The older I get, the more I appreciate people who are comfortable being themselves.
If there’s one person that embodies that, it’s Steve Sims, Founder and CEO of theBLUEFISH.com, a luxury concierge group that focuses on relationships and making the impossible possible.
With Steve, what you see is what you get. Forbes called him “The Real Life Wizard of Oz.” The only difference is he’s not one for mincing his words. But, just talking to him for a few minutes, you’ll understand that everything he shares with you comes from a place of wanting to help.
Steve keeps it real. “I never Google anyone. I always talk to someone on their level. When I go to them, he’s not a Fortune 500 CEO, he’s just Richard.”
Last week, Steve was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to talk to me from his garage about his views on his latest book, Bluefishing, the opportunities that exist today, whiskey, and what it means to be a Bluefisher.
Right off the bat, I could tell I was in for an interesting interview as Steve believe’s that “life’s too short to deal with a-holes.” Steve grew up a bricklayer in London, pretty much the last person you would think would have the Pope on speed-dial. The one thing Steve wants people to know is that “I’m a bricklayer from London. If I can do it, what’s your excuse?”
Being a Bluefisher means to challenge the status quo. Don’t merely accept the way things are. He’s “never focused on the no, and always focused on the ‘Why not?’”
I asked him what challenges people had today, and Steve hit it right on the head: “Today, millennials are faced with different challenges. There are just no jobs.” People are spending more on education at university in hopes of finding work, only to learn that their jobs have been shipped overseas and that their majors in anthropology or Asian Studies aren’t what companies are looking for. People are going deep into debt with student loans and end up with a degree like everyone else.
“Today, it’s all about standing out. If everyone is doing A, you do B.” That’s what a Bluefisher does. They make things happen. That’s why Steve talks about the importance of being “ugly.”
We’ve gotten so perfect with 4K videos and perfectly worded emails, that it doesn’t have much impact.
“Even five years ago, when I’d check my mail, I’d have 20 envelopes in there every day. Now, there are maybe two or three.” That’s why Steve loves to send handwritten letters with a stamp. “It’s messy on purpose. It stands out because it’s real.”
On social media, Steve had this to say, “We live in this Instagram / Facebook world, it’s all bullsh*t. What people want today is authenticity.” I couldn’t agree more. Today, our radars are so much more attentive to fakeness.
Steve admits that his success is in part due to timing: “10 years ago, I might not have been successful.”
People have thousands on friends on social media, but so few relationships. The Bluefisher has one simple motto, “Focus on building real relationships with people.” The key word there is real. Find out how you can be of service to others. That doesn’t mean expensive gifts, it means gifts that show you care.
“The best things in the world are small prices.” Once, when dealing with a group of 30 financial advisors for high wealth individuals, he was stunned that none of them in the room really knew how to build a relationship with their clients. Steve shared this advice with one skeptical guy: “Your client who collects those Cartier rings, you could send him a book on Cartier. You could phone a jeweler and get him a private course on how to tell the grade of a diamond. You could get him a high-end cleaning kit.” For Steve, it’s not about impressing people but enhancing their experience.
Continual improvement is something that every Bluefisher should put at the top of their To-Do list. When I asked him who his mentors were, Steve had this to say: “Everyone is my mentor. If you challenge my thinking even if for just a few minutes, you become my mentor.”
Steve also believes you need to get good at failing because, for him, there is no such thing. “If you learn, you haven’t failed. You’ve just discovered a new way not to do something.”