I’ve lost two special friends over the last couple of weeks.

Don’t worry, this message isn’t going to be morbid, but there is something I would like you to do.

One dear friend, Jack, I saw just a few weeks ago.

His health was deteriorating, but we still managed to have a wonderful evening, full of brilliant banter and cheer.

And we took a photograph.

Four of us. Old friends, enjoying good times.

The other, Ray, I hadn’t seen for a few years.

It would be easy to blame pandemics and lockdowns, but the truth is I kept meaning to connect – but just… didn’t.

There’s an extra sense of loss.

It was Ray’s funeral yesterday. The perfect send-off with lots of friends and family.

How I wished I’d seen Ray.


On the 17th in TEAM17 we had our monthly meeting.

The theme was reconnection.

I asked members to reconnect.

And not necessarily with a person.

I asked if they could reconnect with many things; from a lost goal to a hobby, what was it about your job that made you excited in the first place, or something you were passionate about that faded.

As always TEAM17 have embraced the challenge and over the last week I’ve seen members reconnecting in the most extraordinary ways.

My challenge to you this week is to reconnect.

Contact an old friend, listen to music that meant something, reconnect with your partner, a family member, your faith, your friends.

It doesn’t matter, who or what, if you’ve read this far, you know what you need to do. And if you want, please share your reconnecting stories below. I’d love to read them.

Be Brilliant!

PS Thank you to everyone who bought a copy of the special edition of 17 blue. It’s now sold out. The (orange) paperback will be published on September 17th.


  1. August 24th 2023 by Cathy James

    I just wanted to take the opportunity to reconnect with you Michael. I can’t even recall which year we stood on stage together and you shared with our sales community how we could (and should!) be Brilliant but I know it was a life-changing moment for me. Your brilliance showed me how I could embrace my inner Awesomeness and helped send Dobby the House Elf (my helpful, caring, irritating Imposer Syndrome) back under the stairs in that moment. Thank you both.

    1. August 25th 2023 by Michael Heppell

      Lovely to hear from you Cathy. What a brilliant event! We loved working with you. Please let us know if there is anything I can do for you. Michael

  2. August 24th 2023 by Jo

    My mum, an only child, died suddenly at home in 2019 just before covid started. It was her wish. But dad and I weren’t prepared.
    The last GP who saw mum was on holiday and no one else would issue the death certificate. We waited in limbo for two weeks.
    The funeral was a disaster, handled by a boy who hadn’t a clue. I requested a cardboard coffin, covered in yellow flowers, mum’s favourite. The undertaker couldn’t source one, so we had to settle for a cottage garden one. But it was 5 feet 8. My mum was 5 feet tall! ‘It’ll be fine’ I was reassured. ‘We can pack it’. I hoped my mum was laughing and not crying.
    A month, yes a month after she died, her funeral happened and as she was shouldered by the pall bearers she rattled in this huge box. There was an audible gasp from the mourners.
    Dad and I got prepaid funeral plans after that awful experience, with a different undertaker!
    Sadly dad passed a year after mum. I think of a broken heart. His weight dropped to about 7 stone from 14 stone. They were married for 64 years. We often spoke about mum, and he cried a lot.
    Dad’s only surviving sister lives in Ashington in Northumberland. She has pulmonary fibrosis. An awful illness that my uncle and dad also had. It slowly suffocates you.
    My brother and I are going to visit our aunt in a couple of weeks.
    She would often holiday with us in Yorkshire. My dad would drive up to Northumberland after work on Thursday and she would stay for a couple of weeks, going home on the Sunday, my dad’s day off. My mum would often go up with him, for the ride.
    While she was here my mum a thoroughbred Yorkshire lass began to speak geordie!
    So I’m connecting with my aunt and cousins who due to the pandemic, me being vulnerable and the deaths of my folks, I’ve not seen in too long. And it’ll be nice to get back home for a bit. I was born in South Shields.

  3. August 24th 2023 by Marilyn Payne

    I’m going to reconnect through music. I’ve been avoiding playing any as it could upset me, due to two people not being here anymore. What’s the worst that can happen? I may get upset. So what? The music may even make me smile.

  4. August 25th 2023 by Nick Hudson

    Your missive on reconnecting pushed all my buttons… that innate need to reconnect with something or someone.

    I have been to two funerals in the last week, both the result of leukaemia.

    One lady, aged 72, was a close associate of the last 10 years through Slimming World and the other a 20-year-old sports mad, university student with the whole world still in front of him.

    His grandmother was my godmother and I have known the family all my life and yet in recent years have lost touch, except at Christmas.

    I will endeavour to try harder to find time to make contact with both families as life is short.

    No greater sin than putting off what needs to be done.

    Procrastination is the true thief of time (sounds like a book title).

    Best wishes Michael and thanks for keeping the faith in people like me, always seemingly on the fringes of How To Be Brilliant.

  5. August 27th 2023 by Jane Parsons

    I’ve reconnected with teenage grandchildren this week, and with a gang of friends of around 35 years ago. I would have given them all massive hugs if I hadn’t have developed a stinking cold and cough in the last 48 hours. So I’m waving at them through my motorhome window. It wasn’t quite the plan, but we’ve still reconnected in a different sort of way!

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