Why I told my boss where to shove it

I’ve never had a very good relationship with ‘real life’…

Go to school
Get a job
Work until you’re too old to enjoy it
Die with regrets

I made a decision to be my own boss before I even left high school.

My first business was going to be ‘MultiPlay’ – a world-wide multiplayer skill game with cash prizes. I had it all planned out, venues, costs, break-even points.

My parents had other ideas.

I agreed to go to college, then when that didn’t work out as planned I got a job in a warehouse – my dream to be my own boss took a massive detour.

I drifted through life, working for businesses I had no desire to work in, with people I didn’t care about, for bosses who had no interest in my dreams…

I wouldn’t say working for other people was a complete waste of time and talent…

I have learned many valuable skills along the way – but having a boss always felt like I’d given up.

Everything came to a head after I began freelancing.

At the time, I worked as a property negotiator for an estate agency, I started freelancing on the side.

I had a little money coming in and very few responsibilities.

I have a rather different view of ‘authority’ figures than most people. I don’t see a position, I see a person. For me, if you want respect, you earn it.

My boss at the time never earned my respect – she was a bully, and spent a lot of her time publicly mocking her staff.

One day I’d had enough.

In a weekly morning meeting, all the staff were discussing sales figures and projections – when out of the blue, my boss picked on something I’d said and mimicked me by putting her tongue into her bottom lip and repeating what I’d said.

She was basically telling me I was an idiot – in front of a room of my colleagues.

I kept calm, despite seeing red – and told her we’d talk about this after the meeting.

I stayed behind after my colleagues left the room and calmly told her I would be leaving.

I stood up to collect my jacket, and was met at the bottom of the stairs by her.

She looked quite shocked as she told me “You’ll be working your notice…”

And even more shocked when I smiled back and said “No, I will not”

Nobody should be forced to do things they don’t want to do, be somewhere they don’t want to be, or spend time with poisonous people.

That was a turning point in my life, I’d burned my bridges and decided I’d never have a job again.

Things didn’t quite work out that way – I did return to employment for around a year when the business wasn’t doing too well – but I kept building, and as soon as I was in position to leave, I quit for the last time.

That was 8 years ago – and freedom has never tasted so good.

An open letter, to myself…

This is a letter to me, to hold myself accountable from this day onwards.

Something I can look back on every time I need reminding that today is the day I made a decision…

A decision to change – to be a better person.

I have failed!

Three years ago I held the universe in my hands…

– I was in the best shape of my life
– I had goals, dreams and motivation
– I had money, opportunities and charisma
– I was respected and liked
– I was happy
– I was an inspiration

Today, I look back at who I was then and who I am now – and I don’t like what I see…

– I hand control to external factors
– I make poor decisions
– I have no drive or vision
– My dreams and goals turned to ‘if only’
– I make excuses instead of taking action
– I let other people choose whether I fulfil my goals or not

Somewhere along the line I stopped writing my own story and became a passenger in my own life.

In the past 3 years, I’ve been blessed with things I’ve waited my whole life for…

Meeting Anne-Marie – the missing part of me, the most understanding, loving, beautiful person I could imagine – who chose me, and gave me a future I wanted.

Becoming virtual step-dad to Lauren – although not my ‘first-born’, she is my ‘first child’ – I’ve watched her grow into a beautiful, confident, intelligent six year old – one day I’ll show her how to make all her dreams come true, and that you don’t ‘find’ happiness… you ‘make’ it.

Becoming a father to Jasmine – who turned my world upside down. Every day, I look at her and am amazed. Unfortunately, I missed Lauren’s first three years. I’m lucky to be given the chance to ‘build’ a human from scratch. To make mistakes and correct them, while watching a new-born baby grow into one of the most intelligent creatures I’ve ever encountered.

I’ll protect them until the day I die, I’ll make mistakes, but I’ll make up for them.

The sad thing is, I haven’t been able to fully appreciate everything because I haven’t been ME.

Today, that changes – it has to…

Without change, I can’t help make our dreams a reality.

I must be there to help Anne-Marie and both my little girls have every opportunity in life…

– To travel the world and expand their minds
– To experience the true beauty of this world
– To learn lessons for themselves, with our help
– To live a life that makes them happy
– To be loved unconditionally

Nobody will ever stand in the way of their happiness, certainly not me.

I’ll show them how to dream, and how to make those dreams come true.

Even though I make it hard to believe sometimes, the three women in my life are my reason to be alive.

Which is why I need to change.

The old me dies today, he is broken, I’ve tried to fix him but I can’t…

When something fails to work…
You can’t always fix it…
Sometimes you just have to tear it down…
Tear it down and rebuild it from scratch…

At midnight tonight, I begin rebuilding myself, in the image of the perfect human.

– A strong, healthy body
– A strong, healthy mind

There will be obstacles, there will be mistakes – I will go through, around or over the obstacles and I will fix the mistakes quickly.

The past stays where it is – a stranger to me, a lesson and an example of how not to be.
The future is an open book – one we will write together.

