This was one of the first things I wrote about in Breaking Free. Recently we have had ample evidence  of how things can change in a moment. In these last few months alone we have witnessed the sudden deaths of Prince, Victoria Wood and Jonah Lomu. I mention those three because in the eyes of many they died well before their time

During their lives we were blessed with the heights of talent in music, comedy and sporting prowess respectively.

Of course changes can occur to the upside in sudden fashion too. That promotion at work, meeting the love of your life, winning the lottery, and the list goes on.

It is somewhat sad to observe that for many of us there is something about adversity that causes us to take a step back and evaluate what is important in our lives, particularly in the face of great loss.  It is a pain motivated pause which goes deep.

Why does that not happen so much when we experience the heights of thrilling events. Some would argue that they do reflect in similar depth, and yet it is rare to find such people who do so.

I recall getting a somewhat intuitive nudge on this subject while driving home from work one day. The statement ‘things can change in a moment’ was like a continuous play record in my head.

A day later one of the worse storms to hit Britain came unannounced, followed by a stock market crash within the week. That was in 1987.  The weather and the economy had converged into one devastating storm that affected countless lives

I recall at the beginning of my major transformation this was prefaced by great tragedy that caused me to find new solutions to what my life was lacking.

Although I could not appreciate it at the time it turned into the perfect storm as it was the turning point for a new lease of life for me, a journey I might not have awakened to and experienced if everything was seemingly ok

What my personal and observed experiences have taught me is that in any given moment things can happen externally to bring sudden change.  However we can also bring about significant change through the power of decisions and our inner creativity

None of us truly know the number of days we have on this earth. Therefore it is important to make the life in our years count.  So if you feel that life is holding you back in some way from living your dream, know that in any given moment you are a decision away from breaking free.

I know it because I lived it out and wrote about that journey in the book and song Breaking Free. Do not wait for something to happen to cause you to pause, reflect and redirect your life towards your dreams. Instead come from within and know that you have the ability to create something of great value and fulfilment in your life.

My favorite sport is football, but it is International Rugby that provides the backdrop of today’s reflection on becoming unstoppable. When I recall the rugby days of David Duckham, Andy Ripley, Roger Uttley and Bill Beaumont, followed by a new generation of stars in the 90s such as Will Carling and Johnnie Wilkinson, one man rises above all others as a global star and rugby legend.

In recent months, rugby and indeed the sporting world paid tribute to the great Jonah Lomu, whose life sadly came to an end at the young age of 40 years in November 2015

He has been heralded globally as someone who changed rugby, combining strength, speed, agility and intelligence on the wing, like none before him, to outrun, outwit and seemingly swat his opponents out of the way, en route to scoring multiple tries. He graced the world of rugby and crowd attendances rose, as many watched a man in action described as ‘unstoppable’

The tendency among so many people watching such success is to observe with a mild or greater degree of envy that they may have been bestowed with luck or special qualities. What many fail to appreciate about Jonah Lomu was the huge obstacles he had to get by to obtain such success.

I am not so much referring to his childhood and exposure to domestic violence at the hands of his father, or the gang culture that exposed his troublesome youth. It is the critical illness he overcame on a day by day basis to grace the rugby field and the world with a display of skill, speed and power that had not been seen to this degree

Jonah Lomu was diagnosed with a critical illness only 2 years after breaking onto the international scene at 19years old in 1994. Many will remember his world cup performance in 1995 against England where he scored 4 tries. His diagnosis came in 1996 requiring him to take time out for treatment. Yet this man refused to lie down and bow to the medical implications of his condition, choosing to live his rugby dream.

The illness would rob him of muscle strength particularly in his legs. Yet strength is what he worked on both inwardly and outwardly, and belief is what he cultivated. He made a comeback in 1997, and won an Olympic Gold in 1998. His last international appearance was in 2002 before his illness worsened, requiring him to have a kidney transplant in 2004. He made it his goal and dream to play in the world cup of 2007

An Insight into Jonah Lomu

 

I do not know many people who could go overnight from prolific rugby star to struggling to walk to the fridge due to the loss of muscle and nerve conduction in the legs, and then defy medical expectations of becoming wheelchair bound to make it back to the rugby field. Jonah made a comeback in 2005 but unfortunately did not manage to secure a super rugby contract, which denied him his dream of a World Cup place in 2007. He retired from the international scene and was later desrevedly inducted into the Rugby Hall of Fame

He was not supposed to be able to have children, yet the impossible happened when his wife gave birth to two children in 2009 and 2010, and he devoted himself to becoming the best possible dad, whilst contributing to world peace through sport via the Champions for Peace Club, What does this man teach us about unstoppability?

