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WRAY: Taking a project from passion to life

  • Photo by Adam Messer

I recently wrote about passion and its important role in affecting practice and discipline.

Since then, a speaker at 1 Million Cups, a weekly presentation and discussion forum we host at the Creators’ Foundry at 415 W. Boundary St., gave an excellent example about how passion changed the direction of his life.

The speaker, Jeremy Shaw, is a trained lawyer and has a master’s degree in business administration. He spent decades in his legal career and as a telecommunications consultant. One day he looked up from his law practice and realized that he was racing through life working long hours so he could afford time and money for his true passion, traveling to Spain and Portugal to taste great wines.

Then he took the bold move and left a stable, yet unfulfilling career. He put every bit of his energy into finding unique vineyards in beautiful settings.

Jeremy’s passion didn’t just trigger the move to do something he loves. It guides him daily as well.

I am pretty sure plenty of people like wine and like to travel to beautiful places. What I don’t know is how many people would dedicate years without profit to research, document and memorize the history and character of locations to create unique and unforgettable experiences.

Often, building something great with a competitive advantage means turning down the low-hanging fruit and taking bigger risks. Jeremy did this by not catering to a mass audience and replicating a common model.

He built personal relationships with vintners by creating conversations and understanding the stories of those who create the wine.

“You can talk to the author, or you can talk to the publisher,” Jeremy says. “The publisher will sell your books; the author will tell you the story. When we travel, we don’t go to the tasting rooms, the equivalent of the bookstore, we get the story from our friend the vintner.”

Jeremy spends his time finding those stories.

My favorite story is that of Baron Bruemmer in Casal Santa Maria near Lisbon, whose family fled to Germany when Estonia was established in 1918. After an incredibly successful career with United Bank of Switzerland and a fulfilling retirement, the former executive at 96 years old had a choice: He could buy a vineyard or he could plant grapes with a minimum three-year investment period.

He chose to plant grapes explaining, “You’re never too old for a new project.”

He celebrates his 104th birthday this year and has an incredible vineyard.

I can’t promise you wine at 1 Million Cups, but we do serve up a cup of yummy PERC coffee. I can promise you, however, the opportunity to engage in incredible conversations with inspiring entrepreneurs from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. every Wednesday morning at the Creators’ Foundry.

Come join us for 1 Million Cups — and maybe you’ll find inspiration to pursue your dream, regardless of your age.

 

Bea Wray is the executive director of The Creative Coast, a not-for-profit organization that promotes the creative and entrepreneurial community within the region. Bea can be reached at 912-447-8457 or bea@thecreativecoast.org

 

 

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