1 November 2010
This is a great question. So often we embark on a journey without really fully understanding where it is we want to end up and what it is we want to take from the journey.
I have just had a week away from work. I’ve had a fantastic time with my family and some friends on a desert island away from the usual pressures of every day life and I have realised, I am just starting out.
Everything I have done so far is merely a sequence of lessons for the journey ahead.
It’s a strange concept because, for me, there is no ultimate destination. No place to rest, no retirement, just a never ending road.
So why embark on a journey like this? You might be asking yourself, or me. The very fact you are reading this blog tells me that you – like me – are a person who is striving to improve your own life with the ultimate goal of improving others. I’d also imagine that you will have a vision of where you want to end up at the end of all this hard slog.
Humour me for a minute though because in the US, research was done on retired men and an alarmingly high percentage died within 6 months of finishing work.
This supports my theory but I am not naive to think that you are going to modify your plans immediately. But what if I could prove to you, there is a better strategy, a more fulfilling strategy?
The only way I can do this successfully is to use people you know, people you can associate with.
I have been fortunate on my journey so far to have got to know and become friends with some extraordinary characters. The most amazing of all these people is Sir Richard Branson. Apart from the fact that he is undoubtedly Britain’s greatest living role model, he is also one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time.
Richard is a good example of how you might want to live your life. Is it safe to say he is on a pretty spectacular journey? Just a bit. I have never met a more dynamic character in my life and this includes Tony Robbins who has the energy and vitality of a 15 year old and I am going to finish this blog with something I heard Tony say once which shows just how wise he is too.
But if you are ever lucky enough to get to know Richard, I’d imagine, like me you will struggle to try and understand his formula. As a business person it’s the first thing I looked for and believe me, he’s a struggle to understand.
The first question I ever asked him about business was “I have a company with over a 100 staff and rapidly growing. How do I maintain that spirit as we grow?” The answer he gave me, as you can imagine, changed my life and the lives of the now 125 people in UKFast.
And although we were doing a great many things well at the time I asked the question, running a highly profitable business, I have no doubt that his contribution helped me to focus on a better course of action required to stimulate our business and take it to a better place.
It’s slight changes that make the big differences. A one degree change over a hundred yards doesn’t make a huge difference to your end destination. However, hop in a plane, fly halfway around the world and a few degrees makes a huge difference. Throw in the ability to travel faster and you end up traveling further. The one thing that you cannot manipulate is time. It’s the one thing that is common to all men and women. It’s the only thing we are born with that is equal. It’s the one thing that we all waste. We are all so focused on our end result, we are in danger of missing the most important thing in our lives.
It’s these slight differences that I look for on my journey but not at the expense of the quality of my day to day life and family.
I have to be careful to stay on track here (pun intended!) I was talking about never settling, not wanting retirement, not wanting to stop ever.
Why? The answer is simple. Why would I want to? My accident taught me to live life to the full and that every day was a gift; that the people around me are all gifts too.
The destination you are aiming at will not make you happier when you are lucky enough to achieve your goal. Happiness is a state of mind. You are either fulfilled or you are not. You can kid yourself and think that when you have that extra house in the sun you will be significantly happier, yet if you aren’t happy on the journey I doubt whether you will enjoy the fruits of your labour. How many business owners sell up and lose their way in life? Some even become alcoholics and lose their marriages. Yet they hit their ultimate goal, so why the unhappiness?
What is the answer?
The answer is simply to enjoy today. Invest time into it and the people you engage with and you will have made inroads to getting a great deal more out of life. Now this seems corny I know, yet it’s the greatest piece of advice I can pass on. It’s the greatest piece of advice I was given recently and it’s something I hear from time to time from the most successful people on the planet. From people who are already extremely fulfilled and performing at the top of their game.
In short, you have to enjoy the journey. And going back to Richard, here is a man who is living his life to the full and then some. I am writing a piece for EN Magazine on some of the things he has taught me, so I don’t want to tell you too much now. However, if you read my blog I promise to give you any insights first! Believe me they are worth their weight in gold.
I have returned from Necker with absolute clarity on what I need to do to improve and how I can strengthen UKFast and its subsidiaries and also how I can help others to grow and learn in the process. If you are interested in learning more about some of the secrets of the worlds top entrepreneurs, let me know. Get in touch.
As promised, I will leave you with this gem from Tony, who is also an inspiration in my life. I was fortunate to be in a position to introduce Tony and Richard to each other and it’s one of the proudest moments of my business career to date, but it has helped me understand what I really want out of my life.
“Don’t follow me, I am not your leader, and do not lead me because I will not follow you. But please walk beside me now and be my friend.”
Have a great week and make a difference to everyone in your life. Today is a real gift so do something special with it and be inspired.