Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

Creating Magic

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W.E. “Bill” Russell President & CEO Lake Norman Chamber

Perhaps no American in my lifetime has stimulated our imagination more than Walt Disney. As a child I went to the local Cinema along with the other kids in the neighborhood to see the new Disney films: Mary Poppins, The Love Bug, and The Jungle Book. Fifty years later, the studio is still cranking out hits like Beauty and the Beast and A Wrinkle in Time.

I still marvel at my first trip to Disney World. As a small boy I looked on in wide eyed wonder at the world that Walt built. A world he reminded folks that began with a little mouse. Walt’s ultimate dream was to create an amusement park bigger than Disney Land. A park which we now know as “The Magic Kingdom”, opening a year after his death in 1967. It was indeed “Magic.”

Disney’s brother Roy once told a story about a much younger Walt. When Disney was in fifth grade, his teacher told the students their assignment that day was to draw and color a flower garden. The teacher walked down the aisles looking over the student’s shoulders as they busied themselves in their task.

She stopped dead in her tracks as she stared down at Disney’s desk.  Walt’s drawings were quite unusual. “Walt,” she began, “Flowers don’t have faces on them.”

He looked up and said confidently, “Mine do!” And they still do.  Any trip to Disney Land or Disney World you will encounter flowers and they all have faces.

Lee Cockerell, an Executive Vice President for Walt Disney World Resort led a team which carried out Disney’s charge of creating magic for the millions of children and adults who visit the parks and resorts each year.  Cockerell told his staff, “It’s not the magic that makes it work, but the way we work that makes it magic.”

Entrepeneur

Joe Douglas, Founding Partner of Captiva Restaurant Group receives the McIntosh Law Firm Passion to Succeed Award as the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year.

Last month, the Lake Norman Chamber recognized Joe Douglas, founding partner of Captiva Restaurant Group (CRG) as the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year.  Captiva developed 131 Main in 2004 and Cowboy in 2017. Joe’s company now has five restaurants employing 400 people serving 60,000 diners a month.  In 2009, CRG developed the Tenders / PDQ concept which has grown into a national chain with 70 units nationwide.

It was inspiring as he stood in front of 200 Lake Norman business leaders singled out as The McIntosh Law Firm’s Passion to Succeed recipient.

Quite often an entrepreneur’s idea starts at the kitchen table with a checkbook or credit card. An entrepreneur reaches for the stars and even if they fall short, they clear the tree tops, leaving the ground far below.  Douglas, much like Disney himself, started with a vision of what could be if you used your imagination and perhaps added a little magic.

Sam Ewing, former Major League Baseball Player once said, “Nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said could not be done.”

That is the spirit of entrepreneurship.  Being told you can’t do something and you go out and do it anyway.  Simply, not allowing others to place limitations on what you can accomplish.

Entrepreneurs know they cannot really rely on magic to make their ideas work. It takes vision, hard work, and perseverance. Sometimes like the Major Leaguer, you swing and you miss… but when they succeed, they create a little magic of their own.

Bill Russell

March 1, 2019 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New beginnings

surfside January is a month of new beginnings. Some of us may head into the New Year lamenting the fact we came up short in our goals for 2016. Others of us plunge into the gym and say to ourselves this is the year I am really committed to getting in shape.  Perhaps as a business owners, we look at 2017 as the year we will turn the corner and have “Our best year ever!”

Regardless of whether we were successful in hitting benchmarks set in the past or we came up short in our personal or professional goals, now is the chance to have a clean slate ahead and recognize that often the only limitations we have… are those we impose upon ourselves.

In 2017, the Lake Norman Chamber will focus on the entrepreneur – those men and women who shirk the traditional boundaries and institutions with a vision of creating something unique and innovative. It is that very spirit of entrepreneurship that has shaped the Lake Norman business community allowing us national accolades in magazines and media outlets. Whether it is a recognition as the most desirable suburban community, a great place to do business, or simply one of North Carolina’s Top Towns – it starts with a common vision and a commitment to fulfilling that goal.

As we work to create programs that foster entrepreneurship, we also acknowledge our 30th Anniversary as the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce. Our chamber was started in 1987 by business leaders with vision who saw our community, not just as it was, but the region that it could become.

I recently asked Lake Norman Chamber founder John Cherry, “Is the 1,000 member organization we have today, what you and the other business leaders envisioned three decades ago?” John replied, “We knew our real strength was working together. The Chamber has always been more than a networking group hosting seminars. It is an organization that promotes our story to other regional business and elected leaders to achieve our mutual objectives.”

At the Chamber’s upcoming Annual Gala on Friday, January 20th, we will recognize extraordinary individuals, businesses, and organizations who are shaping the very fabric of our regional community. That same day, we will also host Focus Friday with area nonprofits to discuss how we can work together to be the change necessary to tap the hidden talents of our citizens which elevate communities from good to great.

Howard Schultz, the chairman and CEO of Starbucks said, “I believe life is a series of near forbes-image-of-starbucks-howard-schultzmisses. A lot of what we ascribe to luck is not luck at all. It’s seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future. It’s seeing what other people don’t see and pursuing that vision.”

Schultz would tell you, a successful entrepreneur may not even be able to count their failures. They simply regard their challenges as a stepping stone in their eventual journey to success.

As we all embark on a new year filled with unbridled opportunities, we will certainly be faced with near misses and perhaps a setback along the way. The great news is we don’t have to accept any short coming as a limit to our success.

2017 can be a year of renewed vision and commitment where there is simply no limit in what we can accomplish by working hard, working smart, and most importantly working together.

In the end, … it’s all up to us!

January 2, 2017 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment