Welcome to my regular series entitled "My Light Bulb Moment". This column highlights a "blinding flash of insight" that business, cultural and sports leaders have experienced and how it changed their lives forever.

Sometimes, we do major things in business and life that aren't authentic to ourselves, often to please someone else. We see short-term gain but it very quickly becomes apparent that we've made a poor decision, because we aren't being genuine to who we are, as well as to our unique gifts and skills.

Bill James

With a Bachelor of Commerce, Bill started a long and successful professional sales career in the finance, automotive and insurance sectors.

In 2004, a health scare caused Bill to re-evaluate. He started his highly successful speaking and training business, Inspired Learning Systems, showing people how to succeed in sales by being themselves. The current National President of the National Speakers Association of New Zealand, he has also been awarded the highest accreditation available internationally, a Certified Professional Speaker (CSP).

Light bulb moment - Be authentic with your gifts

As a young boy, Bill was gifted with a beautiful singing voice. Leaving England at 10 to start a new life in New Zealand, Bill's father gave him a battered old trumpet that he instantly fell in love with. "It wasn't because it was a trumpet - it was because it was a present from my Dad," Bill recalls.

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The end result was that Bill very quickly stopped singing and focused on playing his treasured trumpet. "However, I was in the wrong place. I was never any good on the trumpet and in orchestras they asked me to move my fingers but not blow! My motivation was pure - the love of my father - but I was doing the wrong thing when I stopped singing."

The sad thing was that Bill had a really great gift that he stopped using. "For five years I should have been singing, training my voice and using the best natural talent I have. In my final year at school I pulled out my voice and dusted it off, auditioned for the school show and got the lead role. Then, as life got busy, I stopped and it is only now some 30 years later I am singing again. It truly is a life regret."

Success follows authenticity

"I missed the lesson for years, even decades. Honour the wonderful people in your life and make the right decisions but for the right reasons, not the right thing for the wrong reasons. My father would never have wished me to stop singing. If I had asked he would have agreed I should stop playing the trumpet. Other people are often smarter than we are.

"Only fairly recently have I come to understand that you have to stay in your natural flow of energy and skill where you are strongest. Success will follow when you are at your best in your best area."

If you have had a blinding moment of insight (a light bulb moment) please email me.


Tom is an award winning business speaker, best-selling international author and MD of both CV.CO.NZ and OnePercentGuy.com. Email Tom at tom@OnePercentGuy.com.