Why do I do this?
Because I know what it’s like to feel shattered all the time. I know what it’s like to experience frustration, anger, guilt and to believe it won’t change. I know what it’s like to look around you and know that it should be better than this, if only I could figure to why it’s not.
And I came to the realisation that all of that was on me.
A scary realisation, but an incredibly powerful and beautiful one.
I stoped saying ‘when…’ or ‘once…’. I stoped waiting for some other bugger to help ‘save’ me.
I said now.
I saw the happiness and success I already had.
And now I create more every day.
I do this because I want to help you do the same.
How I got right here
Two decades leading teams in tech and utilities took me to a place where I was fed-up, disillusioned, and out of love with myself. I’d risen up the ranks, transforming products, services and teams. Made a stack of profit, and helped people grow and move on to amazing careers and businesses. But I was stuck. Worse, I was starting to sink beneath depression.
I was banging my head against the same old stone door for a long, long time.
So I left. With a plan.
If I was going to do something I didn’t like, I might as well earn a shed load of cash doing it. Then I could do what I loved. I’d show ‘them’.
I could do what I wanted once I was in a position to take risks. When I was ready.
'Then', 'after', 'once', 'when'…are there more dangerous words?
It was destined to go sideways the minute I set out. Frustration, disappointment and even more tiredness coming thick and fast.
Three people helped me get to a place where I realised that wasn’t good enough. For me and those I loved.
It was late evening. I was sat on the sofa, iPad on my lap, going through the motions of sending off my CV for various consultancy jobs. I was on autopilot.
Claire came down from saying good night to our son, Almost-a-Teenager. She had a wistful smile, but here eyes were shining. I asked what was up.
She said, “Almost just turned to me and said, 'this will sound silly Mum but I feel closer to Dad at the moment.’”
I smiled, but I could feel my own eyes well up. "That’s nice. Did he say why?"
She sat next to me, reached out, put her hand on my leg. "He said he liked you being here in the morning and driving him to school."
I chuckled, wiping my eye. "But we sit in silence, apart from the odd silly joke."
"That’s what he likes," said Claire. “That you just sit there. Then fist bump when he gets out the car, you say you love him, he ignores you and smiles."
What hit me like a fist bump to the face was a simple fact.
I was planing on doing what I loved in a few years time.
In a few years time he’d be driving himself to school.
What I loved was right here in front of me.
I didn’t need to bang my head on any door.
He helped me see happiness was already on this side of the door.
I’ve had lots of coaches through the years - but through the corporate years none of them focussed on me. Instead, they were there to help me do better for my company, my department, my team.
I got a lot from that, but I knew I needed more.
Always one for self-development I invested in a coach just for me. And she opened up my mind.
I made changes to the way I thought. I reflected. Became curious rather than reactive. I built a support system and depend my relationship with even more trusted mentors. Surrounded myself with amazing people and amazing ideas.
I discovered doors I didn’t know existed. Opened up my mind to a new way of thinking. A deeper understanding.
The happiness on this side suddenly revealed to me so many other doors.
Doors to growth, inspiration, and even more happiness.
She helped me see the doors leading to even more happiness and success were inside me all along.
The last interview I ever had. For a great job. Ticked all those boxes of something I could absolutely nail. Something I could do well. And earn a lot more money than I had before. I’d have to travel again, but just for a few years.
The interviewer was brilliant. She knew her stuff, she knew what they were after, she asked devilishly hard questions. I was responding well though and it was all going smoothly. Then, she asked what I was most proud of.
Not my biggest achievement, my best success, the most valuable delivery. What I was proud of. I'd asked a variation of that question in a hundred interviews, but never had it directed at me.
I stuttered for a bit but then I found my flow. The positive changes I’d helped others accomplish in their lives. Promotions, career changes, life changes, decisions about relationships, direction, parenting, turning outsourcing into something positive, successes out of work.
There’s not much you don’t cover when you've led hundreds of people.
Then she turned to me and asked me why I was going for a role that wouldn’t provide me with many of those opportunities.
I have no idea what I said.
Later on I called her. With a life-changing decision. She said she was glad I wasn’t going to proceed. That she felt it was a great decision for me to pursue something that could put me in front of people I could help. She could see how much happier that would make me.
She saw it before I did.
She saw there were doors I was ignoring.
She helped me see it was okay to close some doors and storm others.
Lots of people helped me get right here, right now. And I’m so thankful to them all.
But I chose to be here.
Which is why I am right here, right now to help you choose too.
yoga in the garden or anywhere outside; geeking out on geek, cosying up on the sofa with the family to watch a comic book movie; seeing how much heavy stuff I can lift; boardgames with intricately designed pieces; cooking for my wife; writing things which inspire me in the hope they touch other people; truly awful puns; hacking my health with great nutritional food and science-based fitness routines so tough I forget how to think; really, really, dark chocolate; anything that blends woo-woo with cutting edge neuroscience; listening to my kids groan at one of my truly awful puns; sitting in the middle of nowhere with a great book.