So, welcome to this week's edition of The Freedom Fridays podcast. I'm Pete Clark, your host. And this week, I have a relatively new contact, and we've only known each other, I would say weeks, if not days. But his backstory is quite interesting. I thought you would like to hear it. So first of all, please welcome Calvin Chilchik to the to the show.
Thanks for having me.
You're welcome. Calvin, before we dive into all the sort of strands that we've kind of talked about offline, maybe just to give the listeners a bit of a sense of why I thought it'd be interesting to talk about your stuff is what is your story? How did you come to be here?
Yes, so I mean, currently, you know, where I'm at is, is I run and I'm the club head of a business called the Club of United Business. And what we are is is a member's club for entrepreneurs. We've got close to 1000 members at the moment across Sydney and Melbourne. They're all owners, founders, CEOs, you know, key decision makers of the businesses, typically sitting between two and 50 million in revenue. We diversify in industry as much as we can. And I guess what we do is we actively facilitate relationships between our members through a number of events and forum type scenarios. But fundamentally speaking, we're a community of entrepreneurs are all coming together to be around others who are cut from the same cloth, obviously, building good organic relationships of that nature over time. And letting pockets of opportunity fall as a byproduct of that. What what is my story and how did I get to be running that business? I mean, to take it right back to, I think, you know, what was the most pivotal kind of moment in my life was was coming from South Africa. So I'm born and raised in South Africa, I moved here to Sydney, when I was about 14. And yeah, I think I think, you know, growing up in South Africa, you know, you hear a lot of stories about the danger and the problems that it has, and it definitely does. But I think for me, for the most part, you know, I have a very good, good memory of growing up there. I had a good childhood, but I think my parents very early on, saw the writing on the wall, and decided they were going to make the sacrifice for their children, and bring us over to Australia. So moved here when I was 14. And yeah, I think that was obviously not an easy move at that age. But I think funnily, you know, and if you look at what I do for a living, it kind of ties in. I was always good with people, that was always a strength of mine. And so I was able to, you know, build friendships and relationships coming here pretty quickly moving into high school. I don't remember it being a hugely daunting thing for me. And yeah, I guess, you know, throughout high school was never, it was never an academic I that was never my thing. And never actually thought of myself as a business guy, either. That wasn't something that I, that I aligned to in the, I guess, in my teens, and probably even early, early 20s, I found myself more leaning towards the creative side of things. I played music growing up, and I actually thought that was the kind of route that I was going to go down. And I guess, finishing high school, because I wasn't academically inclined, I guess I was a little confused as to what to do with myself. And so after a bit of travel, and, you know, I took a bit more time than the majority of my friends to decide on what I wanted to do, but eventually did decide to go and study music for a little while. Which, yeah, it was, you know, it was enjoyable. And I, you know, I had my fun with it. But I think I realised pretty early on, that that wasn't going to be something that was going to allow me to be successful. I don't think I was talented enough to be successful as a musician. And so yeah, I left the music University after about a year and a half. And then finally decided, you know, what, I'm going to do what everybody else is doing. I was already probably two or three years behind most of my friends at that point, and decided to go and study business. And I think very early on, I could just tell it wasn't, it wasn't something that I excelled at. As I said High School, never excelled in academics, same thing in university. And actually, about six months into my degree decided I was going to go and study abroad in America for six months. And I mean, that was an amazing experience obviously doing the the college route in America. I mean, it pretty much is what you see on TV and I had a lot of fun there. Build some good friendships and relationships over there. And I was there on my own for six months. So really got to just travel the country and do my thing. And I think what I realised while I was there was, again, universities, just not my thing. So, upon getting back decided I was going to drop out and dropping out at that point. I mean, I was I was not young. I was, I think I was 23 at the time. And that was a very young. Yeah, well, yeah, well, yes, young, but I guess I had friends who had, who were finishing the degrees and starting their careers, and you know, starting to make money, and I was now you know, four years behind everybody. And at that time, it becomes pretty scary. And you almost perceived as, you know, a bit of a bit of a dropkick, I suppose, you know, you don't know what your path is, you don't know what you're going to do. And, and I didn't know what I was going to do at that time. And, yeah, I think it's interesting how serendipity works sometimes. And you know, certain moments happen that really just changed the course of your life. And what that moment was, for me was, was coming back from America after dropping out of university, running into a friend of mine on New Year's Eve, who, at the time was running a retail company that had five stores at the time, it was it was a toy retailer. And I was telling him my story, you