I had a birthday this weekend, not a big one, but a large enough number these days to generate suitable reflections on the previous 50+ years. When I was younger, I was very idealistic and, as with many students had big plans to change the world. (Those that didn’t have these generally had big plans to change their own circumstances.) For many people that youthful zeal evaporates upon getting married and having children, and some settle down and start looking forward to retirement in their 30s and 40s. After leaving London soon after the Millennium I lived in an Oxfordshire town for a couple of years and was amazed to meet relatively young people in their 30s who seemingly had settled for a quiet life, that some may have called mediocrity.
Fortunately, within the SME business world, there are not many people like that. They wouldn’t survive! There is a certain amount of spirit and determination required to ensure that your own retail outlet or brand survives and prospers. Those in the waiting room for retirement probably are not there. However, those that have been doing what you are doing for a few years, how many of you still dream those big dreams you dreamt when first starting out? Or have you diluted those dreams over the years? Maybe you are exhausted and burnt out and do not have the energy you once had? Does it matter, and what are you going to do about it?
When in Western Kenya last week, at our children’s centre, one night I had to step outside in the middle of the night (something to do with my age probably!). I looked up in the pitch darkness and saw millions of stars, the like of which we never see in the UK due to light pollution. The sheer number of stars was amazing. We sometimes think that what we are doing is insignificant to the world picture, but it isn’t. If we are making a small difference to our local community or making a product in an environmentally-friendly way or being the best possible employer we can to those that work for us, then adding together all those pieces can make a huge difference to the world. Just as each one of those stars on their own, you would hardly see, but with millions together, it was an amazing picture.
Yes, we may need encouragement from others from time to time, but be assured you are making a difference and push on with the passion of a youth!