Monday, 19 August 2019

If things were perfect - Moby

Who are you kidding?
Give me Summer…
I’d go for it being Summer everyday wouldn’t you? Nothing’s better than long hot Summer days with their light evenings and being out there footloose and fancy free running through cornfields and along dry mountain trails. Only life’s not really like that is it? Well it can be but not for long in my experience, yet it’s what I dream of on those dark Winter Days when the World’s hibernating and it feels like and there’s an eternity ahead until the clocks go forward once more.

Come clean, there's no sun yet…
If only things were perfect eh? But as we know they’re far from it aren’t they? We all know it yet Social Media projects a false and perfect world where everyone it would appear is achieving goal after goal and generally having a much better time of it than you are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty as the next person of projecting this perfect person/perfect world existence, as I never broadcast the inner negativity that exists in my world. Because it does exist and you’d be a fool not to realise that - only we’re fooled by the vast amount of propaganda that’s posted by one and all. After a while it just glosses over me if I’m being honest, is it like that for you too?

I can't speak, I can't hear, but I know I'm real…

So, maybe there’s a better way of living your life and becoming your own success story. One that’s SO good, you don’t want to share it with anyone. A true delight that only you can enjoy. One where you are your own superstar and that you don’t need ‘liking’ or any congratulatory ‘comments’ about. One so good you could delete your FB page forever and one where you could wallow in a sea of self-satisfaction without the need for anyone else to acknowledge. Is it really possible?

The darkest lights before the dawn…

I meet folk all the time that would benefit from a simple ‘time out’ from appearing to be ‘Perfect’. Life’s not Sunshine every day is it? But even in the middle of Winter, there are days when you can feel the warm rays of sun on your skin that give you hope and promise that the Summer will come again - and it always does. It always will if you let it in. Some of my best times have followed some pretty dark periods in my life, and there’s always hope and always light at the end of the tunnel if you are prepared to be patient and be honest with yourself. Why not surprise yourself and set a few very private challenges or goals that you and only you will ever know about - you know the ones that have been weighing on your mind for a long time now?

The ones that if life were perfect, wouldn’t exist…and the ones you certainly would broadcast on Social Media. I mean just how perfect are you? I’m certainly not.

If you want to feel better about yourself, I'm here to help you find the real you...not create you.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Change your Mind - The Horrors

'Mindset' is a concept that's been around since the early 1900's, according to Wiki. It's a word that's become part of my daily vocabulary when speaking with clients and I thought I'd investigate the philosophy behind the terms 'Fixed' and 'Growth' Mindsets, as I try and evaluate my own 'Mindset' traits.

However, I'm a bit confused to which 'Mindset' set I belong to. You see, I believe I'm in the intersecting part of a 'Venn Diagram of ‘Fixed’ and Growth Mindset' where the two circles intersect, if that makes sense.

To help clarify things, I looked to the expert in the 'Mindset' field - Professor Carol Dweck. Her primary research is in motivation, personality and development and speaks volumes - if I had the right 'Growth' Mindset, I could read all about it in her 2006 book 'Mindset: The New Psychology of Success' but as a ‘Fixed’ Mindset non-reader, I was a bit at a loss but luckily Wiki helped again...

Dweck states that there are two categories (Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset) that can group individuals based on their behaviour, specifically their reaction to failure. Those with a 'Fixed Mindset' believe that abilities are mostly innate and interpret failure as the lack of necessary basic abilities, while those with a ‘Growth Mindset’ believe that they can acquire any given ability provided they invest effort or study. Dweck argues that the ‘Growth Mindset’ will allow a person to live a less stressful and more successful life'.

Now, as soon as I see 'Failure', I immediately identify with the ‘Fixed Mindset” character trait as the 'F' word (Failure not ****) is like Kryptonite to my inner soul. Yet my ‘Mindset’ isn’t so myopic that I don’t believe that investing effort and study won’t bring results – well apart from swimming or triathlon as my mindset has been ‘Fixed’ by having the same buoyancy qualities as a house-brick. But then again, I’m pretty much stress-free and have had enjoyed many successes over the years which swings me back into the ‘Growth Mindset’ group.

So you can see why I’m confused. Or perhaps it’s how we like to label people nowadays and maybe I’m just someone that you can’t label. Or group, or even want to group. And maybe you are the same? No-one needs to be anything really – you just need to know who you are, where you are going and what’s needed to get you there.

