On a crisp January day in 2021, I found myself at the edge of the sea with two friends – and around 80 other people – waiting to take the plunge. As I emersed myself in the bitterly cold water, I was not only hit by a rush of adrenaline, but also a tremendous sense of euphoria. That moment sparked a change that positively impacted all areas of my life.

I did not show up to that first swim on a whim. The idea of sea swimming had been drip fed into my life for months prior to that day. I used to drive around the island’s coast roads, spotting sea swimmers along the way and would think they were mad. Then I started to see social media posts from friends who regularly sea swam, and even had a GP recommend it to me for the physical and mental health benefits.

As my interest piqued, I joined the Guernsey Swim All Seasons Facebook group – where I would eventually see the invite to join the January swim – and was welcomed into the community.

The group members were kind, helpful and non-judgmental. They would post tips for beginners, including recommending the (now infamous) Dry Robe, neoprene gloves and socks, woolly hats, and advice on how best to warm up after a cold-water swim.

Like anything, when you’re starting out it’s impossible to know exactly what you’re meant to be doing. If you have an interest in something, then undertaking research is essential; you cannot simply follow whatever pops up and take it as gospel. My first sea swim was the culmination of months of interest, research and building connections.

This education process came naturally to me; I have never been someone to jump in without carefully considering what I do. With sea swimming, rushing to jump in can, actually, be fatal. In business, jumping in without thinking about what may be impacted by the ripples, can also be dangerous and ill-advised.

Although I have always taken a considered approach to my work, sea swimming has allowed me the opportunity to pause, reflect and see things from a different perspective.

When you are submerged in water that barely creeps above 10C, the cold is all you can think about. It resets your mind, draws your focus, and grounds you. In Guernsey, we are incredibly fortunate that our office is across the road from the sea. Our flexible working, and dress for your day policies mean that if I am having a stressful day, or have a particularly challenging problem to solve, I can pop across the road, have a swim to clear my mind and then come back to my desk with my Dry Robe and flask of tea and focus clearly on the task at hand.

I have also found that sea swimming is an incredible way to build relationships with like-minded clients and intermediaries. I regularly travel for work and have been surprised by the number of people I meet globally – from London to the Middle East and South Africa – who are sea swimmers.

I have swum in Lake Como, Italy, with other professionals attending the Global Elite annual International Private Client Forum at Villa d’Este (held in November), and at the top of Victoria Falls in Zambia when I was on a business trip in South AfricaWhen visiting our Saffery office in Cayman, daily sunrise and sunset swims set me up to get a good day’s work done between.

As anyone who travels for work will know, you rarely have the time to appreciate where you are. By starting my day earlier, or finishing it later, to make time for a daily swim where possible, I can take in - and become one with - my surroundings.

In this frenetic world of constant emails and a need for everything to be done “now” (or, in some cases, “yesterday”), the ability to stop and think is a skill that professionals, in my view, should be working very purposefully to retain. I have found that “proficiency in pausing” and offering a fresh perspective is valued highly by family members in their trusted advisers.

When I am swimming, my worries wash away with the tide. I leave the water feeling lighter, energised, and ready to focus on the things that matter. What I get from the sea, is what I aspire to give to my clients.

The role of a trustee is not simply transactional. Alongside the assurance of technical expertise, individuals and families engage trustees – and other professional service providers – to relieve them of the stresses and burdens that are so often associated with extreme wealth and asset ownership. One of the most rewarding parts of my role is to allow my clients the freedom to follow their interests and enjoy their wealth, while ensuring that they have a voice on anything they wish to speak on. I am here to take my clients’ worries away.

A sense of freedom is something that you find very quickly with sea swimming. Shortly after I regularly started sea swimming, I reconnected with some of my closest school friends who were also keen swimmers. On days where the swell creates big waves, we find ourselves being tumbled, losing our hats, jumping around and giggling the way we did in childhood.

Being able to reconnect with the fun and games of childhood, and the feeling it gives you that you can tackle anything, is so important.

Shortly before the covid pandemic, Saffery made a big push towards a focus on mental health and wellbeing, and a healthy work/life balance, which looks different for everyone. I have always believed that effective leadership means leading by example. By taking the time to focus on my own health and wellbeing, I hope that I am demonstrating to my team that finding something you love – and making time for it – can be life changing.

In addition to the mental health benefits, sea swimming started a positive cycle for me where it kept me motivated to attend personal training sessions, which in turn kept me on track with a healthy diet and shifting weight which had slowly crept on over years of travel and networking.

I love making connections in all I do, and sea swimming has been no exception. I have been welcomed into a diverse and vibrant community, where everyone is accepted and supported. This environment is one which I would encourage everyone to embrace.

I have always strived to create an environment for my teams where no one is judged, particularly for mistakes. You need that ethos as a leader to enable your team to fulfil their potential. Getting things right allows us to celebrate what we have learned, but learning is often done through getting things wrong. It is how you handle the mistakes that shape how you grow.

When I reflect on my growth over the last three winters as an enthusiastic sea swimmer, I am continually reminded of my thought at the water edge on my first swim: “If I can do this, I can do anything”. If there’s something you would like to do, I whole-heartedly encourage you jump in and try (once you’ve done your research!).