Meeting Clive Berghofer was an absolute thrill. My appointment was set for 5pm, and our chat was the most enjoyable part of my week.
Over 80, Clive was completely focused, his desk full with engineering plans, contracts & estate marketing. He dived straight into stories about his childhood, funny anecdotes about his mayoral service & how he built an empire from scratch.
‘I didn’t complete my education. Because of that I couldn’t get an apprenticeship, though I tried to get into carpentry. I knew I was good with my hands. So I got a job as a carpenter’s labourer, and before too long, local farmers were booking me for extra work building sheds, and I just worked as hard as I could. I was always looking for the opportunities, and working my jobs before and after work. This allowed me to start my own business, and really, that was the start into my building & development career.’
Clive talks about building his impressive legacy (now worth over $300 million) from nothing, and how hard he worked, and it’s clear he loved the work. I ask him, does he think people my age know how to work this hard to carve out their dreams?
“When I speak at schools, I tell the kids, I did it, why can’t you?’ He laughs, “I didn’t have an education, but I’ve worked to build this from nothing, so why can’t they?”He’s still dreaming and thinking up plans all the time. “My mind never stops! I can only sleep 4 or 5 hours a night, and I dream all night. If I wake up, I can’t go back to sleep, because my mind starts going again. I am thinking and planning where I’m going to build a shed, how I’ll put it together! I don’t have to work, I could have retired 40 years ago, but this is who I am!”
These really are the trademarks of a great man, his drive and work ethic instilled from a young age. “My dad taught me three things, how to work, how to do a job properly, and how to be honest. But he didn’t teach me how to stop working – and now I don’t know how!”As I build up Shop My Town, I constantly look for people who have found more to life, after they achieved success. The chasing of achievement is shallow, and you see how little it delivers after your dream becomes financial. Talking with Clive, I am full of hope that the building of my dream will be followed by many challenging and rewarding years of working hard, with great people, doing what I love. Thank you Clive for your time, and for providing me with your wisdom and insight into how to live a great life.