Speaker Insight Series - Brian Forrester

Brian Forrester, Partner, Investment Management leader at Deloitte Ireland

Ahead of Brian delivering his keynote speech next week he's sent through his thoughts for the fourth post in our 2019 Speaker Insight Series. We’ve borrowed the format from Tim Ferriss’s book ‘Tribe of Mentors’. You can read about the book here and buy it directly here.

Throughout the book, Tim poses 11 questions to his interviewees with the request to respond to 3 to 5 questions.. or more, if the spirit moves them. See Brian's answers below:

In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?

I decided to do 'Dry January' in January 2018 and felt better at the end of it so decided to keep going. A year later I’m still “dry” and coupled with a bit of exercise I’d say 95% of my life is better as a result. (The 5% that’s not better generally happens in the pub after 10pm but you feel 95% better the next morning..). I didn’t plan to stay off alcohol this long and I’m not sure how long I’ll keep it going but it’s working for now.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?

My recommendation would be not to ignore any advice but to be careful which advice you follow. In my experience most advice that is given is well intentioned and it may well have worked well for the person giving it, but that doesn’t mean it will work well for you. So take it all in but be selective about what you choose to follow.

In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?

I go to less networking events than I used to. I know this flies in the face of most advice which is to continuously grow and develop your network, but it’s also important that you give your teams the opportunity to do the same. So now I go to less events but I ask more junior members of the team to attend instead.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)

It’s easy to tell when I’m struggling by looking at the size of my inbox! If I’m on top of things it’s small and e-mails get dealt with promptly but when I’m under pressure things can sit unanswered for longer. As the e-mails build up so does the feeling that there’s something lurking in there that’s important. So from time to time I shut myself away and just clear through the e-mails (sort them by sender not date it’s much easier to go through them that way..). Knowing there’s nothing lurking in there (or dealing with anything that was..) definitely helps clear my mind.

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