You see, my teenage growth spurts came later than most others'. And I was a bit of a brainiac. The 2 together meant I got bullied. Not just mentally, physically too.
It got worse when I chose not to do my confirmation at age 12. Because I didn't believe the stories I was told. I was in a Christian Brothers school at the time. And stayed in it until I was 15. Some of the Brothers beat me and tried to make me fail exams. Out of spite. They set up kids from secondary to bully me too. I used to get beaten up on the way home. Because of my choice. Beaten just enough not to show physical marks most of the time. I never really told many people.
Just 1 or 2. And they listened and helped. They kept me alive.
At 15 I went to a non denominational school and joined the Union Youth and things improved a bit. However at that stage I kept mainly to myself and hid my potential. I did that all the way through Uni. And never graduated as a result.
I drank heavily, smoked and abandoned sport for a while. Everything I loved doing was pushed aside for fear of being good at it. I know that now. Then I thought I was weird and weird was not good.
I was still bullied by the same people where I lived though mainly mentally, just the odd time I got a slap. I needed to escape. So I did and ran away. To nowhere. To the streets of Brussels. To anonymity. Alone. To where nobody knew me. I nearly didn't make it out of there.
1 or 2 people knew. And they listened and helped. They kept me alive.
I moved to Ireland after meeting a wonderful woman and had a fantastic first few years. Then the career took over. And I got bullied again. By people more clever than me in getting promotions who hated that I succeeded in making improvements on what they had set up. I got stressed and worried constantly. I started under performing and hiding my potential.
I started drinking heavier again and was still smoking and eating unhealthily. To the outside world everything seemed fine. Job, Marriage, Holidays, Career. That's all there is to life right!!?? Wrong, though I was surrounded by a couple of really nice people, 5 or 6 maybe. They listened, they helped, they kept me alive.
Then one day in my last job, it happened in less than 30 seconds. I vaguely remember blurred vision, dizziness, chest pains, left arm felt numb. I remember thinking I'm having a heart attack at work. I'm a bloke. I walked to the GP. I remember a slight panic in the GP's office and a short while later being told I had suffered a severe stress attack. I got a week compulsory sick leave. I was still Alive.
I was relieved and annoyed at the same time. How did that happen to me? What about next time? Would it be for real then?
On the first day of the leave I picked up the book I got from the training manager of the company, an ex-army officer. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I read it in one go. I loved it. What could I do with this? To make a longish story a bit shorter I found the Irish Lifecoach Institute, got interviewed to go on their 1 year diploma course and got accepted.
After the first module of the course I knew. I was on a journey. It became OK again to be a brainiac. It was OK to be good at things. It was OK to be myself. That kept me alive.
The course changed my life. I started looking at things differently. I became aware of a different view, a paradigm shift in thinking.
In the 8 years since that course I have been on a journey to find my way in becoming more and more of me and less of what everyone expects from me. I have now become as close to fully me as I can and do no longer feel the need to adjust or fit in.
Now that I am completely at peace with myself and who I am, I want to dedicate the rest of my life helping others to find the same. In Relationships, Work, Business, Sports, Arts. In short, in Life.
I was lucky that there was always a few people around to keep me alive. Without them I would not be able to write this because I would not be here anymore.
I need your help to get me in front of as many people as you can. I have a story and a message and I want to share it with as many people as possible through books, seminars, public speaking, coaching, training and mentoring.
Just to tell them It's OK to be yourself. It's OK to make a living AND having a life. It's OK to be you. It's OK to be human and feel sad or angry. It's OK to be human and feel happy and content. It's OK live your life intentionally and the way you want to. It's OK to live a life of contribution rather than success.
Because of this I am able to live an intentional life. Because of this I can run my own business based on making others lives better rather than just doing it for money. Because of this I am aiming to help 5,000 people in 2016, 15,000 in 2017 and 45,000 in 2018 and trebles again from then on.
Because of this I am now back in sport. I have ran 36 marathons since October 2008, number 37 this coming Saturday. I ran 16 of them in 2015 alone and am aiming for 20 to 25 this year. Because it is part of what I love doing and it's good for me so I just keep doing it.
Please help me. Please help me keep more people Alive just like those few did for me. Please help me get in front of more people. Thanks in advance for helping me to save lives!
As always many Miles with Smiles,