I think it is always a good idea to be open to taking lessons from those who are successful. There is always a level of luck involved in getting there, but there is also always a level of dedication and skill that allowed that turned that luck into something great. So I was drawn to a recent CNN article on Richard Branson.
First, I want to comment on the fact that Branson says he was seen as “the dumbest kid in school.” And that first comment is that I don’t really believe it. I’m not saying that he must have already been a smart visionary as a teen, but I’m sure he wasn’t THE dumbest. Most of us are somewhere in the middle in all matters. That’s not a good or bad thing, just a matter of mathematics. The story we tell ourselves, however, does matter.
For even if the words Branson uses aren’t necessarily true, they set up the story; they gave him something to battle against. We need a reason for being. We need a reason for doing. So what is your story? Where did life take you and what did it make you want to do?
Those things that you want to do, they are what Branson refers to as passions, and he has had many. It is important that you care about what you’re doing. If you want to thrive both personally and financially, you can’t simply try to identify a possible business space, you must also care about what you are doing within it.
When it comes to Branson, he has found many of those spaces throughout his career, going from music to space flight. That is not a trajectory that one could have projected as a logical progression. Being open to new ideas, however, lets you travel new paths and remain relevant. More importantly, it might keep you from becoming irrelevant.
When Branson started in business, being into private space travel would not have been a feasible plan.
Where Branson is now in business, selling records is not a plan that would keep him there.
This is not to say that there weren’t mistakes and missteps along the way. In the article, Branson says he has had many failures, but thinks of them as the chance to learn something. Just as one needs to be ready to move into new places, one can’t be afraid of jumping out of them when they are not working.
Embracing these types of ideas aren’t going to automatically shift you into the financial realm where Branson resides. Refusing to embrace them, though, could guarantee that you’ll never get there.
So embrace your story and let it push you to where your passions lie. Pursue what you desire, but not with such single-minded focus that you miss new opportunities and the chance to engage new passions. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way.
Being who are you is important in life, and it’s important in business that people relate to and want to support you. We are in a wonderful position here to embrace that in our work, and our work is to help others succeed in theirs.
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