Las Vegas, what a place. A place where nothing is out of the ordinary and at any time of day, any day of the week, everything is acceptable.
One particular morning of my honeymoon in October, struggling with jet lag, me and the wife were up and about early. We decided to have a venture up the strip and have a nosey at a few hotels, as you do in Vegas.
After about 3 hours, we realised it was time for our daily morning ritual. A Mimosa for her and a Bloody Mary for me to kick start the day. At 11am in Vegas we certainly weren’t on our own!
So we went over to the Venetian, one of our favourite hotels on the strip and found ourselves again in the Grand Lux Café. Which I loved as the bar area was generous with room for us to sit.
I always sit at the bar in new places as it’s a great way to meet people and start up interesting conversations. Especially in destinations like this which are truly International, the prospect of meeting someone fascinating is even more likely.
Even the bartenders always have a story to tell, or are full of great advice of how best to spend your time in the city.
Having received our drinks and paid the customary tip, a voice from our left said ‘it’s a great Bloody Mary isn’t it.’ I see a guy, about the same age as me, enjoying his Saturday morning as much as we were, and the conversation began…
After about 2 hours, a Bloody Mary, 2 Manhattan’s and I forget how many Vodka Martini’s I’d had a great conversation with James. We covered all sorts of stuff: family, his Apprentice appearance and his life as a tech entrepreneur.
So what was most interesting about this experience…?
- You never know who you will meet, anywhere
I used to be the guy on the train, on the plane, in a taxi, at the pub who would just get my head down, want some peace and only liked to socialise with my close friends. In other words I was in my comfort zone. Breaking out of this habit has changed my life. I meet new people, grow my network, make new lifelong friends and am generally happier and more confident.
- Opportunities are everywhere and open to everyone
If you care to look up from your accepted perception of life, you will uncover a new world that you never knew existed. James is in Vegas at least once a month for different business interests. He has a business in China, has homes in Seattle and L.A. and is in a different city almost every week.
Originally from South Korea, and still the only Asian finalist on the Apprentice, moving to a new country at a young age didn’t prevent James from following his dreams and adding his own unique value to the world.
- Never be afraid of grasping an opportunity
One of my favourite anecdotes from James was how he came to appear as a contestant on The Apprentice. He was out for the day with some friends and happened to come across the auditions for the show. Despite wearing casual clothes and with absolutely no preparation he decided then and there that he was going to be on the show.
He queued for hours, with all the other candidates, who wear in business dress, to meet the now president elect Mr Trump. Somehow James managed to get himself on the show. This reminded me of the film ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ with Will Smith. He plays the stockbroker Chris Gardner, who turned up to a life changing meeting in his decorating clothes but still realised his dream. A great film, watch it if you haven’t.
This story just goes to show that nothing can stop you achieving a goal if you have that desire, belief and application to succeed.
- Networking is not about you, or your business
It is about making authentic relationships with people, adding value to them and having real conversations. This is obvious, but is regularly forgotten by the masses. How often are articles written and published online that are 100% about pushing a particular product or business…? Far too often!
Provide valuable content for others and go from there.
- Time is our most valuable resource
James turned around 13 companies in a 9 month period during the production of his TV show ‘Sun Tzu War on Business’ which was produced by BBC Worldwide and was a big success.
He was offered a LOT of money for a follow up series which he opted not to take to pursue other interests. One of the most valuable traits I have seen in a lot of entrepreneurs I have met is the ability to say no.
Every time you say no to something, you have the opportunity to say yes to something more important to you. You become free, able to focus on your own path and ready to accept the right opportunities when they come along.
And finally, don’t let anyone ever tell you that drinking at 11am is a bad thing!
– Matthew Brown