It is said Christmas is a time for giving. I’ve been doing a bit of that myself over the last couple of weeks or so, a bit of Christmas goodwill that was precipitated by my birthday at the beginning of this month. I decided to give away hundreds of copies of ‘The Stupid Footballer Is Dead’. Something I thought would be a nice thing to do, especially as, even if only one recipient ended up changing their attitude to life and work in a positive way after reading it, then I’d be delighted. So actually, it was a wee gift to myself as well the possibility of helping someone improve the quality of their lives…because it can and does happen.
For instance, one of the delegates who attended our 3-day Mindspan programme was moved enough to send me an email afterwards. The fact that anyone takes the time out to say ‘thank you’ always means a great deal to me but this man had, very clearly, walked away from the course with an entirely different mindset to the one he had when he arrived a few days earlier.
In essence, the senior manager who attended shared the strategies that he had learnt on the course with his grandson who has begun working towards the goals that will ultimately benefit his life! So the course not only educated the attendee, it also has helped inspire someone who wasn’t even there and I think that is pretty amazing.
Reactions like that are exactly why I do what I do. Wanting to make a difference to people’s lives and having the opportunity to passionately share with them that we all have it within ourselves to do that in the most constructive and life affirming way possible.
That sort of reaction to our courses makes me realise how far I’ve come in my new career since I retired from playing football. I knew I wanted to work in this discipline and was so eager to be a professional speaker that, for six months I did exactly that in exchange for a total remuneration of exactly £0 (nil).
Back in 2010, I’d have been delighted if someone had even paid me £1 to prepare and deliver a keynote speech. It didn’t matter to me, at that time, that I wasn’t being paid for what I was doing, because I was involved in, and committed to work that I really wanted to do, which in the modern world of business is very unusual. According to a recent poll commissioned by Gallup, an overwhelming majority of people are dissatisfied with their job for one reason or another. Here are a few examples of the results they came up with.
Conclusion? There are a lot of very disengaged and disenfranchised people out there in the workplace at the moment. So what options do we have? Well, firstly we could change our job. However, a lot of times we may take the same attitude to our work from one place to the next and so potentially it could be that we need a change of attitude to our job. I really feel we need to look to ourselves first and decide if what we are doing will, ultimately, make us happy.
I took steps earlier this year to do just that by moving back to Belfast. I’d spent 25 years living in England and, whilst it gave me something that I will be eternally grateful for; it’s not home. Six months after the move, I’m much happier with my personal and professional life and I feel blessed to be able to say that because statistically I know a lot of people are not happy with one or the other.
So one of my goals for 2020 and into 2021 is to continue to help people become even more engaged and passionate about the lives that they are living. To work alongside them so they can discover what inspires them and, in doing so, playing a small part in the first constructive steps they’ll be taking to change their attitude and their lives. Therefore from a global perspective, my plan within two years is to have delivered Keynote Speeches across 50 different countries in four separate continents.
I hope that your 2020 brings you some of the things you’ve always wanted (provided you’ve taken some time to work out what they are).