23 November 2014
I often wonder why certain people in life are seemingly addicted to the climb, driven by some invisible furnace to do more, to achieve more; to reach the summit of a never ending mountain, whilst others are not. Where does this fuel come from?
I would argue it comes from having a purpose. It’s something I often talk about when it comes to business, as purpose is the cornerstone of any successful enterprise. Jim Collins describes it as a goal you cannot hit. It might sound like a pointless endeavour on the surface – why would you set yourself an impossible task – yet it is actually far from it. In my experience, it’s absolutely essential, not just for businesses, but for us as individuals and as a society.
A purpose, no matter how unattainable, keeps us focussed on the bigger picture and the future, rather than getting bogged down in the daily grind. I remember in the earlier years of UKFast, getting someone in from the army who really struggled with this, as he’d worked somewhere where purpose was a complete waste of time; it was all about missions, tasks that needed to be completed. Don’t get me wrong, these are important things to have in business, but the kinds of businesses Jim Collins talked about have something else. They have an underlying reason. It’s what makes a self-propelling business that just keeps going and going, breaking boundaries.
Having a goal you can’t hit means you never settle and I think this can only be a good thing. You can die trying, but you’ll never achieve a purpose. It’s why we exist.
Personally, I am so far from being the finished article, and that’s why I can never stop the forward momentum. I’ve never analysed it or written it down, but there is obviously something burning deep inside. I’ve always been an energetic person and I’ve always had big goals, but I wasn’t always successful.
I think I was just lucky enough to have my near death experience where I was resuscitated and given a second chance. That demonstrated to me how important every second of every day actually is, when the lights went out and I suffocated to death, all the while very conscious that it was game over. It was like pulling the plug out of an arcade machine. Looking back, I feel lucky to have been given a lesson like that. It was a reminder that I was put on this planet to make a difference, and I couldn’t squander that anymore.
When you think about it, in life you’re either adding positivity or you’re adding negativity. Nothing is neutral. Every day I want to make an improvement. Whether I’m spending time with my children, walking them to school in the morning or making people laugh, breaking up the monotony of every day by making things fun, I want to be making a difference.
When you stop pedalling, you run out of steam. So the real question is where you could have got to if you hadn’t lost that momentum. If I could go back to when I was eight, before the avalanche, and understand what I do now, things would be very different. It’s a shame they’re not teaching this in school because if I’d realized, I could have made a much bigger influence on the world, been a much better person, and done a lot more a lot quicker. That being said, there’s no merit in looking to the past as it distracts you from the present moment and the potential of the future.
If you were to ask me what my purpose is in life, I think I’d have to say it’s making people happy. I get an incredible amount of joy from that and I’m doing it the only way I know how, and that’s by creating experiences and businesses, and being able to help people, whether it’s through charity or simply helping people within our own team when they need advice or a shoulder to cry on. I’m a dad to about 250 people and beyond, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.