So, how’s your summer been?
Has a beach featured? The occasional bar or two? My summer was all set to be a quiet one but I’m all about making things happen. One that might, in the end, have featured any of the above attractions. I didn’t have any work booked. So the temptation to take it easy for a few weeks would have been there. Except that it wasn’t.
I’m still conscious that, despite still being relatively well known for my career in professional football, I knew that this summer was the ideal time for me to broaden my horizons with my second career as a Keynote Speaker and what better place to do so than Asia, where business growth seems to be running higher than anywhere else in the world!
So, on August 18th, my flights were booked by Kevin Tarrant from Elite Performance Academy, who specialise in bringing sportsmen (like Mike Gatting, James Goddard, etc.) out to Asia to speak with businesses and schools. At this point I’m ‘all in’ and wanted to maximise my trip by delivering as many sessions as I could, meet with potential clients and generally open as many doors as possible. When I left on 4th September, after a lot of hard work of networking especially on LinkedIn (amongst other places), I had eight sessions booked in Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Phuket!
Just to clarify, I’m not telling you this to impress you. It’s the complete opposite! It’s all too easy in life to expect things to come to us but life and, particularly, business isn’t like that. My good friend and mentor Gavin Drake has a great saying that ‘loads of people want a lot of things….as long as…I don’t have to get up too early, I don’t have to work too hard and someone could come along and hand it to me on a plate’!
Imagine a row of dominos. By nudging the first one over with the tip of your little finger you can set off a chain reaction that can see hundreds, maybe thousands of dominos respond by reacting in a similar fashion. All through giving just one of them the tiniest of touches. So what’s preventing you from being that very first domino in the chain?
I want to expand and build my business. That means heading out into markets such as Asia and the USA where one of the great advantages I have is that no-one knows me. Which means when I meet business people in far flung parts of the world I am that proverbial blank piece of canvas. This is where that ‘domino effect’ comes into the picture. I’m the first in line and if I can convince them of my qualities, then good things normally follow.
To give you an example, before departing I asked my LinkedIn connections for any introductions to their friends or colleagues in Asia. As a result, I created meetings with two senior people from Goldman Sachs, met the Head of HR of Wells Fargo and had a beer with the former CEO of Credit Suisse. I even had a lovely cup of home brewed tea with Tony Cotter who is the Irish Ambassador to Thailand!
It all goes to show that you can never tell what is going to happen when those dominos start to fall. You just need to have the courage of your convictions to knock that first one over and see where it takes you. I’m sure it’s been said before but if you want to make things happen for yourself then the very best advice I can give you consists of three words:
Just Do It.
However, I think that strap line might have already been taken.