I’m in a fortunate position that I’m writing a book with someone who’s big and a very good friend, very famous, infamous person who’s very much misunderstood, and that is, Gerald Ratner. Gerald Ratner was famous for his huge gaffe many years ago now, where it is pretty well recognised. He made the worst gaffe in history. He’s on all the worst gaffes websites, probably deemed the worst mistake in public speaking history. And he had a really, really hard time for a decade after that, and finally turned things around.
I’m going to give you, in fact, I’ll tell you what’s coming in this post, and then I’ll share with you the content or podcast:
1. Seeing the upside and the downside.
2. What happened with Gerald’s speech.
3. Embracing change.
4. Studying trends.
5. Old dogs can learn new tricks.
8. Disrupting yourself.
9. Continual testing.
11. Building assets.
12. Getting uncomfortable.
13. Hanging around older and younger people.
14. A vision of the future you.
I’m going to go into each one of those points to help you reinvent yourself. You might have had a life-changing illness, or life-changing event. You may have been made redundant. Or, you’ve just woken up one day, and you want to do something different with your life. You may not need to reinvent yourself now. But you know you want to keep reinventing yourself. You might want to reinvent yourself rather than someone having to disrupt your life for you. You may want to get some financial security. You may want a variety in your life.
I think it’s really important to have the skills to be able to reinvent yourself, before someone comes and pulls a rug of your life under you financially, emotionally, in a relationship, et cetera. So that you’re not blindsided. And it doesn’t send you into feeling out of control, or even worse into kind of maybe a more depressive state, or just having a bit of a loss of identity and direction of your business and personal life.
Gerald Ratner made a speech when he was at the top of his game. He was doing something like 1.5 or even up to 3 billion in turnover. He was one of the most successful people in the country. He ran the biggest stores, the network of jewellery stores in Europe. He did a public speech, where he basically joked that his jewellery was a bit crap. And that maybe, a prawn sandwich had more value than some of his earrings. What he said was taken out of context. He was absolutely slammed by the media, that he didn’t respect his customers, that his products were shit.
In fact, I think he said that his jewellery was crap on the headline of the newspapers. But I don’t actually think he said that. He’s written an amazing book by the way, called, The Rise and Fall, and Rise Again of Gerald Ratner, which is, kind of an autobiography. But I am currently with the help of a ghostwriter as well, writing Reinventing Yourself by Gerald Ratner. I’m just helping him. But it’s going to be him.
He’d spent 10 years pretty much as he says, lying in bed, watching countdown, and just really struggling. He lost everything. He lost his own company. He brought someone in to help recover. They fired him. And it wasn’t until his wife said, look, you need to get up and do something with your life, or I’m leaving you. I know Moira quite well as well. She gave him the bump that he needed.
Then he set up a gym, sold it for a few million quid, hustled. It’s great how he built the gym up without having the premises, because he sold memberships before he had the premises. Then he had the memberships to a degree so he could then get the finance for the premises, for the gym. And he sold it for a few million quid. He’s back in the game. It’s a great story. You should definitely read the book, if you haven’t read it already.
And I’ll come back to that in a moment. But I’m going to give you now 14 hardcore tips and tools for you to reinvent yourself for whatever stage of life you’re at.
1. Seeing the upside and the downside
The first thing, is, when you have a challenge, or a disruption, or something that you perceived to be a downside, there’s actually upside in it. I know logically you know that. But emotionally, when you’re feeling down, depressed, lost, it’s very hard to see the upside. Infatuation, or hyper-excitement, or happiness is seeing most, if not all upside. Then depression or feeling really struggling or lost, is, seeing most of the downside. But in reality, all situations I believe have an equally balanced upside and downside.
It’s easy for you to look at someone else’s life and go, oh, I can see the upside of that, and the downside of that, the upside of that, and the downside of that. But if you have the wisdom, being able to look at your own life, and situations, and challenges, and go “oh, okay, I feel high, what are the potential downsides so I don’t get too ahead of myself.” Or, “I feel down, what are the potential upsides that I can see that can lift me back into balance.”
If you’ve got redundant, made redundant, what’s the upside? Well, maybe you’re forced to take some time off. Maybe, you’re forced to revaluate your life, which you should have done 20 years ago. Maybe, you’re forced to manage your finances better. Maybe, you realise actually the comfort wasn’t good for you. And that can just be the bump that you need.
