It may sound strange to say this, but my story began before I was born! How so? Well, it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve come to realise that much of who I am has been shaped by the fact my parents came to England in the 1950s, their experiences of feeling that they didn’t belong and wanting desperately to be accepted in their adopted country. I now realise how deeply their experiences affected me, have shaped me and my approach to life.
Looking back, I now understand now that subconsciously and from an early age, I decided that the way I would find a sense of belonging and acceptance in this world was to give, to serve, to help people and to put the needs of others before my own. As an international basketball player, that made me a great teammate. When I became a basketball coach that led to me leading successful teams. In my work, it helped me rise to become a CEO. To the outside world, it seemed like I had it all and I became the person that more and more others turned to, for help, advice and support as a coach/mentor. I was successful both professionally and personally, with all the trappings of success, but inside I struggled. I had perfected an outwardly positive persona but inside I felt I was a failure, driven and constrained in equal measure by fear, never able to achieve the goals I set for myself. Again and again, as I got close something would happen and I would fall back and have to start again. Was it me, or was it ‘them’? Why wasn’t I able to learn the lessons? Who were ‘them’? Well that depended on what day of the week it was, and even what time of the day it was!
In January 2016, after what I felt was yet another failure, I was totally broken. Emotionally, physically and psychologically I was spent. I had nothing left. My health was awful, I wasn’t sleeping and I’d been diagnosed with high blood pressure caused by work related stress. Something had to change, otherwise I feared the worst. Then, just as I was reflecting on what I mistakenly thought could the worst, the worst really happened! I won’t go into details, but my wife was rushed into hospital and spent two days in intensive care on the edge of the abyss called death! Without a shadow of a doubt, those were the worst 48 hours of my life. Yes, I was surrounded by a loving family, and we were together at my wife’s bedside throughout, but I felt alone. I felt helpless. Would she survive? How could I cope if she didn’t make it? When finally the Doctor called us all together and said she was going to pull through, I cannot describe the wave of relief that overcame me. I broke down, totally lost it and shed tears of joy. Finally, after another week in hospital she was well enough to come home. At that point, I started to see myself, those around me, the World, and my place in it very differently.
A few years before, when not for the first time I felt my life was at a crossroads and I was desperate to escape from the corporate hamster wheel, I went to see a career consultant. After a painful and challenging discussion about my values, my motivators and what I was really, really passionate about, she advised me to get out of the corporate world and work for myself. She said I could fulfil my commitment to help and serve people in ways other than leading a large organisation, even if that organisation was committed to do good work. At the time I wasn’t brave enough to do it, but in 2016 after almost losing my wife, I knew in my heart that I needed to make this change. I needed to find myself; my true self. I needed to work through the barriers of self-doubt and fear that had almost destroyed me. I needed to find my way!
I have now spent the last two years working on me. I knew that I could not do it on my own, and have sought help and support from many others, learning from everyone along the way. During that time, I have also been using all of my experiences, learning and personal development to coach and support others in their journeys of change and personal transformation. I have helped people who felt they were stuck in life to make difficult, life changing decisions to achieve their untapped potential. I have helped people to stop pretending and to learn to like, then love themselves, to become comfortable with who they really are. I have helped people to confront their truth, then supported them to move forward in their lives with a new purpose.
My journey is not, and can never be your journey. But we’re all on a journey. One thing I’ve learnt in my journey, and others I’ve helped, have come to understand is that you can’t do it on your own. We all need help and support.
I can help you on your journey.