Empowering and Inspirational thoughts for #IMD2021

19 November 2021

With today marking the celebration of International Men’s Day, our team wanted to highlight the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. It’s only when we all, lead by example that we’ll create a fair and safe society which allows everyone the opportunity to prosper.
In a stance to equally echo the empowerment of our female colleagues back on International Women’s Day earlier this year, they were also asked “What advice would you give to your younger self?”
Here’s what they had to say…

Alfie Burton, Outsourcing Executive – “I’d tell my younger self to trust my instincts, go with that gut feeling and back it 100%.” 

Andrew Cook, Associate Director – Transaction Services   “Work Hard.”

Anthony Jenkinson, Associate Director   “I would tell my younger self to have the courage of my convictions and to have more belief in my own ability. Whether in a sporting arena or in day-to-day life, don’t look at others and put them on a pedestal without good reason. Your thoughts and ideas are worth as much as theirs. Don’t focus on their strengths, whilst ignoring your own. Equally, don’t focus on your own weaknesses whilst ignoring theirs. Believe in yourself and back yourself to succeed. Things are rarely as good, or as bad, as they might seem. It is all dependent on the viewpoint.”

Arthur Evans, Accounts Executive  “My advice would be to not worry about what people think and to enjoy every small moment whilst the world is small. When you get older, responsibilities grow, problems and worries get bigger than just ‘what have I got for lunch’, or ‘am I going to go to football practise’. Basically, enjoy being ignorant to the big issues and carry on having fun, life is too short.”

Ashley Jones, Accounts Executive Separate all of your worries and stresses into what you can control and what you cannot control. Then focus on what you can control and you will realise there are not that many things to worry and stress about. It also makes focussing on what can control a much more manageable task.”

Ben Wilson, Accounts Senior “I would tell myself that the only thing that is truly ours is moments and memories. Taking the time to enjoy the little things in life certainly compounds into overall happiness, and I have definitely suffered from the pressure I put on myself by neglecting the things that really matter. I would also encourage myself to put myself in situations that at first seem out of my comfort zone. Through my teen years I often avoided different social groups and situations through fear of discomfort or perceived awkwardness, but overcoming this really opens up the world.”

Bob Thorpe, Director “I would tell myself not to bottle things up, to not be afraid to show my emotions more.”

Bruce Keir, Senior HR Consultant “Live in the moment, doing what you enjoy. Work hard and give your all, the future will then look after itself.”

Byron Gilbert, Creative Designer “Always stand up for and back yourself – don’t ever tolerate bullies at any point in your life. Don’t worry about what other people think so much, or worry about money, it will work itself out. Take every opportunity that arises and don’t overthink things, just show up, be yourself and take everything as it comes.”

Chris Dell, Director – Head of Brand & Creative “I’d tell myself to take more risks and don’t be afraid of failing – I’ve generally been someone who’s erred on the side of caution and think it’s held me back from realising my full potential and after all, failing’s just another word for ‘learning’ isn’t it!…I’d certainly encourage myself to spend more time with family and friends and gain some degree of work-life balance. For too long I’ve let work consume me. I’d encourage myself to travel from an early age. And finally, I’d tell a younger me to believe in himself – I’ve often struggled with imposter syndrome and yet in reality, I’ve never failed to deliver on the roles I’ve undertaken or on others expectations.”

Chris Henrick, Head of Finance “Do’s – Enjoy food (it’s not just for survival), gain different experiences sooner (in and out of work), read more, travel more.
Don’t’s – worry what other people think, stop exercising, buy/collect ‘things’.”

Chris Land, Director “I’d tell myself to be more confident in my opinion and not be afraid to share it with others. I’m naturally quite a reserved person and have been influenced by others in the past, who are more vocal, when in fact, if I had been more confident that my approach to work and life in general, I would have achieved better results.”

