By Bill Storie
I often ponder who, in my lifetime, have influenced me the most.
I would say at the outset that as a man, it has been men that have done so most, although there have been a few maternal women who clearly impacted my life. Especially in the formative years.
So, forgive me ladies, but I will address the impact of the handful of men that I have encountered who have shown me the better ways of doing things, or talking, or thinking, or just conducting myself. I won’t name names, but I will make reference to my father and my father-in-law as one would expect. They both had great influence on me in so many ways that I can’t even begin to elaborate.
I’ve come across maybe four other men, mainly through business, who showed me different styles or characteristics.
I knew a man from Italy for many years, who was just sheer class (aren’t all Italian men!!). He was a calm, thoughtful man who knew the good from the bad. He liked fine clothes, wine and cars. He was just the epitome of what a wee boy from the countryside of Scotland wanted in his life. His business skills were supreme. He would easily talk of his failures, his disappointments, and his mistakes. He never once tried to hide anything. He just told it as it was.
He would say, “Bill, take one small step at a time. No need to rush. It will come together.”
The number of times I have done that, and the number of times I have told that to colleagues, cannot be counted. He was a leader and a true gentle man.
I worked for another man who was extremely successful in his business. His determination and off-the-wall ideas worked well together. I remember one time sitting in his boardroom, just him and I, working on a name for a new company we were forming. “Does it really matter THAT much?” you ask. Oh yes. It did to him. It was “EVERYthing”, he said. Hours were spent (not wasted).
Then the next day, once we had the name, we spent 30 minutes on the business strategy and game plan. Sounds crazy huh..? He had a truly brilliant mind. It just never switched off. The small stuff he sweated over, the big stuff was a stroll in the park. I learned tactics, and the separation of material, versus immaterial, from him, which have stayed with me for the past 30 years. I owe him plenty.
I won’t bore you with the other two, but they were of similar character.
The one thing though that I learned from all of them, one way or another, was to act and react calmly to anything that happens. If it has already happened then the chances are that there’s little you can do about it now, so relax, think, and work out the best way forward. Getting all steamed up about it is childish and frankly, immature.
Also, taking gigantic jumps into the “what if we did this” world are usually worthless. It doesn’t work that way. By all means be creative. Be wacky. But for God’s sake be practical. Use common sense and rationality and calmness. Get excited of course, but don’t get too excited that you think the job’s done before you’ve even started it.
- Education is the Key
- Common Sense opens the Door
- Hard work lights the Way
Oh, and each of them had a huge amount of Humility !!!!!!
By Bill Storie