When you are unstoppable, you are not void of challenges in life, neither are you immune to doubts and fears. Challenges can come in many forms on many levels, physically, mentally and otherwise. What separates those who are unstoppable from those who are not is the capacity to get back up when life knocks them down, to navigate challenges with a perspective that allows them to keep moving forward to achieve their goals, dreams and lifestyle aspirations .

Such people are characterised by a ‘never say die’ attitude. Rather than ignoring the obstacles they look at what lies beyond and adjust their focus accordingly until they reach thir desired destination. Their resilience and resolve do not decrease in the face of challenge, rather they increase.

Somewhat ironically his body could not hold his undying spirit, and yet his life continues to breathe life into those who wish to become and remain unstoppable, myself included. When people who read my book Breaking Free remark about my irrepressibility, I can only humbly testify to the undying influence on my life of such icons as Jonah Lomu from whom I continue to learn how to be unstoppable. You can get his Jonah Lomu’s Autobiography from Amazon too.

 

 

 

I was not surprised to read a recent newspaper article which cited a survey indicating that out of 2000 British people surveyed, the majority remained in fantasy mode about it. The wishful thinking averaged 2hrs a day and many dreamt of having a different lifestyle that would be healthier and more fulfilling. Definitions of that varied but included health, money, travel and career.

Alarmingly 80% of those surveyed admitted they were not living the life they truly desired. Even more shocking was the acknowledgement that by 32years of age they had given up on their dreams, and were living with regrets, as if their life was effectively over!

Although this was a small size study compared to the overall population the percentage of people writing off their dreams and living with regrets was very high. Throughout my coaching days I have witnessed more people than not who speak in such terms, as if life has dealt them a rotten hand of cards.

What I find sad is that the scenario described to me need not be the case. If you look around you at any object like a chair or a car, these things started off in the mind of man so to speak before they showed up in physical reality. They did not manifest out of nothing.

When I put this to many people they accept the concept. However when it comes to translating that concept to create a different reality in their lives, they falter in their acceptance. Why is this so?

It is one thing to accept that other people can produce a different reality through the creative use of imagination. It is another thing to believe that you can do it. This is a big gap I find in so many people.

The second observation I would make as to why people become somewhat paralysed when changing their reality is that their response reflects the conditioning of society and significant earlier experiences that have shaped them to think this way. They hold toxic beliefs that they are not good enough, worthy enough or lucky enough to have the life they desire.

By conditioned response I mean that someone could come up to you and prove something as true, yet you would still reject that truth. Take Christopher Columbus for example. He discovered that the world was round and scientifically proved it, yet it took a long time for the world to accept this as they had believed for so long that the world was flat. Such is the power of conditioning.

The good news is that it is possible to recondition yourself in support of your dreams. Much of my coaching is working with people at a deeper level of their being to awaken them to their true creative nature, so that they can mobilise the inner resources they already have to change their lives.

When I think back to where I was at 32years of age, life had dealt me a tragic set of cards that could have derailed me completely from the life I wanted. Somewhat ironically it was during those years and during the dark night of my soul that I awakened to what was inside me that could transform my life. My life is so different now.

It is somewhat ironic that adversity turned out to be the teacher that awoke me to my inner resources, and I share my discoveries in my book and song Breaking Free, to inspire and help you change the percentages of your dream life in your favour. I have also put some complementary videos together on my website, for you to help you design a framework and blueprint to change your life. So what are you waiting for? Give yourself the gift of change for a better life.

In a recent CNN report professional golfer Tiger Woods inferred that self-esteem is directly tied to career when he stated that he had nothing to look forward to. The context for this remark was the news that he required further back surgery, which would put him out of action indefinitely.

Whilst a comment like this could be a knee jerk reaction to the disappointing news, Tiger Wood’s comment seemed to be more enduring in nature as this is not the first time he has voiced such despondency in the wake of required treatment for injury.

These are not the words of a man who has been denied success on the golf course. In fact at 40years of age he already has 14 major championship titles to his name and is considered one of the all-time golfing greats. So what was he communicating through his remark?

