If often asked why I continue to run around like a mad person, and the simple answers are ‘because I enjoy it’ and ‘because I can’.
But the reality is, like most entrepreneurs my life has been totally random and everything I did seemed like a good idea at the time. If you would like the gory details, you can find them here.
Many things were not a success, but I moved on swiftly. Some things were successful, mostly more due to luck than judgement.
It was only around ten years ago that I began to try and make sense out of it all, and I am indebted to my friend Harry Freedman, who specialises in people looking to change career.
He explained that people behave differently depending on which seven year cycle they are in. He suggests the following:
- Between 21 and 28: you should try as many things as possible
- Between 28 and 35: you should focus on making some money
- Between 35 and 42: you should do something different
- Between 42 and 49: you are at the peak of your mental and physical powers
- Between 49 and 56: ideally represents maturity and self-awareness
- Between 56 and 63: you begin to concentrate on your Legacy
- Between 63 and 70: you can be an expert Mentor
As I write this, I have just turned 60, so am between the two most important words ‘Legacy’ and ‘Mentor’.
Outside my family, my legacy will be the books I’ve co-authored. While not at the J K Rowling level of success, Chris and I have sold 100,000 books in total, which must have done some good, even if we are ultimately destined to be a footnote in business history.
But more important, the books and my life experience enable me to be a Mentor.
Mentoring is a vital part of the Beermat process. ‘Mentoring’ was on the Original Beermat and I began to be asked to provide mentoring as soon as the book came out. In the ten years after the book came out, I have mentored, face-to-face, over 1,000 people. Many I’ve never seen again; others have become friends for life – that’s how it goes. And I always provide Mentoring for free.
It’s true to say that in the Mentoring process, the person who learnt most was me. This enabled me to finally work out what my purpose was: to mentor as many people as I can, and pass that knowledge on to the next generation of mentors, or as the actor and director Kevin Spacey neatly puts it “sending the elevator back down and give others a helpful lift”
So while I very much enjoying speaking at events, interviewing business celebrities, playing in the band and all my other madcap schemes, my real purpose is mentoring and teaching other people how to do it.
I often do this in Liverpool, where I work hard to create a Legacy for the City, which also allows me to pursue my obsession with The Beatles.
In exchange, the powers that be very kindly have given me the title of ‘Business Ambassador and Entrepreneur Mentor for the City of Liverpool’. This is an unpaid position and incredibly good fun.
As you get older, an entrepreneur’s focus typically moves from ‘making money’ to ‘making a difference’. Key to this is understanding how best to use your time. And to borrow a phrase from a different part of my life, I work hard to make sure I remain ‘Just, Perfect and Regular’.