Did you see “Mr Selfridge” last night on ITV1 at 9 pm? I happened to notice it was on and thought it would be interesting to see who founded the famous London Store. I didn’t realise that Mr Selfridge was an American and was intrigued so decided to watch it.
If you did watch it, you will know that he arrived from Chicago with a vision and passion for opening a department store in London. A new concept at that time, a challenge in itself.
The first obstacle he met, whilst standing in the muddy foundations of what was to be his new store, was that his English backer pulled out. Even though this was clearly a problem, (as evidenced by his finance manager) and during his conversation with his mother that the alternative was bankruptcy, she reminded him that he had overcome this in the past, so he drew on his past experiences, remained confident and true to his vision and much to everyone’s amazement, employed staff before the building work had really started. He took action and eventually found another backer. Further obstacles ensued including derogatory comments in the Press and an accident on the night before the grand opening with the window dresser’s cigarette setting off the fire sprinklers soaking every window dressing in the store! Even this did not shake his confidence… Instead of giving up, his words were “This store is opening tomorrow”. He had chosen his staff carefully and built up a good relationship with them. Gathering them together he told them how proud he was of the way they had risen to the challenge and that they were all working to a common cause to create …”the finest house of business that London and the World has ever seen. We are opening tomorrow on the dot of nine”. “To work is elevating, to accomplish is superb”.
I appreciate not everyone may interpret the programme in the same way that I have. However, for me, this was a great example of staying with your passion and your vision no matter what obstacles are put in your way.
So, my message to you at the start of the year is:
Be true to your vision, its yours; cherish it, work with it, and above all realise it – all power comes from within – and you have the power!
7 January 2013