Have Voice, Will Travel – Episode #1 in a 12-episode series on the Working From Anywhere journey of award-winning professional speaker, author and entertainer Greg Ward.
Wherever my laptop is, that’s my place of work…
Throughout my life, the call to follow my numerous passions has been strong. But for a long, long time, I allowed the cautious voice of reason to prevail, consistently posing the ‘what if…?’ scenarios.
Although no stranger to the fight/flight principal I’ve only recently become aware (through the work of Karin Hawkins and her team at the Neuroleadership Institute) that the brain actually responds five times more powerfully to a perceived threat situation than a reward situation – small wonder then, that the default for us humans is to take the safe approach, don’t rock the boat, maintain the status quo regardless of the consequences to our esteem, or our dreams.
Which is the greater threat?
For some of us though, eventually the threat/reward situation slowly turns 180 degrees until the greater threat is the everyday drudgery of a 9 to 5 (read 8 to 7) working day – working, that is, to make someone else a profit, and the reward situation becomes the opportunity to take that crazy risk – to go out on a limb, sink or swim, secure in the knowledge that the only person who is truly in control of our own destiny is ourselves.
That’s in essence how I finally arrived at my WFA story. A high-school drop-out, who bounced through a stop-start series of adventures and forays across multiple countries, industries and business sectors until today I stand as an award-winning, top-rating professional speaker and entertainer for conferences and events worldwide.
Now, wherever my trusty laptop is, that’s my place of work.
Join me then, on a journey across time, multiple continents, through challenging times and epic wins as I open up to my fellow wayfarers on the path to, and through, Working From Anywhere.
No stranger to travel
I was born the middle child of three in Yorkshire, England and before I was four years old had been to LA, Hawaii, Fiji and New Zealand. Sounds fairly exotic when written so, but Air New Zealand stopped at each of those locations on the one-way journey as our family moved half-way around the world in search of a better life.
We were on the assisted passage scheme – 10-pound Poms leaving the cold, desperate North for the welcoming embrace of the Antipodes. My father, an ex-serviceman, sign writer, lorry driver, painter & decorator and more, had been indentured for a two year period to a building maintenance firm as part of our relocation, and once the contract was up, lost no time in going to work for himself.
“…We could make a fortune!”
The trials and tribulations of his and my Mother’s journey are another story in themselves – but suffice to say I received the benefit of seeing role models who, through sheer need, consistently re-invented themselves, and followed their own passions as they found way after way of bringing in an income. Just enough of an income. Sometimes not quite enough.
Dad’s catch-cry at every new idea was “…We could make a fortune!” Although as an ‘ideas man’ he was better than most, his mindset and skill set was that of a sole artisan, with nary a conscious thought about the back-end business aspects of those ideas – such as “is this actually viable?” Off he’d go on his next enthusiasm, and we came along for the ride.
Genius is Persistence
Entrepreneurship is rife in our family – my siblings both have run, or continue to run successful, rewarding ventures in a variety of fields – it seems the early exposure to an environment of ‘why not?’ rubbed off on us – but for me, not until much later in my life did it really take hold – and only after struggling with my own issues of confidence, self-esteem and fear.
For those going through this stage – I urge you to keep going. Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison both eschewed the notion they were genii – they both claimed that they ‘just kept going longer than others might’ on any particular idea or concept.
It would then appear that the major part of genius is persistence. So don’t give up. Strive for that dream. Set some action plans around it and turn it into a vision – then MAKE it happen
My first WFA moment came as a fourteen year old. In need of cash, and with parents in no position or inclination to fund me, I cold-called the neighbours to set up a lawn-mowing round. At its height, I was running a seven kilometre round-trip, mowing five lawns per weekend using their mowers, their fuel, and depending on the time of day, I’d often find myself also supplied with a free lunch. Charging ten dollars per lawn, I soon found myself growing a sizeable nest-egg (for a fourteen-year old in 1984).
Not all lessons are gold
This early foray into business taught me a number of things. Among them responsibility, reliability and the realisation I was capable of working for myself. However, the experience also gave me some far-reaching false learning in terms of the back-end of the model: I received only cash payments, I paid no tax. I had no outgoing cost apart from my time (which I neglected to value), and I charged the same flat rate for wildly different sized properties – all issues that would coalesce to bite me in the ass as I descended to the lowest point of my life some twenty years later. But it was a start.
Coming up: What my time in the military taught me about leadership – and it’s not what you think.
Face to Face: Catch Greg at the WFA Conference 2016 where he’ll be available to catch up with around your own journey. Feel free to contact him to arrange a free, no obligation chat session at the event.
More: Got a conference or event coming up, or perhaps your client does? Need an award-winning speaker or MC? I’m only a web-search away: www.gregwardmc.com
Andy spends his time away from the computer cycling or hiking up mountains or catching a wave on his SUP.