Is he laughing at me?

Last week I was lucky enough to work on another Musikscool event at Pangbourne College.  60 or so teenagers were asked to set up a business, design and manufacture a wholly original product, create a sales campaign for it and turn it into £12,000 cash for charity within the space of 8 hours.  I kid you not.  The product in question was a 5 track music album, and “Hope Begins” will be available on ITunes very soon.  They raised £4,000 on the day and are still going strong.   The musical quality was genius, including what we think is possibly the best ever Musikscool track.

As ever, I came away inspired, and reminded once again of how messed up we become as we get older.  One particular individual, who happens to be a brilliant clarinettist, chose to push his own comfort zone for the day by not doing a musical task, but fundraising instead.  He decided to go for the high rollers.  It wasn’t long before he had a target in mind – the Chief Executive, no less, of a business with which the school has an association.  Over the space of a few hours our trusty 16 year old had got the CEO’s contact details from his PA, and had arranged to talk to him personally.  But how much to ask for?  He decided that he might as well shoot high and see if he could persuade the CEO to buy a track on the album, for which he would want a donation of, wait for it, £10,000!!!

How many of us “grown ups” would have the courage to do that?  All sorts of self talk would stop us from even contemplating it.  I can hear my inner voice already, whingeing away with stuff like:

  • That’s way too much, he will be outraged/laugh at you
  • You don’t even know him, he won’t be interested
  • You can’t possibly sell something that hasn’t been written yet.

None of the above occurred to our fearless 16 year old.  In he went, full of “can do”.  He didn’t get what he asked for, as it happens, although later on he did achieve the highest corporate donation we have ever received.

If only we could put our own mental limits to one side more, we’d ask for more in life, and no doubt as a result we’d get more.  Perhaps we all need to negotiate as 16 year olds, not the wise old owls that people like me think we are.

I hope you like my new logo this week, provided courtesy of my nephew David Pomfret, who set up his own graphics design business 2 years ago whilst still in his teens, and is now employing 5 people.  Another person without any mental limits, and well worth talking to if you want to brush your image up a bit.