I’ve had some “interesting” experiences.
I’ve taught English to children as young at two and some people in their 80s. I’ve advised doctors, lawyers, athletes, business people and even a supreme court judge. I’ve helped numerous businesses get off the ground and consulted for multi-million corporations.
Most recently, I started working with two partners in the art space. Five years ago, if you had told me I’d be buying paintings from Sotheby’s and Christie’s, I would have said you were crazy, but here we are.
It’s not just my business life that’s taken twists and turns, but my family left England when I was eight and haven’t returned except for a few short trips. I lived the Philippines, Thailand, the U.S. and Myanmar before deciding to live in Japan.
I’ve also had more than a few close calls. I went through a window head first as a child. I almost drowned back in junior high school and I saw my room implode around my wife and I back in 2004 (in the tsunami). Best as I can figure, I’ve got two lives out of my nine lives left.
Which brings me to a question a client asked me the other day. He asked me, “What is the one thing you want your employees to have over any other?”
I immediately said, “Passion,” and it seems I’m not alone as Gordon Ramsay says “Finding your passion in life is the most important thing you can do.” Jim Rohn used to say, “Strong feelings” when asked that question. My client had a different answer, and one that made me think – “Experience.”
His point was that everything else can be learnt. Every skill can be taught. While our innate ability to think differs somewhat and our ability to memorize things also differs, he said there is very little difference between people. Experience though is irreplaceable. Not only that, experience is unique.
Keith Cunningham, Tony Robbin’s go-to business guru, talks about the importance of people in each organization. Simply put – it’s not the product or t always bet on the team. He illustrates this by saying if Bill Gates were to call him up with a business opportunity, he wouldn’t need an explanation, all he’d need to know is where to send the money. Why? Because Gates’ track record speaks for itself. His experience in business is among the very best.
While I still believe passion is the one thing I look for in people, I think my client is on to something. While experience does come with age, it’s more about creating different experiences and that can be done at any age.
Success and failure both leave scars. Why? Because nearly every success is born out of failure.
Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. But when Edison was asked “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” He responded, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Talk to anyone who has unique (code for tough) experiences in business, relationships, health, money or was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time (my friend was held up in broad daylight with a gun to his head), and it will come across in their language and their stories. They know what to do because of what has happened to them in the past.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “I don’t have that much experience,” my advice to start today. So, if you’ve been putting off that trip to Australia or Nepal, go book a ticket. If you’ve always wanted to write a book, write the first page. If you’ve always wanted to invest in real estate, pick up Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Quadrant.
I wish I could tell you that it’ll be easy. It probably won’t.
I wish I could tell you that you’ll succeed. I can’t. You might fail.
What I can say is that experiences change you. Your experiences make you unique and give you a new outlook on life and it will come across in everything you do.
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