A tick off my bucket list…lessons from an event with Richard Branson
In all my life, I’ve never been to an event that inspired me so much, brought me to tears, made me laugh and led me to take so much action immediately after the event. This was an event like no other I had ever been too. It was Inspire and Succeed presented by the team at Success Resources.
My Bucket List
It was mid-November and I was reviewing my 2019 goals list. I was thinking about all the things I’d planned to achieve this year and how many of those had eventuated (and which ones hadn’t). At that moment, I noticed an email arrive from Business Chicks, Australia’s largest and most influential community of women. The subject read ‘Your exclusive invitation to Richard Branson’s private island’.
Every year for the last few years, Business Chicks takes a small group of passionate women to spend the week at Richard Branson’s Necker Island, not just takes them there, but is hosted by Richard himself! The opportunity is open to all premium members. The event is significant not only in size, experience, and learning but also in cost. It’s something I’ve had on my bucket list now for many years.
When I saw this email, I reached out to the Business Chicks community Facebook page and shared that meeting him was one of those things on my bucket list. The supportive community was encouraged to say the least. One member then asked if I was going to see Sir Richard Branson when he arrived in Australia the same month. I paused in shock.
‘How did I not know he was going to be in Australia?’ ‘Where?’ ‘When?’ ‘Why?’. I turned to Google!
It turns out Richard Branson was being hosted by Success Resources as part of their annual event where the focus was to Inspire and Succeed. I found out that with a platinum ticket (which there was only three left) that I could meet Richard Branson at the cocktail event post the all-day seminar. I was in!
I had no expectations for the event, I knew nothing about the agenda, speakers other than Richard. The event was in Brisbane, I stayed across the road at the Rydges Hotel. I arrived the night before so I could be ready for what I hoped was a jam-packed event of energy, learnings, and atmosphere.
Upon arriving at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre, it was buzzing. There were people everywhere. I approached the customer service desk, where I noted the Platinum members would ‘check-in’. Here I was given a bundle of goodies including my platinum pass, a copy of Richard Branson’s latest book, workbook, agenda, and a special ‘dailygreatness’ success planner. At this point, I was thinking I should have brought a bigger bag to hold it all!
I sat in the second row from the front, the room was large, and the stage was small with the large Success Resources branding behind the stage. The room was full, it was estimated that there were around 4000 people in the room. Despite having the overview of speakers for the day, we had no idea in which order or when Richard would be speaking.
As I sat down, I recall emcee Melanie Nelson (president and founder of Ignite Promotions and Domore) on stage, she was engaging the audience and making sure that everyone was wide awake from the free coffee that was being provided. She was full of energy and proceeded to announce our first keynote speaker. Then what happened was truly extraordinary and not what I was not expecting!
Michael Crossland — he made me laugh, he also made me cry
Entering from stage left, Michael Crossland (Businessman, Elite Sportsman, Best Selling Author and Inspirational Human Being) walked on stage. Michael immediately connected with the audience as began to introduce how he got to where he is today, it wasn’t through a million-dollar idea or by playing in the world cup. He was here because he was in his words ‘lucky’.
‘When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change’
You see Michael spent a quarter of his life in hospital after he was diagnosed with incurable cancer at just 11 months old, a cancer of the central nervous system. It was by accident that they identified cancer and it was by a miracle that he’s still alive today. From consistent bad news, further medical diagnosis for additional problems that kept arising sometimes off the back of other treatments, given terminal illness news more than once. He continues to defy all odds and stood before us on that stage as a symbol, a strong symbol, of just what dealing with adversity looks like.
‘Adversity doesn’t define you,, how you deal with it does’
Michael was unlike anyone I’d ever met before, he was strong, positive, optimistic and honest. In his detailed account of his life story, he demonstrated how he used the greatest of adversity as a driver to help others in life and defy odds that must be seen to be believed. Michael helped inspire hope, courage, and patience. As Michael spoke he brought tears to our eyes not just because of what he had been through but because of how he has overcome so much already.
Michael uses a good analogy for how we are and what we want to be when he referred to the screen which shows the words ‘OAR — Ownership, Accountability, Responsibility’ above the line and ‘BED — Blame, Excuses, Deny’ below the line. Each of these words referring to whether you want to play a victim or a navigator in your life. Michael spent time helping the audience to understand that we may not have control over every event that happens to us, but we are ultimately in charge of how we respond to these events. His belief is that pain and suffering can be used as both an excuse for failure and a reason for your success.
