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Getting Passionate in Birmingham

 Published on: 24th September 2014   |   By: Nik Allen

Nik meeting Steve Wozniak at the National Entrepreneur Convention.

Nik meeting Steve Wozniak at the National Entrepreneur Convention.

Last weekend I visited Birmingham for a two day convention aimed at helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

It was fast paced, inspiring and I came away with a book full of notes and a head bubbling with new ideas.

The title of this blog isn’t a reference to passion in the romantic sense as sadly Mrs Allen wasn’t there with me.

For the record I attended the convention with a work colleague and discovered he snores like a bear with a bad head cold.

Anyway I digress. The keynote speaker for the conference was Steve Wozniak of Apple. The man who invented the PC and the technical genius behind Steve Jobs’ marketing master mind.

The Wizard of Woz was humble, likeable and wearing rather strange trainers with a suit. But when you’re a billionaire who has touched billions of lives with your creations you can get away with that.

Steve’s passion for what he did shone through like a torch in a dark cave. He spoke about being a child and having a clear dream of being the best at what he did in the world.

His goal wasn’t to make billions; it was to make the best computers ever known.

However, the real star of the weekend was another speaker, Debra Searle.

Debra’s story is truly one of the most inspiring I’ve ever heard.


Her and her then husband took part in a race in 2001 to row across the Atlantic. One week into the trip her husband, despite being an experienced rower, discovered he had a crippling phobia of open seas.

It would have been so easy for Debra to have jumped on the rescue yacht with her husband, and given up on the race to Barbados.

But she decided to go it alone despite being an inexperienced rower and facing thousands of miles of the Atlantic Ocean before her goal of Barbados. Why? Because she passionately wanted to complete the race.

Through her tiger-like determination, a sense of humour and down to earth perspective, Debra reached her clearly defined goal.

She rowed into harbour in Barbados having overcome sharks, storms, searing loneliness and self-doubt.

I took several lessons away from her talk. They are:

Think big and focus on your goal.

Choose your attitude to things.

And the one which resonated like a mission bell within me:
“If you always do what you have always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

Powerful stuff from an incredible woman.

Look out for next week’s blog where I’ll be making a big announcement about My News.

Thanks for reading,


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