Big Fat And Hairy…
What do the following have in common:
They were all started during a Recession by people under 25.
I remember sitting behind 8 trading screens on the trading floor at Investment Bank KBC Peel Hunt when the CEO at the time, Tim Cockroft announced his departure.
I was making a market in about 200 Alternative Investment Market equities and my trading partner was on lunch.
The next day a very young looking Corporate Financier called Simon Hayes stepped in as CEO.
I remember my thoughts at the time…
How did he get there?
What did he do differently from all the others?
How did he do it so young?
This really sparked an interest in me and the very next week I stepped out of my comfort zone, knocked on his door and told him why I wanted to follow in his footsteps and move into Corporate Finance.
A Big, Fat, Hairy Statement I know.
To this day, I still don’t know what made me do it, but something inside of me told me to follow in the footsteps of those who are achieving the results you want to achieve.
My observations after obsessing over the subject of achievement in Banking & Finance for 10 years is that top achievers all do things differently from the rest.
They all see opportunity while others see fear.
You see, when I spoke with Simon Hayes, his age was not an issue.
He seemed ultra confident and ultra ambitious.
But, where did that come from?
How about Sidney Weinberg, the father of the modern Goldman Sachs as we know it,
The guy who steps up from nothing to Partner at such a young age.
His first job was holding peoples places in bank run queues for $5 a spot.
He confidently decided to knock on the door of 24 Wall Street companies asking for work. (When was the last time anybody did that? Well I did actually believe it or not)
After receiving 24 rejections, he was hired by Goldman Sachs to assist the porter, by 37 he was made a partner and built its Investment Banking division.
What is the difference?
If he can do this, why not you?
If not you, then who?
Its not MBA’s or Masters that make the difference, believe me.
Why have we lost touch of reality?
Why do we think that success is a result of education and circumstance?
What happened to our fighting entrepreneurial spirit?
Why is everybody leaving university like cloned sheep?
What happened to our unique contribution?
I hear from many students and graduates who have completed their education and now find themselves in an economy that does not want them just yet.
Perhaps it is because they are identifying themselves as their education.
I receive hundreds of emails of those looking for opportunity in Banking & Finance where the first thing that somebody says is…
“I am an MBA from…”
“I am a Masters In…”
“I am a graduate from…”
What happened to you?
You Are Not Your Education.
Surely you have something unique to offer the world of Banking & Finance.
But I have found that the very thing holding these students and graduates back is simply their beliefs and the meaning that they attach to the current situation.
In Private Equity our job is to see things differently from everybody else.
The investments that I look for right now are companies that do not understand the opportunity that is available to them right now through technological advance.
I mean, never in history have we had access to our own television channel (You Tube), our own distribution network of over 1 billion users (Facebook), the ability to have our message reach everybody’s pockets (Through i phones and Blackberry’s), have access to our own publishing company (Through iPad and Amazon), the ability to set up at virtually zero cost, for 3 people to be able to do the work of 300 people without an office and to have access to a global market with the click of a few buttons and a small budget with google.
And this is meant to be a hard time???
What an opportunity.
As long as businesses continue to do things the old way, there will always be a market for me to see things the other way and thrive.
As long as students and graduates identify themselves as their education, there will always be an opportunity for others to see things the other way and thrive.
Two things and two takeaways for your career.
Students and Graduates that are struggling right now are stuck in old ways and not adjusting to change.
Old thinking students and graduates are using old strategies like get as educated as I can and then apply online for graduate Schemes.
This will lead to the same results as everybody else – bad ones.
Students and Graduates that are struggling right now give the wrong meaning to the tough market.
Circumstances do not dictate what happens to us.
The meaning that we give the circumstances does.
This tough market can be unfortunate or it can be the biggest opportunity ever.
Which meaning you give it, is your choice.
What is the dominant meaning that you give to the current situation?
I put it to you, the meaning you give it will dictate your results.
Some experience the trauma (and something that I would never wish upon anybody) of being raped.
Some take that experience and fall apart.
Others use this as a reason to never allow this to happen to anybody ever again and start a crusade to change the world.
What is the difference?
The meaning you give something.
Why me? v. How Can I Use This?
The meaning you attach to circumstances will dictate your ability to see the opportunity amongst the rough.
So how do we control the meaning we give something?
We ask ourself intelligent questions that set our brain off on a new path of thought.
Try these on for size…
What am I grateful for in my life right now?
Who in my life do I love?
Who loves me?
Who in the world would kill to have my problems?
What is Apple doing differently from General Motors?
Who is getting jobs right now with less education and less going for them right now?
What are they doing differently?
What opportunity comes from the current market?
What makes me different from all the other students and graduates in my class?
Great questions right…?
You might come up with a new meaning.
Question your current beliefs.
Anything that can be conceived or believed can be achieved.
“Whether you can, or you can’t, you are right” Henry Ford.
I end where I began with the title of this post…
Give yourself a Big, Fat, Hairy Goal.
You know the ones that people think you are crazy for even believing.
The “Don’t be ridiculous ones”
If people don’t look at you and say your an idiot, then it is not big enough, not fat enough and not hairy enough.
Mike Harris told me the other day either revolutionize, reform, transform or don’t do it.
This comes from a multi billionaire in Banking & Finance, perhaps we have something to learn.
Never underestimate what you can achieve.
If you do, you are like everybody else, and everybody else lives a life of mediocrity.
People sometimes criticize me…
…saying that I am giving false hope to those who have no chance.
That is their limited thinking.
Let their limited belief inspire you to action.
Don’t you want to prove people like that wrong?
I have found that when people say you can’t, that it is a great driver for me to prove them wrong.
I will always believe if anybody is 100% committed to a decision they can always find a way.
My Big, Fat, Hairy Goal
“I want to Reform Banking”
Last week I was invited to Westminster to discuss the Future Of Banking & Finance with MP’s while meeting Banking Transformer Mike Harris to tee up a meeting. More on this to come.
The power of a Mission Focused Goal?
Anything is possible.
Write yours down right now and carry it with you on a piece of paper everywhere.
Then take action and chip away at it.
To your Banking & Finance Career Success.