It isn't necessarily the opportunities you get in business that make the difference; it is what you do with your opportunities. For evidence, look no further than the Beatles - not the famed Fab Four of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, but learn from the career of former Beatle Jimmie Nicol.
Who is Jimmy Nicol?
At the height of worldwide Beatlemania in the summer of 1964, just four months after their appearance on "Ed Sullivan" had cemented their position as the most famous musicians on the planet, the Beatles launched a tour of Europe, Hong Kong and Australia. The day before the tour was set to begin, Ringo had come down with tonsillitis and rather than postpone any shows, the Beatles invited a replacement drummer to perform with them temporarily.'
That drummer was Jimmie Nicol. The London native was 24 years old and an experienced journeyman, sitting in with various artists, though none with significant name-recognition today. He was recommended to the group by their producer George Martin, who had worked with him on a recording session.
Nicol was called at his home and quickly brought in to a rehearsal. By the next day, he was on stage, a temporary member of the most popular band in history, performing at the height of their popularity.
Nicol's tenure with the band lasted less than two weeks - eight concerts in total, along with a TV appearance. Ringo rejoined the group in Melbourne, Australia, and Jimmie returned to Britain.
Along with a watch given to him by the Beatles manager Brian Epstein - inscribed with "From The Beatles And Brian Epstein To Jimmy [sic] - with appreciation and gratitude" - he received worldwide press coverage, fantastic experience and a significant paycheck.
By 1965, he was bankrupt.
He would eventually leave the music industry for an series of jobs, including manager of a button factory in Mexico. According to a 2005 article in Britain's Daily Mail, he now lives as a recluse in London.
Opportunities come to everyone, and to every business. Maybe not on the level of becoming a temporary Beatle, but opportunities nonetheless. But no matter how big the lucky break, if a business is not in a position to take advantage of momentum, the good fortune is likely to be just a blip.
After his stint with the Beatles, Nicol put out two singles with his own band, the Shubdubs, but these met with little commercial success. He would tour with other bands before his career wound down, but was not able to attach himself permanently to another top-flight group (though he played briefly with the Dave Clark Five).
Compare this to Ringo, who himself was a replacement for the Beatles long-time drummer Pete Best, who was kicked out of the band in 1962. Like Nicol, Ringo was an unspectacular, but solid drummer knocking around the music scene. But he was able to take advantage of his big break, and become a permanent member of the band.
At the beginning of the David Mamet movie "Spartan," one character says to another "you've been waiting your whole life for this moment, why aren't you ready?" In that quote is great advice for business: always be ready to take advantage of your opportunities.
by RTT Staff Writer
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