I’ve been fired 3 times, twice by my dad. Each time, they were a massive blessing in disguise. So, if you’re lost, you lost your identity, or your way, look at the downside, sorry, look at the upside of all the downside, you’re perceiving the upside of the challenge. And you may find the way to get back on the horse. So, you get back in the game.
Essentially, reinvent parts of your life. You could want to reinvent your whole identity, because I know some people have these, what they say, midlife crises, and they want to reinvent their whole identity. I’ve done that at least twice in my life. But you also might just want to reinvent a part of your life, like your business or your relationships, for example.
2. What happened with Gerald’s speech
This is exactly what Gerald did. Gerald in the end, I think he’s done something like 1,500 speeches. It’s thousands. He’ll tell you the exact number. What Gerald does, is, it’s the same speech, which is, the story about his worst speech ever. Isn’t that ironic that the worst speech ever, he’s now making many thousands of pounds a speech, doing it thousands of times, feasting and dining, and making amazing living of the worst speech in history?
That’s a great example of the way to turn the very thing that broke your career into the new career. And Gerald pivoted from being a business owner at running jewellery stores to then setting up and selling a gym. Then online jewellery and now, public speaking. And of course, now an author. Hopefully, Reinventing Yourself will be his second book.
3. Embrace change
I believe that a lot of your happiness is directly linked to your ability to embrace change. Because a lot of people fear change, and so then you have this over-need for control, and you’re always on edge that what you’ve got you might lose. So, you hoard or you try and control people. You’re very much like, ah, I can’t let go. That creates a lot of tension.
Whereas, if you learn to embrace change, enjoy change, see change as a thing of beauty, a thing of progress, of evolution, constantly being able to learn, get the variety, et cetera, the unknown being exciting, being curious about that, then you’re going to, whether it’s organically over time reinvent yourself, or you’re going to dramatically be able to reinvent yourself when you get disrupted.
I’ve heard, I’ve not done much research on this, but I’ve heard that your personality can change very dramatically over a 10-year period. I can certainly see people say, in my 20s, I was this. In my 30s, I was this. In my 40s, I was this. In my 50s, I was this. And I certainly feel like, I’m much more calm and centred about who I am. Maybe through my 30s, I was probably more disruptive and out there, and maybe, a bit more exciting in my 20s. I’m moving to my 40s, let’s see what that brings. I couldn’t tell you yet.
I’d certainly say that organically life reinvents us. If you embrace that, who you are, embrace your flaws, embrace the different stages in your life. The older you get, the more wise you get. The younger you are, the more energetic and youthful and maybe, naïve you are. There are upsides to both of those.
As you’re probably going to evolve and change like that, why don’t you also intentionally do that. Why don’t you look to reinvent yourself and your career every 5 to 10 years, or at least have the ability to do that, before someone else comes and does that for you. Really embracing change has let go of so many negative emotions of control, and fear, and anxiety, and worry. Because we all know that there are things that have happened in our life, that at the time, we thought were the worst things ever. And looking back, they’re actually one of the greatest gifts. There is a gift and a lesson in everything, no matter how hard it is. It’s just be able to see it and embracing it.
4. Study trends
I’m really interested in social media, VR, AI, internet things, electric, autonomous cars. Where is the world going? Because, if I can get a sense for where the world is going, then I can probably embrace a new media, new markets, new abilities to earn a living, new products and services and markets that people need and want, that are going to become very popular and common. I think, if you enjoy studying those, and you make it a bit of a mission for just keeping a little bit ahead of everybody else, and what’s coming, and where the trends are.
When people say, “oh, robots are going to take over all of our jobs.” Well, why don’t you figure out how to build and create AI and robots? Or, why don’t you learn what jobs are going to be created? But what jobs are going to become even more relevant, if robots take a lot of the jobs? But robots are just going to take the lower level jobs. It’s going to be other jobs that are going to have higher value, because less people are going to be able to do them. And if you learn that skill, then you win.
