Rowan Spazzoli

Strategist. Lecturer. Consultant

What do you prioritize?

As we get older, more and more things become demanding of our time.

Work. Family. Friends. Health. Studying. Holidays. Admin

We tend to say that we have less time available as we get older. And that’s true in a way, because much of your time is pre allocated to certain tasks.

But also, there is time that is available for us to allocate. And saying that we don’t have time for “X” or “Y” is simply saying that we don’t prioritize it.

If you prioritize your friendships, and set aside specific time for them, then you will see the friends more often. But if you would rather prioritize your relationship, that’s fine too.

We just need to realise that these aren’t automatic. There are more things that fill up our time, but we still have the autonomy to decide where to allocate it.


Image is of  a stand at the Hout Bay market 🙂

Blog: 325/365. Click here to read about my #365of25 journey
Song of the day: Shawn Mendes and Zedd - Lost of Japan Remix

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Undisclosed Desires

Over the past few months I’ve gotten better at speaking up for what I want. This might sound simple, but most people are bad at disclosing what they are desiring.

Examples of this might be emailing a supervisor for help, telling someone you’re attracted to them, asking a waiter for extra bread or getting a friend to take you to the airport.

The reason I’ve historically struggled with these things is that I try and predict what the other person will think, feel or say to my request. And, inadvertently, my prediction is that they’d be negatively impacted.

But in reality, this might not be the case. And if they can’t or don’t want to meet the request, they can also say no.

By speaking up, we release ourselves (and the other person) from our imagination.

And we either get what we want, or we don’t and can move on.


Image is of  Noordhoek, as seen from Chapman’s peak drive

Blog: 324/365. Click here to read about my #365of25 journey
Song of the day: Muse - Dig Down (Live Gospel Version)

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Bonus song of the day: Muse – Undisclosed Desires

My Webinar on Strategy with Global Changemakers

Ever wanted to hear me deliver a seminar?

If your answer is no… then…. um… that’s okay. My feelings aren’t hurt or anything.

But if your answer is yes, then you’re in luck!

On Thursday 11 October at 2pm CET (that’s 3pm in South Africa) I’ll be giving a webinar for Global Changemakers as part of their free webinar series. 

The topic for the webinar is  “Strategic Thinking: Solving Global Challenges” and will cover some of the most important strategy tools that I teach at the University of Cape Town, applied in a global development context.

If you’d like to sign up for it you can do so here (or here: 
https://goo.gl/forms/omq9CPiQ5Gr6sfXE3). You’ll be able to ask questions on the sign up or during the webinar itself (or you can email me at rspazzoli@gmail.com)

The direct link to the stream can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqrnhemvjHk

The webinar is free and open to anyone, anywhere. So you’re welcome to invite friends and family to join in.

A big thank you to Courtney and the team who have put this together. Details about Global Changemakers are below (and updates will be posted to their Facebook page).

See you next week!

About Global Changemakers

Global Changmakers is one of the world’s largest youth empowerment organisations headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland and represented in over 180 countries – from refugee camps in Europe to sprawling cities in Asia, indigenous communities in South America, islands in the Pacific and beyond – by 1000 of our ‘Global Changemakers’. These changemakers are young people who work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within their communities, countries, regions and across the world and whose work has benefited over 4 million people to date.

Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more updates and info on their work. 


Image is the information for the webinar 🙂

Blog: 323/365. Click here to read about my #365of25 journey
Song of the day: Man in the mirror - Michael Jackson

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Switching gears

My work style has always been one that thrives on deadlines. The kind where I have run out of time and am required to ramp up the speed rapidly in order to be done in time.

It means that I’m an expert at producing great work in a short period of time.

I once wrote an essay that got me invited to an international conference… in 3 hours.

The problem with ramping up at this pace is that it leads to rapid burnout and stalling. You get short bursts of speed and long periods of stagnation.

So over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to do things a little differently. I’ve been going alone steadily. In 1st gear.

It means that my work rate is slower. But I haven’t stalled completely in that time.

It’s a new pattern for me. I’m relearning that slow and steady often wins the race


Image is from the promenade yesterday evening 🙂

Blog: 305/365. Click here to read about my #365of25 journey
Song of the day: Don Diablo ft Arizona - Take her place

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Being your own boss

Being your own boss sounds like the dream. No one to tell you what to do. No one looking over your shoulder. No schedule to follow.

But being your own boss can be a nightmare. No one tells you what to do. No one looks over your shoulder. No schedule exists to follow.

