Lessons in Life & Business Success

Inspiration and wisdom will sometimes come our way from unexpected sources. And Jimmy Buffett might be in that unexpected category, but, when reflected in the proper context, his stories and lyrics are rich in wisdom and lessons for finding your way to a successful personal or business journey. His lifestyle as a laid back, beach loving troubadour with an entrepreneurial spirit developed into a global brand. And the music led to success with a diversified portfolio of hospitality, F&B, entertainment, and resorts. Jimmy was an entertainer, pilot, author, investor, and business owner. And he reached the pinnacle of success as a billionaire. Yes, billionaire with “B”. So, there are nuggets of wisdom to be uncovered if we ask, What Would Jimmy Buffett Do?  

Changes in Latitudes

Changes in Attitudes. Here we go, first up, if you’re stuck in neutral, spinning your wheels and confused about finding a new way forward, it’s time to change the scenery. If even for a day or week, anything to break the pattern and find a fresh look ahead. The literal sense of changes in latitude, get out of your territory, go south or north and feel the different perspective. Work out of a different office if you can or set up in a co-workspace to get a new feel. And, if your whole team needs it, consider a “changes in latitudes” team retreat in an offsite location and focus on brainstorming new ideas and strategies for the business. If you find yourself saying “no” more often than “yes,” changes are calling you. And, as Jimmy says, “yesterdays over my shoulder, too much to see waiting in front of me.” 

The Captain & The Kid

The lesson here, if you don’t have one, is find yourself a mentor. Develop a bond and cherish the rich and enduring impact of shared experiences and passions. I was fortunate to connect with my mentor early in my business career and still maintain the coaching relationship today. And, while it’s great to have a close personal relationship with a mentor, if that’s not possible, find someone you aspire to in public life, study them and find ways you can emulate their path to success. 

Come Monday

“I spent four lonely days in a brown heavy haze.” A song describing his feelings at a very low point and later to find out he contemplated suicide at the time, thinking he would never be good enough. This song’s success actually turned it around for Jimmy. The message is never given up. Mental health discussions are much more acceptable today than 50 years ago but still the stigma is there. Listen if someone needs to talk and talk if you need someone to listen. 

It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere

Reaching beyond the literal meaning here, a song that celebrates escapism and the desire to separate from monotony and stress of everyday life. Break free of societal norms and expectations that confine us, a reminder to live in the moment and make the most of every opportunity. Time is now and ok to move forward. Just because everyone else does it that way and I’m expected to go that way, I have another idea and I want to talk about it. I’m not stuck in the flow, and I can grow in a different direction. Just tell me it can’t be done, and I’ll show you how it can be done. And I must confess, when I’m driving down the highway by myself and this song plays, the volume is up and I’m singing every word in perfect harmony with Jimmy (and Alan). 

Bubbles Up

A song released just before he died and knew his time was short, a final lesson in hope and inspiration. He’s guiding us to stay positive and move forward regardless of life’s challenges. And, in a business sense, resilience and perseverance can always serve as motivation and inspiration for entrepreneurs and the challenges they face. These lyrics, “Bubbles up, they will point you toward home, no matter how deep or how far you roam, they will show you the surface”.  

And there you have it, a tribute to Jimmy the philosopher, the teacher, and the mentor. His words and actions taught us well about living life to the fullest, being happy and respectful. Afterall, he lived his life like a song.

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