So I’m standing there outside a coffee shop next to one of my best buddies in the world, who has recently set up a venture that is going to knock the socks out of the Digital Transformation market, a space I know a thing or two about from my work in Strategic Consulting and Employee Engagement initiatives…
(WAIT! STOP! I KNOW WHAT YOUR DOING HERE! NO ADVERTS FOR TAILORED RHYMES, YOUR EXPERTISE IN DIGITAL OR OTHERWISE! JUST STOP!)
So we are outside this coffee shop and in the run up to this moment, I was hearing first hand about the incredible opportunities that the company has ahead of it, the markets to tap into, the potential partner ecosystem they could empower, the value proposition that they bring through data sets and intelligence that would blow the next best competitor out of the water. They have the perfect team; experienced, savvy both in business and technology, they have a clear and compelling vision, they have had amazing feedback pitching their proposition to some of the best prospective client companies in the world and have an open door with multi-million $ investment firms once they build the solution they intend to build.
To put it in perspective, I guarantee you this. Fast forward 10 years and this guy is going to be giving TED talks and be receiving honorary degrees from MIT, Cambridge and other recognised institutes for his contribution to the Digital Transformation space. Even better, he intends to use this future influence to empower initiatives that will tackle the long term harm humans have done to the planet and empower future generations! This guy is a bonafide living breathing legend!
So we are there outside the coffee shop in London and he bumps into one of his old acquaintances from his days at a global consultancy. They do the usual “hey how you doing? Good to see you!” etc. My buddy asks this guy how things are and politely smiles as the guy tells him about the usual thing you would expect (no disrespect in what comes next) - the guy did a good deal recently, it’s being rolled out, he’s travelling between various places, client is challenging but overall it’s a great job, the engagement will last for years and he has just been to the office to present the quarterly results - the guy turns to my friend and asks “what about you?”
At this point, Im already flexing up, ready to strike a pose as my man here is bout to tell him what’s what, how he’s blowing up the game and gonna make it pop - then to my amazement I hear - “yea it’s ok, I’ve been building my own thing up, it’s going ok but we still are not at the stage where we are turning over significant revenue, still waiting on that first big deal, it’s hard running your own thing, anyone that tells you otherwise is lying or naive….”
I’m stunned. What the…? I quickly flex down (or “de-flex”, not sure what the appropriate description is) and smile politely as they finish their conversation. At this point, I am actually really hungry and just need a sandwich to be honest. So we finish our pleasantries with the guy and I get a peri peri chicken wrap from nearby - hmmm that’s tasty! Side thought - it’s pretty strange the way humans need to eat, drink and sleep to stay alive and be well really. Ok, so I’m fed now and we go for drinks. A few beers later in the open top bar near HMS Belfast with views over the Thames and we are flying. We are not drunk (ok maybe a little drunk), oh no, we are high on the ideas and imaginations we have created after sparring ideas around. At one point there is a kinetic energy as lightning storms threaten to break over us - pathetic fallacy for how awesome we are, of course, what else?!
He asks me a killa question, try this one one for size and post your response in the comments…”If you had 0 chance of failure in whatever thing you did, what would you do?”…Let that sit for a moment. Whatever you chose to do, there would be 0 chance of failure, you are guaranteed to succeed in the way you imagine it. What would you choose to do - but you can pick only one thing! Would love to hear what your thing would be!
OK, now we get to the point of this story. We are in flow, feeling relaxed and I look at my buddy and say something along the lines of “dude, when we were talking to that guy earlier, why were you acting all humble and down about the day to day grind and realities of running your business? Of course it is difficult day to day, but you’re killing it out there! Why didn’t you say so?” He thinks for a minute and replies that he just shares how he is feeling in the moment. So here is the bit where some other worldly wisdom kicked in (I take no credit for this) and I say “dude, act as if! You are smashing things out there, you are innovative, you are making incredible things happen, you are literally changing the game and doing something no one has been able to crack! You are a visionary! Puff your chest and tell him about it! Show him what is possible when you answer the call inside! Who knows, maybe he will even be able to take you into new clients, he respects and admires you, show him that energy and fire you were showing me!”
Later on, we are leaving the bar about to face our respective sweltering commutes home (it is 35 degrees in London) and he says to me that out of everything I said today (and trust me, I talk a lot) that comment about the confidence with his acquaintance will really stay with him and no matter what, he is going to take that mindset into everything he does going forward. Wow, what an honour for me. I feel amazing for being able to help my buddy in any way. More than that, reflecting on what I learned earlier this week from the Shawn Achora “Happiness Advantage” principle, I honestly believe that my buddy is going to change the world.
So there you go. A nugget of wisdom I was able to receive from somewhere and pass on in the right moment. What a privilege to be a tiny grain on sand on my friend’s vast beach of future (and current) achievement.