Definitely, trend studying will really help you. If you want to sell on ecommerce, often a lot of people say, “ah well, I love this product. I want to sell this face cream.” It’s a brilliant face cream. But in reality, what sells are things that are trending, and they have a shelf life. And then people aren’t so keen on them anymore. You understanding what people want and need will make you better on social media, will make you better on ecommerce. It will give you a better product that the market wants with higher volume.
My companies, Progressive Property, Progressive Success, this is pretty much what we’ve done. We started with one done for you property service. Then we moved into one property course, to teach how to buy property. Then we wrote books, and did YouTube videos, and blogs. Then we set up Facebook Groups. Then we had different vertical types of property courses like, commercial conversion, and residential property, packaging and selling property deals, and flipping. Then we went into business courses, podcast courses, social media courses, general business courses, marketing courses, and of course, my podcast and social media.
My Facebook Supporters Programme coming soon. My Facebook Stars Programme. Only 20 people had been invited by Facebook to do the Facebook Stars Programme evolves sort of one of their new currencies. And I’m one of them. That’s because I tried to stay ahead of what’s going on in media and social media. It takes a lot of my fears around ah, what if there’s a recession, or what if there’s Brexit, or Labour get in, or whatever it is that might be the real fear. Well, I’m not saying that I should ignore those. I should look at those and see the downsides. But also look at the upsides. If I know what’s going on in the world and where it’s going, I know I can reinvent myself and my company. I think I should be constantly reinventing myself. I’m constantly reinventing my company. Otherwise, someone else will do that.
5. Old dogs can learn new tricks
A lot of people think as they get older, it gets harder to learn. But that’s not true. That’s the story we tell ourselves. In reality, you can learn often better when you’re older. Okay, we learn like a sponge as a child, don’t we? We’re just learning machines. We’re hungry for learning, and we need it. But there are certain points in our age. Like for me and my teams, I was ignorant, didn’t want to learn. In my 20s, I had an ego, and I didn’t want to learn. I’m way more open to learning now, and I’m the oldest, of course, I’ve ever been as we all are.
I don’t buy into old dogs, you can’t teach them new tricks. And the older you get, the harder it gets. I don’t buy into that at all. It’s just about your mindset. I love learning more and more as I’ve got maybe more successful. Or, let’s just say, the more I progressed, maybe the more self-aware I become. By the way, sometimes, the more I progress, the more self-aware I become, the more I realised, I know very little, and there is so much more to learn.
But it’s really important to have the mindset that you know you can learn new tricks. It doesn’t matter what age you are. You can be in your 60, and you can start a business now, and be a millionaire by the time you’re 70. It doesn’t take 10 years to be an overnight success anymore. because that kid, Ryan who’s got Ryan’s Toys Review. He’s 7 years old. And his YouTube Channel did 22 million last tax year. It doesn’t take as long as it used to take anymore.
Internet through fibre optics at the speed of light. Information is travelling so much faster now. The information exchange, and the currency exchange, and the transaction exchange, and the fair exchange, that happens quicker than ever. Getting your brand out there, and going viral, and having customers happens quicker than ever.
But you have to have the belief that you can learn this stuff, and it’s not beyond you. Ah, those kids, they know technology. I don’t. You need to let go of how old you think you are. Because you are only years old as you think you are.
Okay, that leads me to the next one, which I think is, one of the most admirable and attractive quality of a human being, and that’s curiosity. The opposite of curiosity is stubbornness, or close mindedness, or ego, or arrogance, I know it all. But curiosity is wanting to learn from everyone, wanting to learn where you go, that you’re fascinated about the world, and always seeing new opportunities. And I’m writing a lot about this in my current new book, which is called, Opportunity. And a curiosity mindset wanting to learn from everyone, being intrigued and fascinated, almost have wonderment of people and the world. That is the greatest open mindset for learning and development, and reinventing yourself constantly, challenging your own beliefs and seeing the world through everyone else’s beliefs. I think by the way, and this is a bit on aside. I think real wisdom is learning from people you perceive you don’t like. Because it’s so easy to learn from people you like and people you admire.
But often, people you don’t like, you put them in a box, or you put them away. I don’t believe in that, or they’re wrong. But being openminded to learn from people you don’t like, or people that have different beliefs. And that is coming from curiosity. You don’t agree with them, but you’re curious to know why. Why do you believe what they believe? And what can I learn about their beliefs?
