This is the oldest video I can find of me, I guess I’m about four years old in the video. I’m the smaller, slightly dorkier looking child, the other one is my brother Matt. In my family the yellow bike is the stuff of legend. The story goes that the bike got handed onto me once my brother could ride it without training wheels. When my Dad went to put the training wheels back on so I could learn to ride I wouldn’t let him (the first decade of my life was spent trying to do whatever my brother Matt was could do, was doing or had done). Instead I practiced riding up and down the driveway, I skinned both my knees and both my elbows but managed to teach myself to ride without training wheels in a day.
I’d like to think this is a story of perserverance but the meaning of any story, especially those written by the main protagonist, are generally determined well after the event and are much dependent on individual perspective (or in simpler terms, we are all prone to bullshit a little so that a) we look good in front of others and b) so we can live with ourselves). The truth is, this could just as easily be a story of sibling rivalry or absentee parenting.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to take this page, and the rest of the content on my website with a grain of salt. I have not set out to to either embellish or understate events…though in both cases there’s no doubt I have.
I had a previous website which, like most content on the internet was focused on selling stuff. When you’re selling you provide a fairly limited and one dimensional perspective on who you are. You talk about the jobs you’ve had, the clients you’ve worked with and the books you’ve written and you include only the most fabulous extracts of the best testimonals that you’ve ever received…
…and you leave out the projects that failed, the clients that left you and the 100’s of blog posts that were really quite shit.
But in reality it’s often the failures that provide the best learning and the greatest motivation (it is also true that failures often make for the best stories, one of my best keynotes starts with me diving into a swimming pool, hitting my head on the bottom and cracking two vertebrae in my spine the day before taking off on a 10 day hike through New Zealand).
So here’s my attempt at a succinct and relatively honest ‘About Simon’
I exist in the 1% of the 1% of the 1%. I’m a white middle aged man, who had a privileged middle class upbringing…In Australia. Research suggests that most success in life can be attributed to luck, and I have no doubt that much of my ‘success’ (for want of a better word), is a direct result of the situation I was born into.
I come from a family of professional fishermen, both my dad and my grandad where lobster fishermen. Any semblence of a work ethic I have was a direct result of seeing my Dad fish for up to 18 hours a day, often seven days a week, regardless of the weather.
I went to a private boys school in Perth called Scotch College for my entire schooling. I was good at the things that school’s like kids to be good at. I did the logical stuff well (maths, science etc) and was good at remembering things and regurgitating them later. I use to think this meant that I was smart, it took me years to realise this wasn’t true. I was just good at the things people bothered to measure, not necessarily the things that mattered.
And as a result of my privledge, some useful genetics and a little perserverance I’ve had the opportunity to work and study overseas, meet some amazing people, hold down some unique jobs, start and fail some interesting businesses and somewhere along the way create a pretty special family.
Though of course this is all entirely subjective. In my work I’ve met people who’s climbed Mount Everest, run across deserts, saved trapped school children and sung in rock bands…and I haven’t done any of these things*.
*and if that wasn’t enough I have a brother who plays music to sharks, a cousin who’s an internationally famous actor and another cousin who use to run a grafitti art gallery in Berlin.
So check out my timeline to see some of the things I’ve done or felt were significant. Perhaps they will resonate with you, perhaps they won’t. Either way, I hope this is as least a joyful stop in your journey across the internet.