“I believe in benevolent dictatorship provided I am the dictator.” ~Richard Branson

I just got back from a business trip to Minneapolis and St. Paul; Minnesota, USA.  I had a great time – both personally and professionally.  I hadn’t been to the twin cities since 1975 and I had no idea what to expect.  What I found was a pair of modern cities with great nightlife, great restaurants and museums and just a really nice upbeat feeling.  I’m working now to set up some speaking engagements and I can’t wait to go back.  I’ll talk more about my trip and places you might want to go another time.

On to Richard Branson and what I have learned from him.  I can hear you asking: “Did you meet him?”.  Nope.  Sadly I haven’t had the chance to meet Sir Richard Branson yet.  What I was lucky enough to do was  finish reading “Losing My Virginity”; a book that he wrote in 1998.  I am not sure that he was “Sir” when he wrote this book, but he was already a most amazing man.

Reading, NLP, Modeling and Richard Branson

i am an avid reader – both fiction and nonfiction books are my very good friends.  i estimate that I read around one hundred and fifty to two hundred books per year.  As long as I can remember, I have had the gift of rapid reading and it has served me well.  It is one of my secrets of success, but reading this many books is not something that I expect anyone else to adopt; and you certainly don’t need to read even a fraction of this many books to absolutely master your chosen field of study.

You do need to read though and I encourage you to read autobiographies, of the people that you admire, whenever you can.  My life has been totally transformed from the reading of perhaps a dozen great autobiographies and greatly influenced by a few more.  In the case of Sir Richard Branson, I admired what he had achieved and I want to see what he did to achieve it.  In NLPish terms, I wanted to model the repeatable aspects of him and see what I could learn and potentially adopt to make my own business journey more enjoyable and more successful.

What Sir Richard Branson Taught Me

You can model many things from a person.  Actions, capabilities, beliefs, their identity and even their connection to their creator or to the universe can be extracted and be potentially adopted.  For me, here are the main things that I was able to get from my reading of “Losing My Virginity”:

  1. I believe that Richard views life as a great adventure that is meant to be lived.  Throughout the book, adventure is a very common theme.  What would you do or attempt to do if you viewed life this way?  (This by the way is a belief of Richard’s and also a life metaphor – I believe his dominate one.)
  2. Richard is great at creating a brand that people want to be associated with.  Like Apple is today, Richard’s Virgin brand became something that people wanted to be involved with – they wanted to shop there, hang out there, travel there – Richard carefully nurtured the image of his brand to give his company a huge competitive advantage.  How is your brand?  I am still evolving mine, but you can bet that I am going to pay attention to it now!
  3. Richard is great at surrounding himself with people that have the skills that he does not.  He is fantastic at forming great partnerships and at recruiting top talent that compliment his skills.  How about you?  Are you spending your time doing what you are meant to do and having someone else do the parts that are tough for you, but easy for them?  What if you did – what great things might happen?
  4. Richard is not afraid to take big risks to achieve what he wants, and he believes that he will find a way to make whatever it is happen.  How about you?  Are you willing to take big risks for the right cause?  What might it be like if you were?
  5. Richard believes in following his gut instincts – right or wrong – and over time his gut instinct has gotten very good indeed at being right – by being right and sometimes by being massively wrong!  For me, if I view something that did not do what I want as a learning experience and not as a failure, I am much more likely to take sufficient action to make my dreams happen.  If I viewed every mistake or sub-optimal result as a failure, I would soon quit – I hate to fail!
  6. I am not sure if Richard is fearless in self-promotion or simply gets himself to act that way.  It really doesn’t matter – Richard promotes himself and his ideas again and again until he gets the results he wants or he finds out that something else is actually more valuable to go after.  What about you?  What would your life be like is you could fearlessly promote yourself and your ideas – if the fear of rejection simply didn’t exist for you?  I know for me, getting past the fear of rejection was the turning point in my life.

Richard may or may not say that these are the key elements of his unusual success, but these are the items that caught my attention.  I guarantee that I did some sorting, both consciously and unconsciously while compiling this list.  I can tell already that I made note of things that Richard and I did in common and I know that I especially made note of things that he did, or believed, that are not currently in my repertoire.  That is one of the many reasons that it is critical that you read!  You need to see what makes sense for you.  If you are at all serious about achieving a life that you are proud to call your own, then you need to read and find out first hand information that someone else gave their life to identify.

Till next time…here’s hoping you go read a good book!


We sat around in the church crypt trying to choose a good name.  “I know,” she said.  “What about “Virgin’?  We’re complete virgins at business.”  “And there aren’t many virgins left around here,” laughed one of the other girls.  “It would be nice to have one here in name if nothing else.”  “Great,” I decided on the spot.  “It’s Virgin.” ~Richard Branson circa 1970