For example, I’ve tried to learn as, I probably would regard myself more as a capitalist than a socialist. But I’m trying to learn from socialist type of people. Or, if I’m a bit more to the right, and they’re a bit more to the left, I don’t box myself at all. You’d never hear me say that stuff.
But if that’s how people perceive me, I try and learn from them. I’d probably would prefer Labour not to be voted in, personally. But there’s someone in my company who’s probably going to vote Labour, and I’m fascinated to know why. I was talking to him about why. He was saying, oh, I guess as a landlord, it’s probably not so good for Labour. I’m trying to not judge him on his beliefs. I’m trying to be fascinated to learn why, because I’ll get new insights, and I can challenge my own thinking.
7. Unlearning bad habits
I remember my martial arts instructor when I was what? 25, I’d already done all right in one art. And I’d probably got a blue or a brown belt. I went thinking that I was pretty good. I knew I wasn’t great. I wasn’t totally arrogant. But I thought, I was pretty good. And he said to me, Rob, you have to let go of everything you’ve learned. You have to unlearn what you’ve learned in your previous art. You start here at the beginning with everyone else. You are a white belt.
I did feel a bit defensive about that. That pissed me off a bit. But he was totally right. Because it was a completely different style, in a completely different way. The movement was different. The energy was different. The techniques were different completely the way that the physiology, your body mechanics works, were completely different.
It wasn’t just about me learning a new art. I had to unlearn everything I knew about the previous art. I think a lot of the times, we go into situations. I see this with loads of people, by the way. But sometimes, you’ve got to work things out. And you’ve got to try and figure things out, and connect the dots. You’ve got to make some assumptions. If you’re a policeman, you’ve got to read the situation, and bring your previous experience to know, ooh, it’s this danger. I get that.
But often, what we do all the time, is, we perceive and imagine that we know something, and we don’t. And we’re projecting our past into the present and the future. We know how this is going to be. This is going to play out like this. And that’s actually wrong. You know, in relationships, that’s wrong. Your current partner isn’t like your ex. They’re like them. But you see the way they look, or do, or say something, and you bring all the baggage of your past relationship into that new one.
Unlearning bad habits, holding onto things we feel that we need even though we don’t, or the mistakes we’re making over and over and over again. And it’s got to take some letting go of ego, and self-awareness to be able to really understand what those bad habits are. But people always talk about learning. And they rarely talk about unlearning. Just think about what are those recurring habits that are holding you back, or making continual mistakes, or pushing people away from you, or getting you stuck. What do you need to unlearn?
These are all linked nicely together, by the way. I didn’t write them in an order. But it’s almost like they are in some kind of nice cascading order.
8. Disrupting yourself
I believe disrupting yourself is challenging your thinking, challenging your strategies, looking at how you need to protect yourself from downside risk. What if you were your competitor, how would you try and take you out? What flaws would you pick in, if you were attacking you? This could be you, your individual, you as your brand, you as your company so that you can fix the issues, or evolve, and improve before your competition outwit you, or someone else blindside or disrupts you.
If you get disrupted by someone else, you are way behind. You might be years behind them. If you disrupt yourself first, and pre-empt it, then you’re going to be constantly reinventing yourself. It’s almost like we could talk about, not just reinventing yourself, but evolving yourself. If you evolve yourself, you don’t need to reinvent yourself.
Porsche do evolution. They slightly change the look, and feel, and technology very gently and progressively. Ferrari do evolution bigger, more dramatic changes. Now, you might need to make a more bigger, more dramatic change, and reinvent yourself revolution, if you don’t constantly evolve. Whereas, if you’re trying to evolve, and learn, and grow, and be open every day, inquisitive, and making plans and provisions with your finances, and your skills, and your abilities, and learning new things.
If China is going to be a massive superpower, then maybe you should start learning Chinese? And if there are some new trends that are again big, maybe, you should learn them. If TikTok is going to be huge, maybe you should go and play on it 2 or 3 hours a week and figure it out, instead of just dismissing it.
9. Continual testing
I think a testing mindset solves a lot of problems. It makes you a lot more risk averse. It makes you a lot more brave and courageous. It makes you enjoy business and life more. Because, if there’s a thing that you perceive to be big or hard or risky, of course, your body-mind, your emotions, the memories of all the past situations which create emotions, which hijack you of course, you’re going to be scared, anxious, worried, reticent, overwhelmed, confused, frustrated. There’s going to be this paralysis, if things are big, and things are hard. You know, it’s all or nothing, or do or die.
