I’ve decided to make 2018 my year to achieve all that I am capable of achieving.
I’ve decided to share this with you all because I desire to be a force for change in the world. I want to show all the average Joe’s out there that it is possible to change and to achieve success. I also want to track my efforts and hopefully bring you all along for the ride.
It has taken me a long, long road to get to the point where I can say that I am a success. Even now this is an incredibly difficult thing for me to say. But I am able to say it.
You see this is so hard to say, for two reasons:
1. I was programmed by my upbringing not to say such things, and
2. I used to be a massive loser.
It’s true. I used to be a real loser. When I was 20 I had really nothing going for me. I had given up every advantage of my well-off upbringing and elite boy-school education.
To be as brief and painless as possible:
- I had dropped out of Uni and was working full time as a “checkout chick” in a supermarket. I was earning minimum wage and virtually living in my mother’s basement.
- I was horribly overweight – weighing in, at my worst, at 126KG.
- I hated the way I looked. I had no energy and no passion.
- I hated the way I felt. I had no love life at all. I didn’t even like myself.
- I smoked and drank and other things.
- I was depressed.
What turned it all around?
Understanding Why & Opportunity and Guidance
It took me a long time to turn it all around. Over the next 10 years I came to understand why I ended up the way I was. I realized that I had never really felt approval from my father, and as such I had trained my brain not to think of myself as a success.
This wasn’t a conscious thing at all. My father loved me. He always told me the greatest day of his life was when I was born. However, every time I had tried to do something simple to impress him, he said: “no, do it this way”, “no son of mine is going to be a musician”, “Don’t waste your time dreaming of …”, and things to that effect. I realized that it was these moments that trained me to believe I wasn’t good, that I shouldn’t dream big and that I couldn’t be successful.
You can’t aim to succeed unless you feel like you can succeed.
And you can’t feel like you can succeed if you’ve never really felt successful.
As Larry Kim says:
Negative self-talk gets in our way, gets into our heads, and distracts us from our goals. It convinces us that there’s no point in trying, because we’ll probably just fail anyway. We’ve all experienced those feelings.
As a result of these feelings, and my inability to confront them consciously, I filled the void by eating and drinking and other things. Through consumption I felt good. However, these habits, or coping mechanisms, lead me to the horrible state I was in.
It was when I started to acknowledge why I was the way I was that I was able to develop more purpose in my mission for success. But the other key ingredient was opportunity and guidance, and my desire to act on them.
2. An Unexpected Opportunity
My great moment of change came very unexpectedly and from a very unexpected source.
I was working in the supermarket. Getting through the daily drudgery of slowly becoming a service machine; I was eating cheese sausages, smoking a pack or cigarettes a day, drinking nightly and playing guitar rather poorly, while entertaining delusions of being a soulful musician type.
Though in my honest thoughts I ‘knew’, and told myself, I would never be good enough.
However, it was through these connections of playing music that I was drawn into another person’s dreams of building a wellness company. I won’t go into all the details. I didn’t stick with it. It wasn’t for me; I wasn’t adept at making sales and maintaining client lists, and so on. Though I did learn a lot from trying; stepping out of my comfort zone to try and develop new, and for me, very difficult skills. (I don’t know what happened to them all, but I hope they are all still doing well and have found their ultimate success.)
What did stick was the meetings we had, where the leader of the bunch did his best to hype us all up with the power of positive motivation.
At the time it felt like a lot of wishful thinking and puffed up speaking. But I now look back and count those people as great mentors and one of the greatest influences on my life.
To cut a long story short, we were encouraged to believe in ourselves and to develop a plan for success. We wrote down our goals. We stepped out year, five year and ten year plans. We acknowledged the challenges, but we encouraged each other to shoot for the moon and 10X our goals. We made a pact to challenge and to support each other to go after our dreams.
This was all geared towards developing a business, and a business that I eventually chose to leave. As a result I didn’t feel the immediate thrill of success. I didn’t see my wild dreams magically materialize and so I felt dejected.
I let all the air out of my balloon and went on living my not-so-happy existence.
Until one day. I was moving house and I uncovered my notebooks in which I had written down all my plans and dreams. I was shocked.
Nearly everything on my list had been achieved.
Not to the amazing level I had dreamed. But I had forgotten all my wild dreams.
It seems my dreams hadn’t forgotten about me.
I was now a success. And my brain flushed with glee.
The dream list said:
- I will lose weight and be able to run. I had indeed lost 40 Kg and I was running around 5Km’s a day.
- The list said: I will use my brain, go back to Uni and get a job I can be proud off. I was currently studying to be a teacher. I had just completed a degree in the arts and had achieved first class honours in literature.
- The list said I will play a team sport: I was captain of an indoor cricket team. We were only playing C grade, but we won three cups and we were proud and happy to play together.
- The list said I will learn a martial art. I dreamed of karate, but I had actually taken up boxing for fitness. I now absolutely love boxing and Mohhamed Ali is one of my greatest heroes.
- The list said I would record an album of beautiful music. At the time I was playing music and recording songs with my brother and sister in law. It wasn’t the magnificent, world famous, critically acclaimed rock masterpiece that I had dreamed of, but to us it was beautiful music. It was also a meaningful collection of our abilities on tape.
(At the time of writing this, I can now tick ‘Quit smoking’ off my dream list. It’s been almost 2 years since my last cigarette.)
While I felt amazed at all my triumphs, there were still some things missing. However, I had had the moment that told my brain – “Yes, you can be successful.”
I learned the lessons and adopted a formula for success.
From there I got the good teaching job, thanks to more unexpected mentors and opportunities. At this job I was given the opportunity to go on leadership/peer support camps. These experiences, led by more unexpected mentors, and even learning from the kids I was meant to be leading, taught me to challenge myself and to seek to be greater and do more in the world.
From these experiences I developed my independence and went travelling. I braved the fear of living and working abroad. I found the love of my life and we are both now looking to the future with genuine enthusiasm.
Present to Future
After so many big changes, and tough challenges, and amazing experiences I find myself in Ho Chi Minh City (formally Saigon, Vietnam). I am teaching at an excellent international school, living in a picturesque apartment building with a pool and a view, with my soon to be wife and feeling like there is an amazingly bright future before us.
However, all these changes had left me a bit rattled. I had gone from a too comfy and becoming boring life in Perth, Australia, to the mad, hectic, disorganized and slightly slumming-it chaotic experience of teaching public school in Hanoi. To now the extremely successful feeling of having everything in Ho Chi Minh City. I was also missing home, but still mixed up in the joy of meeting new people and exploring new places.
My brain didn’t know how to handle it all.
So I started eating and drinking again. (Old habits die hard)
But I pressed the stop button.
I remembered my old lessons. I decided it was time for new lessons. I began to seek out new mentors. I found some of the greatest of all time. I developed a new success plan and my fiancée and I are now proactively working towards building the best and most magnificent future we can.
Today I’m embarking on a new journey of extreme success.
Join me and together we can achieve some wonderful things.
Thanks for allowing me to share and remember to always keep striving for success.