What if …? by Bill Storie
As most of you know, I was in the business world, particularly in the financial sector, over my career. I was OK, nothing spectacular, but not a dud either. I annoyed many people, I made many people laugh, I impressed a few, but I always, always, always wanted to do it my way… !!!
That sounds a wee bit egotistical, and it could very well be, but I rarely came across people that could grasp the big picture.
I was very friendly with a wonderful man in Italy for many years. He was older than me and was a hugely successful wine exporter. I have no hesitation in saying that I loved this guy. Every single time we got together either in Cremona his home town, or here in Bermuda or London, or Paris, he always made me stop and think. He was a genuinely nice man.
His philosophy in life and especially in business was to relax about the small stuff. If there was a problem he would get over it. Sometimes easily, sometimes with an awful lot of thought and work, but he would succeed. He would often say to me, “Bill, please think about it this way.” He showed me that if you thought about a problem in the same old way, you would end up with the same old solution – most times no solution at all.
But he would say, “Maybe we turn the problem upside down and see if it looks differently.” He was a master at negotiating with suppliers or distributors. He would say, “Tell me how I can make this work for you?” Immediately the other person realized that he was being fair and honest – and most times compromise was reached with a smile and a handshake. (He was big on handshakes). Me too.
I learned that if I could take a situation in business (or life for that matter) and look at it in what to most people seemed a strange way, then there was a chance I could find a way around the issue. Not every time certainly, but I became good at seeing things differently.
It was that character trait that upset a lot of people. They thought I was daft. (Mind you they rarely thought I was daft when I made them a lot of money)
I love the notion of “What if?”
I ask you, what if you had your life to live over again what would you do differently?
What is it today, in your later years, do you regret not doing?
Everyone would want more money. Everyone. Yet, as we have aged, do we really crave money as our first thing on the wish list? I would venture to suggest that health would be much higher. Maybe the urge to enjoy yourself more – be happier, be funnier, be calmer – but especially, be comfortable with yourself and your lifestyle and your attitude to life. Does it matter what other people think about you?
Another man I had lots of respect for lived in Northridge, California (north Los Angeles). He was a Bishop (apart from being a great business leader) in the Mormon Church. His advice was simple:
“Whatever you choose to do in your life, it is YOUR choice. No-one else.”
So finally, what if I stopped going on and on about this stuff?
In other words, if you have chosen to read this far then it was YOUR choice (g)
By Bill Storie