• 19th March 2007 - By proteman

    Richard Branson, the king of Virgin, gets bored easily. According to a recent blog by Gary Bourgeault, Branson channels this “problem” into a positive by “getting himself into numerous businesses that he can spread himself around in.” It hasn’t held him back too much.

    It makes me think, what other “weaknesses” or problems can leaders turn into positives?

    A recent article by Mark Thompson confirms that the ability to overcome personal challenges – or turn your weaknesses into strengths – is critical to leadership and entrepreneureal success.

    - Charles Schwab was dyslexic and almost flunked out of Stanford, having failed English twice. In business, he overcame this reading problem by speaking from the heart (nixing the need for reading and writing long memos and speeches).

    - Cisco CEO John Chambers was also dyslexic, so he relies on memorized speeches and interacting personally with people as much as possible.

    Branson’s story hits home for me. Not many people know this about me, but I failed high school and got into college with a GED. I was bored and questioned everything. I thought something was wrong with me…until I found a way to channel my “weakness” into a positive. As a consultant, it’s my job to question the status quo and help solve problems. I now get paid for what I got punished for in the past. Go figure!

    What is your biggest personal struggle or challenge – and how can it work for you as a strength?

    © 2006 The Loyalty Group. All Rights Reserved.

  • 2 Comments to “Richard Branson Shows Boredom Can Be Good”

    • Steve Roesler on March 21, 2007

      Hello, Phyllis

      A thought-provoking post and a risky self-disclosure. No wonder I like your stuff.

      When I was 12 I started stuttering. I was still stuttering at 14. I had a passion for playing music and singing. And it seemed–at 14–that I wasn’t destined to be a babe-magnet if I couldn’t tell a girl my name in less than 10 minutes.

      So I pursued the singing and playing. I found that even if you stutter when you talk, you don’t when you sing. So I started paying attention to the distinctions and mimic-ing what it felt like when I was singing. By the age of 15 it was totally gone.

      I ended up as a radio personality for 7 years and emceed huge shows with some of the jazz greats. Thirty per cent of my practice has been presentation skills and coaching. And our singing group re-united for a TV show in the early 90s. (If people will just buy 999,854 more copies of the CD version, we can get a gold record and retire).

      My livelihood depends on my ability to speak clearly and be articulate. I never would have developed a thoughtful approach to what I say and how I say it had it not been for the struggle with stuttering.

    • Phyllis Roteman on April 2, 2007

      Thanks for the inspiring story Steve! Struggle makes success so much more sweet, doesn’t it?

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