13 April 2014

Fifteen years ago this week, I met Gail in a bar named Via Vita. Looking back, it’s hard to comprehend the many different avenues my life could have taken if I hadn’t felt like going out that evening or if Gail’s friend had rung her up and cancelled their plans, or if a million other possible decisions, events and emotions had combined to take both of our paths in different directions…

People give me a lot of credit as an entrepreneur, but I can put my hand on my heart and say I couldn’t have done it without Gail and the balance we have between us. While I’m often easily frustrated, she is patient and looks at things rationally. Without being able to bounce ideas off each other over countless cups of super strong coffee, I’m not sure UKFast would be as successful as it is. She’s certainly had to wade in and save the day before, cleaning up the messes I’ve created during the company’s lifetime. When I met Gail, I met my match. I don’t know how she puts up with me but somehow she does!

So my question today is how much of our success is down to luck? I’ve often said that much of success is down to belief, to perseverance and to continually adapting and learning to improve each day. I still stand by that, and I think you can see these elements when you look at the journeys of most great entrepreneurs, athletes and inventors, but I’ve been wondering whether there is also an element of luck at play. Or perhaps it’s chance.

Consider the moment when Rolls met Royce at the Midland Hotel all those years ago. It was a moment in time that would trigger a series of events leading to the creation of what is arguably the most prestigious car brand in the world. I suppose chance encounters in life are what some people refer to as the butterfly effect; the idea that a single action, no matter how small, can change the world and the course of history.

Do I believe in fate? It’s a difficult question. I believe that you get what you focus on in life, but when I think of that night, fifteen years ago, a part of me wonders whether, every now and then, life throws something unexpected your way – a chance, a gift – that, if you’re paying enough attention, you’ll notice and grab with both hands. What do you think? How much of a role does luck play in your life?

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