Tag Archives: inspiration

Jay-Z – From the street to the boardroom.

I am inspired by people who have been prepared to have a go, people who have evidenced incredible self belief, persistence, tenacity, passion, in the most trying of circumstances.  Those who know that not trying is a failure in itself.

Shawn Carter is one such source of inspiration.  Better known as American Hip Hop star Jay-Z, Carter is one of the most successful artists and entrepreneurs in America.  In 2009 his net worth was $150 million.  He has sold 50 million records worldwide, received ten grammy award nominations, co – owns The 40/40 Club, The NBA’s New Jersey Nets and is the creator of clothing label Rocawear.  He has been CEO of Def Jam Recordings, one of the three founders of Roc-A-Fella Records and the founder of Roc Nation.  All this by the age of 40.

He grew up in a housing project in Brooklyn.  There was no silver spoon in the Carter Household.  This is someone who received no favours, sought no entitlement.  This is someone who fought hard for what he believed in, knew what he was passionate about and chased hard, hustled to succeed.  Sure he had some scrapes along the way but through sheer determination, no little talent and a sharp mind he has achieved incredible things.

Think of the thousands of people who have benefit both directly and indirectly from Entrepreneurs.  The jobs that are created, the contribution to the wider economy through the vision and persistence of just one person.  We have much to be thankful for that they exist.

Success is measured in many different ways.  It means different things to different people.  All of us can learn from the experiences of others.  Persistence, tenacity, determination, passion, drive, a desire to better yourself, to do better for others, they are all qualities that you need to be successful in your chosen path.

Carter’s message is a simple one.  Stay true to yourself and that which you believe and go for it.  I for one am with him all the way.

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The Chilean Miners – a testimony to the Human Spirit

I am sat at my desk this morning watching the morning news.  One by one, Chilean Miners are re – appearing from 622 meters below the earths surface where they have been trapped for the last 69 days.  I am struck as I watch by the incredible things people are capable of when faced with life threatening adversity.  It is an extraordinary human drama and frankly its inspiring.

Can you possibly imagine what it must be like to be trapped underground for 69 minutes let alone 69 days with 32 of your work colleagues?  Accepting the life or death nature of the circumstances, the camaraderie, spirit, determination, teamwork, respect for one another, just the ability to keep cool and to get along in such trying circumstances is an incredible testimony to the strength of the human spirit.

What about the rescue effort?  Just about everything a business needs to succeed is evidenced in the success of the rescue.  Clearly you have a problem that must be solved, innovation, creativity and brain power is required to make it succeed.  There is no room for power grabbing or silo building.  Ego must step aside.  Collaboration and team work is essential.  Witness leadership, delegation, project management, recruitment, talent management, logistics, operations, efficient and effective process and systems, health and safety, inspiration on a grand scale.  Those involved have a compelling purpose, to save lives.  Chileans should be bursting with pride this morning.

There are many examples where the strength of Human Spirit has achieved exceptional things in the face of absolute, horrifying circumstances.  The Asian Tsunami, The Earthquakes in Haiti, 9/11, July 7 bombings in London, the list is too long.  I wish it weren’t.  Natural or man-made disasters, we are truly capable of the most amazing things.   This morning I am proud of so many things about this race of ours.  This morning I am humbled.  This morning I am inspired.

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“Any Given Sunday” – Al Pacino’s inspirational speech

We all need a little inspiration from time to time. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, who it comes from or how it happens. We all need a little something to lift us up. It can come from anywhere, at anytime, from anyone. You’ll know it when you hear it, see it, feel it. It can come when you least expect it, from the most unlikely source. Its an entirely personal thing, it means different things for different people. There is no right or wrong, just different. When it comes to people, their is no one size to fit us all. We can move ahead in giant leaps, we can move forward in inches, the distance doesn’t matter. The point is simple. With a little inspiration we can all move forward. Look around you, inspiration comes in so many forms. Be inspired. Inspire others.

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Inspiration for the job search

Searching for a job is tough.  It takes persistence, tenacity, determination, ingenuity, mental toughness.  You need a goal, a strategy and relentless commitment to its execution.  You need skin as thick as a rhino in the face of constant rejection and you need inspiration.  It doesn’t matter where you are in your career or indeed what your employment status.  You will need all of these things to succeed.

There will be dark days and there will be great days.  It helps if every so often something comes along to inspire you, my hope is that this short video could do just that.

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In pursuit of happiness

This week the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered “the most austere budget in a generation”.  He had to.  The UK has run up an enormous debt in excess of £900 billion, or 62% of GDP.  This has to be paid for and fast if we are to avoid disastrous consequences for the UK economy. 

News of Britains economic gloom is everywhere.  Even the World Cup doesnt escape scrutiny as the nations commentators grapple with how much of a contribution to GDP England flags on cars make.  We are obsessed by tangible measurement.  GDP and quarterly economic growth figures seem to be the cause of much of this obsession.

Are we measuring the wrong thing?  Business has for a long time been based on performance against tangible, quantifiable metrics.  Business is all about the numbers, performance against budget, the p and l, the strength of the balance sheet, returns to shareholders.  This is the language of business, but are we speaking the right language? 

Little it would appear gets done in business unless there is a metric that can be applied to measure perceived success.  However it matters not how good the product or service, if you don’t have fantastically engaged people through which to deliver to customers to achieve great things then all the measurements in the world count for little. 

Happy employees will do incredible things to contribute to the success of not only the organisation orbusiness but indeed to society as a whole.  Should we therefore be looking at ways in which we can measure happiness? 

“Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted” – Albert Einstein. 

I was inspired to write this by Chip Conley, founder and CEO of Hotel Group Joie de Vivre.  His TedTalk “Measuring what makes life worthwhile” focused on exactly this topic and I make no apology for taking much of his material in this piece.  I could not be in stronger agreement.  Check his presentation out via the following url;


Business is all about people.  Life is all about people.  Somewhere along the way this appears to have been forgotten amongst the numbers and a constant quest for tangible measurement. 

In Chips presentation he quotes a recent study whereby 94% of global business leaders recognised the intangible elements in their business, such as intellectual property, brand loyalty and corporate culture were the most critical to their success.  Included in this is employee happiness.  A happy employee is a productive one. 

For success in business, leaders need to create an environment that encourages people to flourish, to communicate, to interact, to get involved, to have fun.  The more we measure the more stress and pressure we introduce.  Conley quotes the King of Bhutan who aged 17 in 1972 introduced the concept of Gross National Happiness to try and remove the obsession with GDP as the only real measure of success.  He quotes Robert Kennedy who said of GDP

“It measures everything in short except that which makes life worthwhile”. 

We need our Business Leaders to create environments in which people can be people, not slaves to numbers.  We need our political leaders to do the same.  We need to be inspiring and to be inspired.  Lets stop obsessing with measurement and get balance and perspective back in to the world.  Lets start having fun again and watch people and as a consequence economies flourish.

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