Chris Timms, CEO “Get involved with team sports (for all the longevity of new relationships and the enjoyment that would bring), support a football team (kicks from scoring fantasy football points is nothing compared to watching your friends scream and smile), put significant more value on family old (for all the obvious reasons!)… and finally whatever is on your mind at the time, always respect and give your undivided attention to someone who is speaking to you (they are doing so for good reason and for something that is important them).”

Chris Wilson, Head of Tax “Continually put yourself outside your comfort zone, always have confidence in yourself, and don’t underestimate your abilities.”

Craig Herbert, Executive Director “You can achieve more than you think by working hard, being brave and taking risks. You’ll learn more from failure than you will from success and so don’t fear it, fear not learning from it.”

Craig Smith, Service Charge Senior Manager “You only get one chance at life so grab the moment and follow your dreams. Don’t reach middle age and think I wish I’d tried that or I wish I’d done that. Sometimes it is too late.”

Dan Steel, Accounts Senior “Learn self-discipline, delay gratification; schedule the pain and pleasures of life, dedication to the truth; being honest with yourself about why things are happening in your life, and lastly, acceptance of responsibility; be responsible for yourself and your own happiness.”

Daniel Taylor, Accounts Senior “Remember to keep things in perspective. When you are young, it is all too easy to focus on the moment, both in good times and bad, but it is only later on that you can fully appreciate what mattered in the long run. Having a good measure of the importance of things can really help you to make better decisions and ensure that you appreciate what to value in the future. Most importantly keeping a sense of perspective can also help to stop you being too hard on yourself and the people around you when things may be challenging in the short term.”

David McGeachy – Head of VAT “I’d tell myself not to over think. Sometimes we just have to say screw it and lets do it.”

Dilun Mistry, Audit Manager “Don’t be afraid to try something new. Step out of our comfort zone, you will be surprised that you aren’t alone and you will have people cheering you on. It’s a great feeling!”

Euan Davies, R&D Technical Analyst “Open your eyes to the world around you. There is a big world out there, and you still have a lot to experience. Go into every situation with an open mind and you’ll learn a lot.”

Fraser Akehurst, Associate Director – Service Charge “I think the best bit of advice I would give to my younger self would be to not just say “I’m fine” when people ask you how you are. Tell people what is worrying you, what has made you sad, what has made you angry, and what is on your mind. And ask your friends and family how they are. Not just in a greeting, but to actually sit with them and ask them how they are feeling. Most of life’s problems can feel a million times smaller by just talking about it.”

Gareth Cook, Director “Looking back I wish I knew then what I know now, but in a way I think recognising the development I have made also plays a part in the advice and guidance I give to my daughter. I certainly wish I had been braver and believed in myself more, as I feel the fear of not being able to do a new role meant I stayed in a job too long. When I did move I realised it was the best thing I did at the time and wished I’d moved earlier. I think the fear of failure and insecurities overrode the fear of missing out.
My wife always say I’m too intense and worry too much. At various times in my career I had wished I was more like others, who didn’t care as much or appear to let things bother them. But now have progressed to a senior position, I am in no doubt that caring so much and taking ownership are key factors in progressing my career.”

Gary Woodhall, Executive Director “If I could speak to my younger self, I’d tell them to follow their passions more. Life inevitably brings with it more responsibilities along the journey, therefore take the time to really explore what you love doing and what is important to you. Work hard, remember those who are dearest to you, don’t take everything to heart – it’ll only dent your confidence unnecessarily, and enjoy the moment.”

George Morris, Assistant Surveyor “I would tell my younger self to stop worrying what people think of you, and just be yourself. The sooner you learn that, the easier life is…”

Habib Govani, Accounts Executive “‘Go out in the Nature look at the Divine Beauty (nothing do with religion) get positive energy and enjoy. Seek more Knowledge. Respect all human beings, nature, animals. Help other human beings in their difficulties.”

Hasnaat Iqbal, Audit Assistant “If I had to give my younger self some advice, I would say to have a better plan of what I wanted to do in my head and put my mind to it from a young age, in order to give myself a more clear direction of where I wanted to go in life, which I feel would have saved a lot of time and stress and perhaps allowed me to find more opportunities along the way.”

