Tall. Dark-haired. Thirtysomething. He looks like a thousand other travelling consultants you’ve seen in the world’s departure lounges. Look closer.
Like most consultants, he reads a lot. But somehow he’s not… bookish. The eyes, bright and focussed, signal an intellect many SDs from the mean. The arms have that folded-in strength garnered in the kind of place that has sawdust on the floor.
The grip, if you shake hands, comes from a workout with kettlebells the size of watermelons. When he retrieves his bag, there’s none of the awkward side-shuffle and seat-gripping; he’s straight up and out, smooth and swift as a panther.
And where’s his suit and tie, anyway? Not many fly Business in 501s and a T.
Maybe he’s one of those sorted types.
Rayner lives life according to one set of rules: his own. He calls them his Life Kata. They’re a network of interconnected skills covering everything from picking a lock to climbing a building. From getting information out of someone tied to a chair, to taking on six men opening up with switchblades. From piloting a plane at negative G to jumping out of it in flight. And laughing all the way down.
His driving principle is self-actualisation. A belief that with the right training, the human animal can do anything. Rayner is a truly self-actualised man.
He was born in Britain, of a British mother and American father. While he spent a lot of childhood summers Stateside, he’s a True Brit who prefers tea to coffee. He dropped out of school in his teens to go travelling, but went back later when he needed a business degree. (He’s done a few other qualifications since then.)
He has a huge contacts book but few people feel they really know him. And that’s the way Rayner wants it.
With investments and a small property portfolio socked away back home, he can be choosy about his clients; many are in the USA. (Things just happen bigger there.) He works on their projects when he wants, works on himself the rest of the time.
IF YOUR NUMBER CAME UP,
YOU’D WANT RAYNER CHECKING THE COUNT.
You wonder idly what he’d do if you got on his bad side. But don’t worry. His methods are unusual and he’s done plenty of things outside the law, but usually in places the law doesn’t reach anyway.
Ultimately, Gabe Rayner is one of the good guys. And that’s a relief. Because in business today, there’s way too many of the bad.