14 February 2016
With Valentines falling today on a Sunday and a number of similar questions about advice for young entrepreneurs popping up over and over again, I thought today I should talk from the heart about why I do what I do and why it works.
The reoccurring question is about “what advice I’d give young entrepreneurs?” The answer always drifts back to the same thing, PASSION. But it’s not just advice that is solely for up-and-coming business people. I think this advice applies to everything and everyone.
Passion is an essential ingredient of success, whatever line of work or whatever your vocation, you will find peoples success levels are in direct proportion with their levels of passion.
Qualifications can be important, but they don’t guarantee success. I have met lots of well qualified people who never really achieve greatness and I have met many unqualified people who achieve extraordinary success.
If you think about it, whatever we do in life we always start as beginners. Mohammed Ali was once a novice when he first picked up a pair of boxing gloves. Chopin will have struggled when he first sat at a piano. None of us start life as experts.
We only become experts at something after years of toil and sacrifice.
This is why we are not all experts in countless fields, its because we give up long before we get to “expert status.”
Why? Because in life we are faced with decisions and choice. There is always something more fun than spending 8 hours a day practicing over and over again getting great at something. Temptation comes in many different forms and its easy to stray from the steeper, rockier path.
I love working with squash professional Laura Massaro. I’d met her years ago and asked her “do you not want to be World number 1?”
She was incredible, but she lacked something back then. I worked with her on two occasions, the first where I helped her on a rise to get to world number 2 and win the World Championships, something she’d never achieve.
I unfortunately got dumped for a “better man” someone technically qualified.
When I next met up with her a year or so later, she’d dropped down the rankings. But there were people in her team around her that weren’t as passionate about her outcome as she was. The result, she’d lost her way a little, but thats enough at the top of your game in a competitive sport to drop down the rankings and lose confidence.
So I went visit her and watch her train. My first question when she came off court was, “do you not want to be world number 1?”
I won’t elaborate too much as there is a book in there one day that I am sure we can write together and they are not just my secrets to give away.
But the outcome was simple, because my job was simple. She has the talent, the commitment, the belief, my role was just to help rekindle that passion that started her out on the journey all those years ago. No one was going to stand in her way of her destiny after all this hard work. The rest they say is history. Laura plays tonight in the final of Manchester’s British Championship and I will be talking with her before the match reminding her of this. It doesn’t matter where I am, or where she is, or what time of the night, nothing on this planet will stop me from being there for her. Its that passion she needs from her team as much as herself.
If you get a minute, go and watch Laura, she embodies passion, in her training, her commitment to what she does and doesn’t eat. I am privileged to know her and be a tiny part of her success.
If you removed the passion, there would be no trophies.
So why did I set up UKFast? I was a musician and loved music more than life itself.
Well sadly Passion doesn’t always pay the bill, so a word of caution it does not guarantee financial success. After 10 years struggling to make ends meet as a professional musician, I eventually closed the piano lid on an amazing era, realising that it was tough to make a decent living in.
Using the Jim Collins 3 circles principal, 18 years on its easy to understand why it never worked out.
The 3 questions;
Can I be the best at it? Yep!
Am I passion about it? Hell yea!
Is it financially the right thing to do? Definitely a big no!
Well it proved that Jim was right. 2 out of 3 just isn’t enough.
I needed a business that I loved but that also contributed to long term financial stability.
As luck world have it when trying to host a website called the Gallery.com I got the calling! I was handed all the necessary ingredients to turn my ideas into a passionate quest!
After receiving the worst customer service imaginable, where someone even tried to hijack my domain name, I had reason enough to get passionate about creating a business so other people didn’t fall foul of this unscrupulous company.
I have never liked bullies or arrogance and I chose to dedicate my business career creating a fair and affordable environment where people knew they had a trusted lifelong partner. It was extraordinarily naive and the odds were stacked massively against us, but when your desire is so great for something, your determination levels go through the roof. All reasoning and sense goes out of the window. I start doing 20 hour days, I lived, breathed what I did and so did everyone who joined me on my quest.
Building a great business that makes money, is just not inspiring or enough. But building a business that dedicates itself to ensuring everyone it connects with internally and externally one that provides the greatest experience on the planet with levels of care and attention unseen in any otter industry; now thats a vocation. When the people you are competing with are the same people that cheated you in the beginning, trust me, there is no amount of money or way on earth anyone is going to stop me!
Am I passionate about my work today? You ask anyone who knows me that question and I’d be interested to hear the answer. I believe I love what I do today even more than when were a tiny start up. I love the people I work with, our clients, what they do and how we help them connect with people all over the globe, in education, health, government, small businesses literally every industry. Its a huge responsibility and one I take great pride in.
I have many failings as an individual, but you can’t fault my passion for what I do.
So if you want to have increase your success levels in anything that you do, my advice is turn up the dial and start getting excited about making a bigger difference. It won’t happen overnight, but trust me, a year from now, you will look on this moment now and realise just how much further you have come.
It starts with simply trying harder, but do this across as many areas of your life as possible. Your love live, your work life, your family time, the sport you do, or don’t do enough of!
Making small improvements across many areas, will undoubtedly improve your overall results.
You want to get successful? You want to be even happier? Get passionate about the rings that matter and let nature do the rest.
My advice is to get passionate about the things that make you a better person.
Good luck and go and make a difference. Today is Valentine’s Day, so make sure you let the people around know just how much you care about them. Love life, live life!
See you on a beach one day.