Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it
For those of my generation, the words above will be recognised as a quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I know 2020 has been an extremely tough year for a lot of people, I think I include myself in that group. I lost my Dad right at the start of the Pandemic, March 19th, 2020. We were not able to get to Spain because they were already in lockdown.
My Mum lives in Plymouth (I live in Scotland) so seeing her has been very difficult and at 73 I would like to see her more often. My children live part-time with their Mum and part-time with me, so for 9 days at a time, it is just me and my springer spaniel Sammy. I know there has been a lot to cope with this year.
I joined a community called HumansFirst founded by Mike Vacanti and the call that I attend is the EMEA hosted by Toni McLelland. We have a weekly Zoom call (there are weekly calls in the US, Asia, and Europe, I join the EMEA one, and there are people from all over the world on the call). We discuss things that affect us, and our wider communities and we think about how we can make things better in those communities. Two weeks ago we spoke about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This Monday passed; I was asked to contribute to the call by Toni and asked to finish the sentence…
I know I shall finish 2020 strong because…
This led me to give some real thought to how I had coped with the Pandemic and the year 2020. I went self-employed this year, resigning from my job on 20th February 2020, just before we knew how much trouble we were really in. This has meant the business I was buying has not happened in the same way I expected, putting me under financial pressure especially as I did not qualify for any self-employed help from the Government and I’m still arguing over them backdating my Universal Credit.
Denzel Washington said at the NAACP Image Awards “Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. So keep moving, keep growing, keep learning. See you at work.” I love that quote and it reminds us all that growth comes from resistance, we need something to push against. The universe will keep putting obstacles in our way until we learn the lesson. I am looking forward to more obstacles because I have so much to learn!
My younger brother and I got to spend two weeks together this year because of my Dad passing. We have not spent two weeks together since we were at school, I am now 46. It was an amazing two weeks, where we really connected and got to talk deeply about our past lives and our futures. I remember saying to my brother (because I was 8 months into the overhaul of my life) “sometimes it feels like life is spinning round out of control if you can reach out and grab hold of someone, or something, one part of your life that you can improve hopefully the rest will follow”.
Maybe becoming part of a community like HumansFirst can be that one thing that brings some peace and love to your life?
I joined the HumansFirst community for my first call on Monday 29th June 2020.
I had already reached out from my spinning world and tried to grab something to ‘steady the ship’ and it started by overhauling my diet about a year ago, hoping I could get better health outcomes than my Dad who was gravely ill at the time.
This Sunday morning I sat down to finish reading the book Breath by James Nestor, before then breathing slowly, taking 5.5 seconds to breathe in and 5.5 seconds to breath out.
Over the course of the year, I found a Tribe of Mentors, via podcasts, so I could be coached every day, including
- Tim Ferris who wrote Tribe of Mentors: Short advice from the best in the world
- Peter Crone, known as the Mind Architect,
- Rich Roll,
- Rangan Chattergee,
- Steven Pressfield,
- Aubrey Marcus
- Nir Eyal and Eckhart Tolle to name just a few.
I realised during the course of this self-work, that every one of us is a unique and amazing individual. Peter Crone said during one of the interviews I listened to (and I am hugely paraphrasing here) If we were in their shoes if we would have lived their life if we would have had their experiences we would behave in the same way as them.
When I first listened to Peter Crone being interviewed by Rangon Chatterjee it moved me to tears. I realised for the first time in my life I am not just my past experiences. I started intervening with my self-talk. I stopped putting myself down in my own mind with the sort of things that other well-meaning people may have said to me when I was a child, but now I was using the adult version…if you do it, you know what I mean.
These well-meaning people said these comments in the belief it would make me strong, that it would make me into a man. It was a strange experience to realise at the age of 46 that success and happiness start with self-love. It starts by putting yourself first, it starts with loving yourself. It is so obvious to me now that you have to love yourself to really love everyone around you and support them in a way that will make them stronger, better, and more resilient.
It took me 46 years and the help of the brilliant Peter Crone to realise that my own self-talk and limited beliefs that have come from my past experiences were holding me back in such a profound way. That is why it moved me to tears. I want other people to hear Peter Crone, I want other people to be moved in the way that I was.
During the course of this self-work I realised that even to get to the age of 5, every one of us had to have an amazing amount of resilience and determination.
I realised during the course of 2020 that the resilience and determination of which I talk exists in every one of us…and to have found a community like HumansFirst where we can remind ourselves every week of the magic and love that exists in every one of us has been extremely beneficial to me. I am grateful to have HumansFirst in my life.
During 2020 I realised I had the self-reliance to get through anything. I realised I had a group of friends and family around me that would support me through anything because of the deep love we have for each other, because we have supported each other through everything this far.
I realised during 2020 I had no fear of abandonment because I am committed to being the best version of myself.
If you are looking for a way to contribute, if you are looking for a community of like-minded people, if you are looking for that one thing to steady the ship then maybe HumansFirst can be the catalyst for more change. Maybe we are the community you have been looking for?
Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls”.
My journey to HumansFirst is a beautiful example of doors opening where once there were only walls. I was invited to attend HumansFirst by Mark Holmes. Mark and I went to school together and have remained friends all this time. When I was 19, Mark’s Mum lent me (and him) the money for our first month’s rent so we could move from Plymouth to Stratford Upon Avon where there were more job prospects. Gerd (Mark’s Mum) never recalled that debt and I have never forgotten the generosity and more importantly the belief she showed in me, in us. She knew we could succeed even if we doubted it at the time.
Mark’s brother, Barry employed me in one of my first and best jobs. Barry and I are still friends now and he is also part of the HumansFirst Community. The support of our friends, family, and wider community is vital to our success and well-being. Semper ad Meliora.
Recently I watched ‘Finding Joe’ the film about Joseph Campbell and it helped me remember we are all golden underneath and I hope in 2021 you find your bliss!
If you need an hour a week to ‘Stop and look around’ come and join us on HumansFirst.
Good luck next year everyone, I cannot wait!
More about Special Guest Contributor Karl Vidak