Ian Cheung, Accounts Senior “Take more risks and don’t be afraid of what you think might happen because it might just end up to be exactly what you want to happen. Opportunities don’t come around often, whether it is in the work place or in your personal life, so take it upon yourself and seize it with both hands.”

Jack Sharpe, Accounts Executive “Life’s simple, you make choices and you don’t look back.”

Jacob Taylor-Edwards, Surveyor “Remove the word ‘try’ from your vocabulary, either do something properly or decide it isn’t worth it.”

Jake Wornham, Audit Manager “Be yourself, no one else will.”

Jakob Addo, Audit Executive “When you are worrying about things, take a minute to note down all of these worries, cross out all the worries that are beyond your control and focus on all the ones you can.”

James Preston, Service Charge Senior “Don’t be in such a rush to ‘progress’ or see what’s round the corner and just enjoy the here and now. No one else really knows what they’re doing either. If it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it. The people you love really won’t be here forever, so cherish the time you have with them. You won’t be here forever either, so again, do the things that make you happy. ‘The best years of your life’ don’t exist – good times are always good times regardless, so just enjoy them as and when they crop up. You won’t make a success of everything you do, but as long as you do your best then don’t worry. I still haven’t cracked the overthinking problem yet, but just try and not do it. It very rarely helps.”

James Mattock, Accounts Executive “I would encourage myself to be more patient – things always work out in the end but you may have to play the long game, so do not despise the day of small beginnings. I am also someone who has a good deal of confidence but can be quite unsure of myself at times, so I would tell my younger self not to pile on the pressure of expectation or ruminate about the future. Be present. Appreciate the here and now and enjoy it!”

James Levitt, Accounts Senior “I would tell my younger self to stop wasting so much time trying to better other people’s opinions of yourself and go and work on my own opinion of myself. Read more. Laugh more. Stop hesitating about taking risks and throw yourself into more. When things get tough take a deep breath as it doesn’t last forever and lastly, never change who you are because you are enough.”

Joe Sharman, VAT Assistant “Make sure you take all the opportunities given to you and continue to use your motivation to further yourself and also to always be the best version of yourself.”

Joe Eves, Service Charge Manager “Don’t dwell on mistakes, learn from them and move on. Everyone has them!”

Joe Plant, Accounts Assistant “Don’t limit yourself and don’t let anyone else put limits on you.”

Joseph Lau, Business Analyst “Stay determined. Everything else will follow through.”

Joshua Sadler, Accounts Executive “You’re young and you have all the time in the world. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to grow up so quickly. Enjoy the days where you have no responsibilities! Travel, go out and explore the world. Stay focused and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, you’ll look back in the future and laugh about them.”

Joshua Wildwood, Accounts Senior “Surround yourself with people who light candles for this world and distance yourself from those who extinguish them. Recognise those who can be encouraged to reach their full potential and just need a little push – it is here that you will make the most positive and impactful change for those around you and the future of humanity on this vibrant cosmic rock. Simultaneously learn to let go of the relationships that cause stress and hardships unnecessarily, not everyone can nor wants to be aided.”

Kieran Oldershaw, Surveyor “I would tell myself not to worry so much about the future and to always do my own thing.”

Lewis Bray,  Audit Assistant “Take a few more risks and to try to be a bit more confident and outgoing in what I do. I would also say to spend as much time as you can with friends and family and just to enjoy yourself!”

Lewis Goodman, Service Charge Executive “Nobody is special – people who do remarkable things don’t have a magic talent, or some intangible strength of character that makes them different from you. They’re just people; they have things they’re good at and things they struggle with, and they’re far from perfect. The only thing separating them from you is that they didn’t let thoughts like “I’m not talented like them” or “they’re already way better than I’ll ever be” stop them from doing what they wanted. I’m still pretty young, but I’ve already got a list of regrets of things I didn’t do or put off doing for far too long just because I thought I was missing some imaginary spark.”

