This morning I read the Saturday Telegraph magazine, and in it is an article about the Wilderness Reserve which is a lifelong passion and restoration project of entrepreneur Jon Hunt who sold Foxtons estate agency for a fortune in 2007. It’s a really interesting article and you can read the full story here, but the thing which really struck me about the whole thing was his commitment to his vision.
In a nutshell, he purchased a large house and estate in Suffolk 20 years ago as a family home and gradually added the land surrounding his estate. The upturn in his fortune in 2007 enabled him to put a master plan in place and ever since he has been creating the Wilderness Reserve – restoring the landscape to a master plan created by the renowned landscaper Capability Brown in the 18th century. To achieve this he has buried miles of electricity cable, diverted rivers and dug up miles of concrete road – a gargantuan achievement.
So back to the vision commitment, the interesting thing is that when he started out, he didn’t expect it to pay, the restoration of the estate was a hobby and he said “when you start looking at it commercially it becomes a nuisance”. But he had an overriding vision of restoring the estate to the plan, and only now is an element of it becoming commercial in that he has restored the houses and is letting them for high end holidays and conferences. His passion gave the path, and he was in the fortunate position of being able to fund his dream and let the commercial elements emerge organically.
However, back to the real world and realistically, most of us need the commercial element to work earlier in the plan! However, we can learn from Jon’s story – it is great to have a passion for what you do, as it helps you plough on when times are tough. When you combine that with a clarity of vision, it starts becoming really powerful as being very clear about where you are going can help prevent you from chasing down the commercial cul-de-sacs which we sometimes divert down, dragging us away from our vision and ultimately delaying our progress. Keep the end in mind all the time!
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