‘Your value doesn’t decrease based on one’s inability to see your worth’
Michael stresses that you only need one person to believe in you, and that is the person looking in the mirror. Success is making a difference in other people’s lives, it’s the gift of giving. His message is not giving up hope. In addition to making us cry, he did make us laugh. Michael told the audience with the passion to ‘move, you’re not a tree!’.
‘Give without remembering, receive without forgetting’
Something Michael is trying to do every single day. Michael’s story doesn’t start or end with his diagnosis, Michael’s story is even more incredible because of the inspiring way he has used his story and his business success to help others, running a school and orphanage in Haiti, being presented as an Australia Day Ambassador for 7 consecutive years and through his book ‘Kids Don’t Get Cancer’. He reminded us that we have two hands, one to help ourselves and one to help others.
‘If you have breath, you can have a purpose’
Michael has certainly raised the bar and his opening for the event was one I will never forget. No coffee needed, Michael woke everyone up, shook us, lifted us, inspired us and brought an energy that cannot be compared.
Along with the inspirational, heart wrenching, emotional, funny, honest account of Michael’s story, there were other speakers, those who were there to impart advice and guidance in their specialist area, here are my key takeaways from the other speakers.
David Leon — The Spiwi Wealth Mentor
Speaking after Michael was not going to be easy, but David did it and he did it well. David Leon, the self-confessed Spanish Kiwi or in his words ‘Spiwi’. David was charming and entertaining from the moment he walked out on stage. As an international property investor, bestselling author, real estate entrepreneur and wealth educator. David started a real estate empire in 2002 using other people’s money! David was here to inspire us to follow his steps to real estate success using inspiration wealth management techniques from Robert Kiyosaki.
‘The only time you lose money from real estate is when you sell’
David inspired the audience to think globally about owning and investing in real estate to build a property empire. He shared information about how investing in real estate in New Zealand for example, was a significantly beneficial idea and only open (at time of writing) legally to Australian and Singaporean Residents (other than NZ residents). His programs take you through detailed steps on how to build your property portfolio using techniques, insights, and experiences from investing locally and abroad such as how capital gains tax wasn’t applicable in New Zealand when purchasing the property.
Greg Secker — Founder of the worlds #1 trader coaching company
Greg is a leader in teaching and trading, he is considered a Master Trader, a Forex Trading Educator and an Author. I had no idea what Greg was presenting but as he was introduced and I heard the words trading, Forex Market and stocks, I felt myself starting to lose enthusiasm, not a topic that easily excites many. Greg was different, he gave us a crash course in trading and did it with passion and enthusiasm. This opened my eyes and my ideas around trading and helped me understand it in a way that I could explain it to my husband later that day.
‘Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear’
He helped to demonstrate the best time of the day, based on when sessions overlap around the world. He explained how markets worked in phases and cycles, and what a trend wave means. Greg’s advice included never trading more than 2%, trade between 6–6.30 am (if in AEST) and why you must always wait for the price to pull back above the yellow line before making a trade.
Graeme Holm — Australia’s №1 Broker of the Year
As co-founder of Infinity Group, financial coach and best-selling author, Graeme brought a different focus to the room, helping the audience to understand that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and if you know and understand your numbers. Graeme had a challenging task as he was coming up just before lunch, he had to work twice as hard and did so as he paced the stage, talking money. Graeme made some really strong arguments, including reminding many of us that if you think you have savings but have a mortgage, then you don’t really have savings.
‘Perception is reality. Change the perception. Change your reality.’
He explained to the audience that having a budget that is well managed is critical regardless of whether you are in business or not and that your transaction listing is not a budget, its just evidence of the past. Graeme stressed the importance of having a money mentor/partner to guide you is important.
Lisa Messenger — Fast Thinking Founder & Editor in Chief at Collective Hub
It was after lunch where we had the first female presenter, Lisa joined the stage with passion and enthusiasm to share her story about how her magazine and fast out of the box thinking led to her magazine reaching Anna Wintour’s’ desk. You see Lisa is a big believer and advocate of creating value exchange, something she believes entrepreneurs don’t do enough of. Lisa helped highlight three key techniques that businesses could use in their business. She empathized the power of community and how people just want a chance to belong.
