Saturday, 16 November 2013

I'm a strong believer that in order to be aspirational in life, you need a healthy dose of passion.

One of the things that initially attracted me to Rich was his incredible enthusiasm for his career. This enthusiasm (coupled with a whole heap of talent, and much to my annoyance, his willingness to work every hour under the sun/moon to get the job done) has given him a huge amount of success - he has worked his way up from runner to producer for Al Jazeera Sport, the most widely watched sport channel in the world. This career and both of our aspirations for life are, after all, what brought us here to Doha. 

I fulfilled one of my own career aspirations this week by getting the opportunity to meet with some of the people developing the Corporate Social Responsibility ambitions of the 2022 World Cup at the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee. After a good conversation on Thursday, Rich and I went out for supper to discuss.

For someone like me with a passion for social responsibility, sustainability, ethics and human rights, it is a really exciting time to be in Qatar. Yes, the press has highlighted some serious problems that need to be rectified regarding worker's rights and working conditions, but these issues are being taken incredibly seriously out here, and shouldn't detract from all of the good developments that are taking place. 
The investment and development ambitions of this country are currently unparalleled anywhere else in the world. For any other geeks out there like me that would like to find out a bit more, have a read of the Qatar 2022 Strategic Plan:

Winning the World Cup bid for 2022 has meant that sport has become a conduit for fulfilling Qatar's high development aspirations. With this in mind, Rich and I headed to the Aspire for Sport conference today, for a day of filming for Al Jazeera Sport with the fabulous Sarah Stone, Mayur Bhanji and Luis Costa.

I got to watch Sarah doing what she does best

Before heading over to the press launch of the new Al Wakrah stadium. Just look at this beauty!

The design is based on the traditional Dhow boats which were historically used for Pearl diving, and it utilises state of the art cooling technology to maintain temperatures of 26 degrees at all times. Best of all, the developers have noted the importance of  the area's legacy, and the complex includes schools and sports facilities for community groups.

Afterwards, we walked over to the exhibits in the main hall where we bumped into this talented guy who was literally dancing while keeping a football in the air.

But when offered the ball, Rich gave him a good run for his money...ish...

Later in the day, we got to listen to two British sporting heroes talk about what helped them to reach their aspirations.

For Alan Shearer, it was a lack of fear. He discussed the feeling of excitement and wanting to do well for the fans before big matches, and how that excelled him to achieve. For Lennox Lewis, it was sheer determination. According to him, being a good boxer is 30% skill and 70% mentality - so simply believing you can achieve holds far greater weight on whether you win or lose than your talent alone. 

We must not forget that diet is also important. Alan prepared for matches by eating chicken and beans, and before his fights, Lennox loaded up with plain old spaghetti. This is all you need folks, you heard it here first.

When they had finished, Rich swooped in to grab his old mate Alan for a quick interview with the gorgeous Miss Stone.

It was a long but very fun day getting to see a bit of behind the scenes action with the Al Jazeera gang.

Thinking back on everything I've seen and heard today, maybe a bit more than passion is needed in order to fulfil our aspirations. We also need an ounce or two of courage.

My courage is going to be massively tested tomorrow as I am taking on Lord Byles in a tennis match, having not played for a very long time. Wish me luck, I will let you know how it goes!