And that’s all that matters…

1,044 Marathons, 244 Ultras, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

I Surrender - Rainbow

Giving in is really not part of my DNA. Instilled at an early age, I’ve always thought that it’s a weakness. A weakness of mind. A weakness of personality. Pure Coleman-Kryptonite. Having been this way for 57 years’, and having lived life pretty close to the limit of human endurance with some personal and mental challenges that would have had most reaching for the white flag, I thought long and hard as I struggled for the first 20km of day two of Race to the Stones, last Sunday.

You see, post Guillian-Barre Syndrome, my legs are pretty much destroyed for a week following a fast Parkrun or Marathon as my leg muscles just aren’t strong enough anymore – it feels like I’ve already run the race-distance before I’ve even started you see. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not after sympathy or making excuses as I loved both days of Race to the Stones and that first 20km taught me once more that nothing of worth is ever given, and that if you want something enough, you have to work super-hard to achieve it.

I’ll admit I did question my sanity but after three hours of battling the GBS legacy, my legs finally started behaving and downhill it felt like they wouldn’t go from under me, which is what really plays with your mind at the time. The hardest and most frightening part for me – as it is for everyone that has to relearn how to stand and walk again. A sobering thought.

Sure, what I’m doing nowadays isn’t pretty and the times isn’t great but hey I’m out there still recovering. This year I’m a good two plus hours quicker over the 100kms and finished feeling like I’d given it my best – Well the best I can now give, if that makes sense.

Those days of learning to stand and walk seem a long time ago right now and maybe these days of weakened legs will also pass as my recovery continues. What I do know, is that I’m stronger mentally than ever and I’m going to push my recovery as far as possible. What form that takes, well watch this space as it’s just like when I started running. It’s a self-build-and-design-project that only people who’ve have had GBS and have gone on to run a further 66 marathons will understand.

You control your destiny – You design your future – No one does it for you – Fight – With everything you’ve got.

1,042 Marathons - 254 Ultras - 9 Guinness World Records - 15 Marathon des Sables

Monday, 8 July 2019

Go - Public Service Broadcasting

Go, Go, Go, Go, Go...
On Saturday I was lucky enough to see the excellent Public Service Broadcasting play at Caerphilly Castle. I’m not sure what Gilbert de Clare, the 7th Earl of Gloucester would have thought about his 13th Century Castle creation being used for such purpose but hopefully he would have marvelled at the songs and videos featuring the story of the Titanic, the Race for Space and the rise and fall of coalmining in South Wales.

I came away with my mind working in overdrive. A lot of the songs and footage captured events that have happened in my lifetime. A fifty-year span where Man land on the Moon, industry changed forever and the world went digital.

Has it all been worth it and are we any happier as a result?

Has the immediacy of the modern world enhanced our lives or made it as even tougher place to exist? I believe the world has changed more in the last ten years than the previous forty. I mean, when did you last play a Cassette, CD, DVD or take a photo using a camera? The notes in my wallet have been there for weeks as I simply don’t use much paper money these days. Banks, Shops, Cars, Life...there's a massive revolution taking place. One that when we look back in a further ten years wish we'd been part of as I believe that people are missing out not only on their future but also on their present.

You see, I went to the gig, sober, stayed sober and then drove home. However around me, some folk were completely legless, whilst others smoked endless joints throughout. And hey, it's a free-world and people are there for a good time but there's a whole world out there to create, enjoy and feel part of - and not to miss out on.

The grainy 60's footage of the Apollo Missions highlighted just how long it was since I was a seven-year old boy looking skywards in wonder at the heavens - what I've achieved so far and what I have yet to achieve with my time left on this amazing planet of ours. 

Take some time and think about whatever it is that you are doing today. If you are not doing it very well, do it better and if it's not good for you, don’t do it at all.


1,040 Marathons, 242 Ultras, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Who are YOU? - The Who

Today’s blog title is taken from the 1978 Who Classic album of the same title ‘Who are you’, the last album released by the group before Keith Moon's death in September 1978 - which feels a very, very long time ago.

Anyway, on listening very closely to the song, it got me thinking, ‘Who do we really think we really are’, ‘How do we project ourselves?’ and ‘How are we perceived by others?’. It’s something that became more and more apparent to me as I spoke to a fresh batch of clients this week. On hearing their stories, I learned how they fitted into their worlds. How they were perceived by their family, friends and colleagues – how unhappy they are. 

You see, it’s amazing how we come over to others, what it means and how limiting that can be on our progress for instance within the corporate world. Some people will hold out for years in a job ever hopeful for promotion or even a redundancy package only never to reach their goal because they just don’t ‘look’ the part or have a ‘perceived’ value – or don’t fit in.

