About The Guest
Lee Chambers is one amazing individual. He is a Wellbeing Consultant, Workshop Facilitator and Sleep Specialist. Through relearning how to walk after illness, working in different industries, and building 2 businesses, and studying a number of advanced qualifications, he has now brought all this together to improve wellbeing advancement.
He does this by working with organizations to help them become more conscious and purposeful, defining values and communicating them with clarity. Wellbeing strategies are implemented that are measured and embedded.
We chat about his entrepreneurial spirit as a child, starting a business during the 2008 Financial Crisis, his new book, How To Conquer Anything launching in November and his advice for the graduating class of 2020.
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Highlights of The Discussion
Having the Entrepreneurial Spirit As A Child But Then Had A 9 to 5 Job Before Starting His First Business
2:18 – And I was the one who would constantly ask them, what do we need this do we need this and then gradually stole those things, and put a picnic blanket down at the end of the class where I lived and tried to sell them to passers by.
So I was that child and I had my little friend Anthony, and we were we were about six and seven. And always the older ladies took a real shine to us and came and bought something even though they probably didn’t need it. And I suppose that kind of traveled through my teen years where I started selling Amiga games by post, and I was probably 12 when I was doing that. So before e-commerce was a thing, I was trying to sell stuff to other people across the world and at school and managed to set up effectively a mobile shop until the teachers outlawed that I wasn’t allowed to be carrying as much stock, I was carrying my school books and all that kind of things.
So in some ways that entrepreneurial spirit was there as a child. But as I gradually got through education, I gradually became more and more society really, conditions the thing that actually I should try to narrow myself down into a career and actually dead before my first business.
What Became The Catalyst To Build A Video Game Company
6:41 – I decided and come up with a business plan to go out into the video game wholesaling industry and taken that to an esteemed business advisor in the local city where I was studying, and he was a well-respected man, had numerous successful businesses, well respected in the community. And obviously saw him in some ways as a bit of a mentor, which I was grateful for, given that I could leverage some of his journey and stories and wisdom.
And I took the business plan, the cash flow forecast, and all the financials and the purpose behind the business to him and he said it you know what, Lee, this is a great idea. But I don’t think it’s for you. And he said, Really the industry looking to move into it’s controlled by older white men. That older generation who probably not going to resonate with you. They’re not really going to want to let you into the circle. You diverse, you’re young. You do come across with you know a bit of attitude. You in some ways look disruptive, which isn’t going to help you on the mission to kind of get into the deep elements. And he said, maybe you should consider moving into the code and programming side, but a lot more diversity, much younger audience and you’ll find it easier to transverse your way through those circles.
So in some ways that advice didn’t come in a negative way. It came from a place of care. And as a young man, in some ways, I started to conform and take that advice and thought, actually, I’m going to finish my degree. And then I’m going to go to graduate scheme.
So that’s actually what I did. I decided I wanted to become a financial advisor. I graduated in international business psychology. And for me, it kind of fulfilled my two passions, really working with statistics, financial statistics, and helping people to get the financial well being. So it’d be 2007 I got myself onto a graduate scheme, National Bank here in the UK, only for six months later for me to find myself losing my professional qualification, because they couldn’t fund it because of the economic crisis.
Then a week later, after seeing more and more people above me in the organization, pack their desks and leave, I was also made redundant. And then in so many ways, that became the catalyst for me to think, okay, so if I’m going to build a career, I’m going to have professional development qualifications, then, if I choose to do that, I will have the ownership of the situation, I’ll have a level of control. And the accountability then lies with me to build something and to build my knowledge. So I decided I wasn’t going to conform, and I wasn’t going to take that advice and set off on my first venture to build a video game company.
Sometimes Not Listening To Advice Can Be The Best Advice You Can Give Yourself
7:03 – Yeah, and I mean, that’s massive because almost always advice comes from people’s hearts. Yeah, at the same time, their experiences colour their advice. And because the advice is quite often based on what’s going to happen in the future, well, they’ve not lived in the future. And we have a past bias where we’re thinking, well, this didn’t work for us. This wasn’t suitable for us this, we’ve tried something similar and it didn’t work. But in so many ways, we actually need to not take advice, go out and fail, and go and bring the minimum viable products and gradually churn it until we make it exactly how it needs to be.
And that’s how we actually learn like entrepreneurship is a science. It’s not a simple process that you can follow.
You have to go through a process of failing, making mistakes picking them apart. Every time something fails it from a business perspective. I can experiment. There’s data there to advise you what went wrong, but it’s also little bits of treasure inside that as well to see.
From Being Completely Independent To Learning How to Walk Again
16:57 – Yeah, I mean, the initial first week, fear setting, initially in complete shock at the situation, and then the creeping doubts about doesn’t seem very fair. Why me when I was 29 and thought this could potentially cause me significant issues for the rest of my life, but you get a lot of time to reflect wine in a hospital bed, not able to move.
And in that second week, I started to realize I was still able to run my company from my hospital bed. It was one of the few things I could do myself. so amazingly, I started to realize if I’d had almost any other job, well, I wouldn’t have an income at this moment in time, and suddenly, it’d be very difficult to live. And then that gratitude spread started to realize I’ve been walking around the earth for 29 years and never once thought Oh, I’m really grateful for being able to walk.
And then the people who were coming to look after me, coming to shower me, helping feed me. Had I been grateful for all these people before they were calling to help me? Not as much as I should have.