Mark Standish, Director – Head of Corporate Finance “To remember that a knockback can be an inspiration.”

Matt Pickard, Audit Senior “It’s good and healthy to be competitive however it’s just as important to be gracious in defeat.”

Matt Crosse, Head of Legal “Everyone fails at some point, so you are no different to anyone else. To have courage you need to have fear. Trust your gut. Be happy.”

Michael Stead, Consultant “Believe in yourself, you can achieve anything. What you think, you become. What you imagine, you create!”

Nathan Tinkler, COO “Ensure you get the right balance between family, friends and work – enjoy life to the full and have no regrets in whatever you do.”

Nigel Urquhart, Senior Technical Analyst “Hey younger self, here’s some sage like advice…
• Don’t let finding Dad own you for the rest of your life
• Stand your ground and don’t get pushed around by the bullies in your life, you’ll do better in life than they ever will. If you don’t shake this off now, it will take years to put right.
• Don’t just sit there afraid to ask questions and challenge what you know is wrong. Just because someone is saying something doesn’t mean that they know something!
• Never be afraid to be yourself and accept that if somebody doesn’t like you then that’s just how it is, you won’t like everyone and it’s not a failing
• Never be afraid to use bullet points
• Always try to be the best that you can be and pay kindness forward, be true to yourself
• Work to live, not live to work, find time for yourself, your family and friends
• In August 2015 put as much as you can on Leicester to win the Premier League at odds of 5000/1
• Oh and in 1987, don’t go to Pete’s leaving do…the drive home doesn’t turn out well….”

Nigel Syson, Associate Director – Tax “I have two lessons. Career wise; concentrate on your strengths rather than spending a disproportionate amount of time trying to fix weakness. And for life; get on and take opportunities earlier – I should have started running half marathons at 18 not 48 – I probably would have been quite good at them.”

Novruz Naghdiyev, Audit Senior “I would tell to myself and remember this sentence – Fear Is Temporary. Regret Is Forever.
So as you mentioned, take more risks and don’t be afraid of failing.”

Oliver Tivey, Audit Assistant “I’d remind myself that all things, good and bad, happen for a reason. Your current failure may lead to your next success.”

Patrick Faughnan, Associate Director – Corporate Finance “Laugh more and enjoy life every single day…..life can be tough so keep upbeat and smile… it can make those tricky days easier to overcome. I have in the past been guilty of blurring the lines between when the working day starts and stops and on occasion it can impact on family life (haven’t we all responded to emails on holiday or taken calls at night?). However, getting the balance right is important… with a young family, simply spending time with my girls (not glued to the laptop or phone) is magical, therefore plan your time more effectively and ensure you can be the best dad, husband, friend and employee you can possibly be. Finally, and linked to the former, don’t be afraid to ask for help!”

Paul Dixon, Director “Its better to regret something you have done, rather then to regret something you haven’t.”

Paul Jepps, Director – Head of Service Charge “Live for today, within reason of course, and as any good accountant should hold a little in reserve for that rainy day. Always be kind to yourself and everyone around you and don’t be afraid to put YOU first some of the time. Be brave, take calculated risks and adopt a positive outlook, grabbing life with both hands enjoying the fun moments it has to offer. Be Successful in following your ambition with both your career and family life, getting the balance right.”

Richard Burnett, Director “Don’t sweat the small stuff. We set high expectations for ourselves, and rightly so, but sometimes you also need to give yourself a break!”

Richard Cohen, Tax Assistant Manager “Don’t think so much. Sometimes it’s OK to just BE.”

Richard Gillespie, Associate Director – Audit “Just be yourself.”

Rizwan Ashraf, Accounts Manager “Step out of comfort zone. Without risks you will never discover your true self. Failing is part of learning and if you don’t try you will never learn.”

Rob Bradshaw, Finance Assistant “If you want to do something keep trying and remain positive. If you really want something, you can make it happen you just have to be patient and take any opportunities that might come up.”