‘In Business, the fast eat the slow’
Lisa stressed why more business owners should look to non-competing partners who are like-minded working together who could grow together, rather than always going it alone. Thinking about value exchange. She asked the audience to think about all the things they can sell or trade. When thinking about growth, Lisa stressed the importance of systems and processes to improve project outcomes. Without this, it will make it difficult to grow. Putting these in place provides time and space to rethink and move outside your comfort zone.
Adam Hudson — Amazon Expert and Serial Entrepreneur
When Adam arrived, I wasn’t sure what I was going to learn from the Amazon Expert. Adam started to share how he has built a multimillion-dollar empire by selling and teaching others to sell on Amazon in an efficient way. Doing so by helping people to understand how to capture trends, follow them and then do it better than the competitors.
‘Follow the trends and do it better than others’
He showed the audience how easy it was to find existing white labeled products and bring them to the consumer under different brand names, focusing on visual differentiation. His education focused on demand, limited choice products, and the ‘GAS — give a shit’ factor as he called it. His program has helped thousands globally build multimillion-dollar programs by selling on Amazon better than competitors.
Sir Richard Branson — Founder of 400 companies, employer of 71,000 people and the most followed person on LinkedIn
Richard Branson is famous not only for his appetite for danger, taking risks and beating impossible odds in business and in life, but also for his down to earth nature, passion and the only person to build 18 billion-dollar companies in 12 different sectors. Richard has been inspiring entrepreneurs around the world since the 1970s when he started his first business.
‘Being an entrepreneur means to have an insatiable appetite for learning, evolving and creating. There is no one end goal.’
Richard is the epitome of success and who better to inspire others than Richard himself. Joined by Lisa Messenger, he was interviewed and shared insights on his views about why the education systems are flawed and how changing the education system to be more of a practical application of skills is important. What traits are critical to be a good leader he said; being a good listener, be a tremendous motivator of people, look for the best in people and find an excuse to praise people.
‘When entering a market, try and be the best at it, no matter how small the field is.’
He then went onto tell a funny story about an early career mentor before he started Virgin Airlines, where he was told that he needed to use himself to generate attention and beat the competition as he would never have the budgets that competitors like British Airways did (budget is not an issue anymore but he still likes to make a fool of himself!).
He stresses that detail is everything in business and you need to worry about it. When faced with feedback, take it on board, take all suggestions, ideas, and feedback and deal with it. When working in business, always start with a focus on the first business first and learn the art of delegation.
One of the things I loved about Richards’s interview is his approach to how to cope and manage as a business begins to scale/grow and gets real traction. How does he recommend business owners approach this?
Richard’s advice was to focus on the inner circle first and foremost and move outwards as you can which is what he has done in his career and in life. Below is an example of what I imagine he meant when suggesting that you take care of yourself first before you can move on to help others.
‘Today Richard spends 70% of his time on not for profit businesses.’
Upon completion of the interview, Richard allowed the introduction of questions from the audience. Several questions were asked including those about the environment, who would take over the Virgin Group in future (to which he explained his children would be well prepared) and others about going to space. Although one question captured my attention the most, it was from a young 11-year-old boy, who bravely asked Richard ‘How did you get through school?’. Richard responded to the young boy, asking him whether he had dyslexia too. The young boy did. Richard proceeded to tell the boy that ‘you should focus on all the other things you are really good at’. Sound advice and an inspiring moment for a child who had the courage to stand up and share his personal story.
After Richards’s interview, platinum guests were escorted to the cocktail event were we fortunate enough to meet Richard in person, take a photo with him and in my case, give his staffer a gift for Richard (I don’t know whether he received it!).
All in all, I had limited expectations, but I knew that the event would have to be something special to be associated with Richard, and it was. There were a lot of ‘sales’ but you know what, I didn’t’ mind. I truly believe the sales aspect was about the ‘success resources’ that were being presented and how they would and could help you, in fact, I would say throughout the event between speakers hundreds of people were signing up to the speaker offerings.
I am glad I came across the event; I am glad I went, and I am already putting into place an action plan using my new ‘dailygreatness’ planner that I received on the day to define bigger, scarier goals for 2020. The question is, will you join me in making 2020, using your OAR, not your BED to make it your best year yet?