My guests are incredibly gracious in sharing their stories and demonstrating vulnerability in our conversations. I owe it to them to do the same. I shouldn’t ask them to share if I wouldn’t be prepared to share myself.
At the same time, I wanted to talk about crucible moments and how they forge our character and influence our behaviour often subconsciously and sometimes indefinitely unless we seek to identify them. I wanted to prompt you to reflect on your own life journey and consider whether that’s been the case for you.
This episode of CAREER-VIEW MIRROR is brought to you by Aquilae.
Aquilae's mission is to enable Fulfilling Performance in the auto finance and mobility industry. We use our very own Fulfilling Performance Paradigm to help you identify what steps you need to take to enable Fulfilling Performance in your business.
I explain what we mean by Fulfilling Performance in Episode 60 of CAREER-VIEW MIRROR which is a short Side Mirror episode like this one.
Contact me directly if you’d like to know more. My email is Andy@Aquilae.co.uk
For details of our forthcoming guests follow us on Instagram @careerviewmirror
Episode recorded on 29 August 2022
I am sitting in lovely Siesta Key, Florida.Sherene Redelinghuys:
I'm coming from Bangkok in Thailand.Daniel von Treeck:
Prague in the Czech Republic.Osman Abdelmoneim:
Cairo in Egypt.Holger Drott:
Auckland, New Zealand.Shannon Faulkner:
London, England.Andy Follows:
Welcome to Career-view Mirror, the automotive podcast that goes behind the scenes with key players in the industry looking back over their careers so far, sharing insights to help you with your own journey. I'm your host, Andy FollowsAndy:
Hello, listeners and welcome to this side mirror episode of Career-view Mirror, about crucible moments, those events that forge our character and influence our thoughts and actions, sometimes indefinitely. I was born in Bowdon, which is an affluent suburb in Manchester, South Manchester. I was born in a maternity hospital run by nuns, which has since been turned into luxury apartments. And I sometimes say, I'd like to buy one of those apartments and end my days there not now, but in the future. And I think it'd be quite satisfying to complete the circle like that. My father worked with his older brother in an advertising business, my mum was a housewife and mother. Both my parents came from working class roots and left school with little or no formal qualifications. I was an only child until I was 14, and was brought up in a loving environment. As my childhood went on, we had more and more creature comforts. We moved when I was three years old. And again, when I was eight, each time just a short move less than a couple of miles, and each time to a more affluent area and a better home. Having missed out on a decent education himself, my dad was very focused on making sure that I got the best. He asked a neighbour who was an academic and whose opinion he respected, what's a what's a good age for a child to start school and he said as soon as possible. So at three years old, I was enrolled at Sunnyside nursery school. I don't remember much about that. But I did make a friend there, Michael Grace and we've remained friends to this day, which is something I'm very pleased and quite proud about. From there, I went to Altrincham Preparatory School, a private school for boys aged five to 11 that was known for its success at preparing its students for the best of Manchester's selective independent grammar schools. Towards the end of my time at prep school, my dad and my uncle went their separate ways, and Dad set up his own advertising business. I remember my dad's reaction when he opened the letter to say I'd been accepted into Manchester Grammar which was considered one of the best schools for academic achievement in the country, let alone the area. I didn't see him shed many tears in my life but that was one occasion when he came close. I guess I felt proud to have got in but I really had to work hard to keep up. I remember, most evenings sitting at the dining table doing homework, often until after my parents had gone to bed. When I was 13, my parents called me into their bedroom. They showed me a pregnancy test and said, you see that blue line, that means you're going to have a brother or sister. I was really excited then and again when the baby was born in March 1982. I was at the hospital with my dad and held my new little brother a few minutes after he was born. When the time came to sit my General Certificate of Education exams or O levels as they were known then, I did well. I was keeping up with the kids around me getting a good education and picking up the paperwork to demonstrate it. From memory, in that same year, 38 of the students who sat their A levels at my school, won places at either Oxford or Cambridge University. That would have been about 18% of the cohort. I'm sharing that number to give you an idea of the privileged environment this was and to allow you to imagine the level of expectation that came with it. If you were lucky enough to be there you were expected to work hard and do very well. These are my words now, not the school's. But once you entered the place at 11, you were part of an educational process that was focused on ejecting you at 18 on as higher trajectory as possible. That same year that I took my O levels, my dad's business failed and all the material trappings of our comfortable life went. I still remember the salesman coming to buy my dad's Porsche. They sold our family home and the bank kept most of the proceeds. I guess there was a sense for my parents of wanting or needing to start afresh, I don't recall the details of the conversations at that time. We moved away from home 200 