March this year saw the 10th anniversary of me letting go of my family’s manufacturing business. It took me straight back to that day when I stood in front of my loyal workforce, with a single tear trickling down my face, and saying these words:
“On behalf of my great grandfather and whole family, I must tell you that after 106 years we have no other option but to close the doors for the last time. My heart breaks and I can’t tell you how sorry I am.”
The new Savekers I created from an MBO in 2004 was all set to finally achieve its potential, but despite the investment in technology and change of strategic direction, the economic downturn had a significant impact on the business. 2008 was tough, and following a number of cost-saving restructures, the cash position of the company was under strain. In December 2008 the company successfully received £250,000 from the Advantage Bridge Fund Loan, but even this was not enough to cope with the dire sales of early 2009. The average age of the workforce was 55 and the average length of service was 12 years – we simply couldn’t afford the cash to make any other cutbacks. In February 2009, I realised during a weekend away that the time had come to let go. The business went into administration.
I am often asked to share the story as a keynote at events and for a long time I did so by referring to this as the worst day of my life. But the journey I went on from 2009 saw me invest myself in research and discovery to build what we now call GLAS; the Global Life Alignment System. This is a framework for life, business, families and teams of all kinds. It helps people to do better, be better and feel better.
When I take to any stage now, I share the story of letting go but that in doing so it allowed me to discover and create GLAS – helping entrepreneurs, people and businesses all over the world. I now can say that 10th March 2009 was both the worst day of my life AND one of the best. Because of my experiences, which were painful but incredibly valuable, plus letting go means I found my purpose of INSPIRE and a solution, to the quick fix craziness we live in, to share with the world. This is my great grandfather’s true legacy and gift to me.
We have baggage and luggage in life. Baggage needs to be left behind so you can progress on your journey. You can choose to take the the luggage of wisdom, resilience and the gifts your experiences afford you, for the adventures that lie ahead.