You have to manage your own time. You have to be responsible for the work that you do (and don’t do). You have to manage your growth.

These are skills that take ages to develop. 

If you get it right, and learn to be a good boss, it’s great. But it’s not easy. We can be pretty bad bosses to ourselves


Image is from a film shoot on the promenade last week 🙂

Blog: 304/365. Click here to read about my #365of25 journey
Song of the day: The Middle - Zedd, Grey

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Engage or coast, the choice is yours

The course I teach on, Strategic Thinking, is designed in such a way that students have a choice. They can choose to coast through the course, and their general knowledge and intellect is likely to get them through.

But they can also choose to engage.

Engage with the lecturers, who have been in academia and in industry.

Engage with the guest lecturers, who include distinguished business people, entrepreneurs, politicians and academics.

Engage with the mentors and tutors, who have completed the course year before and are best equipped to help guide them.

There are also opportunities to start your own business, get venture capital, meet with consultants from a local professional services firm, and various assignments to engage you with the real world.

But do they engage?

The majority of the class will coast. They’re either not interested or are too worried about other courses in their degrees.

But there are some students who engage fully. And these students make it all worth it. For the teaching staff as well as for themselves

They come for consultations with the teaching team, and learn far more than the rest of the class. They’ll start business and gain significant experience while at university. Or they’ll make a connection that helps them find a career path or funding for their degree.

The ones who engage then often become part of the course ecosystem. They become tutors, mentors and lecturers. They continue learning about strategy, even when the course is done.

And to me, these people are the ones with the spark

They’re the ones that are going to succeed beyond their wildest dreams. And they’re the ones that are going to change the world.

So, whether you’re a student in my course or not, you need to decide:

Will you coast or will you engage?


Image is from our tutor dinner this evening 🙂

Blog: 302/365. Click here to read about my #365of25 journey

Song of the day: Black Coffee & David Guetta - Drive

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Give, give and give some more

Most of the vibrant friendships and experiences I’ve had in my life have started with giving unconditionally. Either by someone giving to me or vice versa.

For example, last year I was hosted in Switzerland for a few nights during the St Gallen Symposium. My hosts were warm and generous. They let me come a few days early. They took me around the city, showed me some of the best foods and spent a significant amount of time with me. The experience was phenomenal.

Next week, the same person arrives in Cape Town. And I can’t wait to give in return. She’ll be staying at our place and I plan on taking her all around the city. She’ll also be staying with my mom in Joburg.

We’ve spent less than 5 days together in total, but we’re really close. And it’s due to her being so generous

Giving makes you happy

Apart from the bonds that are formed and the chance to receive as well, giving actually makes you happier. A famous psychological study in Switzerland showed that people that gave away money rather than keep it were happier. Significantly so.

We might be predisposed to selfishness, either inherently or due to society. But it’s in giving that we find the most happiness


Image is from a little drive we went on this afternoon 🙂

Blog: 301/365. Click here to read about my #365of25 journey

Song of the day: Gryffin Elley Duhe- Tie me down

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Where do I start?

The question I get asked most often by students wanting to build a business, create a blog or embark on a new career path is:

Where do I start?

Any one of these things are daunting because of their enormity. A business can take a years to build. A blog involves putting your thoughts out into the world. And a new career path can be terrifying because you’ll be influenced by your choices for the rest of your life.

Looking at this, it’s easy to freeze up. There is no definitive starting point (or end point). There are no orientation classes. There is no one to really guide you.

I see two ways to break this deadlock. And they might come as a surprise:

  1. Don’t think too much about it. Don’t plan. This sounds counter intuitive, but trying to plan every move keeps you in a paralyzed state. Plus, because of the uncertainty your planning is likely to be wrong anyway. With my first business, we spent 8 months planning, and when we eventually launched we realized that our planning had been futile
  2. Do it right now. Thinking of a new career? Apply for a job in that career right now. Thinking of starting a logistics business? Go find a customer. Thinking of blogging? Write a post now and share it somewhere. You don’t need a website or to register your company. Do it now

As you do these two things you will begin to discover the areas you need to work on, the things you need to do. You’ll begin doing them. You’ll improve. You’ll build your dream.

And then you won’t even be thinking about the start anymore, because you’ll be right in it. 

What are you waiting for?


Image is from the day I decided to start the blog, my birthday last year 🙂

Blog: 300/365. Click here to read about my #365of25 journey

Song of the day: Seven Lions ft Fiora - Start again

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