Insights from Richard Branson’s purchase of Necker Island on finding what you love

Insights from Richard Branson’s purchase of Necker Island on finding what you love

I have learnt a lot this week…I attended a social media training course, networking events and an entrepreneurs forum. Yes all in one week – amazing what you can get up to when the family is out of town!

There are so many things I’ve learnt and I wanted to share one in particular that stood out for me – the biggest difference between the average person and someone pursuing their passion is just their mindset – and the key difference is subtle…nothing earth shattering.

Let me illustrate this with a story about how Richard Branson bought Necker Island.

In 1978 Richard Branson was in the very early days of building Virgin Records. He had very little money and was definitely a far cry from the billionaire we know him as today. Whilst he had very little money he always saw the bigger picture and sniffed out opportunities.

He had heard from a realtor that an island with the same name as his record company had become available. The island was part of the Virgin Islands and at the same time he happened to have met a girl he was trying to impress.

He knew he had no money to buy the island but he saw an opportunity and didn’t let his state of affairs constrain him. He rang up the realtor and expressed his interest. Fortunately the realtor wasn’t aware that he didn’t have the money and offered an all expense paid trip to visit the island and check it out. Richard agreed on one condition – that he could bring a guest.

As you can imagine very few people would turn down a date on a private island. Richard Branson says he fell in love twice that day – once with Necker Island and the other with his date.

At the end of the trip, it was time to talk business – the realtor quoted a ‘heavily discounted’ price of $6m dollars. Smitten with the unspoiled paradise and keen to impress his new love Richard offered the most he could afford – $100,000. As you can probably imagine, the realtor was less than impressed and ended up leaving them high and dry to find their own way home.

A year later Richard Branson got a call from another realtor, who had taken over the sale of Necker Island, to see if he still had an interest. No one else had made an offer over the past year and he had a bit more money now as Virgin Records was in a better position. They agreed on a purchase price of $180,000 – a far cry from the initial $6m asking price merely one year ago.

And as for the date – it was with a lady by the name of Joan Templeman who he ended up marrying on Necker Island, and remains married to till today.

It is such a lovely true story.

There are also some amazing threads from the mindset of someone who has become super successful pursuing his passions. Here are 2 that I have identified:

1. Have a crack…regardless of your circumstances

In 1978 Richard Branson didn’t have enough money to buy one of the Virgin Islands. However that didn’t stop him from picking up the phone and speaking to the realtor to make an enquiry. That did not stop him from negotiating the all expense trip for him plus one. That did not stop him from making the highest offer he could make at the time ($100,000) for the island.

The lesson here with pursuing your passion is you never know what is going to happen. Take action, do the best you can and see what happens. I love one of the gospels from Michael Jordan – you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Have a crack, what do you have to lose?

2. Don’t let what others think cripple you

If Richard Branson was concerned that he would be pissing off the realtor, he wouldn’t have accepted the all expense trip. If he didn’t accept the all expense trip it is unlikely that he would have ended up buying Necker Island a year later. And who knows if he and Joan would have ended up falling in love, getting married and having a family together.

He did the best that he could at the time and did not care about what the realtor thought. Did it matter that they were left high and dry on Necker Island? I highly doubt it – I can only imagine a man like Richard Branson would have romanticized the moment which would have only strengthened his chances with Joan. At the end of the day he got what he wanted – the island as well as a partner for life.

A lot of us are guilty of worrying about what others think. There are countless people I speak with who are afraid to do what they love for work because they assume it will upset their loved ones, who have been banging on about getting X job in Y profession. I understand and empathise with this.

If you dig deeper loves ones want what is best for you. However they have been conditioned to believe that X job in Y profession will deliver happiness and well being. The question is will it deliver those things for you? If the answer is yes then fine, if not then you probably need to choose differently.

Don’t let what others think cripple you. Make the effort to find what you love and pursue it – have a crack, like Richard Branson, who knows what you might discover?


By |2018-01-02T11:41:34+00:00March 6th, 2017|Passion, Success|0 Comments