Entrepreneur David Hieatt speaks on the value of celebrating our failures — and how he is helping people reach their full potential with the ever-growing Do Lecture series.

How would you describe your work, and what does a typical day look like for you?

I am an entrepreneur. Not really through choice, but to be honest no one really would employ me. If they were sensible, that is. I often wonder what a typical day would look like. I think if you decide to be an entrepreneur, it is because you don’t want to ever have typical days. 

What I do have is a morning routine to get me ready for the day ahead. I do a combination of the following. A 7-minute workout which is the equivalent of 1 hour of exercise. I do 20-minute yoga exercise. Then I take the dogs for a walk, which includes three laps around the field. First, a lap to say thank you. Second, a lap to say what I am grateful for. Third, a lap to use my imagination; to see what the sound of the factory is like with 400 people working in it, to hear all the translators at our open day helping the audience understand what is being said, to see the wonder on people’s faces when we launch our new films. The imagination is a powerful tool. I use it to take us on our journey. 

After that, I do three sprints up the field. Then I try and have a cold shower. Then I have a bullet coffee, and I head down to the factory. Primed for the day. Whichever way it goes. 

You are at the helm of a diverse range of projects. How do you choose what to invest your time in, and how do you maintain drive and focus on simultaneous ventures?

Find something that makes you feel alive. If you do that you will never lose drive or focus. Yes, you need to get good at saying no to the non-essential. You have limited energy. Unlimited distractions. You need to find out what makes you excited, and do more of that. You need to work out what gives you energy and do more of that. A good rule of thumb is to remember this: Hustle is speed. Purpose is direction. And not to confuse the two.

"Hustle is speed. Purpose is direction."

Where did the idea for the Do Lectures come from and what was the process of establishing it?

I got a text from a friend (Tony Davidson) which read: 

Don’t just stand there, do something. Dick Dastardly. 

That started the conversation that night around the dinner between my wife Clare and I, which essentially became The Do Lectures.

What would you say has been key to the success and popularity of the Do Lectures?

It exists to help others reach their potential. The talks are raw, honest, and not trying to be perfect. I think that is why they cut through. In a world of perfection, it’s good to see some humans.

What are the biggest professional challenges you have faced?

I believe in the team. So, the challenge is always to get the team to understand that they can fly. When you start thinking of yourself as a coach rather than a boss, you begin to think about things differently. It is the job of the coach to provide a safe space for people to do the best work of their lives.

"The one thing I wish I had known was to learn to celebrate failure. Because your best work happens when you don't know what you are doing."

What is the best piece of professional advice you have received and what is one thing you wish you knew when you were starting out?

Choose your boss (coach) carefully. Who you learn from will be who you become. I was lucky. I joined Saatchi & Saatchi at 21. At the time, it was the most awarded agency in the world. My boss was Paul Arden. A true maverick. 

The one thing I wish I had known was to learn to celebrate failure. Because your best work happens when you don’t know what you are doing. Learn to love that feeling. Don’t lose that curiosity.

What do you hope to 'Do Well' next?

I want the Do to go and start 20 purpose-driven companies over the next ten years that need to exist in this world. Create that space for people to do the best work they have ever done. That would be a lot of fun. 


thedolectures.com / hiutdenim.co.uk

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