miles south, I left my school and my childhood friends behind. I spent the long summer holiday living in a holiday flat in our new hometown of Weston-Super-Mare. People endure much worse, but I missed my friends. My education was still important to my dad, and he paid for me to go to another independent school, this time it was Bristol Grammar, or BGS. He also enrolled my little brother in a private prep school too, as soon as he was old enough. I made some great new friends at BGS. I'm still in touch with some of them today. I had a lot of fun and I took my foot off the gas in terms of studies. Now that I was in sixth form as it was known, years 12 and 13 in today's terms, I found myself distracted by other aspects of growing up. I don't know how much of that change I would have experienced with the move into sixth form anyway, without all the other change that I'd had to deal with. But looking back, I have a strong sense that I'd had enough of pushing myself by then. I'd had to work really hard up until this point, and now I didn't seem to be anywhere near as motivated. This was made very obvious when I got my A level results. I was away in France staying with my pen pal William, and my dad read them out to me over the phone. It was probably just as well that I was away as whilst I got a B in French, I only managed to achieve a D in English and an O in Latin. That means I have two Latin O levels. It wasn't a surprise for me, given my lack of effort. But I was still disappointed. I'd hoped for some last minute stroke of luck that didn't happen. These grades weren't enough to get me on to any of the business courses at any of the universities or polytechnics that I'd applied to. My best grade was a B in French helped by holiday time spent with a family in France. After all the successful students had made their choices and the universities opened the clearing system to allocate remaining places, I got on the phone and started trying to get myself on to a degree course to study French. I was relieved and even pleased with myself when I managed to secure a place at the University of London to study French with Italian. I remember clearly that my dad didn't share my excitement at my success. Instead, he said that was not your plan. I can see now that he would have viewed it as me blowing my opportunity, an opportunity that he had not had, and that he had prioritised and sacrificed to give me. At three years old, I'd been put on a trajectory that, if all had gone to plan, should have seen me enrolling on the course of my choice at a prestigious university. Between 16 and 18, there's no doubt in my mind that I stepped or fell off that trajectory and as far as academic work was concerned, I lost my appetite. And I didn't get it back. I started my uni course in 1986 and had a shocking first year, almost failing. The second year was not much better. I was living off campus with some great friends at this point and hardly went to any lectures even though they did. By the end of the second year of university in 1988. I'd spent four years being a poor student, I prioritise partying over academic work. Then two things happened that helped turn me round. First, I started going out with a girl, not just any girl, but a girl who I was madly in love with. And second, I went off to France for a year to work as an assistant teaching English in a technical school outside of Paris. That year was very hard, and I didn't enjoy it much, but it gave me some extra time to grow up. My French improved a lot. And my long distance relationship with my girlfriend survived. At the end of that year, she graduated with a very good degree. And I guess that ignited a little bit of competitive spirit in me and her success gave me something to aim for. I managed to knuckle down in my final year, I got a respectable upper Second Class Honours degree or 2.1, and I was ready to go and look for work with that helpful certificate in hand. Unfortunately, I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do. I'll stop the story there. Perhaps I'll share what happened in a later side mirror. Why am I sharing this story with you? Two reasons. Every interview I do with my guests on Career-view Mirror. I ask them to tell me about their early years and their education and their family situation. Sometimes potential guests say they're happy to share their professional experiences, but they don't want to do the earlier part. And I say I completely understand and respect that. First and foremost, I want this to be a celebration of my guests journey, and an entirely positive experience for them. So if you're not comfortable with our approach, let's not go ahead with the interview. I don't want any of my guests to talk about stuff they don't want to talk about. And I want to stay true to our format. For me, it has become an important feature of our Career-view Mirror episodes, that we get to hear the full story and learn about the trajectory that my guest has been on. The more challenging the start my guests have had, the more inspiring I find their stories. The more they're able to be vulnerable and tell it how it was, the closer the connection I feel with them and the more in awe and inspired I am. I imagine it's the same for you. So the first reason I'm sharing this story is to do myself, what I asked my guests to do, and be as open and vulnerable as they often are. Let me be really clear, I'm not comparing my challenges with theirs or yours, I had an incredibly privileged upbringing, and I've benefited hugely from it, I was dealt a very good hand, I just want to lay those cards on the table in the same way that my guests graciously do each time we sit down and record an episode. The second reason that I