Episode 10 – Graeme Silvera’s life lessons from a 13,000 km bicycle journey

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Graeme Silvera is the author of ‘Talewinds: A coming of age memoir of a 13000 km journey by bicycle through Europe, North Africa and the Middle East’. He also happens to have a diverse 30 year career in real estate. That career spans a wide range of experience in virtually all aspects of the industry including residential single and multi family, industrial, institutional, retail, office and public private partnerships.
We speak about the life lessons he learnt from the journey taken 33 years back, and how those lessons helped him create success and overcome setbacks. Some of those lessons would resonate with leaders, executives and entrepreneurs irrespective of their stage of life.

Graeme Silvera is the author of ‘Talewinds: A coming of age memoir of a 13000 km journey by bicycle through Europe, North Africa and the Middle East’. He also happens to have a diverse 30 year career in real estate. That career spans a wide range of experience in virtually all aspects of the industry including residential single and multi family, industrial, institutional, retail, office and public private partnerships. We speak about the life lessons he learnt from the journey taken 33 years back, and how those lessons helped him create success and overcome setbacks. His journey started from London, United Kingdom and ended in Tel Aviv, Israel. As per Graeme, he has been to places ‘google maps’ hasn’t been! The book writing project took him 6 hours a day for 3-consecutive months.

Some of those lessons would resonate with leaders, executives and entrepreneurs irrespective of their stage of life.

Some highlights from this conversation:

  • You can’t change the surroundings. But the attitude you can: Graeme has 10 powerful life lessons at the end of his book, drawn from the experience of the journey itself. His favorite is when while cycling against strong winds the 4 of them could not move forward. 2 of them were laughing about it, while 2 others were serious and stressed out. Graeme applied this in career building by ignoring the surroundings and short term trends, and instead remained focused on the long term career objective. This made his professional journey less stressful and more enjoyable. More recently, this lesson helped Graeme lose 15 pounds! Listen to the episode to learn how.
  • Learning to let go and preparing for the unexpected: The bike journey had multiple setbacks. For instance, the bike got stolen, unexpected weather. Graeme fondly recalls these instances and shares how this helped him learn early in life to let go, what’s not in his control. A powerful lesson in itself, he combines this with another one that is about being prepared for the unexpected. The Covid-19 pandemic wouldn’t have been predicted by most of us. Yet, the mindset during this tough time – of letting go and accepting the impact, has been helpful in professional and personal life. That mindset has helped in bouncing back (or being resilient) and moving on to a different life.
  • Meditation by walking: Like many people, Graeme is fond of mindfulness and developing it as a habit. His favorite method is walking. He walks, and during his walks he pays attention to surroundings in a mindful way. That also helps him in letting go of other thoughts, and as a result strengthen the mental model for decision making. He aspires to do walking meetings, a method tried by few other organisations in the past.
  • Authentic Relationships by trusting others: Graeme, like many of us, benefitted from the mentorship of many professionals in his life. He credits his ability of building authentic relationships to a belief that he developed during his bicycle journey where he met a diverse group of people across races, religions and regions. That belief is to trust people he meets as good and honest to the core, and who share a common curiosity and humanity. That mindset made him curious and genuinely interested in others’ lives. In the journey, Graeme was tested on this belief as he also met a lot of people who took advantage of his naivety. However, those experiences helped him become pragmatic about how to apply this belief well.
  • Dealing with career setbacks to build character: A wise man gave Graeme a lesson during his journey that helped him deal with career setbacks (including a recent un-hiring he experienced). Graeme believes that at the end of his life’s journey, he would be reflecting on the moments that life didn’t go as planned. And as a result, he took a ‘wrong turn’ leading to some amazing views and experiences he had not planned for. Each career setback for him has led to such wrong turns, experiences that were not planned, memories that enrich his collection and a stronger personal character

Listen to the podcast to learn about the advice Graeme would give to a 10-years younger self, to live an even more fulfilling life early on – again, drawn from the journey taken 33 years back. We also follow that up with a question about his best investment in recent times for his well-being. To learn more about Graeme Silvera, the work he does and the book he has authored, please refer to the links below.

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