Finding your genius – that special something you do very, very well – can take time.
Look at Giorgio Armani, who started the Italian fashion brand named after him in 1975 — when he was 40 years old. Back then, he “was just another middle-aged man” wondering if the best days of his life were behind him, writes Michael Hainey in this gq.com piece.
Armani started as a window dresser at a department store in Milan. He became the store’s menswear buyer, then moved on to work as a designer for Nino Cerruti.
At the time, his significant other was Sergio Galeotti. It was Galeotti who recognized Armani’s potential and persuaded him to sell his Volkswagen Beetle for money to open his own business. They started small, with Galeotti (now deceased) running the books and Armani handling the creative.
Today, Armani is in his 80s and has a personal fortune that Forbes calculates to be worth more than $7 billion. Not bad for a guy who didn’t start his business until he was 40.
“Your forties are the moment when you start to become aware,” he tells gq.com. “It’s just the beginning. I’ve always believed that to confirm your way of thinking takes time. It takes experimenting. You have to confront different chapters of your life.”
When asked about the reasons behind his success, Armani says he doesn’t have a special formula. “I always did it my own way. Even today I hold my independence close. It’s what’s most precious to me. Passion. Risk. Tenacity. Consistency. This is my professional history.”
And then there’s this: “I always had a burning ambition to realize my potential,” says Armani. Many of us can relate to that feeling.
Like Armani, it may take you awhile to realize your potential and discover that special something that defines your business. Keep probing.