Whereas, when Mark and I bought our first house together, we just agreed that we just buy one together and see how it goes. Now, we’ve bought or owned, or co-owned, or managed in our letting agency now over 850 properties later. But the first one wasn’t like, oh, well, we needed a contract, and the heads of terms, and SLA, and MSOPs, you know, all these things. We just said, let’s buy a house together. Mark was putting the money in. So, we said, look, let’s de-risk your money so you can have a first charge. Then we split equity 50-50, and we split upside growth on 50-50. We split net income 50-50. And then if it works great, maybe, we’ll talk about another one. And if it doesn’t, okay, well, we co-own a house. We’ve got to figure that out, if we part.
I’m doing a joint-venture like that at the moment, where we’re going to have 6 months. We’ve agreed to split. They get X earning. We get Y earning. It’s a new company, but they’re existing brands. So, they’re going to get a bigger share. And we’re going to see how it goes for 6 months. I tell you what. What we negotiate and contract out would be way different than if we were doing it now, because we would know more about each other. We would know, if we want to work together, if it’s working. Or, what tweaks need to be made? What tweaks, I said. That’s very happy.
I think a testing mentality is much better than an all-in, or do or die mentality. And you evolve every time. It just gets better and better, and better, and better. You get started, because done is better than perfect. Prolific is better than perfect. And it’s quicker. Speed is a massive commodity right now. So, it’s much quicker.
10. 70/30 plan
70/30 or an 80/20 plan for your life. It depends on the areas of your life. You’d probably don’t want to have a 70/30 plan for your relationships. If you’re married, you don’t want to have a 30 percent on the side. But with your business, your one business is probably good spend. 70 percent of your time on your business, and 30 percent of your time on your second business. 70 percent on one income stream, 30 percent on another income stream.
Because, if you’re all in on one thing, and that one thing gets disrupted, look at Blockbuster. Look at Kodak. You know, there are a lot of companies that didn’t evolve. They’re all in on one thing. And that thing got disrupted. And they didn’t evolve or reinvent themselves. They didn’t become the Netflix. It’s complicated as to why these companies don’t evolve. But let’s just assume they didn’t grow with the times.
If you’ve got a second income stream. But by the way, you shouldn’t divide your time 50-50 between jobs, or 50-50 between income streams, or 50-50 between what you’re learning. Because your main income stream should have most of your time. Your main career should have most of your time, because it’s your main career. But maybe, you want to spend 30 percent of your time learning a new language. 30 percent of your time learning a new skill, a new talent, a new strategy, getting a new Degree, or doing a new course. But 70 or 80 percent on your main strategy, which means, if over time it gets disrupted, you can just increase the time in your second income stream or focus. Then you’ve got something to pivot into.
11. Building assets
If you build assets that have an income stream attached to them. You buy property and rent them out with the rental income. You write books and you get the royalties from the books. You create IP, software, apps. You create YouTube Channels and podcasts. You get ad revenue or collaboration revenue, which are, income from assets, or recurring, or even sometimes, passive income from assets. Then if you get disrupted, and you have to reinvent yourself in your life, because you get ill, or you have a major injury, or you’re diagnosed with a horrible disease, or you need to relocate in countries, or you have to go bust, or you’re going to an IVA, then you can.
Okay, well, if you’ve got assets, you’re going to an IVA, that’s different. But your personalised assets might be ringfenced from your corporate assets. But the point, is, if you’ve got multiple streams of income from assets, you’ve got the flexibility to change. If you get disrupted, then you can reinvent yourself or your career much more quickly, because you still got income. Because it’s harder to reinvent yourself when you haven’t got any income, because you’ve got probably got to focus on the income first, maybe not doing what you’d like to do in the short-term to then be able to pay your bills and move forward into the long term.
12. Getting uncomfortable
Next then, is, to continually be uncomfortable. This is linked to just disrupting yourself. A lot of people say, hey, get uncomfortable. Go big. Go all in. I actually think maybe it’s good to get comfortably uncomfortable. Too uncomfortable, you risk major disruption challenges, or you’re not ready, or major significant emotional reactions, which can scar you.
