How A Bricklayer From East London Befriended Steven Tyler, Elton John and More

11/04/2017 05:04 pm ET

Spoiler alert - He mixed dreaming with doing.

Steven Tyler and Steve Sims
The BlueFish
Steven Tyler and Steve Sims

Imagine this: You come from modest beginnings in East London. You are part of the family brick laying business along with your grandfather, father, uncle and cousins - basically your entire family. One day you head out to a job site and immediately get to work. After your third trip hauling bricks up a ladder, you look down at the job site and see your grandfather, your dad, uncles and cousins busy doing the things bricklayers do. Suddenly, everything becomes crystal clear and you realize this is not enough for you. You were called to do much more and you were not going to let where you were from or what your family did for a living hold you back.

If you are like most people in the world, you enjoyed the dream for a moment and then put your head down and went back to work. But, if you are like Steve Sims, you confronted the ugly truth, took action and created the life you want.

“I quit that night,” said Sims. “My dad wasn’t happy about it, but he understood. He’s the one who always told me: No one drowned from falling in the water. They drowned from staying there.

Fast forward to today and Steve Sims operates The Bluefish, the premier luxury concierge service, and is one of the most well-connected entrepreneurs on the plant. Fortunately, he has decided to share his strategies for success in his book, Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen.

Why should you read it?

This book is not about the incredible things he has done for his clients. It is not about the time he navigated a way to get one of his clients onto a submarine head to explore the Titanic. And it is not about the time he figured a way for one of his clients to become James Bond for a day, complete with beautiful women, a casino, being kidnapped by a Special Ops team and escaping in an Aston Martin. Nor is it about the time where he orchestrated a private dinner at the feet Michelangelo’s David and had Andrea Bocelli serenade the guests. All of those things are cool and did happen, but they are not reasons you should read this book.

You should read this book because you feel stuck. You should read this book because you need to be reminded that with the right actions and a strong conviction in your potential, you can accomplish anything. And heck, you may even need to be remind that you have potential in the first place.

It’s about the ability to make seemingly out-of-reach things happen for yourself. It’s about the mindset. The belief. The practice. That’s the thing that matters. That skill, that talent, that art is a much bigger deal than the events we pull off for people. Immeasurably so.

There is a TON of value in his book, but if you still need convincing, here are 3 ideas I took away from Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen.

If he can do it, I can do it.

Be honest: how much time do you spend looking at social media and comparing your life to the filtered lives of others? Each and everyone of us gets caught up in the comparison trap. The problem is far too many of us make a decision to stay there. And the quickest way to escape is to:

  1. Change the conversation in your head from, “I can’t do that,” or “that’s not for me” to “why couldn’t I do that!”
  2. Make a choice and get out of the water. Immediate start taking action.

Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “been there, done that, didn’t work.” The least productive thing you can do is beat yourself up.

“I say I was a tenement kid, a bricklayer’s son, born to build walls. And now I knock ‘em down. If I can do it, anyone can. You can.”

You are in a very small pool of people who are willing to take risks to improve your life and the lives of those you love. That is something to be celebrated.

Be impossible to misunderstand

The world has always been filled with people who coerce others into action through gimmicks and tricks, but I cannot help but feel like the volume has exponentially increased over the last decade. It is as if there is a minefield of gimmicks we have to navigate through everyday. Not only is it exhausting but it also creates a loop of mistrust which ultimately slows down business.

Do not do this. Instead, focus on simplicity and follow the old tried-and-true advice of creating a WIN-WIN scenario for every transaction or relationship.

“If you’re selfish and one sided and don’t consider the other person’s point of view, then your fundraising pitch or sales call or third date is going to go nowhere, fast.”

Need help? Ask for it. I first learned the idea of being impossible to misunderstand from Steve. I was on Facebook and posted an inspirational quote about asking for help. A couple minutes later, Steve messaged me and said, “I am releasing my book. Would you buy a copy, right a review and help me promote it?” It is impossible to misunderstand what he is asking: it is simple, clear, direct and easy to answer; no reading between the lines.

Combining the Win-Win scenario with being impossible to misunderstand is a powerful way to accelerate getting things done.

Adapt quickly.

Did you know that at one point in history Aluminum was considered more valuable than gold? In fact, Steve goes back in history and shares a great story that illustrates why entrepreneurs must quickly adapt to change:

“Emperor Tiberius, one of Rome’s greatest generals, was presented with an aluminum plate by a goldsmith who claimed it was rarer than gold. Instead of saying thanks, the Emperor had the man’s head cut off. Tiberius knew that if a shiny new metal got into the market, his stockpile of gold would be totally devalued.”

I know what you are thinking: “um, I wrap my leftovers in aluminum, dude.” Well, at one point it was so rare and valuable because it was difficult to excavate and melt. So not only is it critical that we be unique, but it is also critical that we be quick to adapt to and adopt change.

“The things that are important this week, will not necessarily be important next week.”

So what now?

Well, the answer to that is up to you. It is important to reflect on where you have been, so you can acknowledge where you are and have the ability to see where you need to go. This article is only a partial summary and the book is rich with ideas. So, my first piece of advice would be to buy Steve’s book. It’s raw, real and full of actionable (and practical) advice. And if you like it, please write him a review. My second piece of advice is simple: decide to get out of the water.

Lastly, if you would like to listen to the interview I did with Steve or any of my other guests, then check that out here. Thanks for reading, listening and sharing.

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