Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Prairies, Philanthropy and Potter: 5 favourite moments from Brett Wilson's new book

Me having tea with Brett Wilson

*disclaimer* This is in no way, shape or form a paid blog. I hate doing reviews or anything similar but this is a book I won through Mr. Wilson's website (dammit now I sound like Dennis the Menace). Anyway, take it for what it is, I enjoyed it, my eyes glazed over certain parts merely because I'm not a business person, but I took a lot away from this. And this is what I learned...

I love Brett Wilson for more than his super sexy swagger and charm that caught my *GIGGETY* when he was on the Dragons' Den; I love him (and I use love in that non-stalkerish way a fan can love a pseudo-celeb from afar and not be handed a restraining order), for his honesty and ability to tell his story without coming across as perfect.

In fact, in his new book Redefining Success, Still Making Mistakes, the uber-debonaire millionaire openly shares his imperfections and mistakes in a collection of stories and testimonials that have shaped his life to this point.

He is surprisingly gracious about his ex wife, Pamela, crediting her with raising their children to be humble, have down-to-earth morals and values, and even says that some of the hires she found for their companies are still with him to this day.

The stories I was most interested in were the personal tidbits he shares like how his grandmother passed away an hour before his mom lost her battle with lung cancer on July 11, 1987 in the Battlefords Union Hospital in North Battleford, SK.

In 2003, he made a $160,000 donation to the hospital for new X-Ray machines and when he called the following year to see what the hospital needed, the CEO asked, "How much do you have to give?"

"I'm not sure. Come back to me with your ask."

His response impressed Brett. He sent an itemized grocery list of needs corresponding with dollar amounts. "If you give us $5,000 this is how we'll spend it, if you give us $10,000 this is how we'll spend it..." all the way up to the million-dollar mark.

"I was impressed that he showed the same attention to detail at the $5,000  level as for the $1-million level."
Brett decided to donate $300,000 towards the $600,000 cost of new anesthesiology machines and requested that the hospital match his donation by raising $300,000 themselves.
"I didn't know it, but until then, the most the hospital had raised during one campaign was $100,000.  
The hospital conditionally accepted my plan, but wanted twelve months to raise the money. I thought for a few minutes and gave them three months. I can only imagine the nervous conversations that took place at BUH that day, but they called back the next morning and agreed to the three-month challenge, and the Dollar-for-Dollar campaign was on. It ultimately took less than three months for the Battlefords to meet - and exceed - the BUH's fundraising goal.  
They called me with the results: "Brett, we have met your challenge. In fact we blew through it, and have raised $500,000." 
Sometimes, the best way to encourage someone is by challenging them to do more than they think they can do. I am proud of this initiative because of the impact it had on the community in terms of dollars raised, for  sure, but more especially in terms of the community engagement it inspired. 
Now, my top 5 favourite moments in Brett's new book 

5: Brett admits he used to think of watching his kids as "babysitting"
It's not something he is proud of, mind you, but he did think it and called it an "unwanted chore." He shares a story of reluctantly watching his kids when he really wanted to be at an art auction to bid on a piece he couldn't imagine living without (although he can't remember what it was now). He had arranged for a designate to call him when the bidding began so that he could still participate while he sulked in his office. Although the phone rang multiple times, his kids answered and he never received a call. Eventually he phoned the auctioneer's assistant who told Brett a little girl kept answering the phone, telling the assistant that he wasn't home. Brett was furious, writing that he didn't recall ever being so angry, and demanded to know why she said that to the woman who called. His daughter hid under her bed, hiding from Brett's angry outbursts and only whispered, "Because you never are home." It was a defining moment for Brett who realized he had very strained relationships with his kids.

4. Quoting Harry Potter
See, this is what I love about Brett, too; he finds inspiration in the most unlikely places.
"Men are not known by their abilities, but rather by their choices." Dumbledore, Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets
I've come to realize that happiness is a choice. Leaving the world a better place is a choice. As my mom used to say at dinnertime, "You have two menu choices tonight-you can take it or leave it." We may have no control over what cards we are dealt, but we do get to choose how we play the hand.
'Scuse my language, Mr. Wilson, but pure, fucking genius! And totally FIERCE! 

3. Know-it-alls, don't really.
Brett prefers to work with people who say, "Let me check and get back to you," as opposed to pulling a bullshit answer outta their ass. *cough* sorry Brett, I'm paraphrasing here. I love this because trying to impress someone making something up comes across as *cough* bullshit and I get that Brett doesn't appreciate that.
"It's a simple statement that only enhances credibility. It's easy to see when people are making up an answer on the spot. If they had only admitted that they hadn't yet done enough research in a particular area, or hadn't thought of the issue, they might actually walk away with investors who are competent business partners, and who could help them expand their market."

2. R-E-S-P-E-C-T
"I am wary of people who get pleasure from attacking or insulting others. When someone treats others with a lack of respect, to me it says very little about the person they attack, but volumes about their own integrity and insecurity."   
'Nuff said.

1. The key to success
Well, he doesn't have a magical key and it's not a new concept but coming from Brett Wilson, it makes it a reminder to surround yourself with people who matter, and to always BOUNCE!
"Everyone faces hardship, disappointment and failure from time to time. But to succeed, you have to make a commitment to never give up. You might find that your greatest hardships lead to your greatest triumphs. And maybe, most important of all, don't hesitate or be afraid to share your issues or concerns with those close to you. I have always loved the line from Dr. Seuss: "Those who matter don't mind, those that mind don't matter." The reality is that your true friends (including those that are family) will always be there for you. Find them.

Brett's book is now available and his book tour starts today. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or check out his crazy awesome website for more details.

Return to You Are FIERCE

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