When I was younger, one of the things that used to always course through my brain was a rather trusting refrain, “it’ll be alright eventually”.
For some odd reason, I did trust in my own ability. I had total faith that no matter, in the end, my skills and talents would come through, and I would be able to succeed in life almost by default.
Maybe I misunderstood what was around me. For years in school, exam season after exam season came and went, with more and more success. High grades, rising class position, great GCSEs, great A-Levels… it just kept going again and again, and I thought I must have already been doing something right, and therefore all I needed to do was carry on.
When you reach Real Life though, you realise that the correlation of a successful life with good qualification is not very strong at all. Sure, it helps, but far more important are the connections you have, either already garnered, or through your family.
My connections have not been particularly helpful for me. The classic case of a working-class background, a family with no opportunities to get a leg-up from friends and relatives. And yet, the more I do business, the more I realise that connections are what make the world turn.
If I went through my client list, I’d probably be able to attribute at least half of the turnover to connections. But not in the sense that they came from connections in the first place, but more because I had the good fortune to get one customer through normal means (advertising) and then beyond that point it led to many recommendations into numerous different home and business customers. One such connection, starting with a £30 PC repair, gained from an advert in the paper, has since turned into many thousands of pounds of profit. All because that customer just so happened to be in the position to make a business decision to use me in the private school he runs.
Life is life that. A series of connections and co-incidences. They can go in your favour, and sometimes they won’t. When they happen, you have to smile and breathe a sigh of relief. It just went your way. But when they don’t, it’s extraordinarily frustrating. You then might even start to rail about the unfairness of the world, and how if only it was all about talent, experience and price, you would be winning every time, and that would be just perfect.
How naive. We may all want the world to be fair, but it never will be. We are humans. We like shortcuts. We are social, and value the recommendations and input of other people, especially if they’re people we trust implicitly.
I’m getting there. I’m earning lots of connections, many of which I’m starting to use for my own life. And who knows when they’ll be useful to a much greater than they currently are. Maybe when I own my own house, and I’m desperate for someone to help with dodgy guttering…