“2017 is going to be a bad year for you in business”. I slumped in my seat at a PJ coffee shop when my fortune teller foretold of my impending terrible year. The year was 2016 and it was already a bad year for me then, I just can’t imagine a worse year.
What can I do about it? Well she explained Ba Zi plays 33% of my luck. The remaining 66% is based on personal choice and Feng Shui.. but yeah what I could really do was just deal with it. That’s life. Accept that not every year is going to be a great year for me. If there’s one thing I appreciate about my fortune teller is how upfront she is and how she doesn’t serve up any bullshit just to make you feel better.
I met the weeks after that with pessimism as the year 2017 crept closer especially since some of the other things this fortune teller friend of mine foretold turned out to be true. Then I remembered my one saying in life… that
“It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters.”
If my business luck wasn’t going to be good, I’m going to have the make the remaining 66% count. I’m going to have to make sure I make the best business decisions and Feng Shui the heck out of my life.
I engaged a renowned Feng Shui consultant from India to look at both my new apartment and Colony. I then executed whatever she told me to execute (to the best I can). In random corners in Colony you’d find big glass columns of salt water and candles. In the whole floor plan she circled in red where I was supposed to sit and even which direction I was supposed to face. I followed it to the T.
In business I was very careful. In making sure I never made the mistakes I made in the past again. I decided to trust myself and only myself to lead the business. I made sure I owned a majority stake in Colony and made all the calls. But before each call I made, I carefully considered the opinions of everyone be it our team or our investors. I made decisions not entirely based on gut, but on exhaustive data that I made sure we collected before making a call.
With all this I was still very cautious. Telling the team at Colony what my fortune teller said, saying that we needed to be on our toes to make up for my lack of “luck” in the year. Sometimes I wonder if knowing my “fortune” was making me fear more than necessary, but hey only the paranoid survived.
In our first month of opening, I remember walking down the iconic black and marbled corridor of Colony lamenting to Audrey “All the data, the feedback and the enquiries we’re getting indicate that Colony is going to do well. I don’t know why my fate says otherwise”.
I was so paranoid I considered even the most remote possibilities. Maybe this location may catch on fire… maybe some regulation thing. Something….
As I write this now I am sitting by a beach in Langkawi with a week left to 2017. Reflecting on my year. This time last year I was at one of the lowest points of my life. I had left a company I founded, unsure of the path that lay ahead. Fearing starting again from scratch and going through the pains before I can once again build a successful profitable company.
Today by some complete fluke on my behalf and with the hard work and talent of my great team, Colony has in a short time built itself up to be a valuable company. Since we launched at the end of July, we’ve seen consistent month on month growth in revenue and profits. In our 3rd full month of operation we attained profitability and it continues to grow. When showing a chart of our business performance to our lead investor, he said
“Wow… I wish all our business charts looked like this”.
We’ve since been approached 3 times by different companies, looking at potentially acquiring the company and also by investors looking to buy a stake in the company valuing it in the tens of millions. I looked at Audrey one day and said “This time last year this company didn’t exist… I can’t believe it’s worth this much now”.
As I sit on this beach now, I have now what I wish I had a year ago. A valuable, profitable company and more importantly a company that I am passionate about. Yet the irony is that in this year I’ve learned more about the other things more important than business.
I recently watched this Ted Talk on “What Makes a Good Life?”.
In summary what makes people happy isn’t money, social standing or even experiences. It’s relationships and it’s something that I feel I haven’t paid enough attention to this year. For more than a year my wife and I for example have not been on a single trip with just both of us. These escapes are so important for us because it’s the only time we get to spend time with each other without constantly being distracted by work or by Fighter and Penny fighting over a Batman Clock in the next room. This is why we squeezed this short trip to Langkawi before the year ended.
Relationships are what make us happy and it’s something I am determined to focus on as we go into the new year. I’ve learned to be a better husband. To always help my wife whenever she needs help whether it’s just carrying that extra bag she’s carrying while holding Penny or even anticipating her needs (Do you want a glass of water?). Of course it doesn’t just start and end with my wife. With my kids too, my parents, my in laws, my family and friends. If good relationships are what makes our parents live longer, then I’m determined to have good relationships with mine.
I just hope that I will live long enough to achieve all I want to achieve in life.
I sit on this beach now happy and grateful. Grateful for my family who has always been there for me thick and thin. My colleagues and investors that gave me the opportunity to build a great company and grateful for God has given me this time on Earth.
Fortunately, contrary to my Ba Zi, 2017 has been kind to me and has been the best year I’ve had in my life. I’ve learned so much, I’ve had so much fun and I am really really happy. That doesn’t mean i don’t have problems or stress but I’ve learned to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Things that used to stress me out don’t stress me anymore… in fact I very often now look forward to the stress. I see it as an opportunity and part of a process to learn.
Back in 2016, my fortune teller also foretold that 2018 will be a bad year for me. I only hope that it will be as good a bad year, as 2017 was for me.