And then I started to look, I grew up in the Western world. I’ve had hundreds of opportunities, free education, free health care, freedom to set up a business, numerous different jobs in numerous different industries, have always been fed have always had a roof of my head. Why should I sit here and be ungrateful for being unwell, and that really ignited a fire inside me.
And it was at that moment I decided, I’m going to walk again, I’m going to take ownership of this disease, I’m going to attack it as much as it’s attacking me. And that really started a process of me deciding that the disease wasn’t going to define me. It was just going to be part of me, and I was going to work alongside it to see what I could do to give him the best health outcomes.
So that started I was released from hospital and not long after my daughter was born. I was going through walking rehab, intensive physio and hydrotherapy to get back on my feet. And it was a challenging process. Those mornings when I woke up, I was in agony. I was stiff. I didn’t want to do my exercises, I didn’t want to stretch. But I almost decided in so many ways that by the time a daughter was walking, I was going to be walking as well.
And that power of why really catalyzed the fact that every morning, I was going to do it, I decided, and I was 100% all-in. And I started to realize that when you do what you feel, you quite often don’t take action, and then you feel like you’re letting yourself down. So I decided to flip that and said, I’m not going to act based off how I feel when I act based off the identity I want. The identity that I want, is me running around the garden with my children and that will define my actions.
Why Running A Video Game Business and a Well-Being Business is Not A Conflict of Interest
27:49- How I see it is people tend to look down on video games in quite a negative way. And the portrayal of the media that the cause violence and the problems around some people becoming addicted, they are issues, but there are issues, with so many things in our world.
And that takes away from the fact that playing computer games has become a form of social communication, that using joypads and controllers is very good for fine motor skill development. And it’s actually looking that there are quite a few positives alongside the negatives, like so many things in life.
It’s more, it’s more nuanced than we actually think. And as we go further into the future, will start to understand is that technology, it’s given us the capacity given us the ability to actually do more. And when you look at revolutions in health tech and biotech, you start to realize that for me and my perspective as a well-being practitioner within business, as well as we move closer towards full-scale automation, and to biotech in business, that actually will provide resources and capacity to develop people’s well being.
And sometimes you’ve actually got to see what it will bring. And you can look at the negatives and try to prevent them before they come. And there’s no doubt that because technology moves so quickly, the security isn’t always as speedy as the development. And the psychological impact isn’t always catered for as quickly as the development but there are people looking at that and attempting to make sure that we get some kind of alignment and that it becomes more sustainable for the future.
And when people say these two businesses conflict, doesn’t seem like that those are particularly aligned. Really, that’s just the case of their own experience. And if they’re looking at things from a wider world or in a wider perspective, there’s opportunities in video games to help people. And I do believe at one point in the future, there were elements of video game therapy for people, as we’ve now found that there’s lots of different ways that people can find therapeutic benefit.
And, yes, there are issues around younger children not spending too much time outside, becoming, you know, more likely to use devices. But that’s a whole spectrum. And when people just look at the isolated elements and say, This is bad, they’re not looking at the interconnected world that we live in, where every single element is connected to something And when you look at that in an integrated way you realize that actually, video games can be potentially beneficial. And it’s just about managing how they’re used like anything in our lives, that management that responsibility in that ownership can turn even the most toxic thing into medicine.
Advice For The Recent Graduates of 2020
43: 21 It is certainly fragmented and a very challenging time. And yet, in some ways, is the perfect time for you to define your direction in life, to really dig deep and think what you want to bring to the world. Because now is the time for young disruptors to make a difference.
So what I quite often say is during the economic crash in 2008, that was the birth of my own business, but my own business is just a small dot in the world. But in that same crash, companies like Uber and Airbnb were formed. In the middle of the crisis came two companies who disrupted traditional industries, and are now synonymous across the world in what they do. And that could potentially be you. But you need to look at it and think, really, almost like investing when people are running around in fear if you anchor into what you want to do, and really start to build, as we come out the other side of COVID, the other side of the challenges, and a new, more dynamic marketplace, you’ll be very, very well placed to take advantage and go and really forge a path and something that you know, your passions will be fueled.
Sometimes it won’t even feel like work if you become that aligned to what you want to do. And for some people, they want a career and they’ve trended that direction. And if you can honestly dig deep inside yourself and say, that’s a career you want for you, then pursue it with all your heart and all your mind.
But just understand that, given the way that the world’s moving, and how technology is developing, you might need to look in 10 years of becoming something else.
And if you can start thinking about that now you can start building transversal skills that you might need, the emotional intelligence, the cognitive flexibility, the resilience to go back and learn new things.
Because there is no job that is truly safe from the changing times and coping to shows that nothing can be taken for granted.
And actually, we should be incredibly grateful for all the amazing opportunities that we have. And it’s only when we’re restricted and suddenly told you can’t do things that you actually realize how amazing it was when you could.
So for all the young people listening to this wanting to disrupt industry wanting to make a difference. Stick by your guns. It won’t always be easy. There’ll be challenges. But from my own journey, I realize I’ve had to go on this journey to understand what I truly wanted to bring. And that journey only starts when you start taking action, being proactive, instead of being reactive going, and chasing the opportunity rather than waiting if it comes to you. And if you really want some good solid advice, possibly look to a mentor. But just remember, don’t always take the advice and don’t always conform.