As a child, I remember bombarding my parents with questions. Why? Where? Who? How? When? Not only were these key question starters, but they also inspired a birthday present of a set of books bearing the same titles. These were probably purchased to silence me while I buried my head into them, learning more about what makes things work.
As I grew, like most children, I was taught that ‘children must be seen and not heard’. Being a reflective sort, I tended to think deeply about matters and eventually my inquisitive nature was dampened.
When, at the age of 16, I started work; I was also taught to ‘shut up and listen’. No one wanted to hear my thoughts or opinions and I settled into this conditioned environment. Even when I climbed the career ladder, some verbose managers were listened to, others, like me weren’t. Where I differed was that I was a ‘doer’. You wouldn’t see me climbing over others in attention seeking narcissism to get myself heard, I preferred to get on with it.
In one job, I was head hunted back (after leaving) to get the manager out of a sticky situation. A key team wasn’t performing in any sense if the word, and I was tasked to turn it round quickly. After a lot of hard work, 4am starts, 500 mile round trips, I forged a strong team. Next, I was made redundant, my salary split to give my fellow managers pay rises. Imagine what this did to my confidence. However, this proved a huge turning point in my pathway, as I decided to take the huge leap into self employment.
Going into business has been a revelation for me. Those that already knew me well, know that I’m a bit of a character. I have a sense of humour and it often gets me into trouble, especially with my wife! Anyone that has run a business knows that there’s no time for introversion, you have to take life by the scruff and make it count. My confidence has blossomed and I’m comfortable in my own skin, after all I’m hardly likely to sack me!
Above all, I’ve been allowed the free reign to question, strategise, explore ideas and make decisions with only myself to answer to. This has allowed me to develop a range of services that add value to clients and in many ways are different. Suddenly, I realised that I’m not just an ‘out of the box’ thinker, there were almost no issues I couldn’t resolve. I also realised that those years of ideas being put down meant that all too often, my ideas were too innovative and forward thinking for a team who were not ready to hear them. Now, there was no one to hold me back!
If, just two years ago someone had told me that I would be helping buy and sell businesses, winning tenders worth hundreds of millions, developing cutting edge services through strategic alliances, I would never have believed a word. The only difference is that I now believe that I can achieve just about anything, and if I can’t, then I will work with people that will.
Above all, I’ve learned to believe in both myself and the power of my vision and that We are only constrained by the boundary of our own thoughts.