know, I've just come back from America, I've dropped out of university, not sure what I'm going to do. And he just said, you know, why don't we Why don't you just come work, you know, behind the till, for a little while in one of the stores, you know, just to make a bit of cash until you, you figure out what you're going to do with yourself. So you know, I needed the money. And so I said to myself, yeah, no problem, and went and started working there. So just as a general shopkeeper, the store is in, in top ride. And a couple of months into that, I ran into these guys, again, the guys were running the company, and we were on a night out. And, you know, we had had a few drinks and the CEO of the company, and the founder of the company said, we started having a conversation about me doing a little bit more, you know, coming in and doing some operations. And I think at that time, he was, he was at five stores, but he was an exceptionally talented guy. And he was really looking to grow that business into something special. And he was looking to implement things into his business that he didn't have the time to do. And so we kind of got along that conversation. And, you know, the night happened, it went went nowhere. And I woke up the next day, and I said to myself, you know, I don't know if he was being serious, or it was just a drink talking. But I'm going to try and capitalise on this. And so I gave him a call. And I said that, you know, I said to him, I don't know if you were being serious or not. But I'd like to explore this opportunity. And he said, No problem. So we met, we met, I think it was the next day for a coffee. And he told me about some systems that he was looking to implement, and you know, what he was looking to do. And he said, You know what, I'll give you a crack on a part time basis, your work the tool sometimes, and, you know, for the rest of the time you're coming to the head office, I'll show you the systems that I'm looking to implement. And I'll give you a shot. And so he did that. And I had to then go and learn the systems that he was trying to implement, and roll them out to these different stores. So as I said, we have five, five stores at the time. And I was going into the stores at 23 years old with no retail experience, and training managers and floor staff on how to do these things. And so that I think was a very, it was the first moment in my career that I realised that you can't, you can't shy away from things, the only way that you're going to progress is to do the daunting. And that was the first time that I ever had to do that. And so yeah, I guess I must have done a pretty good job. And so he decided to move me into a full time role in the in the head office. And I guess to kind of long story short, you know, fast forward five and a half years. I worked there for five and a half years and I ended up pretty much working alongside him, you know, for the for the majority of that, of working in that business. And we scaled that business from five shops to 25 shops and the time I was there. As I said we were a toy retailer Toys R Us went bankrupt during the time I was there, and we took 11 of their shops and yeah, I think that really just showed me from the inside out what it looks like to scale a business and and what it takes to scale a business. You know, as I said, I was alongside him every step of the way. And that really opened my eyes to business and where I found a passion for business, I suppose.
Well, we'll come to CUB in a second and we'll kind of up the story. But there's enough that there's a number of different strands I'd like to pick up on up. I might take you back to when you were 14 and when you moved to Australia. And interesting, you said you found it relatively easy. I'd be interested in understanding, was that deliberate? Was that accidental? Because, you know, when you know, when males boys, you know, typically the testosterone kicks in around 14,15. And it's quite a challenging time for many boys, despite moving, not schools, but countries. And whilst you could argue South Africa, Australia, English speaking predominantly, you know, Western-isd, it's still a massive shift of culture. So can you maybe just talk about how did you find yourself accidentally or deliberately fitting in?
Yeah, it's an interesting question. Because I think, I mean, obviously, hindsight is always, you know, a thing of beauty and, and, you know, to really look back at it and delve into those those kind of, you know, couple years, I suppose, after I moved, there were definitely challenging times. And I definitely struggled, you know, at times, personally, I think I think I had a lot of anger at that time, you know, as you say, you know, that's probably the time where the testosterone starting to kick in. So, you know, there definitely was, there was a bit of like, anger and frustration, and that kind of thing. But I think, unintentionally, you know, it wasn't an intentional thing on my behalf at that age, I think you just kind of, you know, you kind of roll with the punches, I suppose. But as far back as I can remember, I was always somebody who was able to make friends very easily, I think some of the My earliest memories is going on holiday with my family, and just picking up a group of friends, you know, while while I was on that holiday, and, and we do that every single time we went away, and in the sport that I was a part of, you know, a lot of the time I was the captain of our team. And I always had a way with people. And so when I came to this country, I mean, I was lucky in that I had a bit of a network here already. My uncle was living here before, and he knew some people my age that introduced us. And so I just think I was able to integrate with the people that I met pretty quickly. And I think that's just a byproduct of who I am as a human being.
