loneliness nearly killed her incredible fighting spirit. She kept going when hurricanes, ships and even sea turtles threatened to upend and sink her little boat. Her single mindedness and determination to succeed was simply immense. I think it puts our prevarication and parlaying fear when facing the toughest times in our own lives into perspective. I thought she was a brilliant storyteller and I am not surprised she makes a living now as a Professional Adventurer, Author and Speaker.

Next up, Patrick Coveney talked about his time building a successful PLC. He was open and honest about how successes and failures had occurred and played important parts in his rise to the top of Greencore. Keith Ferrazzi, the writer of Best Seller ‘Never Eat Alone’  then told his unique and inspiring life story. His Dad was a poor Italian immigrant in Pittsburg USA who’s massive drive to make his family succeed and to make his own luck rubbed off on son Keith. His message was that positive networking from day one is vital in a business career.

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He believes reaching out and offering to help people, guys who you feel are important to you and reaching your goals, makes success over time even more attainable. His successful business career was shaped from early on by his ability to reach out to connect with people. He advised jumping over our natural embarrassment about stating our goals aloud to people around us. He advised to shake off our unease at asking others when we need assistance. His belief is that everybody needs help to reach their goals and being open about that makes people follow suit. If you are willing to help others then they might well be willing to do the same, makes sense to me. I have personal experience of that in business. For example apparently I was always telling people that I wanted to run my own business when I left Collage in the late 1980’s.That day dreaming aloud led to people I worked with previously offering to back me in starting TPI in my mid twenties. No way that would have happened at that early age without that vote of confidence. So I agree with Keith that being open about what you want and what your targets are is sure to help you and might make others offer to help make them real.

In the excellent afternoon session Oliver Callen, Darina Allen, Willie Walsh and Keith again engerised the massive crowd. I can’t imagine landing that line up was an easy job so somebody

Either blew the budget or used up many favours.

The second MC Orlaith Carmody expertly oversaw a practical business session which was finished up by head liner and deep thinker Deepak Chopra who mixed in the need for meaning and balance into the proceeding and really finished things off beautifully on a peaceful note.


I got great insights, good ideas and mostly a great feeling of control. While the world around us is a law unto itself our attitude and how we react to adversity and/or good things is in our own hands. We can choose our attitude. I hope I can live that every single day myself now that normal life has resumed.

Colin Culliton

CEO The Printed Image

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