ROR and The Journey


Recently, I was working with Young Enterprise London (YEL) ( They work with schools to talk about and help groups of students, of all ages, understand about business, commerce and what it’s like out here in the world of work. It’s very rewarding and great fun and today was exceptional – a group of 6th formers from various schools on the subject of Entrepreneurship.

It made me think about how our lives and our career, in particular, is basically a journey. Some people know where they are and where they want to go and can draw a line and follow it. Others, like me, (still) have no idea where it will end up – it’s the journey that’s fun at the moment, not the destination! I know where I’m going right now and think I know where I want to end up, but I’m not really planning the route between now and then, mainly because I’m not in a hurry and there’s so much to see and do on the way. I could “fly direct” and meet nobody, I could catch a train and stop occasionally and “sight-see” through the window of my compartment, or I could drive, stop off wherever I want along the way and experience lots of things I’d otherwise miss…….I could even walk, or cycle and get closer still to the world around me, but I'm not patient enough to move that slowly!

Having travelled extensively for work across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America, one lesson I learned early was to take the time to chat to the locals and get tips on places to go (or not go!) and how best to move around. Getting the benefit of experience from someone who has already “been there” makes a huge difference in so many ways!

And it’s the same in life and your career. A good friend of mine – very successful and “young for his position” openly admits to surrounding himself with people who know far more than he does. This is ROR! This is maximising the benefit of your relationships, both for your “Trusted Advisors” and for yourself, because if people help you to succeed and you take them with you, then you all get to where you want to be a lot quicker. If you climb on others to get there first, you may make it to the top, but the chances of staying there are slim!

Free advice is worth precisely what you paid for it! So, how do you filter the gold nuggets of advice that will change your life for the better from the huge slag-heaps of opinion that will be an obstacle to progress…..?

We’re back to “Like, trust and respect” again – People with whom you have mutual “L-T-R” will give you the best advice they can from their own experience - they are investing in you, just as you are prepared to invest in them………. Friends share each success and value each-other’s time and their knowledge, skill and experience. Jealousy is not an option in a true friendship – the two are mutually exclusive!

If life is the journey, then ROR is your vehicle. Therefore, making sure that your vehicle is well maintained, topped up and generally cared for is critical! Fuel, water, oil, air, tyres, windshield-wash, brakes, transmission, lights………..etc. In life, these critical relationships are those things – they are the things that fuel your vehicle, allow you to slow down, go faster, see the road ahead clearly, steer a steady course when the road gets rough and generally ensure that you get where you plan on going as easily and comfortably as possible, these and the odd chance meeting with someone, who tells you a “great short-cut” ………sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t………but if you meet them again you can tell them, either way!

One last piece of advice – if you’re going to pick up a hitch-hiker, make sure that all your instincts tell you that they are someone you want to share part of your journey with. Try asking them where they are going first, and make your decision based on the answer you get back, you can always say, “Sorry, I’m not going that way” and drive off…………