Drayton Bird at Christmas 09: Video No.2
Here is Drayton sharing his thoughts on the perils of believing your own success is all down to you, and what that can do to your ego…
It’s more than a valid point. The longer you go on in business, the more people you meet who are at various stages of success. Some are on the way up, some are there, others are on the way down. In business, as in life, you’re never aware of being in a peak or a trough until you’ve passed the event – you are usually somewhere in between either point. Business is truly a roller-coaster ride. It’s also entirely amoral.
Success brings it’s own demons, such as jealousy from competitors or colleagues. The biggest problem though, is yourself.
I know. I was one of the people that Drayton talks about (and I suspect he was one himself once).
In his masterwork “Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing” he points out in Chapter Two:
“..I was most interested to read that an eminent Japanese businessman, when asked why he was in business, replied: ‘To ensure the survival of my company’. I suspect this reply would not be unusual in Japan. For many years Japanese industry tended to invest a higher percentage of its profits in building for the future than the UK did. It did not feel obliged to squeeze very yen out of the annual turnover and hand it over to the shareholders.
Clearly, if you are intent upon survival rather than a fast buck, you are going to plan more for the long term. No doubt this attitude explains why the Japansese did better than us for a good 40 years, and still do in many areas. But whatever your aim, it will colour all you do: the way you structure your organisation, manage your staff and set their targets, everything, right down to the smallest marketing decision.”
If you haven’t got this book, I highly recommend it:
Attitude is clearly king.
I’ve lost count of the number of show-off entrepreneurs I’ve met with pictures of million dollar boats on the wall of their office, Rolexes dripping off their wrists, and all the other gubbins that seems to motivate them. When I first started making money, it did go to my head a bit. I’m from a council house background, so it was bound to 🙂
In recent months I’ve become much more focused on building for the future. I’ve experienced massive highs and massive lows, especially in the past two years. One piece of literature that I find hugely leveling and inspiring whenever I feel the need for a lift (or realise my ego is running away with me) is the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling, which I shall reproduce for you here:
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
In relation to Drayon’s point in the video, I think the lines..
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;”
…are particularly relevant.
I hope you find it useful too, and wish you a fantastic 2010.