Have you got siblings Calvin?
I do. Yeah, I've got a younger brother and a younger sister.
So you're the oldest?
You're the firstborn?
Very typical characteristics of a firstborn have to say.
So I've been told, yeah.
I guess, you know, we're both a long way from being 14. But on reflection, do you remember what you were angry at or with on reflection?
I think, I think um, I don't I don't know exactly what it was, I think. I think there was a big difference in the people that I was surrounding with my myself with here compared to my my group in South Africa. And I was very close with my friends in South Africa that that that was very difficult to leave them. And that was quite emotional when we said our goodbyes. Right. And I think yeah, I think that frustration stemmed from that. Just just just the group of people that I was now surrounded with at that time, was very different. And I actually, to be honest with you, for a long time felt like I didn't fit into my group of friends, although I had a very big and strong group of friends always felt like I was a little bit different. And found myself connecting with other groups of friends. You know, I've always been a person who's had, I've got friends in America, I've got friends in Melbourne, I've got friends from the North Shore, you know, I've got lots of different groups, even to this day. And I think that's where it started, because I didn't necessarily feel like I fit into that group that I was put into, on the flip side of that, I mean, the immigration took its toll on on my, on my family as well, you know, my parents, and their marriage suffered a lot as a result of our immigration. And interestingly, 15 years later, they've just split up. They just got divorced at the end of last year, the middle of last year. And there's no question that, you know, the immigration initially was what was the was the kind of catalyst for it. And so I think that, you know, seeing that it seemed like seeing how much they struggled at that time caused fustration in a in a young guy. But yeah, it's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what it was.
Yeah. Interesting. And you mentioned the music side. Slight aside on this I it's probably a myth, right. But I love the myth. You might have heard this, apparently Chris Martin, who is the lead singer of Coldplay, you know, his father was at a dinner party. And somebody asked him about his family. He said, I've got two sons. Oh, yeah. Tell me about them? Said, one's an international banker, and the other is an international Rockstar. And the person then asked, Oh, right, which bank? Whereas I think most of us will be going - how's the rockstar. Yeah. So again, I don't know if that's probably a myth. But I think it's a lovely example of, you know, sometimes the music industry, the can a rock star thing. Is this kind of like, separate, but on this pedestal, how do you how do you make that it's either nothing or international rock stardom. I don't want to ask you about that. I'm interested in how, because I'm connecting that with you probably remember the Steve Jobs commencement speech where he talked about, you're only really able to connect the dots backwards. How do you see the music that you got involved in your love of, or your experimentation with music, how do you see it helping you now?
Yeah, it's a good question that I think it's a very good question. And I've never actually pieced this together. But it makes a lot of sense. I think, repetition. You know, in order to learn in order, well, there's two things it would be repetition and creativity. But in order to learn an instrument, and learn it well, it takes a lot of repetition. You know, you've got to do things over and over and over and over again, and only then you get good at it. And I think when I look at at business now, and I think that particularly the skill set that I'm strongest at which is which is sales, the only way you really get good at sales is through repetition, as well, you know, repetition of meeting people repetition of process, all those types of things. It's how you kind of hone your craft. And yeah, I think there's a link there. When it comes to learning an instrument, and I mean, I picked up the guitar at 10 years old, and I still play to this day. So, you know, a lot of people give up when I try and learn an instrument I never did. And I think I think that kind of relates in in a little way to to business. But then I think also creativity, you know, without question like, yeah, business takes creative creativity, entrepreneurship takes creativity. And I love that part of business. I love being able to be creative, and, you know, workshop through problems, it's probably my favourite part. So I think there's probably an interconnection there as well.
You said earlier on, kind of going through uni, and then you know, working for the toy retailer, you didn't you didn't see yourself as a business guy. You obviously do now. Do you remember the the moment when that switched? Because obviously when you use language, like I didn't see myself as a business guy, that's an identity question. You obviously do now. And just probably it could have been a moment that there's probably I can, I'm moving towards and then flicking and then I'm moving further towards. Do you remember anything that happened that was the trigger or the catalyst for you now seeing yourself as a business guy?
