I think it is a swell idea of your team to collect the best moments with clients. I hope you will publish some of these stories.
You will probably not recall this moment but it was a turning point for me. I was alone at Wharton, no family in the U.S., I had no money to fly home, all my friends were away for Christmas and I was planning my applications. I sent you a message at 6:15pm EST on Christmas day and never expected a reply.
You sent me a message on Skype and offered to call me. That was a pretty amazing response to take your clients so seriously. We had a short call but you told me something which placed my situation in perspective and gave me the energy to push through.
You said that great people are never happy.
“They are extremes with no friends. They have sharp edges and they have no friends. They see things others cannot see and are ridiculed for it until they can make their ideas work. One of the great myths of the media is that successful people are happy. No successful person is happy. Successful people are flawed – deeply so.”
You told me the story about George Stalk’s presentation skills and Kenichi Ohmae’s first McKinsey engagement. You told me that all successful people lack confidence, which drives them to succeed, but they don’t show it. You ended of with the line I will always remember –
“Never compare your true self to the image others project. It is not a like-for-like comparison and you will always come off worse.”
On that day in my state of mind I was most receptive to your advice. That really helped with my confidence to know I was important enough for you to speak with on Christmas day.
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