Grit in the Oyster

Why would someone with a good group of friends, a loving family, a good education and a safe job want to risk all that?

Why do some of us feel the need to prove ourselves in enterprises that are high stress, high risk, low rate of success, filled with sleepless nights, bad for relationships, with no free time and a chance of losing everything?

If you are a sane and reasonable person you are now thinking “Fair point Simon.”

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Entrepreneurs often feel a deep-seated drive, something I call the grit in the oyster. For me it came from my father – the Brigadier. “We’re Woodroffes!” he used to say, suggesting we were better than the rest, but underneath his perfect suit, the handkerchief in his top pocket, and the glamour of being a veteran (the military were the pop stars of his day, adventurers and war heroes) there was an insecurity at not having enough.

We were the poor relations in my mother’s extended family and were always worried about money and so financial insecurity crept into me. I always wanted to be “one of them”, not “one of us”.

Thatcher was the motivation for my entire career. I hated everything she stood for.

Nicola Sturgeon

That was the grit in my oyster, an education in showing off and aspiration. At boarding school, my nickname was “Lord Snooty”, the best mate of the Beano comic’s Dennis the Menace, who I’d really rather have been. I shrugged it off with a bombastic façade that covered up what therapists nowadays would call low self-worth and that makes you competitive too. I just thought it was normal!

But whatever the grit in the oyster, if you have it and you can answer the question “Why?” with “Why not? Sounds good to me … bring it on!” – you just might be an entrepreneur.

What Drives You? Don’t let life get in the way
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