Ten Business Lessons From a Tiny Greek Island Part 2

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Lesson 3

This is a memorial where the old village church used to be. It was blown up by a German bomb in WWII. My mother, who was around 6 years old, told us stories of being thrown out of their home by the Germans and living inland in a goat shed with their animals. When the Germans were on the roads they would be sent home from school early and told to avoid the main roads. They had a diet of a few pieces of rice – my grandmother, her brother and her 2 daughters. My grandmother would go without so her children would have a few more grains of rice to eat. My grandmother would cook for us often. And she cooked plenty of food – too much – because she knew what ‘not enough’ get like. But she would not throw one scrap out but rather would eat everything that was left. Some days I look at the food that we waste, past used by dates, leftovers on plates and I remember my grandmother and how she would feel if she was alive now to see what ‘abundance’ looks like. In business we often think that the more we have, the more we can show, the more we can throw around shiny bright objects – the more clients or potential clients will be impressed. What is important is what clients walk away with. That they stand secure in what you have offered and what you deliver

Lesson 4

As I walk around the island I wonder how it came to be inhabited at all. It is rocky, hot in summer, cold and damp in winter. Rocky doesn’t quite cut it. But Kythera served as a central point for merchants. Astounding feats of engineering carried out before engineering was a subject to be studied at universities are to be seen everywhere. Survival by instinct was the order of the day. No one had to be taught how to innovate, how to problem solve. You did or you were doomed. You took risks but they weren’t identified as such – you did what you had to do to ensure the survival of your family, of your village, of your island. There was wisdom to be respected in the experiences of the elders. Today we would refer to them as mentors. Today in business it is almost as if we need a guarantee that something will work before we try it. We need permission to fail, permission to succeed, permission to start, permission to leave. What we really need in business is motivation and inspiration – to contribute, to learn and to make a difference. The incline in the photo is steep. I found it looping back around to the village. What I noticed on my descent was the more I hesitant I was taking my next step, the more likely I was to slip. The more secure I felt in my direction, the more purposeful my step, the less I faltered. Yes – it can be that easy and that obvious.

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