When your interviewee offers to pay you for your trip to Somerset, that’s kind. When you realise that Somerset is actually a town in Bermuda, it becomes an offer you just can’t refuse.
After arriving at St. David’s International airport, I still had a light plane journey and a taxi ride to get to my destination – a chance to get a bird’s-eye-view of what must be one of the most beautiful isles under British sovereignty. With its exquisite beaches of pink-white sand, crystal clear waters, brightly painted houses, historic churches and ship-wrecks, Bermuda is a fascinating mix of European quaintness and tropical splendour. Below us, breath-taking views of the reef onto which Admiral Sir George Somers deliberately sailed his ship in a storm (that is reputed to be the inspiration for Shakespeare’s The Tempest), thus saving the crew, who became the island’s first inhabitants – a veritable riot of blues and greens compete to greet the eyes of anyone so fortunate to witness the scene. As the mid-morning sun’s rays playfully skipped across the azure Atlantic Ocean, I was already smitten with the island’s charm.
I The brightness and heat changed to coolness and calm as I entered the spacious, modern-style 6-bedroom building that was the current bolt-hole of someone who rarely gives interviews because he says that if he’s not too busy enjoying his work, he’s too busy enjoying his play-time. Such is the life-style of John Somers, business-owner-turned-entrepreneur whose company has recently burst onto the scene in the Sunday Times’ “Top 100 Best Small Companies to Work For” list.
“It’s a great achievement to be recognised as one of the best 100 employers in the UK, but I’m far from finished on that count. I have more plans for expansion and in by next year our aim is to be in the top 100 big companies’ list”, came the reply from the man who, despite his successes, maintains a level-headed, even simple approach to business and life in general. “The secret is to work with the people you love to work with”, he said in his serene, matter-of-fact style as he showed me to the rear of the house – a superb pool and sunken Jacuzzi area encased in a glazed framework, adjacent to the rear reception room.
“As long as you put the effort in to picking the right people to employ with the right frame-of-mind, it’s pretty simple”.
“And what about your customers? Are they so easy to work with?”
“There are those clients who make work a joy and a pleasure, and there are those who, in time, will do the same.”
“Don’t you have any awkward clients?”
“They’re only awkward if you allow yourself to think in such a way, and we don’t. We treat all clients in the same way – our attitude is the same to each and every client: respect, care and commitment to their happiness regardless of their mood or demeanour at the time. As a result, we have the best possible relationships we could have with our clients, but this can only be done by having our employees cared for in similar manner. We pick the most suitable candidates and look after them. Employees are the greatest asset to any organisation.”
Such positive messages are one of the philosophical keys to the Somers’ successes in recent years, though it hasn’t always been so. As we talk surrounded by the welcome shade of palm trees next to the pool, the conversation turns to how, after twenty-plus years of working in multi-national companies, how he managed to break-free of the rat-race and end up in a superb house, knocking back cocktails with a journalist in Bermuda.
“After the initial shock of redundancy, I soon realised that this was a fantastic opportunity to live my own dreams instead of someone else’s. It took me four years to find my feet and have an embryonic plan. But there was still something missing – I lacked focus and direction. I knew I needed discipline and accountability to get me through the next stage. With perfect timing, I was introduced to MKMMA. It was like it was meant to be.”
The Master Key Mastermind Alliance (MKMMA) is a web-based, pay-it-forward scholarship course based on the original Master Keys System correspondence course created by Charles F. Haanel in 1912. Somers took the course when it was in its relative infancy and proved to be a pivotal point I his life.
“It was about five weeks into the course when it hit me: I was reading Haanel’s words on the subconscious, urging the reader to consider using the subconscious rather than to be a bystander to it. The statement ended with ‘Shall we have a vision of a destination to be reached, the dangers to be avoided, OR SHALL WE DRIFT?’ For so much of my life until that moment, I thought of myself as drifting and this was the reason. The desire to take control of my subconscious was ignited after that, all that was needed was to take control and maintain it. The course gave me all the help and advice needed to turn Haanel’s good counsel into my reality.”
From that moment, fate took its course as the course forged his fate. Client opportunities open up for John Somers that resulted in a sustainable income that doubled within a year.
“It was a time I had burned my bridges and committed everything to the plan I had created for my future. It was the most awe-inspiring, mind-boggling, surreal experience to see chance-encounters, amazing coincidences and new opportunities just opening themselves up to me. It was an exhilarating, bizzare and utterly joyful ride into unknown territory with a planned destination.”
The achievement of financial security gave John Somers the freedom to release direct control of his businesses and work with several charitable and humanitarian organisations.
“I see it as an extension of the love and care I learned to give in service to my clients. Now I can give my time and resources to those who haven’t had the opportunities that I had”.
Over 400 years ago, an Englishman by the name of Somers steered his ship through dark and stormy waters to his ship upon the reef of Bermuda, thus saving his crew. He gave those first inhabitants of the island life and hope. Today, there lives another Englishman on the same island and by the same name who has weathered the storms of his life and now gives hope and new life to many other through his businesses and charitable works.