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Forget The Highlights, Remember Who You Are

This is not going to be my ‘usual’ blog post focused on the tips and techniques of starting, growing and getting funding for a startup.

Instead its focused on a whole string of thoughts that have been whispering, begging and eventually demanding that I pay attention to them.

I can’t promise that it will make clear and immediate sense so apologies in advance and please bare with me as I unravel these thoughts….

Let me take you through them…

In 1995 I attended Harvard Business School, went through the most intense business bootcamp experience on the planet and came out the other side with an MBA and perhaps more importantly, some insights into my capacity for hard work and tenacity I didn’t even know I had.

It was an experience of a lifetime.

While at Harvard, I started a fire escape ladder business based on a product I sketched and designed when just a teenager.

After graduation spent more than a year trying to move the company forward while trying to get angel investors to back me and the concept. It was tough. Really tough.

A company came along and under the guise of wanting to buy us, found out the ins and outs of our business then, stole and copied our designs. Bastards!

My investors were pissed…I was pissed, so a big legal battle kicked off until, two years later, we won. And we won big. I mean millions of dollars BIG!

Was that the end of my startup career?

Nope. It was just the beginning.

Raising millions more from Venture Capitalists, company #2 began…

So these are the highlights.

Harvard Business School, started a company, multi-million dollar legal battle, raising millions for company #2, helping the Government, sitting on boards…yadda yadda yadda….

…they are the highlights and the reality is….no one cares.

No one cares? Really?

True. No one cares…

All anyone really cares about…me included…

…Is what are you doing NOW and how are you making a difference NOW and for WHOM. And they’ll only care if it impacts THEM…

That’s it…that’s all…

Seriously. No ONE cares about your resume highlights unless you are looking for a job.

Even I don’t care about my own resume highlights because they are things I’ve done….they are NOT who I am.

What do I mean by that?

Well here’s a test to show you what I mean.

Why do you do what you do? And what makes you stand up again when you’ve been knocked down?

Is it your resume highlights or something else?

I would bet $1000 its NOT your resume highlights.

Don’t believe me?

OK – so I’ve taken you through Harvard, a couple of the startups, the legal battle – yadda yadda…but I’ve been quiet about the first job I ever had as a teenager.

It was putting dog food on shelves in a supermarket called Waitrose in the UK.

I’ve been quiet about being a child in a family of divorce.

About growing up in a tough neighborhood where I needed to fight to stay upright and conscious.

About getting into politics in my twenties – running for election, speaking in small community centers, knocking on doors in the rain and snow to encourage people to vote for me and others…

About working in the Conservative Central Office during elections for Thatcher and John Major…

…about being there on election night as we won. The celebration, the party, the jubilation….

…going to Conservative Party Conference – the speeches, the cocktail parties, the backstabbing, the wheeling and the dealing…

I dont talk too much about my wife and daughter – mostly because I respect their need for privacy, a brief insight – after we won the multi-million dollar legal battle, some really odd people started calling….

But these things…

The stacking of dog food on the shelves, the knocking in doors in the rain, the tough neighborhood that didn’t beat me..that didn’t manage to keep me locked down….

…these are the highlights I really remember when I get knocked down.

Its not Harvard, the startups, the legal battle….

Its the times that really made me who I am.

So what makes you who you are?

Sure – you can reel off all the resume highlights but be honest, at least with yourself, if even for a moment…

Are they why you are starting your business?

Are they why you will blast through all obstacles?

Are these resume bullet points the fuel in your tank?

Are they what will keep you getting up after life punches you squarely on the jaw?

I doubt it.

For me….its where I came from, its what really made me who I am and lastly, its my family. The people I love.

So I say to you – Forget the Highlights, Remember Who You Are – especially as you start and grow your startup….life will try to punch you on the jaw…

It always does. Guaran…freaking…teed!

If you remember who you are. You’ll get back up and come out swinging.

You’ll refuse to quit.

You’ll need that as you start and grow your business.


Forget the Highlights, Remember Who You Are

My best to you. Tell me what you think of this post….


PS – Here’s a useful report just in case you are focused on starting, growing or getting funding for a business. Funding Academy Report.

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