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Barmes Founder Paul Barmes: To develop resilience, recognize the issue, choose what you are going to do, and act upon it”

Resilience is generally formed from your personal experiences and your strength comes from within. Adversity can come from family issues and the mistakes and failures we experience. So, learn to be flexible, trust your instincts and learn to persevere when life isn’t going the way you want. Above all, believe in yourself. Learn to embrace […]

Resilience is generally formed from your personal experiences and your strength comes from within. Adversity can come from family issues and the mistakes and failures we experience. So, learn to be flexible, trust your instincts and learn to persevere when life isn’t going the way you want. Above all, believe in yourself. Learn to embrace failure and adversity by accepting it. This helps strengthen your character and makes you more capable of dealing with the knocks along the way.

I have a formula I follow: RCA.

Recognize the issue

Choose what you are going to do.

And Act upon it.


In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of resilience among successful business leaders. Resilience is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market. I had the pleasure of interviewing Paul Barmes.

Paul Barmes, designer and founder of Barmes, created the lifestyle brand in 2012 to redefine the way people live, work, and move. An eclectic artist and entrepreneur, Paul brings extensive business leadership to his position, where he oversees the brand’s design and vision. Prior to spearheading Barmes, Paul led successful furniture companies where he designed, developed, and marketed corporate products nationally and globally. During his entrepreneurship, he has received notable design accolades for his products, including furniture and computer monitor arms. When he’s not busy optimizing travel experience, Paul enjoys engaging in local charities and connecting with people from many walks of life.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

Born in England, my parents, brother and I emigrated to New Zealand when I was 6 years old. I did not know at the time, but it was like coming to the new frontier. I was fortunate enough to be amongst people of many cultures. It was a land of opportunity. I had a good education and followed my passions for people, sports, music and design. I’ve been self-employed since I was 23 years old, designing and developing products. I have been fortunate to travel to many countries, meet interesting people and continue to work toward achieving my personal goals.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

Being an entrepreneur, you are prepared to take calculated risks in which you act on your instincts. Tough decisions, particularly in the early days, are all part of the risk and reward. You definitely want to win more than you lose. I tended to listen to advice from more conservative people who I thought would help keep me grounded. I learned that in most cases, my instinct was better than the advice I received. You need the ability to make changes quickly. While formulas and planning are important, you need to stay light on your feet and know to make changes when things are not going right.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our ability not to be influenced by what others are doing. Too often, people and companies are too worried about what their competitors are doing and make decisions based on this, rather than on innovation.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I have been blessed to have had some very great mentors throughout my career, from my school days through today. Some older, some younger. At times you are so focused and fixated on the journey, you can lose sight of the obvious. That’s why a fresh pair of eyes from the outside can offer great judgement calls. Over the past years and through my present journey, I have worked with Jamie Booth. His company does our 2D and 3D drawings and are experienced in areas I am not. Collaboration with Jamie and his company has been an amazing experience, as they continue to challenge me and support me.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

Resilient people are generally positive people who like to win. They are prepared to make those tough calls and decisions regardless of whether they are right or wrong. They will stay the distance even when the going gets tough, because they are always looking forward.

When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

My soccer coach Bert Ormond, a Scotsman who played for his country. He instilled in me that when you go into your first tackle, make sure you let your opponent know you are there, and that you will enter every confrontation with the same aggression and positive attitude. Sports and business have very similar traits, as they require a certain resilience and tenacity to succeed.

Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?

If I accepted that answer every time I heard it, I would not have achieved some of my best work. When pushing the boundaries, you need to surround yourself with people who believe in your mission, understand your goals, and know there will be challenges to overcome along the way. A great saying I like to go back to is, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”

Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

I have a similar story that probably happened to many others at this time. In my twenties, I started accumulating property. My plan was to buy and not sell. However, I decided to sell the properties I had and invest in less properties with a higher value. I cashed up and everyone around me said that until I found the property I wanted, the share market would go off.” I listened and the rest is history- the share market crash. It is so important to be careful what advice to take on board and trust your own instincts.

Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?

Resilience generally comes from adversity, and like most, I have experienced my fair share. At any age, dealing with the loss of a close friend or relative is one of the most challenging. My resilience has come from learning from these experiences and choosing how best to deal with them.

Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.

Resilience is generally formed from your personal experiences and your strength comes from within. Adversity can come from family issues and the mistakes and failures we experience. So, learn to be flexible, trust your instincts and learn to persevere when life isn’t going the way you want. Above all, believe in yourself. Learn to embrace failure and adversity by accepting it. This helps strengthen your character and makes you more capable of dealing with the knocks along the way.

I have a formula I follow: RCA.

Recognize the issue

Choose what you are going to do.

And Act upon it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

As life is about people, I believe education is the key ingredient. If everyone had the opportunity of a sound education, it would give them the ability to make more informed choices about important future developments, particularly personal health and the future of our planet.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

Probably Paul McCartney. He started from humble beginnings and has lived through an era of diverse change. He has been a leader in an industry that has influenced many people. A leader of change through his many walks and experiences, Paul would be a classic example of a person with great resilience.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Find us on Instagram and Facebook @barmesdesign.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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