‘Life is like an echo...’


‘Life is like an echo...’

HE HAD been a teacher in Canada for over 20 years, so when he left his job, his friends and colleagues were shocked.

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Published: Wed 6 Aug 2008, 11:46 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:49 PM

They asked him why he was leaving a cushy position for an uncertain future. But Drew Price had a different dream.

So he took the bold step, spent some time learning and getting training and went into business for himself. He launched Drew Price Seminars. Today, as an international presenter, consultant, executive coach and personal mentor, he travels all over the world coaching and guiding companies and individuals in leadership, communication, general management and personal growth.

The essence of his philosophy is simple: “Don’t tell people what they cannot achieve, what they cannot do. Tell them instead what they can do, what they can achieve.” Drew Price, currently based in UK, was in Dubai recently to conduct a seminar on ‘Achieving Work-Life Balance’, which was held at the DCCI Auditorium. He spoke to City Times in this exclusive interview.

Do you believe that anyone can transform his or her own life? I think it’s very difficult for people to transform their own lives the same way if they have some sort of addiction, like gambling or alcohol. It requires a huge amount of discipline. And in terms of other areas that we talk about like personal growth and so on, people have to have a huge amount of self-motivation in order to be able to transform their lives and make it go in the direction they want it to go.

And that self-motivation has to come from within.

Most people are not aware of their unique skills and abilities. How can such people become aware of them? I think that comes from getting involved with people that support your skills or abilities. And coaches and consultants like myself can help. But we as coaches tend to see more in a person then they see themselves.

And on the other hands, sometimes close friends or parents hamper us. They say, ‘Oh, don’t try for that.

You wouldn’t want to fail.’ Whereas we would say, ‘Go forth. Here is how you go forth.’ Do you believe that, apart from other things, a person also needs luck to be successful? I think most of the people that I know who are successful would not agree with that statement. We create our own luck. It’s not a matter of luck. It’s a matter of attitude. Your attitude places you in a position for luck to happen for you. But there is another thing other than creating your own luck.

I’m lucky because I’m in charge of my own life. You see, many people are waiting for their company or their friends or families to help them out and so on.

And when that doesn’t happen they have bad luck.

They have bad luck because they didn’t do anything to change their luck.

But there are people who try and keep on trying but success still doesn’t come for them? That’s right. If you try and keep on trying and success still doesn’t come it’s called something different. One of my mentors said maybe in order for things to get better you have to get better. So if something is not working you try something else.

What happens is that people get stuck in a job and they are not happy in their job. But really successful people say, ‘I love what I do.

I’m at the best place in my whole life. I found what I love to do and I get well paid for it.’ And that’s what we have to do.

People are afraid to try something new. They say, ‘Well, I got a job and I should just sit here and be patient with the job.’ My advice would be to try something different that makes you happier, that makes you more fulfilled. A lot of people are not willing to take risks.

What about leadership? Do you think anyone can become a leader? When we talk about leadership what happens is that companies feel that this person has the skills to be a leader. My experience shows that skills have little to do with leadership. To me being a leader is mostly attitude. Yes, anyone can be a leader in their family or among colleagues or in the community if they are willing to step up and understand what being a leader looks like. And you could do that by reading, watching, observing and practicing and trying some of the techniques.

How would you define leadership? It’s mostly people skill, and the ability to deal with people and make them want to follow. The word management is used interchangeably. But management I believe is something different. Management is what makes it happen but leadership is the oil to the car. So management is the day to day things that make it work. And I think great managers have certain leadership tendencies. They have learnt how to work with people. They have also learnt what they need to do to make the situation work.

What, according to you, are the hallmarks of a good leader? A good leader is someone who has passion for leadership, who takes initiative, who is willing to build relationships with people. Some of the best leaders that we have seen have the best relationships with members or their colleagues and so on. The worst leaders have poor relationships. In order for people to work for you they have to trust you. And in order for people to trust you they have to know you.

So you have to build relationships with people in order to get results.

And what makes a leader a great leader? I think what makes a leader a great leader is willingness to learn and grow and not believe because they have the position or the title that they are great. Great leaders are always learning. Great leaders are always humble.

Great leaders don’t take the initiative with people. They involve their people and help them take the initiative. For this reason people work harder on their own ideas. So, a great leader will talk to his people and ask, “What do you think that we should do here?” Why do you think work-life balance is so important? We live in a world that is 24/7, 365 days a year.

Wherever you are, any working day gets hold of you, either through mobile or email or the internet.

Then it’s a smaller world because of travel, improved communication and enormous changes in our family world and so on.

Time is really crucial for all of us. So people have to learn to set some boundaries for themselves. They have to find out what is important to them and when to say no. For example, in the UK one out of three people will not take a summer holiday because they are afraid of redundancies, they are afraid of losing their jobs. And of course if you don’t take a take holiday you will make poor decisions and you will have poor performance. You have to have the courage to take the holiday, take a break, come back rested and more productive.

What are the general principles, as you teach them, behind achieving work-life balance? One thing you have to consider is that your work-life balance is not going to be the same throughout your life. It will change over time.

Even day-to-day it will be affected by deadlines, by weekends, by whether you are single or married, have children or not. So you have to establish what work-life balance is right for you.

For some people it could be child care or elder care or spending more time with family or going to the beach or playing tennis or any other thing. So the definition of good work-life balance is meaningful, daily achievement and enjoy ment in all areas of your life.

What can a normal person do to achieve work-life balance? You need to know what work-life balance will look like for you. I say you, as opposed to your neighbours, friends and others.

It’s all about your goals, your current position or situation and where you wish to be.

If you know that, you can start to make choices and decisions that allow you to do that. But most people fall down. They are not willing to change, to take the steps forward for themselves.

What are the downsides of not having work-life balance? First of all, you will suffer.

Secondly, your family will suffer and thirdly your company and other people around you will suffer. In other words, if you don’t manage to find some sort of work-life balance you will go downhill and it will difficult.

Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is, ‘Doing what you have always done expecting different results.’ So you have to do something different to get new results. You need to take a look at what you are doing.

And there are books, there are people to learn from, and there are situations where you must investigate and find out. And you must take action. One of the biggest challenges for people is that they will not take action.

Is there one single element that is crucial for bringing about change in your life? I think there are two. One is acceptance of where you are.

The other is willingness to take whatever steps are needed to bring about change.

I think rather than looking for a balance which is very difficult what you have to look for is how you can be most effective. So, you have to look at work-life effectiveness to achieve the things you want, which means you have to achieve and you have to enjoy it.

How do you think your teaching is different from others? I believe that what probably separates me from other teachers is that I have lived some of the things that I teach. The second thing is that I teach what I believe is not just theory but practical examples of how to achieve things that you are aiming for.

So, you do believe that it is up to us to change our lives and be successful? Yes... it’s really up to the individual. They have to decide; they have to be willing to be and do what it takes.

Anything in life, it requires some efforts. It requires a commitment, a belief. It requires a positive attitude.

Unless you have those ingredients and are willing to do some of those things and do what it takes, you will never get the success you hope for.

If you wait for life to hand them over to you, life doesn’t work that way. Life gives us what we give out. Life is like an echo: whatever we put out gets back to us.

What is your advice for the common man? Believe in yourself. Believe that you can make a difference. You can make a difference in your own life and one other person’s life. You don’t have to make a difference in everyone’s life. You are just one person in the whole world. But you might mean the whole world to one person.


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