I have always believed in the saying that you cannot join the dots going forward and this was never more evident than this weekend.
As can be seen from my various profiles and websites, I am now a successful international consultant, writer and motivational speaker. However, if I go back to when I left university, I always expected to be a teacher for my entire working life.
By the 1980s I was a manager in a large multi-national based in Croydon in the UK. I was asked to present a PC to an organisation called Croydon Business Venture from our company. This was to happen at the organisation’s AGM. It was the mention of this very organisation in LinkedIn this weekend that got me thinking.
At that AGM I was asked if I would become a director of the organisation and I agreed. The organisation assisted businesses starting up by providing counselling and training along with a few incubator units.
Soon I was delivering training in marketing and selling as well as delivering some counselling sessions. This continued until I eventually left the multi-national and moved to Oxford.
However, this experience at Croydon Business Centre set me in good stead to obtain the CEO roll of the Oxford Business Centre. The Croydon experience also gave me the confidence to create a large incubator unit that in turn led to my first international assignment.
As with many things in life, this first assignment led to many others. My international work developed in supporting SMEs through business centres and incubators in a number of countries.
At some point I was asked to address a university and this started a second string of motivational speaking. Also, in between assignments I started to write books on entrepreneurship. The writing has developed in two ways. My speaking experience has led to me producing audio books and audio talks whilst my consultancy experience has led to me writing strategies for European projects.
I tell all of this as the chance posting on LinkedIn showed really clearly that you cannot plan your life in its entirety. When I went to that AGM I had no idea of what that chance two hours would end up doing to my life.
Imagine if I had delegated the job to someone else! What it teaches me, and hopefully others, is that opportunities will appear when you least expect them. If you take them there is no knowing where they might lead.
Most importantly, don’t try and guess the outcome. There is no way that I could have joined any of those dots going forward, but I will ever be grateful for the opportunity to attend that AGM.