29 September 2019
Around 35 years ago, I moved to Manchester. I left school and apart from wanting to be successful, and thinking this had to somehow involve my musical ability, I had no idea what direction to take my life.
I put myself through college in Salford, but my A-level results were a disaster.
What on earth would a lad from a small Welsh town, with four unclassified grades at A-levels and a rebellious streak do in a big city? My chances certainly didn’t look promising.
Whilst I may not have had qualifications, I did have passion. I loved music. It runs through my veins, and it always will. So that’s what I went with. Playing in the old city centre Odeon evolved into a piano and musician rental business. I ran events and arranged entertainment for the top hotels in the area. It took 10 years to build and was a great learning ground for what was to come.
A year after selling my small business to Granada, I found myself back where I started with no idea where to go next. However, that first step into the business arena taught me a valuable lesson: successful businesses not only make people’s lives easier, they solve problems. That knowledge led to the creation of UKFast and the experience I gained renting pianos was transferable into servers and technology.
I remember back then, I had just learned about goal setting. Every successful person I have ever met sets goals, and I believed that this could make all the difference. I love the idea of Everest and Snowdon goals. The Snowdons are the challenging but achievable goals. The Everests on the other hand are the massive goals. The ones you may never achieve but you’ll never give up on.
Back then, 20 years or so ago, I set an Everest goal.
To build a business where everyone benefits, not just the clients with the product, which is not unique, all businesses have to ensure the clients are enriched. But also the lives of everyone we come across. At the time that focus was mainly on the team around me, the ones we work with day to day, however that has somewhat grown since then to stretch our arms around the community too.
Write it down
Writing down the goal is an important step. Often I have no real concrete idea of what something may look like, but the idea itself excites me. This was definitely the case of that massive Everest goal. I could not have ever imagined what UKFast looked like 20 years into the future. You can merely hope that you define a goal that inspires you to never give up trying.
The frustrating thing about a goal the size of the one I wrote for UKFast 20 years ago is that it can’t really ever end. When you fail to define an end point, it guarantees that you have to keep on trying.
Your work is never done
A little like Walt Disney’s goal, “to make everyone happy.” It’s certainly a quest, an impossible one for any realists. It lacks the finite end point and means, you have to keep working at it as your work is never fully done.
That’s how I feel about UKFast. Twenty years into the journey, it’s fascinating how invigorating the role I do is and yet how far off we still seem to be. Every time we reach a point that previously we’d have been very happy with, our expectations grow too and so the finishing line moves out of reach, beyond the horizon.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that there is a magic in writing a goal down and committing to it. I am certain that the action of writing it down cements it into our minds, subconsciously affecting our decisions and actions towards achieving that aim.
You could ask what I have to drive me now that I have achieved that ultimate goal but I promise you there is so much more to come. I have Everest goals for the people in my family, for people in the team and for those in the community. We can only change the world for ourselves and those around us by dreaming big.
So, what are your goals? Are they outrageous enough? Are they big enough?
Let me know in the comments below and on social media.