The Parable of the Fancy Chair (aka Celebrate those business wins!)

The Parable of the Fancy Chair (aka Celebrate those business wins!)

The fancy chair…

Whenever I work from home — if I’m not standing at my hydraulic, fully articulated standing desk — I like to settle down in my favorite chair. It’s the undisputed centerpiece of my entire home, not just my office/fortress of solitude. 

It’s a high-backed, extremely comfortable — yet incredibly supportive — work of bespoke leather goodness. The kind of thing you might see the villain of the week in an episode of “Columbo” reclining in and angrily standing up to shout: “Really, Lieutenant! This harassment is too much!”

I love the way it creaks ever so slightly and emits a soft hiss of escaping air whenever I settle into it. And it’s definitely the chair, and not me. Quite frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I love that chair.

“So what, Raman?” I hear you ask. “Since when do we care about your stupid chair?”

Well, allow me to explain exactly why this opulent chair is so relevant and meaningful.

The origin of the lovely chair

You see, not to be too highfalutin, the chair reminds me of success. It’s practically the only thing of mine that I can point at and say: “That’s a trophy.”

I first saw the chair, or one very, very similar to it, probably 14 years ago. Back then, ramarketing was still in its infancy. One weekend, my wife Selena and I were wandering around the British independent, high-end furniture retailer, Barker and Stonehouse. This was very much a “how the other half live” style visit. At the time, you have to appreciate, neither of us had a pot to piddle in nor a window to throw it out of. That’s a lie. We had windows… Some of them even had glass.

Anyway, on this day of awestruck wandering, I happened upon The World’s Greatest Chair for the very first time. I fell deeply, borderline unnaturally in love with it. I’m pretty sure the Barker and Stonehouse security team became aware of my fawning, and the CCTV cameras audibly started panning over to me.

After a few moments — possibly even minutes — of unabashed chair leering, Selena stepped in. 

“It costs two grand.”

“Mmmnnnnn…” I said, still enraptured.

“You can’t have it.”

“Nnnnnngh,” I replied.

Then, after several seconds of mutual silence, she said, “Tell you what… You can have it. One day.”

For the next decade and a bit, anytime either of us were near the store, we’d go in and get a selfie. Eventually, we’d be accompanied by a child. Then two kids. Then three. For clarity, these are our kids I’m talking about… I was doing a “passage of time” thing. It became an ongoing gag. A family in-joke.

The Incredible Day arrived!

Well, friends… One fine day in 2022, the weekend after the private equity deal was signed, ushering in a new era for ramarketing, Selena gently took me aside and said unto me, “It’s time.” Within 30 seconds, the engine of my Mini was roaring out of the driveway. 

I proudly swaggered into Barker and Stonehouse, wearing sunglasses, of course. In all honesty, the weather didn’t quite warrant their usage. I mean, it was Newcastle — in April. 

And there it was. Gleaming like the Fender guitar in “Wayne’s World.” “Oh yes… She will finally be mine,” I thought to myself.

I paid for the extremely expensive chair in full, not on some kind of 0% interest scheme. Naturally, I negotiated a nice discount on it, because as you know, that’s me.

Now, Barker and Stonehouse initially said it was ready to take away on the day. This rapidly turned out not to be the case as I was informed there would in fact be a 20-week wait! FFS. Eventually, however, my honking great leather prize arrived about a year ago… And, let me tell you, it was a momentous occasion.

I’d like to say I had a nice, comfy chair to sit in when I wrote my best-selling entrepreneurial manifesto, “The Floundering Founder” — which you can buy on Amazon for £10.38 — but the truth is the book came out before that. I wrote that book standing up.

But, you know, each and every time I park my backside in the chair, from the day it arrived until now, I have a moment — just a tiny capsule, really — of real, genuine pride. The chair is nothing short of a trophy — a fine memento of 13 years of hard work and my prize for reaching a long-sought-after goal.

Recognize your achievements!

Now… I’m not just here to brag about my fancy two-grand seat.

You see, the point of all this, the thing I want you to take home and keep, is that you should reward yourself and your team. Not for absolutely everything, no, but whenever you hit a particularly juicy target or achieve a noteworthy goal you’ve all been chipping away at — mark the occasion! Don’t just shrug it off… Celebrate those new business wins. The delivery of a major project or a life changing deal, as was the case with me.

I mean, when the Ewoks defeated the Empire, what happened? They had a big forest dance and ate the dead. I’m not saying you should consume the flesh of your vanquished foes, or even treat everyone to a 20-minute Barker and Stonehouse trolley dash — quite the opposite, in fact. But you SHOULD take the team out for a meal or to the pub. Or organize something slightly more elaborate, even, like a spa day (if people are so inclined). Come to think of it, they don’t have shopping carts at Barker and Stonehouse.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”— Ferris Bueller.

Anyway… You need to take the time to pause, be present and recognize your achievements. And if it’s a personal achievement that’s taken time, effort and patience — why not indulge yourself? Next time you do something of note, give yourself a little trophy. Commemorate the win. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed that ramble and learned a few things along the way. I know I did.

(This blog was written on the really high-spec, solid gold laptop of Raman Sehgal, basking in a self-satisfied glow in his fancy chair).