Yeah, 100%. I mean, I didn't see myself as a business guy in university. And I didn't see myself as a business guy in the early early stages of that of that retail business. And there was pretty much a moment and a distinct moment, where I realised that I am a business guy. And what that moment was, was actually, the understanding that the skill sets that I possessed, I always knew that I had skills when it came to people, I always knew that there was something that I was very good at. But I didn't know that that was something that applied to business. And when I realised that, and I realised I was good at managing people, and I was good at building relationships, and I was good, I was resourceful. And I could handle numerous tasks going on at the same time, you know, all these things that like, almost almost put me into the wrong bucket in high school, and university. I then realised, wow, these things do apply to business and I apply in a big way. And actually, aren't things that can be taught. Once I realised that I actually became very passionate about business and entrepreneurship and without doubt, I mean, that was the that was the moment.
Yeah, interesting. You know, um, you may or may not agree on, I would argue most of business is about people. It's everything. It's probably mostly and I would probably challenge the idea that it can't be taught. Only because I've built a career on doing that. Now, I would argue probably a bit like you, you know, can you become an expert without the repetition and the discipline and the practice the practice the practice? No, you certainly don't become competent at it just by knowing it. But there's certainly ways, and there's a lot about, as you said you went into the retail on, you ended up as a 23 year old teaching the retail staff what to do. And as part of your doing of it, you're building that muscle. So it's interesting, you remember the moment where you kind of shifted identity?
Yeah, without question. And it was yeah, it was, it wasn't gradually that, you know, it was it was just kind of like, I can do this. And I enjoy doing this. I think that's what it was, it was it was - I can do this, and I enjoy doing this.
And so on that do you remember what changed from one day to, obviously with the identity shift - that's normally an internal thing - did you recognise anything outwardly, that changed the day before/the day after?
Well, yeah, it was, it was effort and output, because now, I had a now I had something to be ambitious about. Now I had I had purpose in my life, you know, before that, I struggled to find purpose in my life. And once I realised that I was capable, you know that the other side to that capability statement is I worked for a guy that was exceptional. And the fact that he saw capability in me as well made me made me super ambitious and made me yeah, just just want to get better and better and do more and more and spread my cross spread, spread myself across more and more. And yeah, I think that's really what it was, it changed my behaviour, because I now had an ambition that I was trying to work towards. Which was, which was really interesting.
And I'm reflecting on what you're saying there. Because the two things for me that caused the shift, partly, one was it was somebody else believing in you. So not necessarily you believing you, but somebody else believing in you. And a higher sense of purpose, something beyond where you are, beyond your current situation. And those two things, whilst you could argue they're affecting us internally, they're often two external things. What's my purpose? Who else believes in me, and it causes a shift internally? Have you taken that lesson and applied it to others who might need you saying you believe in them and helping them with a purpose?
Yeah, 100%. I mean, I think I think and obviously, we'll get on to, you know, where I am later in the conversation, but, you know, I now have a team of five, soon to be seven. And I know how beneficial having that person was to me, and how much knowledge and experience he imparted into me. And, and it's something that I love doing as well, it's probably something that I could put more effort into, you know, sitting with my team, and, you know, trying to try to mentor and guide and things like that. I don't think you can ever do enough of that. But it is something that I love doing. I mean, I don't ever want anybody to feel like they can't come to me and ask me questions. And, you know, sit down and brainstorm. And, you know, and not to say that I'm always right, you know, a lot of the time I won't be right. But yeah, without question like, thinking of myself in the in the capacity that he was, to me, is something that excites me in a big way.
Yeah. So let's, you know, catapult to today, then. So you're an owner in this business. But you also are running part of this business. Do you see them as complementary or antagonistic? And either way, how do you navigate those two strands effectively?
Yeah, so it's a really, it's been a really interesting transition for me, because, I mean, I became a partner in the club, and in the business about a year and a half ago. And prior to that, you know, I was a sales guy, I always, I've always, since starting in a toy retailer treated the businesses that I that I worked in, as, as my own and always felt like that was a, you know, route to get to where I wanted to get to. But when it becomes your own, it's a very different, it's a very different thing.
And so, I'm just gonna interrupt you, for those that are owners or for those that aspire to be owners, that that switch happens, how is it different?
