Life begins at 40…

February 2023

The number 40 is often associated with change, new beginnings, and fresh starts.

In the Bible, 40 is mentioned almost 150 times and tends to signify a long time.  Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness being tempted by the devil; the great flood lasted 40 days and 40 nights; and the Israelites wandered the desert in search of the Promised Land for 40 years.

Generally symbolising a period of testing, trial and then, finally, triumph, the number 40 can give significance to new life, new growth, transformation, and a change from one great task to another great task.

And so… Russell Bedford International this year turns 40 and, indeed, that is significant.

I’ve now been involved in the network for 6 years and so that’s only 15% of its lifetime so far.  Yet, for me, that’s a big and significant part of my career.  We’ve achieved a lot in that time, I’ve seen the organisation grow considerably in that period, and I’ve met a number of people who I feel will forever remain a part of my life.  But, when thinking about 40 years, I’m only a small segment of that lengthy history and I hence feel proud and privileged to be so.

When I took a year off before university and travelled for 6 months, I faced a number of experiences.  Some exciting and some rather ominous.  One was taking the wrong turn down a street in America where I encountered a gang of individuals who told me if I continued walking in that same direction I was likely to get killed; yet if I walked back in the direction from where I had come, I was likely to live.

After short but careful deliberation I decided to walk back and, if I recall correctly, had to give them a few dollars for the ‘advice’.  Well, I’m still alive and so maybe that was the correct decision.

Six years ago, I reached a crossroads in my career and decided to join Russell Bedford as the network’s CEO.  We’ve expanded, we’ve enhanced, I’ve made friends for life and I’m still alive!  I’m appreciative of the kind words said about my contribution to the group’s success, adding another dimension to its development and future.  I feel I’ve advanced, personally and professionally, worked very hard, yet also had a lot of fun.  And so, I have no doubt this was the correct decision.

Life takes you in many directions and you never know what’s around the corner (just like that street in my ‘backpacking adventure’, regarding which I will never know what might have happened) but I’m fortunate to have taken several right paths and the one that led me to Russell Bedford certainly impacted most positively upon my life.  Today, I am delighted to be able to say I have played a part in the network’s first 40 years.

A period of testing?  Of trial?  But certainly, of triumph!  And we now look forward to new life, new growth, and a new period of greatness. #RBI40

Author: Stephen Hamlet

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