“I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.” – Richard Branson
I went along to the Business Chicks breakfast in Brisbane today. At 640am in Merivale Street there was a definate buzz, an energy and a stream of scent in the air as impeccably presented women (and a few men) arrived at the Exhibition Centre for the Richard Branson Breakfast.
Now why would you pay $189 to go and see Richard? Well having read his books, having watched his success, admired the way he keeps his life private, his private island, preferring to fly Virgin etc etc – here he was in BrisVegas talking to us! I am not sure we really knew what to expect but there were 1300 of us prepared to be in a room ready to go by 7am this morning – all excited to be in the same room as Mr Virgin.
He entered the room at the back and was happy to high five and shake everyones hand on the walk-way in – not in a rockstar crowd surfing kind of way more humble, keen to thank everyone for showing up. You immediately notice how uncomfortable he is with the bright lights and stage set up – I wondered if he would prefer to be standing at a podium delivering a speech – but to be fair he is too much of an introvert to a) enjoy that and b) the conversational Q&A gives him time to take in the questions. He attributes his business success on being a motivator – building teams of people that are good at turning dreams into reality. I think he looks at opportunities and instead of why – says why not?
He was asked about retirement – can you imagine Richard retiring? Or is he in a position to sit back on his Necker Island and just be? I don’t think so. This chap is all about ‘Where to from here?’ ‘What can we do next?’ and if it is not to make money it is to give money. Giving is a rewarding part of being successful. Being able to give back and a staff idea created the UNITE project where the teams at Virgin could reinvest their thought leadership and entrepreneurial flair to poverty stricken communities around the world. Build a successful person which in turns builds a successful business and in turn means they can hire people which in turn means they can help more than themselves and so it continues. Let’s call this pay it forward philanthropy. My life is full to the brim with my young family and part time work but as soon as there is more time I am very much looking forward to getting involved in more project based philanthropy where my eyes and heart can be opened to what change I can make in this world. Right now I do a little and I want to do a lot more.
So how do you leave your mark your on this world? Through children? By teaching others what they can do, be, achieve? Richard mentioned his wife of 35 years and children and the ‘lot of love’ that is within his family. Yes you heard me right – he mentioned love on the stage. Isn’t that incredible. Being able to acknowledge that to leave a legacy – through love and nurturing his children and his businesses and charities he will keep that spark firing.
I really enjoyed today. I have a crush now. Also excited about my future what I can do, what I absolutely will do with my life and as a Coach – yours. Remembering that when faced with barriers to boldly approach them, peer over them – you never know what may be reaching out to you on the other side. With this in mind I was lucky that when he decided to leave the stage he went straight through the middle – and was happy to shake hands with people while he was applauded all the way through. I don’t know about the 1299 others in the room – for a brief moment he stood in front of me and the only hand he shook was mine!
*PS the goody bags are amazing – so many delightful things to sample. And in true networkng style I grabbed a coffee with my accountant after. We were approached by a young man in the cafe who spotted our Business Chicks Bags and asked us how it was today. After chatting a while He introduced himself – he was futurist Tim Longhurst and was presenting with Richard Branson at a University of Queensland lunch later.
Sally-Anne Blanshard is the founder and Director of Nourish Coaching and helps people reinvent their careers, businesses and life through structured coaching programs. She has been featured on TV, Radio and is often quoted in newspapers and magazines.
Nourish Coaching – Feed your Career Cravings – Satisfy Life’s Appetite. www.sallyanneblanshard.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org 0433 162244