The last few years have been an eye opener to me. I’ve changed direction so many times I look like a learner driver that got lost. Finally I’ve seen the light as to my real direction and my real purpose. I stood in front of over 100 people yesterday delivering a presentation which was certainly different to the standard fayre they had become accustomed with. Some people got it, some people didn’t. The knowledge in that room; the experiences and the tenacity I’m sure were all there. But I did begin to wonder something. It wasn’t until I ran my own networking event last night that something began to become crystal clear.
I’ve started saying in the last year, “you’re either unemployable or brilliant to become an entrepreneur. I’ll go with brilliant, because after you’ve worked for yourself, you want to become unemployable.” I say it jokingly, but have always wondered why people do what they do. What sets them on their current path to where they want to be? Last night it became crystal clear and thank you to a lady called Lisa who bought it all home for me.
I think it’s safe to say that certain experiences and life changing events are often the start of people’s journey’s to self employment and making their dreams, goals and visions a reality. In Lisa’s case it was a painful divorce and the birth of a still-born child. Most people will struggle with one of those and yet to have two of those events happen to you and still get up, slap a professional face together and go after something you’ve always wanted to do is hugely laudable.
I myself lost a family member. It came as a huge shock. A bolt out of the blue. They were the same age as me. 39, when it happened. Far too young and left a huge hole in the families lives. But it made me think. I’d achieved nothing of note. Nothing of worth and hadn’t even started to fulfil the potential people had always told me I had. So I made the big decision to change careers. Change myself and move myself forward. Get qualified. Read books that I’d never thought of. Deliberately took myself out of my comfort zone. Started talking to new circles of people. Experience new things and do new things so that I could help others realise their goals and visions.
At the age of 23, Tina Fey, Actress and Comedienne was working at the YMCA. Oprah Winfrey, Global star, was fired from her first reporting job. Stephen King, author of books like Carrie, The Shining and hundreds of other horror novels was working as a janitor and living in a trailer. Aged 28, J.K Rowling was a suicidal parent living on welfare before attempting to write a Harry Potter novel. Harrison Ford, the legendary Han Solo from Star Wars, was jobbing carpenter until some suggested he went for an audition. Vera Wang, failed to make the Olympic figure skating team and didn’t get the Editor-in-Chief position at Vogue, before designing her first dress at the age of 40. Stan Lee, the creator of the Marvel Comic books and of many of the Superheroes on our TV screens and in Cinemas, didn’t release his first comic book until he was 40. Walt Disney, allegedly ate tins of cat food whilst being a broke cartoonist for a newspaper before he created the legends that we know today.
And then there are the humble among us. People who ended up being made redundant through no fault of their own, because their company had been run badly. Or the world economy had collapsed plunging their industry into a complete mess. I know of people who have cared for their parents for many years and after their passing have gone on to build successful businesses with their small inheritance’s.
I think it’s fairly obvious that whatever the moment was that set you on your career path, whether it large or small, has changed you beyond recognition. It’s probably the right thing to do sometimes to look back at where you have come from and be grateful. Grateful you had the opportunity, no matter how hard those events were at the time.
So thank you Lisa for reminding me, and I hope the others that read this, that everyone has a reason why. Some are bigger than others, but we should always be thankful for the direction we’ve chosen.