How Monty Python’s ‘Lumberjack Song’ could save your sanity

Life changing business moves from three Irish entrepreneurs

Changing direction could save your sanity

If you are an aficionado of classic comedy, you’ll know one of Monty Python’s best known characters and songs, The Lumberjack Song. This is a song about ‘the average man, not content with his current work and wants to be….a lumberjack. Nowadays, on That Great Business Show we celebrate those brave enough to take the plunge, sometimes to start their own businesses, other times to make that career #Pivot that we love so much.

It’s obvious

Amongst those we’ve spoken to who have made a complete change to their lives include Mary Jones, a career nurse running her own department in one of Ireland’s top hospitals. However, she saw a need, got the itch and couldn’t rest until she had set up her own business Mobile Medical Diagnostics bringing scanners to patients in care homes rather than dragging those patients out of their safe and comfortable environments for hours, with scans showing in 85% of cases that bones or whatever weren’t broken.

Mary Jones Mobile Medical Diagnostics

Covid pushed Lynda Coogan, founder of ‘A Class of Wine’ to set up her business after lockdown restrictions brought on a big slowdown in the wine shop where she used to work. Down, but not out, she brought her business online and will now drink and discuss wines with clients anywhere in the world, for a fee of course! A fabulous pivot.

Lynda Coogan That Great Business Show guest "A Class of Wine"


But we think that entrepreneur Toni Wall went that one step further, putting one foot in the grave, literally. Her business Wall2Wall PR, one of Ireland’s busiest and best-known event organisers, hit their own wall when Covid shut down the hospitality industry. Never one to rest on her laurels she, by absolute chance, met a friend from Massey Brothers undertakers (or funeral directors as some call it)

Intrigued by the similarities between event management and funerals (Irish wakes/funerals are very close to parties, though a little sad) she saw that she too could pivot her career, something she has done with absolute relish.

Toni Wall Massey Brothers on That Great Business Show

The ever-practical TeamGBS co-host Jamie Heaslip was quick to recite the old adage that the only certainties in life are death and taxes and that Covid or no-Covid that Toni could be on to a good thing. Toni had already twigged that one and that’s why she ‘embalmed’ her old business (she may bring it back to life) and she is now a fully-fledged funeral director. She loves, loves, loves, and in uncertain times the certainty of a wage at the end of the month has brought her back to life. So, if you’re business is dying sometimes it’s wise to bury it and to seek a rebirth elsewhere.

Hard decisions

And this is where your own sanity comes into play. Sometimes, especially nowadays, some hard decisions have to be taken. Businesses regularly run dry. They stop giving. They’re in the wrong sector at the wrong time. Business owners wish that things would be, or could be, different. However, tough decisions have to be taken.

A bleeding business is literally a drain – on resources, on emotions and on options. I mention ‘options’ because those in love with their failing businesses often can’t let go. It’s just too painful. They have invested too much blood, sweat and tears in growing and nurturing their ‘baby’. They can’t believe it’s not going to grow up to be a big, healthy success.

An independent perspective

That’s the time to call in the mentor or a word I borrow from Japanese martial arts, a sensei. Loosely translated this means ‘a person who has gone before’ or ‘a person who has trodden the path ahead of you’. A good mentor is worth his or her weight in gold. Time after time on That Great Business Show you’ll hear successful entrepreneurs reference Mary or John, and sometimes a number of Marys and Johns, without whose advice that a business couldn’t / wouldn’t have been successful.

And that’s when things are going well. But a good mentor will also take you by the proverbial hand when things are looking poorly and hopefully give you sage advice. Sometimes you just have to let go. This means endless nights of worrying and stressing about unpaid bills, employees with nowhere to go and of course, centrally, the feeling of failure that is mostly in the entrepreneur’s own head.

Jamie Heaslip That Great Business Show co-host

The first cut is the deepest

Stockbroking terminology is littered with lots and lots of mostly useless homespun phrases posing as deep market wisdom like ‘Sell in May and go away’. In my own days stockbroking one or two did stand out as being of some use. I especially liked ‘The first cut is the cheapest’. When an investment went wrong, caused by some unexpected market turn, then instead of holding on, and on, and on…it was wise to sell, or to cut the position. If the market has turned on you, and it had come as a surprise, you have therefore got it wrong. Own it, sell it (or cut it) and try again at another time.

The good news is that TeamGBS is your every week sensei. We’re here to help you through the poo, and more than happy to celebrate success. Download us every week.

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