Today I want to share a story dating back to 1995, I was opening up my very first company. This is not a story about a company or a start-up. This is a story of a stranger and five minutes that changed my life. I remember that it was a typical Norwegian day, grey and cloudy. The music was playing in the background as I was unpacking some new supplies. A stranger came in to the store. I do not know his name, I have not seen him before, and I have never seen him afterwards. It was a man, soon to be retired. I know he was a journalist. We spoke about music since this was a record shop – before the era of downloading, mp3’s and spotify.
The five minutes was probably thirty minutes of more, but I remember it as a quick and fast talk about life, about music and about business and during the years it has become the story of a five minutes chat with a stranger. I do not remember if he bought anything… and that is still not the point.
We talked about ambitions, and I remember he questioned me about opening up a shop in such a small place – well it was at the place I lived, and I did what I loved to do so that’s why for you. I could probably make more money in a bigger city, I could probably last longer than two years – until the music industry crumbled and changed maybe? Well the story continues, and I ended up paying a long time for these years of labor.
Before he left, this scene plays in my head today as a movie scene where an old man stands up, grabs his hat and enters the rain. (However I am pretty sure that it did not rain on this day) – He said; “I am sure you will achieve great things in life, it’s in your attitude”
This is the first time I felt that anybody believed in me. When I opened this shop everybody was against it, my parents advised me not to open it, and get a steady job instead. Teachers in school never believed in me, as I can’t remember any teachers being inspiring. The bank was in doubt about it, I did this in spite of support, I did this because I really wanted to, and to be honest, I felt it was the only option to prove to the world that I could do anything. Still today I am impressed about my determination back then.
The stranger had left the shop, I don’t remembered if I thought much about it back then, but his last sentence has been my support when I try to do things in my life. I am the first to admit that my life never turned out as I planned or hoped back then. I have not had what society defines as success, but I feel that I have succeeded with life.
Believe in someone.
This is the moral of this story – you never know how and when you will influence other people. Or what your words might mean to them. To me knowing that someone listened to my thoughts and said that they believed in me put me on this path of reflection – I would not have been the same man today and I am sure that after that day I had a huge jump in confidence that helped me get through the tough challenge of closing down my first “big” dream.