Own Your Own Fear: Problem Solving – Part 7

What is the most difficult problem that you have ever had to solve?

Did it have a simple outcome, was it a wicked problem or did you just not have the tools or knowledge to deal with it?

For me, the hardest decision that I ever made was to turn down being the agent for Pearl Jam.

I had been running a successful venue for many years and had also been promoting many sell out shows and I was approached by a top agent who arrived at my venue on the night of the only ever UK Sea Hags tour where we had the opening show. He asked me to meet him in my office as he had a proposition to make me.

When he told me what the job was I was astounded and thought that he had come to the wrong person but he said that I had been selling his shows out for five years and he was sure that I could do the job.

I was extremely flattered and when I realised that the pay was four times more than I was being paid at the time, it made me really interested. I also realised that I would be the agent for more bands and that I would spend a lot of time flying to see bands in places across the world to try to sign them up. A very attractive option.

I asked for time to consider and I was given a week.

That night I could not sleep and in the morning I spoke to my wife about it.

I then had to consider my three young children, my career; which I loved and also the time that I would be spending away from home. My wife said that she would fully support me with whatever decision I made.

I agonised for a few days but then rang the agent to say that although I was flattered I would not be taking up the offer. He understood but was understandably disappointed.

I eventually left the venue and went on to be a Senior Director in a University and run my own successful business.

I ran into the agent in Prague airport some years after leaving the venue and his first words to me were, “I bet you regret your decision. The guy doing your job is earning hundreds of thousands”.

I just said no and I meant it.

It wasn’t about the money it was about a work-life balance.

Although I could now perhaps have been a millionaire, I would not have given up seeing my children and grandchildren grow up, spending time with my wife and friends and this is something that money can’t buy.