wanted to share this story with you is to highlight the impact of certain crucible moments or events in our lives, that can affect our behaviour for years to come maybe forever if uncorrected. It's a recurring theme that my guests who have experienced career success in conventional terms, have had to overcome some challenges along the way. And those challenges have been fundamental in influencing their character and ongoing behaviour. My dad's business failing and us moving away from my home and all my friends when I was 16 was a crucible moment for me, even though I'm pretty sure I wasn't aware of it in those terms at the time. In fact, it's only relatively recently that I've realised the long term impact that it's had, I now recognise that I've been motivated or driven even throughout the 30 odd years of my career, by a need to get back on to what I consider to be my original trajectory. And the fact that that trajectory is an entirely notional idea hasn't made it any less compelling as a force. For a long time, I think that motivation was subconscious rather than conscious. I've also been driven or motivated by the knowledge that one minute you can be living in a really nice home with flash cars on the driveway, and the next you can be in a one bedroom flat. The crucial thing is that whether I've been aware of it or not that sense of having been knocked off course, onto a perceived lower trajectory and that fear of potentially losing what I've worked hard to get, have been there every day, pushing me to do better and create more financial security. There have been plenty of additional positive, intrinsic and extrinsic, motivating factors as well, great products and great brands, doing work I loved recognising my own personal growth, gaining more responsibility, and then debatable motivation to my ego of achieving increased status. But under the surface, the sense of previously losing my bearings and the potential risk of losing financial security overnight, have been playing a significant part. If you've listened this far, thank you for staying with me. And I hope that the reasons for me sharing this story have made sense to you. As I mentioned, it was relatively recently that I became aware of the impact that crucible moment had on my life and career journey. Maybe you've had similar experiences that you know full well influence your character and actions ever since. Or maybe you haven't. Or maybe, as it was for me for a long time, you've had such experiences, but you haven't joined the dots yet. If that's the case, I hope that this episode will prompt you to spend a little time reflecting on your own journey, your own crucible moments, and how they may be subconsciously influencing your paradigms and behaviour to this day. You've been listening to Career-view Mirror with me, Andy Follows. I love recording interviews with my guests, and the more openly they share their stories, the better our episodes are. I want to know the full story. I want to go back with them to the day they were born, to be able to appreciate the starting point of their journey and understand the extent to which, by circumstances of their birth, they found themselves on any kind of implied trajectory. If so, what happened next? Did they stay on it? Or do they change course and how? My guests are incredibly gracious in sharing their stories and demonstrating vulnerability in our conversations. I owe it to them to do the same. I shouldn't ask them to share if I wouldn't be prepared to share myself. At the same time, I wanted to talk about crucible moments and how they forge our character and influence our behaviour often subconsciously, and sometimes indefinitely unless we seek to identify them. I wanted to prompt you to reflect on your own life journey and consider whether that's been the case for you. And finally, it's been my experience that hearing other people's crucible moments has strengthened my understanding of them, and my sense of connection to them. I hope that during this episode, you'll have experienced that too. Maybe you apply a similar approach in your own relationships, or would be open to giving it a try. We publish these episodes to celebrate my guests careers, listen to their stories, and learn from their experiences. This episode of Career-view Mirror is brought to you by Aquilae. Aquilae's mission is to enable Fulfilling Performance in the auto finance and mobility industry. We use our very own Fulfilling Performance Paradigm to help you identify what steps you need to take to enable Fulfilling Performance in your business. I explain what we mean by Fulfilling Performance in Episode 60 of Career-view Mirror, which is a short side mirror episode like this one. Contact me directly if you'd like to know more, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember, folks, if you know people who would benefit from hearing these stories, please show them how to find us. Thanks for listening.Osman Abdelmoneim:
No matter how hard you try, no matter how hard working you are, you're never going to be able to do it on your own. It's just not possible.Paul Harris:
You know, at the end of the day, you're steering your own destiny. So if it's not happening for you, and you're seeing what you want out there, then go out there and connect.Sherene Redelinghuys:
Don't rely on others. You you have to do it yourself. You have to take control.Rupert Pontin:
If you've got an idea if you've got a thought about something that might be successful, if you've got a passion to do something yourself, but you just haven't quite got do it.Tom Stepanchak:
Take a risk. Take a chance stick your neck out what's the worst that can happen? You fall down okay, you pick yourself up and you try again.