Yeah, so where it's different is, I mean, all of a sudden, firstly, you've got, you know, a lot more pressure. And obviously, you know, the people who've given you that opportunity, expect a lot more of you now, you know, they've, these are, these are people and, you know, I'll talk about Daniel, who's the CEO and the founder of our club, you know, he's built this this business from the ground up, he's put his life and soul into this, and he works, you know, endless amounts of, of hours to make this something that's successful. And now he's given me a part of that, you know, and so, the expectation from him, you know, is very high, you know, and so and so it should be. And so that that's the one side of it. But the other side of it is, like all of a sudden, you know, you now you're now expected to be perceived as a leader, you know, it's all, it's all on you. And what I learned very quickly is you can't be given the title leader, you have to earn that title, you know, you can have a team that are supposedly supposed to be working under you. But until you've proven yourself to them, that you're the leader, they're not going to view you as leader. And so that that was a very interesting transition for me to understand what that means and what that looks like, and what you have to do to achieve that. And to earn that level of respect from from your team, I think was the the biggest thing that I had to learn and had to learn it very quickly.
Well, and what do you think proves it to them?
Well, what proves it to them is is is a, you've got to understand every element of the business, it's that simple. Like, you can't delegate until you know how to do the role yourself. So I did I've been I mean, that's something that I've been working towards, for the last 18 months is actually learning and doing and understanding every, every role and every element in the business. Whereas before, you know, I'm pigeonholed as a sales guy. And it's like, well, you know, nothing else matters. Now, everything matters. So there's that, but then it's also it's also the ability to I think, absorb pressure from the top and not relay that on to the rest of your team. And stay calm, you know, when things are going wrong. Or if people do have problems, or, you know, you're running a certain element of the business, and it doesn't happen the way that you hoped it would happen, or that the team would hoped it has happened. And you stepping up to the plate, and you know, and taking the hits when you need to take them. And being there for people, you know, people go through things in life, outside of work, you know, personally, and just supporting them and having them know that no matter what, you know, they're supported, and they and they, and they have the backing of the business and their leadership team. I think those are the things that you need to do in order to earn respect. And just work ethic working hard, you know, you've got to, you can't expect people to work hard if you don't work hard. So you've got to lead by example, as well, you know, it's not all about being vocal, and, you know, telling people what to do. It's about showing them that you're in that position for a reason. And why are you there, it's because you've done the work and continue to do the work to be there. So these are the things that I've learned. But I'm very early on, you know, and I look forward to learning a lot more as it as the years go.
I've got one question that I'm going to bring back to your previous experience, I want to pick up on your, I'm just interested in your distinction around working hard. No, no disagreement for me. Partly, my generation was told that to be successful, you have to work hard. For my generation, and I'm being very generalistic here working hard was the hours you put in. Yeah. So if I didn't 10 hours a day, and you did nine hours a day, I'd be working harder than you. Yeah. That's the perception. I'm not sure that's the case anymore. So I'm interested when you say be seen to be working hard. Beyond the hours, what does that mean?
Yeah, so so. So to your point, I don't believe that it's about hours at all, you know, in any way, shape or form. There's people that can do more in three hours than others do in 12 hours. So, you know, sitting in an office for 16 hours a day doesn't mean that you're working hard, it just means that you're sitting in the office for 16 hours a day. I guess what what what I think what I perceive is working hard is a focusing in on on every area that that needs improvement and making it conscious to the team that you're working on improving that for the betterment of everybody and for the business. And if the business does better, we all do better and our lives are better, and making it known that you're you're putting in that effort to improve things so that we can all we can all improve. I think it's also about showing people or not not not not even necessarily showing people but making the effort to strengthen yourself in areas that you might not be so good at. You know, I think I think and I see this a lot obviously I work with business owners every day. And I see a see how frustrating business owners can be to their team sometimes, because the entrepreneur of nature is a person who's all over the place. As you know, they, they got a lot of energy, they got a lot of ideas and but their organisation sometimes or a lot of the time can be very, very, very weak or very poor. And it's not something that's focused on. I don't think that's actually fair to your team. And I've been on the flip side of that. And I'm not somebody who's naturally organised and strong at those those kinds of things. But the effort that I put into be organised for the sake of my team, so that they can do their job better, is me working hard so that everybody else can put in good work as well. So I think it's things like that, you know, it's not, it's not, as you say, the traditional sense of, you know, I'm in here at 6am, and I leave at 9pm. It's not that it's just putting in the necessary effort to continuously improve.
