Skip to main content

Edition 362 – Beer

Confession time! I’ve never liked beer. Ever. The smell, the taste, they both disagree with my pallet.

It all started when I was 14. Monday afternoons, after leaving Palm Beach Currumbin High School, I’d head home via the newsagency on the Gold Coast Highway and pick up the Sydney Morning Herald. Back in 1982, it arrived on the plane from Sydney late morning, so a quick detour was my weekly routine.

On the opposite corner to the newsagency on Fifth Avenue was the Palm Beach Hotel. It was your typical, suburban hotel with the windows high up off the ground, awning over the footpath and the poster of Andy Capp, who was the grog pin-up boy back then, on the wall out the front.

As I rode down Fifth Avenue, the smell of beer wafted over the other side of the road. To a 14 year old’s nostrils, the smell was overpowering, because it was so unfamiliar. My father rarely drank beer, except at Christmas time when he’d share a can or two of KB with my uncle Harold on Christmas Eve. His poison was much stronger, and much more destructive.

A shandy with my friend Peter’s grandmother in the late 80’s was the closest I came to downing a full beer. I felt it was too impolite at 19 to refuse it, so I persevered. She was glad of the company on a stiflingly hot February afternoon, the both of us out on a cruise in his 1968 XT Ford Falcon. I’m sure I asked for the lemonade to be topped up, so determined was I not to disappoint Mrs Lewis.

Over the years, I’ve had the odd sip, only to confirm that it’s still horrid. To this day, the polite downing of that one shandy has been the single glass of beer that has passed my lips.

Why do so many of us conform, in our lives and in our businesses?

Why do we follow the herd, rather than strike out and do something different?

Why do so many businesses resemble the equivalent of the owner drinking beer, but really having a taste for Prosecco? Or Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonic with a piece of Lime?

Some of us fall into the trap of playing it safe. Our exciting ideas when we first went into business didn’t quite fire as we’d hoped and, to keep the till ticking over, we resort to the basics of what we know. Gradually, the fire dies out on those great ideas and the business owner falls into a rhythm of doing what has to get done, each day, to keep the business operating.

Others get scared when it comes to the point of making a commitment. Lots of planning and deliberation end up in the garbage bin as we focus on “what happens if it all goes wrong” rather than “imagine if it all goes right”. The scared park the idea, then revert to what they know best. Not what they love doing, just what they know. As the dust settles on the parked idea, drudgery seeps into the business and the owner grows bored.

Whether you’re playing it safe in business, or got scared at crunch time, my observations of others over the years are:

  1. The decision was made unilaterally.
  2. You had no one, independent of your family or the key people in your business, in your corner, willing you on and supporting you through the periods of self-doubt.
  3. The most in-depth conversations you had about the idea were with yourself, inside your own head.

Imagine how different it may have been if there was someone in your corner, willing you on, when things got tough, or the doubts emerged? Might a different result have arisen?

This Week’s Tip

“A different perspective might be the change you and your business need.”