I am currently reading Richard Branson’s fascinating autobiography, which is called “Losing My Virginity”. I have long admired Richard’s approach not only to business, but to life too, and first read this book several years ago. His wonderfully cavalier and innovative approach to many of the challenges he meets is very inspiring. But it is his adventurous spirit that I admire too. I have often written about my desire to fit as much experience into life as possible, and Richard seems to share a similar outlook on life’s adventure too.
As meeting Richard is one of my goals, and I am planning to try to achieve that while here in the UK, I thought I better do a bit of a refresher course on his background. So just the other morning I set off for one of the book stores in Ealing town centre, but was also optimistically armed with my brother’s library card too! On the way I walked past the Oxfam second-hand bookstore…
“I wonder…” I thought to myself, and went in. There was the exact book I was looking for right in the centre of the first shelf of the biography section, almost as if it was waiting for me! And at a travellers bargain price of £1.99. Sorry Richard, I will buy a new copy one day, but I’m operating on a bit of a budget at the moment!
I am well into the amazing and inspiring story of how Virgin developed initially from an idea for a student magazine, and grew eventually into a global business empire. And it is the unique and remarkable way in which Richard turns problems and obstacles around to his advantage, and comes up with some incredibly innovative solutions that has inspired me again.
So here I am, wide awake at 3 o’clock in the morning, having been woken up by a mis-timed international SMS message. As I tried to get back to sleep, my brain started mulling over one of the problems I have been wrestling with for a few days now, and suddenly the answer just came to me! I am now wide awake, but it is the wrong time of day to put my solution into action, so I have decided to make good use of this time. And in a way, this blog itself is hopefully part making my idea work.
The problematic goal I am currently working on is to gather 5 Ian Ushers together in one place. I have already attempted to achieve that goal once, in September last year, when I was last here in London. I made the mistake of assuming it would be relatively easy! It wasn’t, and through various factors conspiring against me, didn’t even manage to meet one other Ian Usher.
There are several Ian Ushers spread around the UK, and I have managed to contact about six of them via Facebook, and have a few of them possibly interested in the idea of gathering a group of us.
But I am facing a couple of problems. First of all, I have to accept that some of the Ians will have very little interest in the idea of actually meeting other Ian Ushers. It is a pretty random idea, and of course there is no guarantee that we will have anything at all in common, other than our shared name. And there are a few Ians that have not responded to my suggestion at all.
My second problem is that the Ians are spread far and wide across the country, and have little incentive to travel halfway across the country, find accomodation for the weekend, and pay all other expenses, just in order to help some random travelling guy achieve a somewhat unusual goal.
And so I think that I need to find some sort of sponsor, or possibly multiple sponsors, in order to make this happen. It would be impossible for me to fund all travel, accomodation, beer and food costs that this will incur, but I hope there are some people who might be able to help out.
And this is as far as my thinking has got, with no real idea of how to go about finding these people, until I was woken by my phone this morning, and laid here turning the problem over in my mind.
And the answer just came to me. I need to get onto a London-based radio station, ideally, I would imagine, onto a chatty, fun, breakfast show programme, and ask them to help me find the people out there in this great big city who can make this goal come to life.
I have just over 3 weeks until the date I have set for the gathering of the Ian Ushers. I need to find a sponsor to get the Ians from wherever they to London on the 20th June, and then back home again the next day. I need somewhere for the Ians to sleep that night, and I need a venue for us to gather in, hopefully with some nibbles and beer!
Surely it can’t be to hard to do? My next job is to email several of the London-based radio stations. Watch this space….