Our lives shapes us to be the person we need to be.
Adversity has always played a part in my life as far back as I could remember. Revisiting those dark days is not something I like doing, but at the same time, it’s not something I want to forget either.
And here’s why.
As a kid, I was very much a creative. I loved cartoons, loved to draw, loved to experiment with crafts, and loved pretty much anything that had a creative side to it. Despite my creative flair, I also loved helping people. The feeling of helping others naturally felt great. I remember, at the early age of 14, in a conversation amongst some friends, the topic about what we wanted to do when we grew up, came up. I remember saying to the others I wanted to be a Business Analyst.
Strangely, back then, I wasn’t even sure what that meant as a profession but it excited me because I felt it was about helping people with their business – somehow. Several years on, I continued my education which took me to Cambridge College, where I studied Art, Philosophy and Law. It was a bit of change in direction from my early teenage years but the slightly older me had a more inquisitive mind and I wanted to explore my options.
At that time my mum and dad owned a village shop, which did well in the beginning. The shop came together through community involvement, and the generous support in we received at the beginning was excellent. It’s at this time, I learned some of my first lessons in the business world. I learnt how to operate a store, confidently speak with people and build important relationships with customers. We ran this shop for around two years and all was well until times began to get tough.
The shop started to not do so well. Customer behaviours changed and with the rise of the big supermarkets offering everything and anything and only a 10 minute drive away, it became a real challenge to bring customers to our small village shop. However that wasn’t the biggest set back. The shop got robbed. Three armed robbers on motorbikes came in during the day and violently forced my dad and mum to hand over a substantial amount of cash over.
Things went from bad to worse with my parents confidence and business heavily damaged. Ultimately, we were sadly faced with no option but to close the business that the family worked so incredibly hard to build. With the very little money my parents had they decided to explore a business opportunity in the United States to get the family back on track. This meant my sister and I had to stay here to finish our university studies.
This decision would ultimately shape my future.
With my parents in another country, my sister and I began to experience university life but money continued to be an issue. There’s no such thing as a rich student but we had no additional support.
Money was always on my mind.
I borrowed and worked, (often working overtime), but this would mean I would be neglecting the very reason I was at university; my studies. It was a real juggling act and it seemed like there was no end to my problems. Some days were so bad that I couldn’t afford to eat. Other days, I lived on the basics with food such as the cheap 10p bread, tins of fish and a carton of eggs that I would make last throughout the week. Just enough to get by. I was unable to keep up with other basic payments so my debts piled up. At one point, I remember paying ten debtors, £1 a month each, through a mediator. Time management was critical as I was forced to plan how to distribute my money, trying to anticipate what was in store ahead.
And what was in store ahead wasn’t good.
When term time ended, and all the students went home, I didn’t have a home to go to. I was unable to extend my accommodation through the summer as I had no money saved. I was essentially homeless. However, I was extremely fortunate to have a handful of friends who always showed up and were really there at my time of need. It’s at times like this you begin to see the true colours of people — the talkers from the doers. One friend would let me keep my belongings at their place whilst another who managed to extend his accommodation until the start of the next term, insisted I stay at his place.
Although I was grateful, it wasn’t a great time for me emotionally. I was mentally at rock bottom. My life riddled with stress and my thinking wasn’t always clear. I was close to breaking point. I couldn’t see what tomorrow looked like, let alone the next term at University. How could someone like me be anything more? It felt like the universe always plotting against me; two steps forward always resulted in ten steps back.
But the generosity of others around me slowly started to change my mindset. If others could see my worth enough to help me, so should I. And my own thinking should be stronger. I dug deep and didn’t give up. There was something inside me that drove me to always fight back. Almost like an innate feeling of greatness that I was meant for something more, and I was just waiting for the right moment for the world to snap its fingers.
And with these thoughts, and the help from others, perseverance and that positive mindset led to positive actions.
Life started to change for the better.
One of the reasons why I don’t like to revisit these times is because they were extremely hard and emotional. But the reason I don’t like to forget these past stories is because they serve as reminders of the important things in life.
Embracing these times should not be seen as failures but part of a process. And though these times can be scary, they are the most defining moments in your life. Certainly for me, those experiences have made me who I am today. Consequently, they have not only equipped me to face future life challenges but have also given me the tools to help others. Like those who previously helped me in life.
This is my superpower. My core strength. The purpose for everything I do. To champion people and help create fulfilment in their lives by making a positive contribution in one person to the next, and I believe it is a superpower that exists in all of us.
As a kid it felt great to help others. Now, as an adult that feeling is just as great but thorough life experiences that feeling has much more meaning attached to it. That is the very thing that drives me and my business to help others in their quest to find their meaning and purpose.
As people, we are in constant need of transformation, which is why I focus my efforts to help create that world of change. I encourage people to seek deep within themselves to find out who they truly are. To transform their thinking and the world around them to help contribute in a meaningful and less material way.
If you’re looking to create change, build a business, contribute positive change in others, love seeing other win but need some help, I’m all ears.
Strategist & Peoplepreneur®
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