Suits & Sneakers: My attempt at changing the world around me!

Suits & Sneakers

It’s something I’ve believed since I was a small child… I wasn’t always able to perfectly articulate this thinking to the world but it was something I felt instinctively in my gut and something I could never veer away from! 

The easiest way to explain it is that I’m an idealist. I believe in the white picket fence, I believe in world peace and I believe there’s a way to make money that leaves everyone smiling. But the rest of the world doesn’t always see it that way. A lot of people will tell you to grow up and be a realist. And sometimes it will come from the people you least expect.

I don’t know if there truly is a right and wrong. I just know what works for me. And now that I’m a little bit older and I have a bit of a track record, all I want to do is share my mode of thinking with the world. I love what I do. I love how it makes me feel. I just want others to feel the same.

Whether you own your own business or you work for someone else’s company, you give the very best of your day to that cause. Let’s assume the average person wakes up around 6am… Everything you do from then on is preparation for work. And let’s say you graft the typical 8am to 5pm, that patch is when you have your most energy and it’s the coolest part of the day. When you’re done, you still spend at least an hour or two unwinding from work. You give some of the best times of your life to work.

When I think about it like that, it almost seems a criminal offence to not be excellent at what you do and thoroughly love what you do. But when I talk to a lot of people about this topic, they seem to be in limbo. Even worse, they don’t always enjoy what they do.

I must tell you, this doesn’t sit well with me. For long, I’ve analyzed why this happens and I think I’ve gained a real understanding on how to fix it. I’ve almost become obsessed with this topic; I can’t just sit back, it’s not in my nature. I have to make some kind of difference.

It goes a little further even when it comes to those who are good at what they do and do enjoy their profession, there is always space for improvement. I’m in that exact boat.

The way I am attempting to solve this problem is in the form of an event that I’m busy creating and have been working on for quite some time. I figured the best thing to gather the masses into one central space and share the strategies that have worked for me and other successful entrepreneurs and businessman in an engaging way.

We chose to call the event “Suits & Sneakers” because we believe there are certain business principles that are unwavering and never change but in the 21st century you also have to have a certain controlled edginess about you; you have to be innovative to survive, you should be pioneering to stand out. The lines have become blurry and you need to know when to wear a suit and when to wear the sneakers.

I have spoken at a number of my own events over the last three years as well as other public and corporate events. The major lesson I’ve taken from all those events is that it’s half about WHAT you say and half HOW you say it. If I’m honest, some of the best businessmen I’ve listened to have been the worst speakers. I totally recognize that you have to learn something but the occasion also has to be entertaining and interesting. This is the part my team and I have been working on for quite sometime. I believe we have hit the jackpot with regard to content AND delivery.

The evening will be split into two halves: First, I will personally be sharing the content mentioned above and as you can see, it’s a matter that’s close to my heart. We will then interview three special guests with the view of understanding what they’ve learned and what’s made them successful. The idea is to have someone who runs a really big operation, someone more midsize and someone who’s only been in business for a little while but they’re getting there. All three are relevant and can teach us different lessons because of where they’re at in their business cycle.

The event is also meant to be social. We are aiming to host between 500-1000 attendees. That’s a lot of skills and expertise in one room. These guests should be talking to each other, learning from each other and networking. We plan on doing our bit by creating the atmosphere for such a discussion.

And finally, it is my plan to keep the price as low as possible by working with potential sponsors who see the value of this kind of information being shared. I don’t want people to say they couldn’t come because it was too expensive.

I have been in business for just over 7 years… I started my first real business just before my 23rd birthday with the usual dreams and aspirations that come with this tale. At first I was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and naive; really naive. But I was a dreamer and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I did a lot of things wrong but I never gave up that idealistic mentality which has become my biggest ally in recent years!

You are bound to make a lot of mistakes but you need to almost be ignorantly persistent in how you get back up and start over again. But if you have that golden attitude, you will do well in life. There are obviously a lot of other skills and strategies you must employ but those you can always learn.

The first few years were rocky and I wish someone had told me then what I’m going to tell you all on stage at this coming event. Luckily, I learned to fail fast and start over quickly. It was that or accept defeat. That’s just not me.

As things started to look up, an incredible thing happened to me. It could only be fate that one day while at the airport and en route to Cape Town for business, I picked up a book called “Inside Coca-Cola” and it changed my life forever. Many of you know this story but for those of you who don’t, here was a guy who ran one of the world’s biggest companies and he shared my idealistic mentality. AND it worked; even on that big scale. That did something to me. It gave me a confidence that no one could shake and I haven’t been the same since.

A few months ago, I watched a video about Greg Glassman (the man who started CrossFit). His articulation of his pursuit of excellence resonated with me on such a deep level that I felt utterly compelled to put this event together. I just want everyone and anyone who does any form of work and gets some form of compensation for that effort in return to walk out of our event feeling a little bit smarter, a little bit more knowledgeable and a whole bunch more inspired.

I can’t tell you how excited I am as my team and I put this concept together. It’s an absolute passion of mine and I love working on it with every fiber of my being. I hope this article has given you some insight into what “Suits & Sneakers” is all about and I hope it’s got you a little excited.

My team and I are busy putting together all the marketing elements so expect to see things like our website up and running shortly. We are going full tilt with this project and I won’t rest until it’s operating in full swing.

If you would like to keep in the loop with all things Suits & Sneakers then please “like” us on Facebook. We actively use social media channels to educate you and even entertain you!

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About the author: Mark Sham

Mark Sham

NOT the boy next door. Entrepreneur at heart with a marketing background and a love for social media. Owner of Vivid Marketing!

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