Sometimes, when you’ve done too much of a risk, you’d kind of then maybe hidden away and not wanted to do it ever again. You even carry a lot of these continual emotions of fear. So, it’s actually when people say, go all in, or take big risks. The bigger the risk, the bigger the rewards. Sometimes, the bigger the risk, the bigger the failure.
I like to do, getting comfortably uncomfortable, which is, it’s uncomfortable. It’s nervy. It’s scary, and that might fail. But it’s not so scary that I’m likely to not do it, or procrastinate, or hide, or that it’s likely to break me. The good thing about getting comfortably uncomfortable is you do it every day. Get in the shower. Have a shower, and then turn it onto cold. Have cold for 10 seconds. My record is 15 seconds on absolutely freezing setting. Now, I don’t do it in the winter.
But it’s actually testing myself to do things like that. Freezing cold shower. Ohohohoho. Saying things in my head, which I’m maybe a bit nervous about saying, but as long as it doesn’t upset or offend people. But sometimes, if I’m feeling a bit like pushed and pressured, and I feel like I should fight back here. I should make my opinion known. Say it with conviction. I’m on the stage. Some things come into my head, do I say it? Don’t I? Try it. Say it. If you don’t risk anything, you risk everything. Everything is a test. Now, of course, there’s got to be an ethical or a legal framework, and not hurting or offending other people, or shaming other people, or put that aside. If in doubt, try it out.
13. Hanging around older and younger people
Okay, and then final 2. I hope you’ve found this useful. I’ve really enjoyed delivering this for you. Certainly, this is going to be way expanded on in the book with Gerald, How to Reinvent Yourself, and that is, hang around with people, both older than you and younger than you. Hang around with people different than you. Hang around with people with different cultures, in different countries with different experiences, with different beliefs.
Of course, they say, you are the 5 people you spend the most time with. So, you’re caught in a circle of mentors, and wise supporters and friends. Peers, they do need to be collated and curated and chosen very wisely. But you should also disrupt yourself. Hang around with 25-year-olds, if you’re 45. Hang around with 65-year-olds, if you’re 45. And I like to hang around with people who are in their what, probably early 20s, mid 20s, because they almost young enough to be my kids. But I learn a lot from them, and it keeps me feeling young and fresh, and energetic.
I love having mentors who are 65, because they’re way more wiser, and way more experienced in life than me, and they’ve seen a lot more. I think hanging out with different people, older people, younger people, a variety of people keeps you reinventing yourself, keeps you challenging your own beliefs, keeps you challenging your own fears and doubts and mindsets. Of course, through osmosis you can learn a lot from them.
14. A vision of the future you
Then finally, what’s the future vision of who you are? Because, if you don’t have a future vision of who you are, or who you want to become, or how you’d want to grow, all the difference you want to make on the planet, then you don’t know who you’re going to reinvent yourself into. Then you’ll be forced to reinvent yourself. Often, you’ll have to reinvent yourself on someone else’s criteria, or you’ll be forced to do it, because financially, you’re struggling or you’ve got a significant life event. And you will be reinventing yourself down a road that you don’t want to go down. And many people are in a career 20 years, because they were forced to, and it’s not their life. They’re living in vicariously through other people, or they don’t feel they have a choice.
I left University. I was going to spend 2 weeks coming home to help, because dad wasn’t very well. then I was to go to Australia to be an architect. Now, it turns out that was a good decision, not to do that. But what happened was, I worked in the pub for 5 years. It wasn’t something I wanted to do. I don’t begrudge it. But maybe, if I was doing it again, I definitely would do something different. But in the end, I went down someone else’s road, because I didn’t have options. And I wasn’t clear on who I was. I wasn’t clear on my career I wanted. And I wasn’t clear on where I wanted to be in my life, how I wanted to be known. And if you’re not clear on any of those, then someone else who is more clear will sell you into their vision.
The person with the bigger clarity of vision sells other people to help them in that vision. So, if you have no clarity or direction, someone else will convince you of theirs. Clarity and direction of who you are, and a future vision of you, means you allow other people to help you and support you. You’ll employ them, and you’ll bring them along for the ride.