Rob de Main, Director – Head of Operations & Technology “Take that leap of faith in YOU…It can be terrifying to feel like we have nothing else and no one else to rely on but ourselves. I’m thankful every day that I have my wife (Weez), family, and some very close friends on hand or a phone call away. But, if you have a dream, whatever that may be, you cannot rely on anyone but yourself to make that come true. My advice to give to my younger self…Take the leap of faith. You’ve got nothing to lose but everything to gain. If you fail, you’ll become smarter; If you succeed, you’ll gain even more confidence along with the emotional and financial rewards to celebrate.”

Sam Riley, Salesforce Administrator “Don’t be afraid to ask others for help! It’s not a sign of weakness to ask others, rather it’s a sign of strength as not only can you enable others to give you a different perspective on your problem, but you can also utilise the many talents others have to better build your own.”

Stephen Watts, Director – Head of Built Environment Sector “Stay close to, be open with and value the relationships with your closest friends and family; you will need this support network at some point in your life. Be clear on what you want out of life and go and get it. Back yourself, don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do. Treat people how you would like to be treated yourself.”

Stuart Bentley, Innovation Tax Reliefs Operations Manager “Don’t try so hard to fit in. Embrace your differences and become comfortable with who you are much earlier in your life.”

Tom Dymond, Director – Head of Property “Do more things, party harder, you can pay the bills when you are older!!”

Tony Watts, Tax Manager “If I could give advice to my younger-self it would be to spend more time learning about me and focusing on my strengths rather than managing weaknesses.”

Vasu Majumdar, Senior Advisor – Corporate Finance – Creative Industries “One of the core values that my parents instilled in me is to respect women. It sounds basic and normal behaviour to adopt in a civic society but unfortunately, there is still a lot to do and as men, we should cultivate that in our day to day. I remember this value was tested in my younger self, when I managed large tea plantations in Northeast India where circa 70% of the workforce were women. The labour laws were archaic (I believe they were set by the British during Raj and then perfected by the Indian bureaucracy….), often exploited by trade union leaders that were men. I could have taken the easier path of pacifying the union leaders, instead chose not to and took somewhat the harder path of working with the women folk and we initiated a Mother’s Club (cooperative) which brought in a change in improving worker relations but importantly the productivity of the tea estate improved, the morale improved, and we had a few more smiling faces. Moral of the story being, always respect women.”

Vic Ulfik, Head of Innovation Tax Relief “Having regrets is a waste of time, the only point in looking back for me is to make sure that I take some learning from it. If I had the privilege of talking to me as a (much) younger person, I’d say: “The toughest lesson is not going with the crowd, fitting in with your peers or following trends. The lesson to learn is to follow your passion, your heart and be your own person, the real you, not a composite of others or a follower of fashion but someone who doesn’t benchmark themselves. Not knowing is an excuse to find out and discover, there are many unknowns to us as individuals and also as a species, that’s the challenge in life…….finding out! Try new things, as many as you can, you’ll be a better person for it and make new friends and acquaintances along the way all of which will enrich your life and hopefully theirs…You have one chance, this isn’t a practice so use all your time, share your time with others and be yourself!”

Wesley Scott, Accounts Executive “As a man who has always lived without dwelling on what might have been, I wouldn’t provide my younger-self with any advice. I would simply tell myself to ‘carry on’. The mistakes and regrets we make on our journeys are part of what shapes who we become.”

Will Beresford, Associate Director – Property “Be true to yourself, do what you enjoy, and never worry about other people’s opinions.”

Will Mantle, Audit Executive “Always strive to be the best you can be. In and out of school I often just accepted being okay at things and just getting by, this way I was never highlighted as a high or low achiever and could blend into the background as I was shy. I regret not pushing myself to be at the top of anything and therefore think I didn’t reach the best of my ability.”



To find out more about International Men’s Day and this year’s theme, visit their website here today.