Go The Extra Mile – By @SCA2Dean


By Marc Lewis



Go The Extra Mile


Walking home this evening, I reflected on the bollocking that I had just dished out to my students. Their second of the day from me.


Poor students, yesterday, they also received a bollocking from two of my former students, who now work at a top agency.


This evening’s bollocking didn’t just come from me. There were five mentors in the room who all felt the same.


This intake is capable of much more.


I should mention that we have ten weeks left to go, and that experience tells us that students always start to blossom in May. One of the mentors that gave a bollocking this evening was an ECD at a top agency, and he told the students that 40% of the portfolios we inspected were good enough to warrant a second meeting.


I have every confidence that every team will leave SCA with a good book by Portfolio Day, but I want to smash our record at Cream. For that, we need great books. If our Cannes Future Lions entries are a benchmark, we can feel confident that we have the talent in our intake to do very well.


But we are not going the extra mile.


This doesn’t mean that my students don’t want to reach their potential, simply that they haven’t worked out how to give themselves the best chance of reaching it, or that they have forgotten the master class on Positive & Negative Change Curves that they had at the start of the course.


I’m going swimming tomorrow morning, and I’m looking forward to a bank holiday weekend, so that I can go again on Monday morning. Whilst walking home, reflecting on where my students are in their rollercoaster ride at SCA, it occurred to me that I hadn’t been for a while.  I’m certainly no athlete, I would probably be out of my depths competing with seniors thirty years older than me, but I take swimming seriously by setting myself challenges and goals.


I’m not going to labour this post with lots of explanations as to how each of the 9 suggestions below are connected to my swimming regime, but you can apply them to anything.



Are We Nearly There Yet?


I can track swims with two apps on my mobile. One can take measurements recorded by my smart-watch, the other from a fitness device called Moov.  I think that it is a design-flaw that you have to manually turn the screen off on the watch during swims.  It would be better if you had to turn it on to get snapshots of data.


I don’t want to countdown the laps or the seconds when I’m swimming.  I want to push myself as far as I can go and then look at the data.


I want to see the data when I am out of the pool. My Moov syncs with my phone whilst I am getting dressed, so that I leave the gym knowing how I did.


  • Be honest with yourself, set yourself realistic goals
  • Recommit to those goals, or be honest about new ones, every time you dive in to work.
  • Welcome feedback, but don’t rely on it.


Plan your energy.


Much earlier in the post, I referred to the thought of a Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday routine.  It means that I can swim twice this weekend, and plan a rest day. I’ve learned that I do better when I have rest days between swims.


  • Notice what times of day are more productive for you, and for the diversity of tasks that you need to do at your peak performance.
  • Accept that our body and our mind both need time to rest and reset, and that working without regular breaks is the most likely route to a breakdown.
  • If you ever decide to work on something through the night, perhaps because you are excited by where an idea is going, then allow time later to recover either by resting or doing the easy stuff.



Make it fun. You know your sweet-spots.


Swimming is the only exercise I enjoy other than yoga, and I don’t like fast-paced yoga.


Broadly, I set most of my goals around school terms, and swimming is no different, but I set myself a challenge every time I get into the pool – to do such and such lengths, or to beat lap times.


  • Start each day with a list of the things that you need to do. Have a sense of the one or two most important things on that list. Try to focus on different things, and always look to mix things up.
  • Reward yourself every day, so long as you can swear that you hit your goals and that you went the extra mile on the important things.
  • Bigger, longer term goals deserve bigger rewards. But they need to be tangible goals.


This was a long post, even by my standards.  It could have been written in a tweet.


But now you’ve got an image of me in swimming trunks to haunt you over the bank holiday weekend.



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