As you know, Calvin, I work with a lot of corporates, and because most of them are employees, often the language that gets bandied around, as you know, whether it's your function, or your team, or whatever, you know, whatever context it is, the language that gets used is while you should run it, like it's your own, you know, the money that you're investing on behalf of the business, that you should pretend that it's your own, you should run it like your it's yours. Now, I, I questioned that sometimes in my head, because you and I work with entrepreneurs that have got, you know, their owners, it's theirs, that boy, you've got such a contrast of really good owners, and really terrible owners. So what what would be your advice, if there's any advice to share out here? Despite the language that gets you, you know, run it like it's your own. What did the best owners do that that would apply to? Because it's not just the ownership, for me, that makes the difference. Because, you know, we look at ourselves in our own health or mental well being around body, but given that birth, we don't look after it. Now, I'm an owner of a business and some great owners, and some not so great owners, and any advice in that sense?
Yeah, I mean, what I would say is, is being conscious of of the way that your personality effects the people that are around you. You know, going back to my earlier points, the majority of entrepreneurs that I know, are very eccentric, like people driven, sales focused, disorganised in a lot of ways. Yeah. And, and I think, when you've got, you've got people working for you, they, they won't necessarily bring that up with you, because definitely not, you know, they're not going to do that your their bots, inverted commas, and they're not going to bring that they're not going to bring that up. But it can be a very, very frustrating thing for your team, to have you not acknowledge organisation or time or meetings that they've booked for you or, you know, just things like that, just just being being conscious of how your personality can affect the team around you. And that's going to that's that that, again, is going to create a good level of respect, because you're showing empathy. You know, you're showing empathy. And whilst it might be a struggle, for the majority of entrepreneurs to do that, I think it's very important because you lose, you lose touch, you lose the connectivity, if you you know, and you could, or you could almost create a sense of resentment between your team and yourself. If you're not being conscious of the way that you act, and how it affects them.
Probably goes beneath the surface to it's probably not expressed.
Exactly, exactly right. Where it is expressed is between your team. Yeah. And that's not a good scenario, you don't want your team speaking negatively about you behind your back. And so I would say that, that, that that is something that I think people need to be more conscious of. And the reason I think I have a good insight into that is because, well, now I'm running a team. But I've also been working under an entrepreneur before who was like that, you know, and for, for all his creativity and amazingness and operational excellence. There were times when it was hugely frustrating. And I think I've got an insight into that as well. Yeah.
Something you said earlier that I made a note of because I what I'm going to pick up on this now, when as a 23 year old you were going to the stores, you know, teaching the everyone they still want to do and what I thought was really insightful. You said you've got to do the daunting stuff. Which I totally agree with. I love that, despite how scary is you've got to do the daunting stuff. In your current position, what's the daunting stuff?
It's a good question. There's not there's not a huge amount that I find as daunting as I used to. I think, I think when I first came into this business, there was a huge amount that I found daunting. And I actually found myself with with quite a high level of impostor syndrome. And the reason I felt that was because, you know, I was now put in a, in a room with all these successful entrepreneurs. And I had, you know, I just come from this, this, this retail business, where I really put the guy that I work for on a on a very high pedestal, you know, he was, he was my mentor, he was someone that I looked up to, in a big way. And now all of a sudden, I'm surrounded by all these guys and girls that are like that, you know, and so I was like, I don't really deserve to have an opinion here, or, you know, be in a room with these people and challenge what they're saying. And so, so even just being part of this environment, at first was daunting. What was also very daunting was then having to sell to those people, I'd never done sales before. And so I found that very daunting. And I guess, I guess what I've learned over time is, you know, you find you're faced with these these things in your life and in your career. And and I believe that there's, there's, there's really only one thing that that separates a winner and a loser. And it's the ability to face your fears. So the people who win are the people who face these things that they're scared of, and they do them. And even if they fail, they do them again, and they do them again, and they do them again. And eventually, it becomes easy. And the people who lose are the ones who get too scared, and they run away. And so I think because it's now been, you know, eight, nine years that I've that I've been in my career, when something daunting comes up, I actually get excited by it, rather than feeling daunted by it, if that makes sense.
I know you didn't mean this, literally. But I'm going to take it literally to ask you the next question about if nothing's daunting for you right now, are you aiming high enough?
