Beans Means…

Time to Read – 2 minutes and a few seconds here or there

Thank you for your feedback on leadership v management. As an interlude before next week’s next waste of time question (are leaders born or made?), I give you one amazing young man…James Eder.

Hello Nlweek readers. This is the story of how a few powerful questions really can change your life.

In 2002, I started my business degree at the University of Birmingham. I became involved with AIESEC (www.aiesec.org) which resulted in my meeting people from all over the world, and working on placements in the Philippines and Colombia. When graduating I wanted to give back to an organisation that had given me so much and so I applied for a year-long position on AIESEC’s UK leadership team.  When I didn’t make it onto the team, I was devastated. In that moment, I felt I had failed.

Earlier in my AIESEC experience, a friend bought me a copy of The Naked Leader. With the simple yet powerful questions: imagine if you simply could not fail – what would you do? Where would you go? Who would you be?

In that moment of “failure” I began to question what I really wanted to do.  I wanted to give something back and provide opportunities for other people – and I realised there were other ways I could do that. Imagine if I could not fail…  If I wasn’t going to fail, then there was no choice: with an idea I had already created, and business plan in hand, I had to start and it was going to work. My brother Michael and I agreed to go into business together by setting up www.studentbeans.com as a leading student website and brand. The aim of the site is to help students save money and help brands promote themselves to the massive UK student market.

The start was tough, we have had many all night working sessions and often felt we would not make it…however we kept going and today we have signed up over 500,000 users, we have a team of 24 people and…tomorrow, Tuesday 21 June we celebrate our sixth birthday!

I often talk to schools and businesses about having an idea and making it happen. My only regret is that I didn’t start earlier.

A big thank you to David and all of our friends, family, students and stakeholders, who have believed in us and our idea and have helped us become the success we are today.

So, if you have read this far, I say this to you – what are you waiting for? Many thanks for reading, and as David would sign off

With my love to you all
James

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10 Comments

  • Hunch

    I’d say its all down to chance. If the friend hadn’t bought him the NL book in a random act of kindness, he wouldn’t have made the ‘choice to succeed’. Qud Pro Quo, my friends.

    Look at Henry Cooper – he would have succeeded in defeating Muhammad Ali if his eye hadn’t opened up at the crucial moment in the bout when Cooper had Ali in an extremely vunerable position.

    Bucks Fizz also won Eurovision by mere chance. The hot favourite, young Austrian flugelhornist Klaus Goober was sure to claim the prize with his ‘Bunkfanhofunff!’ theme, until he withdrew at the 11th hour when his mother ruled that the 9 year old would have to be in bed before his scheduled performance slot.

    So much for ‘Making Your Mind Up’……

  • A lot of things are down to chance. Other things are by choice and yes, making your mind up.’ you make your own fate in this life.

  • Choice for me every day. There are certain things that happen to you because you made the right choice in life.
    If you leave things to chance, you get disappointed. Of course, the Naked Leader book episode mentioned by Hunch was a chance act. Who is to say he wouldn’t have discovered it another way? You make your own luck in many cases, and choices can make that difference.

  • Great that you have made a business opportunity for yourself and gone out and achieved.
    It’s the doing, not the thinking about it, that is the key.

  • It is incredible what can be achieved when you put your mind to it.
    Business ideas can crop up in the most unlikely of ways.
    Follow your instinct in most cases. It generally works.

  • I had an idea for my business on a whim. It happens like that although I believe you have to make it happen yourself through the choices that you make.

  • Sometimes things are made easier for you. You just have to go with the flow for it to work in your favour.

  • You make your own luck. It’s that simple.

  • As Jack Nicklaus is quoted ” Resolve never to quit, never to give up, no matter what the situation”. So hard work is required. I think it is down to both choices and chances.

  • I agree, choice and chances have to be taken and the brave will get their reward.

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