Saturday, 30 April 2016

A matter of life and death – and a big lesson



A very dear friend of Maggie (my better half) and I died in March of lung cancer. Charles Knevitt (check out Google for his Telegraph obituary) arrived in our lives in 1989, walking into our local, asking the then landlord who were the locals and introducing himself to those of us reclining at the bar. He had moved into a house within 100 yards of the pub and wanted to make himself known to those who he considered would be the most knowledge and influential people in the village!

We were somewhat taken aback, despite by that stage of the evening having consumed significantly more beer than my doctor has ever believed acceptable. Who on earth walks into a pub and announces that he would like to become a local? Well, I will tell you who – a natural. It was at Charles’ wake at his beloved Chelsea Arts Club that during the course of many wonderful speeches and subsequent conversations with complete strangers, other that the fact that they knew Charles, that I understood what made Charles different! He was happy to be Charles.

The vast majority of subjects I have covered in this blog relate (directly or indirectly) to having an ‘influence’. Making things happen in a way that will as a result, in business particularly, but also in life generally, have a positive result. Listening to the speeches at Charles’ wake (he wanted it called a party) I realised that we only knew one version of Charles. However, our version of Charles was him being 100% genuine in how he felt about and loved us. Yet most other people I met and talked with about Charles had a different, or at least a slightly different version. Charles being natural was being who we wanted him to be, that was his great strength. Being slightly different to everyone because everyone is different was why everyone liked Charles.

I have on many occasions talked about being a good listener – I need to add be a good adapter, make people comfortable with a version of you that suits them, as long as it is based on your true DNA,

Charles Knevitt, born August 10 1952, died March 15 2016

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