That's a good question. So actually, as the words were coming out of your mouth, that was my thought. But what's daunting to me is where this all goes, you know, where this all goes. I have a huge ambition. I'm a hugely ambitious person, I want to I want to be very successful. And I think that the main reason that I feel that way is because I believe that I can. And so that's daunting to me. What's daunting to me is, is am I going to achieve what I want to achieve? And I don't even know what that is, to be honest with you. I don't know what the end goal is. What I know is that I think I can go a long way in my career. And so what's daunting to me is is, you know, where does, where does it, where does it all lead to? Where does it all lead to?
Do you deserve it?
I don't think anyone deserves it. No, no, I don't deserve it. You've got to earn it. So
I didn't mean, yeah, I get I get what you said. I didn't mean, will because you're entitled to it. I mean, you know, let's assume you achieve, you've already got some level of success, and it becomes more and better and bigger, blah, blah, blah. There's almost like a secondary impostor syndrome kicks in around me. Do I really deserve to be at this table with these people with this influence in this scenario, but I'm only a little guy who came to Australia from South Africa at 14? Yeah. That's kind of what I meant by the deserving part.
Yeah. Yeah. And I don't know the answer to that question. Because I'm not there yet. And it may well, it may well come you know, that time may well come. And I might, I might feel that again. But I think I think I'm very lucky in the position that I'm in, in that I'm surrounded by a lot of amazing people. You know, we've got, you know, speak about Dan, again, you know, Dan, Dan is a very, he's now a strong mentor to me, you know, he's been running this business for, as I said, eight years. And so, you know, if I'm faced with scenarios that I might find difficult, he's always there, if need be. And then outside of that. We've got close to 1000 members that are successful business owners, and I have very strong relationships with many of our members. And so to be able to be part of something like that and have this type of a conversation on a day by day basis with many different people that are successful, I think allows me to almost foresee that type of a problem because people are giving me such good advice before it comes in,if that makes sense.
Yeah. You have any sense of clarity about what you're ambitious for?
Yes, I do. I think I mean, whenever I speak about my ambition and where it stems from, it's two things. It's number one, as I said, before belief in myself, I do have, I've come to a point now in my life, where I do have a very strong belief in myself. And I think, if you believe in yourself, you know, whether you are capable or not, that's yet to be seen. But if you believe that you can, and you don't give it everything you've got, then you've wasted your life. The other side of where the ambition stems from, is the sacrifice that my parents made for me, by bringing by bringing me here, there was a lot that went on, you know, in the years post immigration, as I said, with regards to my parents marriage, and, you know, finances and all that kind of stuff, and I saw it all, I was old enough to know, what was what was going on. And I know that they sacrificed all of that, you know, their parents passing away in a different country, you know, now that I'm getting older, I can understand how much sacrifice that actually was. And so they've given me that opportunity. And so I've got it, I've got it, I've got to take it by the horns and give it the most that I can.
And how long have you been, you know, pushing out the idea that you don't know what the end outcome is for you?
I think I've always had that.
What I mean is, because I hear people say it a lot. People who are, who believe in themselves who want to do it for success for all this differently. That's the fuel that gets us up in the morning, out and about, etc, etc. But when asked, and maybe it's private, which could be the case, what is your ambition? I think you said, Well, I don't know what the end outcome is yet. Is that because you won't settle, because who knows? Or if you did settle on a thing, a number, an event. Whatever it was. Would there be a fear that kicks in?
I think there would be a fear. If I settled, without question. I'm a very ADD type person. And I think that would scare me. But then the flip side of that is like, you know that there is a perception in my mind of what that success looks like. And really, it's not a it's not a monetary thing, I think money comes as a result of doing the work, you know, just it just happens. But what it is, is, is being a successful, hopefully husband one day, successful father, and not having not having to have the worries and the stresses that my parents had when I was growing up. And if I can achieve that, then I'm then I'm happy. But I don't think there's a point where I can say, this is enough. You know, this is like a like, I'm going to just stop now. And this is enough, because I just don't think that's in my nature. But again, I guess you don't know until you get until you get to that place.
Well, I am a husband and I am a father. And it's not about necessarily the numbers. And I don't mean financially. But it's, it's never enough, because there's always tomorrow, there's always something else to navigate. And so there's something else to overcome in that relationship with your partner and with the kids. Because as the kids grow through the different stages, they require different things. So it's, it's fascinating, and maybe just as we maybe close off the conversation, Calvin something Im I'm keen to pick up because I I lost my father when I was 10. And I grew up as an only child. So I had no immediate in the home role model to do this, don't do that. Whereas your story is your dad, I believe was a professional footballer. And, you know, possibly relatively known in certain communities. What's it like growing up in that shadow?
