It is 1:30am in the morning, and I am buzzing with excitement, so I just had to write this.
This weekend I attended an elite business course in London with serial entrepreneur Peter Sage and as part of the course, his business mentor Errol Abrahamson made a special appearance. This guy isn’t a public figure, and definitely not your regular business person. With more than 40 years of experience in business, building 40+ companies, he took the stage in what was originally scheduled to be a 40 minute Q&A session, became 3.5 hour masterclass which lasted until 1:30 in the morning! No wonder its difficult to catch up with this guy, he’s got the energy level of a 25 year old.
I was facilitating the event and wanted to make sure I check with guests to see if they are OK. I saw 2 of my contacts and I went to see how they were doing and if they were going to ask ant questions. I was a little surprised to see that both were reluctant to go on stage. After spending some time the one of them, he looked me directly in the eyes as if he wanted to say “I am going to do this right now” so he stood up and got in the queue.
That put a big smile on my face!
Then I said to myself “Well, what are you still doing here, giving people advice?! Instead, lead by example and get on that stage fool!”
So I did just that.
For some strange reason I was shaking whilst waiting in line, not because I was intimidated, nor because this was my first time on stage in front of so many people. Perhaps it was the anticipation of doing something exciting, or just a gentle reminder that I am alive and I rising to the occasion.
In fact I didn’t do this once, I did it twice! After the first time, I thought “I have to get as much out of this guy as I can, I don’t care if we have to stay here until 5am!”
Below are some of the questions I asked and the insights Errol shared with us.
Question: If you were to give your younger 25 year old self, advice what would it be …
Simple: Find what makes you jazzed up and kick ass … I was ambitious, I read Think and Grow Rich and I bought into that.
That sentence for me just reinforced the need of finding a purpose, something to believe in and act accordingly.
He then proceeded to address a few successful business people in the room asking whether anything they ever achieved, came easy to them … of course, we all know the answer to this question.
“Then go out and find the right people” he proceeded – No man is an island. If you made up your mind that you want to build a legacy through some kind of commercial activity, buy into your vision first.
Don’t expect others to do so, until you have fully bought into your vision. From that point, you will attract other people who will follow that vision.
Question: What is one thing that you take to be true, which most people disagree with you on.
His Answer: Risk. Entrepreneurs take risks.
We have a natural predisposition to seek comfort. In professional context, this usually means getting a 9-5 job to satisfy that (nothing wrong with having a 9-5, as long as you enjoy what you are doing)
But if you are driving with 80 miles per hour next to a lorry, you don’t know whether the driver has been drinking or under the influences of drugs, but you won’t take risk if you are in business …
That got me thinking.
My personal takeaways:
I’ve been interested in entrepreneurship for quite some time now (being a wantrepreneur for most of the time) what I took away from this fascinating talk, is that there are no secrets … it really comes down to a handful of principles which all of us can follow:
- Find what you want to do (validates the point of having a deeper purpose)
- Set your vision
- Surround yourself with the right peer group who will support you
- Work super hard
- Maintain persistency through hardship, because there will be plenty of that
Of course, there is a lot more wrapped in these few simple sentences then just mere words, but for that we need real life practical experiences in order to be able to relate to all of that.
One personal example about persistence, was when I wanted to join a high end course on building a business , however I had missed the deadline for it. I then sent out 27 consecutive emails & a video telling the guy why I was the perfect fit for the programme, and how much I was willing to sacrifice. In the process I got rejected twice. I offered my help with some coaching and then sent a few more emails, before they got really fed up with me spamming their inbox, and finally granted me access to the course.
Now in retrospect, I would have looked for a different way to stand out from every other sucker doing the same and offer value first without asking for anything in return.
But it goes to illustrate the point of staying persistent.
As Peter said in one of his “Get into the game, see what happens, get feedback, make iterations and try again.”
Do you agree? If you had the opportunity to meet a billionaire, what question would you ask?