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.

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.