I remember rocking up to my dad’s office as a young kid during school holidays and asking to see his films. He didn’t work in the film business; he was in advertising. His secretary (I don’t think they had executive assistants back then) would amuse me by setting up a 16mm projector in a spare room and bringing out a pile of Dad’s advertisements. I would sit there for hours, just watching the ads and promo reels, playing them again and again and again. I used to love the sound the film made when it was running through the sprockets, seeing the light glow in the projector and how the dust would flitter and play in its beam. Sometimes, just for kicks, I would play the films backwards. Very cool. My dad never said no to me watching his films. He was never too busy to bring a projector home to set up in the living room.
A few years later, when I was a teenager, he set up a meeting with a family friend who was a film producer, to chat with me about a career in the film business. That led to me getting work experience on a 70's soap opera, The Young Doctors, doing stand-by props – which in turn led to working on a film, Hoodwinked (which I’d actually forgotten about until now).
Around the same time, my mother owned an art gallery, so much of my teenage years was surrounded by people who appreciated self-starters, entrepreneurs and successful business people. People who also managed to make a living, and some of them very good livings, from their ideas and their creativity, (at 80 my Mother still painted). People who understood that success takes both passion and good business skill and that it doesn't happen immediately but takes effort and time. That it's a game of inches on all levels.
I am incredibly grateful that people who were supportive and open to entrepreneurial endeavors surrounded me in my youth. People who didn’t judge, mock, or try to interfere, but instead mentored, guided, and led by example. Just being who they were and doing what they did was an enormous influence.
There lies a great lesson. I learned at a very early age, without even knowing it, that we each hold an immense power of influence over other people and that we can either draw the very best out of them or shut them down. We can inspire people to be their best or we can point them to mediocrity – without even knowing we’re doing it. We can also inspire ourselves to be our best or we can point ourselves to mediocrity - without even knowing we're doing it
We can be superheroes or villains. A great leader knows that the first choice is a nobler one. Inspiring people to be their best is a much better pursuit.