A tale of vision, opportunity, niche marketing – and MASSIVE determination

A tale of vision, opportunity, niche marketing – and MASSIVE determination

In session two of my Mastermind programme I ask my masterminders to consider the music that empowers them. It’s a great way to reveal subtle layers of personality and drive. Funny too – last year we even had ‘Billy, Don’t be a hero’ by Paper Lace as one of the entries!!

But considering what I wanted to bring to the discussion, I’ve had my ears on the ‘look out’ and in popped Holly Johnson’s ‘Ascension’. It’s from the new film about the life of Eddie the Eagle, with the soundtrack and album ‘Fly’ written by Gary Barlow of ‘Take That’ fame. 

Let me explain why I chose it – and the lessons it teaches every business owner…

The music – just like Eddie’s story – is properly inspirational. In true 80s style it’s got everything thrown at it production-wise, including the kitchen sink.

It has a real ‘Eurovision’ flavour – in the nicest possible way! – and I challenge you not to want to jump round shouting ‘Go Eddie!’ or ‘bo**ocks to the establishment’ as Holly extols us to ‘rise like an angel’ and ‘kiss every star’.

Britain’s ‘champion’ ski jumper – and our favourite ‘underdog’!

Eddie ‘the eagle’ Edwards became the best ski jumper in the UK when he set a British record of 73.5 m in one of his Calgary jumps in 1988. 

If you were around in the 80s, you can’t have missed Eddie. Britain’s only every Olympic Ski Jumper who successfully came last in both the 70 and 90 metre jump events at the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988. However, he was seen as an ‘embarrassment’ to the official sport and later the rules were changed to prevent him – or people like him – from qualifying. Shame! I hear you say.

What you may not know is that we was, in fact, an excellent skier – not a clumsy buffoon.  He narrowly missed qualifying for the 1984 Games as a downhill skier and simply changed to Ski Jumping because it was cheaper to compete (he was totally self-funded), plus it was easier to qualify as there were no other British jumpers. 

Against him was his size – 20lb more than the next heaviest competitor – and the fact that his massive long-sightedness meant he had to compete in glasses that fogged up in the cold! He was also using borrowed equipment that was much too big for him. 

Really important lessons for business owners … 

What I love about this story is the lesson it teaches every one of us who has ever started a business and wondered how we were going to pay the mortgage from one month to the next. 

I love that … 

  • He had a vision – we wanted to get to the Olympics, whatever it took
  • He saw a niche opportunity and went for it
  • He didn’t let any of the obstacles get in his way
  • He was prepared to sacrifice everythingski jumping is a VERY dangerous sport!
  • He simply never gave up

At the closing ceremony, the president of the Olympics Organizing Committee, Frank King, singled out Eddie for his contribution: “At these Games, some competitors have won gold, some have broken records, and some of you have even soared like an eagle”. 

I’ll be watching the film when it gets released later this year and I can’t wait to hear the rest of the 80s inspired album too. I hope the neighbours will understand!

Click here to watch the film trailer>>

Click here to listen to Holly’s Ascension>> 


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