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What's in a Name?


“Scrawny Monkey”, Nameless, Anna-Marie, Anna, YaYa, George,

A-M, Louisa...

I've collected a variety of names over my lifetime.

For the record I (apparently) resembled a scrawny monkey, when born nearly two months premature during the famous political “Winter of Discontent” when Newcastle entirely ground to a halt with 70cm of snow. The name debate between my parents lasted a while (hence “Nameless”) until “Anna-Marie” trumped “Laura” to the post. This decision was based on the 1950s song “Anna-Marie” by the Country pop artist Jim Reeves that my father used to strum on his guitar and aptly starts “Tonight while the snowflakes are falling”.

In Kindergarten “Anna” was clearly far easier to learn to write than the full blown “Anna-Marie”, my younger brother adopted the phrase “YaYa” that still evades any form of comprehension, “George” was the Lake District Tom boy persona derived from classic Enid Blyton novels. Later “A-M” appeared as the compulsory abbreviated military nickname, then finally “Louisa” emerged to describe the antics of my alcoholic induced evil alter-ego twin sister in an attempt to disassociate any form of responsibility.

The initiation process of receiving a name either at birth or during our formative years is completely beyond our control yet gives us a “sense of personal identity and uniqueness” (Deluzain, 1996). Ultimately one word or two words (or in the special case of my nephew, five) plays a “crucial factor in developing…sense of self” (Hedrick, 2013) and shapes the future path of each 130 million plus babies that are born annually. Each name described above has been processed and reprocessed mentally with direct influence on my internal personal narrative that in turn impacts perceptions, verbal and non-verbal communication and decisions.

From a business perspective the “power of a name in branding a company” (Bickle, 2010) is universally acknowledged with over $550 billion spent globally on marketing budgets every year. Reach for More. was inspired from working alongside two innovative companies; the London-based event company “Threshold Sports” headed by James Cracknell whose strap line advocates “More is in You" and "Reach to Change" an entrepreneurial coaching company in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia whose mission is to spread the coaching message to the Saudi population.

A quick Oxford Dictionary search reinforces this message:

Reach: “succeed in achieving, influencing or having an effect on”.

More: “larger, extra number or amount”.

I strive to emulate the Reach for More. philosophy these three words evoke in my business, endurance racing and personal life from a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Reach for More. is literally an internal mantra to challenge myself on a daily basis; whilst brain storming future business development goals, crossing the threshold to meet an important client or pushing physical boundaries whilst racing. These mental constructs trigger physiological changes and generate an optimistic emotional state to support peak performance and optimise potential.

Note. If you’ve not encountered Amy Cutty’s TED Talk before watch it now.

From a personal or business approach take a moment to think:

What image does your name present to the world?

How does your name shape your world?

What historical narratives have you created from each word?

Where will your name take you?


1. Summer holidays in Scotland (1980)

2. Holidays in the Great Outdoors with David my younger brother.

3. First ascent of Helvellyn on August Bank Holiday (1983).


Bickle, M. (2010). The Power of a Name: Branding Your Company for the Future. [ONLINE] Available at: Accessed 04 May 16.

Deluzain, H. E. (1996). Names and Personal Identity. [ONLINE] Available at: Accessed 19 Dec 15.

Hedrick, M. (2013). How our Names Shape our Identity. [ONLINE] Available at: Accessed 19 Dec 15.

The World Counts. How many babies are born a day? [ONLINE] Available at: Accessed 06 May 16.

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