The lyrics go, ‘I felt a little like a dying clown’. I’ve seen it many times as I’ve coached people that will joke and laugh their way through their day when inside they are literally ‘dying’ inside – crying later alone at their predicament.

They continue, ‘I know there's a place, where love falls from the trees’– and it’s such a sweet place. Feeling you’ve got there is one thing, getting there a whole different story as for many that journey is literally limited by their outlook and by what they project.

The person that knows it and feels it the most is you. And when you know it, the doubt sets in as the sing continues,‘How can I measure up to anyone now’. It sounds like a modern-day social media message reaching out, looking for reassurance and love from anyone that can be bothered to reply. For the record, self-worth doesn’t come in the form of a Facebook reply – it comes from within. 

From setting goals, sending out the right signals and cleaning up one’s act. And when you do that – you’ll find out who you really are – and you’ll find out it’s not as bad as you think and everyone else (well the majority anyway) will think you are okay too.

Have a think: ‘Who are You?’

1,040 Marathons, 252 ULTRAs, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Good Morning Beautiful - The The

I do love a dark song to start the day, and the 1989 classic ‘Good Morning Beautiful’ from The The, always searches deeply into my inner soul as I prepare for my day ahead. The amazing thing is, that you can never truly plan for what the day has in store. One moment you are sat relaxing on a sofa enjoying a fresh cup of breakfast tea - the next you are chatting to Richard Dreyfuss (him of American Graffiti, Jaws and Close Encounters to name-drop a few) as I waited to be interviewed by Chris Evans on his Virgin Radio Breakfast Show (he said name-dropping again).

An out of body experience if ever there was one and my fluent gibberish was in full flow. For the record both Chris and Richard are amazing, and it made me realise just how lucky I am as I’m constantly amazed by where my exploits have taken me and by who I meet along the way.

Maybe the song was telling me something - You see I first heard it when I was in the darkest period of my life, out of control in what felt like a ‘Living Hell’. The lyrics say that ‘The only path to heaven is via hell’ and maybe that’s the truth. If you’ve been there, you’ll know.

What does tomorrow have in store, well I’ve a good idea but no doubt there will be a few ‘Close Encounters’ along the way.

1,040 Marathons - 252 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Monday, 24 June 2019

For what it’s worth - Buffalo Springfield

It looked a bit like this...
I’m glad I came up with the following ‘Quotebox’ earlier today, ‘Success comes at a price - Failure is free’… as it got me speaking with my old friend Andy McMenemy. He’s a pretty cool and inspirational guy and apart from the usual banter, we’ve decided that we ought to podcast ourselves out to the masses. Who will breathe-in first or name-drop the most - well, we’ll have to find out, but it is interesting speaking with someone else, whom is super-motivated and paying the price for their own success?

Let’s face it, nothing’s free - even life’s basics Air and Water for the car are £1 at the local filling station and no doubt somewhere sunlight comes at a ‘Cost’.

Anyway, 3-2-1 and back in the room and the point of today’s blog is all about ‘Value’ as that’s a whole lot different to how much things ‘Cost’.  How much something ‘Costs’ is what someone else is prepared to pay for it. ‘Value’ well that’s a completely different subject. I remember being shown one of the most valuable vintage Porsche cars ever built, one with a £1M+ price tag. I must say it did nothing for me. The average Top Gear addict would probably be salivating just to be next to it, but for me it had no ‘Value’. It was both ‘Priceless’ and ‘Price-less’ as it wasn’t worth anything in my world.

You certainly wouldn’t fit a family of four, armed with car seats, double buggy and half a ton of luggage in that posh ‘People’s Car’. My boys’ sticky fingers on the paintwork and leather upholstery would give the owner a mild heart attack for sure. The same goes for David Gilmour’s guitars that were recently auctioned for $21.5M. For that you get the guitar but sadly not the man - so again nice, but of no ‘Value’ to me. The ‘Value’ towards global warming - well hopefully more.

So - ‘Why we put such a high price on things but not ourselves?’. ‘Why do we think we are worthless?’. Why is a car or a guitar worth so much yet, we won’t invest in ourselves or our own future?’

Great questions I believe, and I still have to fathom out why, people just don’t understand their own ‘Value’. Everyone’s worth something, right? Anything you believe in is worth the investment? As it’s not about money.

It’s about paying the price for success, something that Andy and I both understand all too well.

1,040 Marathons, 252 Ultras, 9 Guinness World Records & 25 Years' Alcohol-Free