29th February 2020 mean this is a leap year. Is it your time to leap in your job, career or life? 2020 was my year to leap and having recently read “When to Jump” by Mike Lewis (no relation) it is a great time to reflect on why, how and when you should consider leaping next.

I tend to write articles around periods of major reflection and change and on topics that I am passionate about. In this instance 2020 marks a career watershed for me and maybe many others, in that I have chosen to leave the profession I joined over 20 years ago and embark on a career leap. Approaching any milestone birthday or anniversary we often look back on where we have come from, what we have achieved, where we have succeeded and failed and what we have learnt along the way. All of this contributes to Why, How and When you should review your life and career trajectory and consider leaping yourself. You may recognize that we often work in cycles. For example mine is a 5 year cycle. When its been my decision I have moved role every 5 years. 1999, 2004, 2009/10 and then 2019/20.

Following 20 years of studying, hiring and developing leaders around the world I have amassed a lot of hard and soft data concerning what makes, people, leaders and organisations function and what makes people leave join and them. At the last count I had hired for over 200 leading global organisations, interviewed over 10,000 people, (5,000 at executive and leaderships level) and provided over 1,000 hours of 1-2-1 Executive coaching to senior executives seeking a change in career direction or trajectory.

Twenty years ago, I was a DINKY. (Double Income, No Kids) newly married and living in London. I was 6 years into my career and climbing the corporate ladder and I leaped for the first time. In the past 20 years I have moved continent, had two children (now both adults), moved jobs 5 times and moved home 6 times. You can move home, change situation, job and location quite easily and we adapt and grow, however it would be foolish to not recognize that with each leap you change too. We are born to leap and each leap generally changes you for the better, you grow and develop. Now at 49 and entering a new decade and era of work/life I look at the world very differently and have questioned numerous people on their life and work decision and what has informed and influenced their leaps.

So here is my quick summary of 20 pieces of the collective advice over the past 20 years that you may want to consider in terms of making a leap forward in the areas of CAREER, LEADERSHIP, LIFE, and HEATH. If you look at your life through the following lenses hopefully it will help guide you to make the best decisions before your next leap.


  • Its Just a Job – What seems important and stressful today will not be in a year
  • Relationships are critical – People buy People (period)
  • Moving country gives you a perspective no one else has
  • You may compromise standards but values and morals are non-negotiable
  • Never stop learning – Invest in yourself, because no one else is going to


  • People join companies and leave managers
  • Leadership is a contact sport – so not everyone can or should
  • Change is hard – if you DON’T they WON’T
  • Inspire first – Win hearts before minds
  • EQ, and then CQ over IQ every-time


  • Its not what you SAY or DO, its how you make people FEEL
  • Purpose and your WHY is more important that the WHAT or HOW
  • Enjoy your kids, they grow up fast, enjoy your parents, they are a long time gone
  • Work/Life Balance – Choose Life
  • Spend more times with your Family, Partner and Friends


  • Do not kill yourself for a job that would replace you in a heartbeat
  • What does not kill you MAY make you stronger – if you survive
  • Health is Wealth, Happiness is Success
  • Mental Health is as important as Physical Health
  • Stress is a killer


  • Matt Lewis

    Headhunter, Executive Leadership and Health Coach, Writer, Brain Changer, Adviser.

    Matthew is a senior executive search, leadership and executive coaching professional with over 24 year’s global expertise in identifying, assessing and coaching talent and senior level executives. He has hired senior executives in 45 countries across the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific for the world’s leading companies. Since 2010 he has been Partner for the Middle East and Africa with Boyden, the world’s oldest and largest private executive search firm, founded in 1946 with over 70 offices in 40 countries. Matthew has conducted over 500 Global Searches, interviewed over 6000 global C level senior executives, conducting over 200 hours a year of executive coaching and assessment of executives, boards and their performance. In 2009 he founded Alchemy Executive, an emerging markets focused Executive Coaching business works with leading regional companies and exceptional individuals across MEA. In 2015 he Co-founded N3 Executive Coaching. N3 delivers Neuroscience based, academically accredited coaching to executives, corporates, MBA schools and students across the EMEA region. Matthew is currently conducting his PhD research in the field of Neuroscience and its impact and effectiveness Executive and Health Coaching whilst also writing his first book, focused on the field of Employee Engagement, Motivation, and Corporate and Personal Performance. He is a member of the AESC (Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants), a member of the ICF (International Coaching Federation) and the Capital Club, Dubai. Matthew serves as a Non-Executive Director and Committee Member of the British Business Group, Dubai and Northern Emirates. He is also a volunteer, Coach and Mentor to Reach, the leading Women in Business, Not for Profit mentoring organization in the Middle East. Matthew is a regular speaker at various MBA Schools including INSEAD and London Business School where is he is also an EMBA coach. He is a regular media contributor and commentator in the MEA region on talent, succession planning, leadership, regional dynamics, cultural awareness and nationalization. Matthew graduated with a BSc (Hons) in the UK and has lived and worked in London, UK, Hong Kong and since 2007 in the Middle East and Africa based from Dubai, UAE