Have you ever wondered why you meet some people and how you just seem to click with them?
And how do some people just blow you away with their life and what they do?
As regular readers will know, I love meeting new people, finding out what makes them tick and most importantly learning from them.
Who will ever forget the time when I chatted to the 87 year old man who then gatecrashed our family wedding!
What I have learnt is that there are no ordinary people – everyone is extraordinary and has so much to offer the world in their own special way.
So often they have simply not yet discovered their greatness.
I read a book a while ago about an aboriginal group walking across the Australian outback and each member of that group had their own special talents such as singing, hunting, telling stories etc. Each person then shared this talent with the others for the greater good, harmony and well-being.
We just have to look for the greatness within each person.
I do actively look to connect with others – and every now and then, I meet someone who just blows me away with their approach to life and their philosophy for living, someone who is making a profound difference in the world.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.
Last week, I met such a person at the business lounge where I occasionally work from – someone who is creating a lasting legacy for thousands of people.
Grant Taylor runs a very successful business in the recruitment industry but what really touched me was his other interests in helping disadvantaged young people.
As we spoke, I realised just how much Grant is passionate about his life and how much he wants to make a difference to others. He is certainly making it happen for himself and for a better world.
Here was the archetypal businessman in the cut-throat world of business and yet he was so much more than his business attire would have led one to believe.
Grant’s wisdom and philosophy deserve a wider audience and I am honoured to interview him for my readers.
I can guarantee that you too will be inspired by his work – the key of course is to apply some of his ideas in your own life.
1. Grant, please tell me more about your philosophy and approach to life?
My philosophy is try and enjoy every moment, follow your passion (and the rewards will come), be charitable (with your time and / or money if you have it), and to treat people fairly and equally.
I revel in the diversity that we are lucky to experience in London. If I meet somebody new I try to ignore the prejudgements that we are conditioned by society to make of people, and to make my own judgements. I am often pleasantly surprised about how this open approach widens my world.
2. You are clearly very passionate about your work with young children. How did this come about? And how do you manage to combine this with a thriving business life?
It is not so much young children – I would say young people up to mid 20s. It has always been an innate passion in that when I had no career direction after university I followed my heart into teaching, although this proved not to be the career for me.
I now have two children and I am a Trustee of a charity supporting young people with congenital heart disease and their families. I will do whatever I can to support the organisations I work with to inspire their staff and indeed help them find the right staff to further their aims and objectives.
I gravitate to charitable or socially focused organisations such as the National Union of Students or Foyer Federation and will give up my time freely to talk at conferences or help in any other way I can.
I see social giving as working hand in hand with my business to create the whole person that I am – it does not conflict with business, it is the business of my life.
If I make less money, that is a trade off I am willing to make for being fulfilled.
Incidentally, I don’t think that it harms my ability to operate successfully in business. If anything it helps me with my wisdom and understanding of the organisations I strive to work with it, gives me more credibility and helps me to conduct my business more effectively.
3. Children are our future and for me its heart breaking to see so much of them living lives of little hope and direction. What are the key ideas and lessons you can share with us?
Children need to be given the respect they deserve. Every single person has a talent that needs to be found and nurtured.
It is such a shame when a single child is led to feel that they have no talent or future and become disengaged with society and find themselves leading a negative life.
I am delighted that in the western world, societies are moving from seeing academic competence as a key measure of success to developing vocational and creative pathways for young people to express themselves and find their purpose in life.
There are more adults than children – if each of us took responsibility for inspiring one young person, mentoring them and supporting them to achieve their dreams, society would be significantly richer for it.
Why leave it to somebody else?
4. If there was one thing you could change about the world today, what would that be?
That people open their minds and support those less fortunate and with no clear direction to move forward.
Everybody wants to achieve success – the challenge is to help young people find the right pathway.
5. What’s next for you in your crusade to help young people and give them a better chance in life? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I don’t know about five years, but certainly I see myself continuing to support organisations that work to support disadvantaged young people, from both voluntary and business perspectives, so as to be more effective in achieving their aims.
A large part of this support may be encouraging these organisations to govern themselves better and to utilise the contribution of young people in governance, that is shaping their services and challenging their strategic direction.
Also as a parent, if I can influence my children to be happy and successful in whatever paths they choose to follow, then my legacy of positively contributing to society will continue through them.
6. What final words of wisdom can you share with us?
No matter what, feel the fear and do what your heart tells you to do and give freely to others. This is not easy to achieve but if we work at it we will be happier for the effort.
My gratitude and heartfelt thanks to Grant for sharing his story and his words of wisdom.
Now what will it take for you to also do what your heart tells you to and give freely to others?
What if from today onwards you chose to mentor one young person in your life?
Imagine the difference you can make that young person by helping them find their greatness.
It only takes one person to change the world – why not make it you?
Just remember that there are no ordinary people – people are either extraordinary, or they have just not yet discovered their greatness.
Please share below what one thing you will take from Grant and apply in your own life from today onwards.
Image courtesy of marlin harms