9 December 2018

Lawrence Jones MBE - the importance of time, building successful people, business success

Recording a podcast in the studio.

It is fascinating the roads that we find ourselves down, simply from a chance encounter or opportunity.

I remember just over a year ago, I was about to do an interview for the media. The team asked if we could record it in the studio for future reference. It’s always good to evaluate yourself so I agreed. This sparked the idea for a podcast.

A year later, I’ve interviewed some of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever come across, all as part of the series. Initially the team had chosen for it to be a business podcast but, as the episodes evolved, I realised that there’s no need to limit it. Now we interview people who have overcome challenges in their life; who are extraordinary characters.

In almost 35 years of being in business, it is one of the single most insightful projects I’ve ever embarked upon.


Whilst the people I’ve interviewed have come from a diverse range of backgrounds and industries, there are clear commonalities. There are just some traits that successful people always seem to have.

One of the clearest is that success never comes from striving for financial gain. Wanting to be a millionaire will only drive you so far. When times inevitably get tough you need a greater motivation to keep you going. More often than not, this motivation is about having a positive impact on the world around you.

This is clear in the latest episode of the podcast with Fred Done. Fred is the owner of BetFred. He has 16 businesses and is worth more than a billion pounds, yet he is far from sitting back and resting on his laurels. Despite being 75 years old, when many people are retired or about to retire, Fred’s now embarking on a new project. He is supporting the Running Bee Foundation; a charity in honour of his late wife, Mo. The charity is set to help encourage health and fitness, whilst tackling childhood obesity.

It’s also just as clear in Steve Hill MBE’s episode. School deputy headmaster Steve has his class choose an epic challenge for him every year. Engaging them in huge charitable challenges, showing them whatever you believe, you can achieve.

Perhaps the most extraordinary character I have met through the podcast is Tom Hunt. Teenager Tom was travelling the world when he fell unwell. Heading home, he was diagnosed with leukaemia. From then he began chemotherapy treatment. Despite the devastating diagnosis, he has set the goal to become a doctor himself, and is raising money for The Teenage Cancer Trust. In his greatest time of need, his focus is on how he can help others like him. It’s astonishing really.

Recording a podcast with Gary Neville.

Winning mentality

Hand in hand with this driver is belief. Every single person I have met who is successful, however you define success, has extraordinary levels of belief.

When you believe that you can achieve something, there is very little in the world that can stop you from reaching that goal. You simply don’t see ‘limiting beliefs’. These are the limits that we put on ourselves: the negatives that could happen rather than the amazing positives. Without these limiting beliefs there’s actually nothing to stop you. When things go wrong, this step-by-step mentality gets you through.

Laura Bartlett, founder of House of Coco, is a prime example of this. Laura failed to get investment from Dragons’ Den and her business failed. Instead of giving up, she says that she discovered that ‘fail’ actually means ‘First Attempt In Learning’. Now her magazine is available to buy in Harrods and Selfridges, and she’s living her dream life.

I also saw this belief when interviewing Manchester United legend Gary Neville. Gary is now retired from football and is fast blazing a trail in business on a global stage. It’s hard to imagine the transition from having such a regimented week, with all eyes and pressure on every single match, into finding your own way in the world after retirement. Yet, hearing Gary speak, he personifies the links between business and sport. So much of that comes down to belief in your ability to achieve whatever you set your mind to.

With tech heavyweight Jacqueline De Rojas.


Ultimately, there is nothing more motivating than learning from others around you. They could be in the same field as you, they could be from a completely different industry or background altogether. There is always something you can learn form other people as long as you are open to learning.

We have more interviews in the pipeline that I can’t wait to share with you (subscribe so you don’t miss an episode). I’d love to know what you think of the series so far and if there’s anyone in particular that you’d like to hear from.

Until then, don’t forget, you can achieve anything that you set your mind to. Just go out there and go for it.

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