Woods was very candid in saying that due to the lack of timescale and lack of certainty about his recovery he was finding it very hard to adjust to on a mental level. How do you navigate such disappointments without compromising self-esteem?

From my observations in life, football and coaching, his comment seems to voice what so many people think and believe; namely that self-esteem is directly connected to career success. The challenge with this perception is that you set yourself up for an unstable experience when it comes to feeling good about yourself. Self-esteem becomes something of a roller coaster experience.

And this is one of many ways you can identify whether you have an issue with self-esteem – simply by how you feel about yourself when you are not achieving something. The idea that self-esteem can only be truly experienced when you are achieving something needs to be challenged.

So many people operate a definition of self-esteem that is heavily toward external factors such as circumstance and achievements. It is easy to understand why when you look at the education system and a society that primarily judges success by external factors such as money, status and possessions.

Before adversity struck, I operated from a very similar association with self-esteem. My identity was solely in my career, and I could not feel good about myself unless I was achieving things. I achieved many amazing things too.

You may think there is nothing wrong with that. However the issue is not a moral one. It is more about what makes for joy and happiness on a consistent basis. So many people who have been successful like Tiger Woods are finding out from experience that career is not enough to sustain happiness.

I was one of them, and fortunately I discovered the hard way, that three things needed to change in order to redress the empty gap. Use these as tips to help you too.

1. I needed to be honest about the poor quality of the relationship with myself
2. I needed to make a decision to change that
3. I needed a process that would bridge the gap and change my perception and self-definition

You see circumstances can come and go, but there is a difference between enhancing your happiness through circumstances and achievements versus creating happiness from those things. This is something I expand on from my own life experience including sports, in my book Breaking Free.

I applied a series of tweaks that set me free from low self-esteem. The difference at source was like that 1mm tweak of a golf club which impacted destination over distance and time. I think Tiger Woods would relate to that analogy.

Ultimately I discovered that self-esteem is not about denying your humanity in the face of disappointment and adversity. It is about a bond you have with yourself that is based on unconditional love. It is about a self-definition that can extract life from life with gratitude, authenticity and joy.

It is that relationship which allows you to feel disappointment without negatively absorbing it into the relationship you have with yourself. That same loving relationship helps you keep perspective and navigate disappointments with greater ease to support healing and recovery.

My greatest joy has been to share and facilitate this process of growth within others, and watch as they embrace life with a new found enthusiasm and joy, as well as become more productive and accomplished.

If you need and love inspiration then by all means discover what I learnt and applied from my powerful journey in my book and song Breaking Free. You can listen to the song for free – my gift to you

I often recall the words of a famous person who inspired me during his lifetime – a certain Nelson Mandela who sadly passed away two years ago in December 2013. What he left behind continues to hold relevance for the issues that many individuals face in their lives, as well as the evolution of mankind.

As a former football player, coach, mental health nurse and current sports presenter in women’s football, I have witnessed and appreciated first-hand how football breaks down barriers where mental health, cross cultural harmony and global peace are concerned.

Mandela saw sport as a great instrument for building bridges in well-being, worldwide reconciliation and peace. He also talked about the importance of education as a tool to empower lives.

‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’ N Mandela

That got me thinking about education. When I grew up I received the traditional basic education which equipped me with knowledge as far as subject matters were concerned.  That got me to college and beyond, and I fared well with hard work.

However, what I noticed as time progressed was how redundant a lot of that knowledge became where  living and dealing with real life issues was concerned.

As I continued to evaluate my knowledge against my ability to impact my life and others in a progressive manner, I often noticed a significant imbalance. I knew so much more than I actually applied.

It was another part of Mandela’s life that was to speak to this discovery and from which I was to draw wisdom in order to address the gap between personal knowledge and influence.

Nelson Mandela’s description of his personal journey in the book ‘The Long Walk To Freedom’ informed me about the power of a transformational journey.  His journey went beyond education, and engaged the human spirit in an inspirational way.

That energy did not originate from intellectual understanding. It put the flesh on the bones of his knowledge, and enabled him to mobilise his inner resources under extreme constraint, and find inner freedom, during a 27 year physical imprisonment.

His human conquest, self-discovery and evidence of what the human spirit can do, makes him an authority on freedom, because it comes from a place of consistent demonstration, not words.

