London, England
Monday 9th January 2012
So, 9 days into 2012 & how are your New Year's Resolutions going? Wavered? Broken? Or still hanging in there? I'll be honest & say that I am not really one for New Year's Resolutions as I just feel that if you identify something in yourself that you feel you can & want to improve, why wait? Now that's very easy to say & it's easy to slight that statement but I do feel that too often in today's world, that responsibility is something that is shirked rather than strived for. I'm not saying that everything that I set out to change about myself, I succeed with & I am far from a model human being but I feel that a culture of blame & indifference has crept into our society that would never have been tolerated in our grandparents' heyday.

A good friend of mine, Steve White, is one of these thoroughly inspirational chaps. A management consultant by profession, he empowers the employees of the organisations he works in, creating an attitude of belief, shared responsibility & common value. I love meeting up with him - we bounce countless ideas around, sparking innovative thoughts of potential projects & I can see how he energises those with whom he comes into contact. I believe it was Mark Twain who was quoted as saying "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great" & Steve is one of those people - one of those people that we all benefit from being around.

So why do I mention Steve? Well, Steve is one of those guys who wears his heart on his sleeve...or should I say, his Facebook page. Everyday his Facebook wall is populated by motivational statements, mottoes of intent & YouTube clips to rally the open minded. Now, I'm not really a Facebook fan & it takes something truly exceptional for me to "Like" a post. However, I always read Steve's posts as they remind me of my "Wall of Inspiration" which sits next to my bed & has done ever since I was at Loughborough in 2004 - the "Wall of Inspiration" that plays host to countless motivational mantra's such as the one I have just quoted from Mark Twain. Anyway, to get to the point, Steve posted the following YouTube clip a couple of days back, taken from a live TED Conference & I felt it well worth sharing. If you can get past the American style (no offence intended to my friends on the other side of the Pond), marketing conference cheer-leading, the message, courtesy of Mel Robbins, is truly valuable.

Now that struck a cord for me, as I despise receiving the answer to the question "how are you?", when the "f@#*" word is used. I have done for years & I really agree with Mel on this one. For goodness sake, this society we live in needs to grow a set & say what we really believe, stand up for ourselves & stop pussy-footing around, because otherwise this acceptance of mediocrity & the "it'll do" attitude will stop us all from achieving what we can all achieve in this life.

Sometimes, however, we need more than just inspiration to kick-start our self-belief...sometimes we need a helping hand, a kick up the arse, a reassuring hand on the shoulder or a supportive word from a friend, a team-mate or from a stranger. It doesn't matter who & often it may seem an inconsequential action or word from the provider but it's enough to make us realise that we are the ones who hold our own destiny in our hands & we are a damn sight tougher than we sometimes allow ourselves to remember. This ethos was apparent to me on several occasions working with the endurance athletes last year & helped make the camps I spent with those guys thoroughly rewarding experiences. The perfect illustration of this is shown on the YouTube clip below, which really goes to show how to run & complete the toughest of races.


So this year, if the race seems a tough one to run, the walls seem insurmountable, the obstacles too daunting, look for a hand reaching out & a voice cheering you on, but remember each of us are equipped with what we need to change ourselves for the better. In the same light, if you see a friend, training partner or stranger struggling to keep their head above water, have a Baywatch moment & dive in to drag them up for a breath of air (slow motion running & red bikini optional).

Now, you can accuse me of being cheesey, you can roll your eyes & wonder what the hell I'm taking the liberty to sprout forth about on my blog but last year I have seen more than a few close friends, new acquaintances & strangers caught up in the riots of this City that I often work in, battle to keep themselves in a mental place that I often take for granted. People who I thought were indestructible & bullet-proof, fighting with the spectres of low self-esteem & bottomed-out confidence. & I've seen people like Steve make a difference, by throwing out the helping hand when it would have been easier to remain a passive onlooker.

Guys, 2012 holds so much potential for us all, to live our dreams & reach our highest heights - & as my "Wall of Motivation" tells me "it takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been test your limits, to break through barriers". So find that courage from with in or outwith & make sure that this year is our best so far.

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