Yeah, I think I think a lot of what I got from my Dad was was competition. You know, and the competitive nature and they're not, they're not settling for coming second. You know, he always used to say, if you're not first you're last. And he wasn't I mean, he coached you know, when I was growing up and playing soccer and, you know, I kind of so he was always our coach and and he was very much yeah, he wouldn't settle for for second and he wouldn't hold back if he if he thought you were you weren't good enough. You know, he would tell you you weren't good enough and he would tell you straight. And so and so I think that is something that I've taken on my entire life. Competition is a big part of who I am, I'm a very competitive person. I want to win. And I don't think the second place trophies or third place trophies are, are something that is valid. Now, that's not to say, like, you shouldn't congratulate people for putting in the effort and trying. But if you don't win, you don't win. And it's and it's that simple. And I think I think that's something that that my Dad drilled into me from from an early age. He was a winner in an athletic sense. I mean, it was good. He was good at all sports, and he won in all sports. And yeah, I think just mentality wise that that that was probably the biggest thing that he drilled into me. I mean, outside of a lot of other things, of course, from a competitive sporting standpoint, ghat's what he taught me.
And are your siblings the same that they respond in the same way?
Um, that's a good question. I mean, I'm inclined to say yes, because they're both winners. They're both winners. I would say that I've always been the problem child in inverted commas. My brother is a winner in every sense of the word is, he's got a successful job. He's in great shape. Everybody loves him. So he's a winner, and my sister's much of the same.
So which, which part of that is the problem for you?
Well, well, I was the problem, because I was the one who was dropping out of university and didn't know what to do with his life and like, like to have a drink a little bit too much in the early years. So So yeah, I mean, I've never had that conversation with my siblings, but but I'm inclined to say the answer would be yes, because they're high performers, both of them.
Calvin, it's been a pleasure talking to you. I felt like I've gotten to know you even more just to this forum, which is kind of partly why we do it. One final question, and I'll leave it with some, some easy questions to finish. As you look out into the horizon for you, what are you looking forward to most?
Yeah, I think what I'm looking forward to most, you know, for the foreseeable future is continuing to hone my craft as as a leader, I think we've got a very exciting business that we're growing right now. We're getting to that point where we're really primed for scale, and some exciting innovations that we're starting to bring into the business and for me to be able to be a part of the leadership team that grows that, we truly believe that we're going to grow this business into something special. And I'm very excited to see where that goes. From a personal point of view, you know, as I said, making the business that I'm responsible for a success, making sure that my team is happy and successful as well. And, you know, once I achieve all that, we'll see what the next step is.
Okay. Calvin, just a couple of quick questions just to kind of round this out. I believe you are a football supporter only are you more red or blue?
Liverpool. Yeah, a bit embarrassed to admit it at the moment, but I'm a big Liverpool fan.
Well, unless I was a Man U fan.
Yeah, well, you know what, they're on top of us at the moment, so I can't speak much.
Classical guitar or electric guitar.
Okay. sunrise or sunset?
Okay, city or country? City.
I know as a South African I'm going to make a big assumption here. When Australia are playing New Zealand's who would you support?
Australia. I actually support Australia when they play South Africa, to be honest with you.
Yeah, I'll give you an insight into that. Australia has given me an amazing life. And I find it very difficult to not support a country that has given me such an amazing life. I'm Australian, I have an Australian passport. And, and I actually find it a bit disrespectful from my point of view to not support them. So that's my reason.
Okay. Got it I'm confessing to still being a Scot and wanting a Scot to beat everyone. Right. Just one final question, Calvin if you so give him what Australia has given you, If there was one Maxim you'd hope everyone could have live more of based on what Australia has given you. What would it be?
I mean, you grow up in a place like South Africa, you're not free. And I think when you realise that it's pretty confronting, and that's what this country has given me.
Which sounds like it's almost like I paid you to say this, but that sounds like a perfect way to finish a Freedom Fridays podcast.
That's it. There we go.
Calvin, so thank you so much for your time. Probably more importantly, thank you for sharing some of the vulnerable stuff, some of the insightful stuff and I look forward to to connecting with you more often at CUB.
No, absolutely, really appreciate it. I've really enjoyed it. And thank you very much for having me.