There is a common saying that knowledge is power. I have come to the conclusion that this is not so. Knowledge on its own, without the capacity to influence lives positively, is powerless. Education on its own is not enough when you seek transformation.

Inspire means ‘breath within’.  It represents that life force that moves us to improve or change something in our life. This is an essential key that was missing in my life for so long.

I have discovered that if there is one thing more powerful than education, it is inspiration.  Combine education with inspiration, and even greater empowerment takes place.

This is what I found when I embarked on a journey that took me beyond intellectual capacity to inspirational influence, and the combination of inspiration and education is what shaped my book and song Breaking Free.

I come across so may intelligent people in coaching and life, who know so much at an intellectual level, yet lack the capacity to make it count significantly when it comes to their own personal growth.

Much of my life’s work revolves around inspiring and helping others to awaken towards self-reconciliation and healthy self-esteem as part of the transformational journey to personal freedom.

Those who do so experience profound release and breakthrough.  Are you willing to give yourself the gift of personal freedom through your own transformational journey? Here are a few tips to get started.

Tips:

  1. Look with honesty at the ratio between knowledge and application in your life
  2. Decide to redress the balance if needed. There is power in a decision
  3. Expose yourself to the personal journey and teachings of those who inspire you in the qualities you wish to develop. This is the quickest way to break free, because the inspiration will move you to make the change. That is your starting point.

A key observation about the many clients I have trained in accelerated learning is how it impacts their self-esteem and confidence, and not for the reasons that might appear obvious at first.

It is true that when accelerated learning is applied effectively to any topic or subject, the quality of learning and performance increases, study time decreases, and the process is so much easier and enjoyable.

Accelerated learning is a brain optimized and systematic way of learning how to learn, such that it increases learning performance and reduces study time. It restores the joy of learning too.

The results have been well and consistently documented in The Learning Revolution by Vos and Dryden which sold over 10million copies worldwide. In that book the research indicates that accelerated learning outperforms traditional learning by a factor of 2:1. You do the math on time saved alone with this skill.

Yet for so many people learning remains a struggle and a stressful labour, born out of necessity. Many tell me that they continue to adopt a repetitive, rote, mechanical approach to learning on a topic by topic basis. Unfortunately this aligns with traditional taught methods of learning.

The knock on effect is that confidence and competence decrease where knowledge is concerned, and it becomes harder to navigate life and achieve career aspirations in a timely way.

So many people are still unaware of accelerated learning, and are therefore ill-equipped when it comes to learning.    I didn’t hear about accelerated learning until I was 30years old, and my experience at that point was similar to others, even though I would get sufficient grades in the subjects I was studying.

When I was taught this skill, it had a major impact on my learning. The results it brought added to the feel good factor that any such achievement would bring, yet there was something of more fundamental value that I discovered. I alluded to this in my contributory chapter to the book ‘Wake up Live the Life You Love.’

It started to wake me up to the power of my inner resources when they are worked in proper alignment. It made me ask what else I was capable of to. It underlined for me that we are powerfully equipped to learn, grow, create and overcome in amazing ways.  There is so much available to us if we can learn to harness our inner resources in a harmonious way.

This self-discovery was even more fascinating than the outcome. It set me off on an amazing journey where my life aspirations were concerned. Accelerated learning had provided a window through which I could view my inner resources differently and get to know myself with greater accuracy.

Many clients I have taught this to have experienced profound shifts in similar manner. They have discovered that it was the incorrect use of inner resources rather than the lack of ability that had been the issue.

Our Breaking Free Academy will be launched shortly and this will be the first course released as a foundation course for other courses to come, so that many more can be reached and equipped with this valuable skill.

Imagine having the inner resources to change your learning experience and results. Imagine that there is a systematic way to rearrange those resources and utilize them harmoniously. This is what accelerated learning does. It is to learning what a sharp axe is to wood cutting. You get through more learning in less time with greater precision.

So if you have not heard of accelerated learning, you have now been made aware. More importantly you have an opportunity to change your learning experience from today.  I leave you with some simple tips:-

TIPS:

  1. Make a decision to change your learning experience if you are struggling
  2. Google ‘accelerated learning’ and learn more about its benefits
  3. Enrol in a course online or offline to change the way you learn forever, and increase your self-esteem and confidence en route