The new me is:

– Proactive, not reactive
– Grateful for everything
– Always improving
– Always helpful
– Ready to learn
– Willing to do what it takes, no excuses

I will not fail.

Well, it was a good idea to begin with…

What a crazy year it’s been. And what an unproductive year for this particular blog.

As 2014 comes to an end, it’s a good time to reflect on successes, failures and some of the important things that have happened.

Firstly a few failures I need to own up to:

I completely let the fitness slip for various reasons (read excuses).

I spent far too much time working, and not enough time enjoying family life.

I completely forgot about my bucket list, the 2015 goal for completion of half of the items is pretty far fetched now with a time limit of only 2 years (but, I’m not bowing out just yet).

And now a few things I’m incredibly proud of:

My wonderful girlfriend is around one month away from giving birth to our baby girl – this is without doubt my proudest moment to date, a huge motivator and focus for the future and everything that happens from this point onwards is for my family.

I did manage to tick a couple of things off the bucket list – I climbed Ben Nevis earlier this year, I decreased my bodyweight to 92kg (now a lot heavier), cycled 5 miles, earned £1000 in one day, donated blood (hopefully saving a life), inspired others (to give blood & get fitter), taught (partially) a child to read & performed 100 sit ups.

I continued to build my business to a point where it can support our growing family from a desk in our home without having to answer to a boss, all the while decreasing the number of hours I work on average.

Finally, a few hopes for the future:

Now that I’ve got that off my chest – I am able to make a few public declarations.

1) The running starts again NOW – as of tomorrow, I’m restarting the running journey, slowly but steadily building up from 0 to ultra marathon runner.

2) This blog will be used as a way to keep in touch with the world, help inspire others and as a diary – to keep me accountable for my goals.

3) I intend to spend much less time working and more time enjoying family life – with a little one on the way, all my priorities are changing.

I’ll be blogging frequently too – I’d started the year with the best of intentions but never made the time, that’s a habit I do intend to break.

Happy new year, all the best for 2014.

My 2013-2015 bucket list

A short while ago, some life changes got me thinking more about the things I want to do with my life. I always advocate writing goals down so they’re right in front of you – not sitting at the back of your mind as merely ‘wouldn’t it be nice if…’ thoughts.

It hit me that I hadn’t actually written any of my own goals down. In fact, I hadn’t written a list of goals for a very long time. I’m highly motivated and passionate about what I want from life, but I’d lost focus. How can I achieve things, if I’m not constantly reminding myself of the things I want to achieve?

I wrote a list of 130 things I must do before 2015. Some of them are crazy, way beyond the comfort zones of most people – I just think that comfort zones are self imposed restrictions… I dare to reach higher, and I’m not scared of falling on my face because I will get back up.

I’m sure some of these seem ridiculous, if I think rationally about the list, some of them seem ridiculous to me too. But I’m willing to bet that I will achieve or experience at least half of these goals before the end of January 1st 2016.

Here’s my list in no particular order:

  1. Be debt free
  2. Run 5km under 20 minutes
  3. Run 10km under 40 minutes
  4. Run a half marathon
  5. Run a full marathon
  6. Run 50km
  7. Run 50 miles
  8. Run 100 miles
  9. Run 150 miles
  10. Swim 1 mile
  11. Swim 5 miles
  12. Cycle 5 miles
  13. Cycle 10 miles
  14. Cycle 25 miles
  15. Cycle 50 miles
  16. Cycle 100 miles
  17. Help to raise £5,000 for cancer charities
  18. Help to raise £10,000 for cancer charities
  19. Compete in Ironman
  20. Attain a bodyfat percentage of less than 6%
  21. Skydive
  22. Bungee
  23. Earn £1,000 in one day
  24. Earn £5,000 in one day
  25. Earn £10,000 in one day
  26. Earn £50,000 in one day
  27. Be on the cover of a magazine
  28. See the Aurora Borealis
  29. Visit the pyramids
  30. Visit the Coliseum
  31. Save a life
  32. Fly in a hot air balloon
  33. Fly a plane
  34. Fly a helicopter
  35. Release an album of music I’ve written
  36. Go rock climbing
  37. Climb a mountain
  38. Achieve a world record
  39. Walk on the Great Wall of China
  40. Get a degree
  41. Help to build a school
  42. Donate blood
  43. Publish a book
  44. Have my own child
  45. Become a qualified lifeguard
  46. Become a personal trainer
  47. Swim the English Channel
  48. Learn sign language
  49. Learn conversational French
  50. Learn conversational German
  51. Learn conversational Spanish
  52. Learn conversational Chinese
  53. Cliff jump
  54. Ride a motorbike
  55. Do 50 pull ups
  56. Do 100 push ups
  57. Do 100 sit ups
  58. Double my 1 rep max in 5 lifting exercises
  59. Read 100 books and review them
  60. Decrease my working hours to 4 hours a week
  61. Own a gold bar
  62. Achieve £5,000 net worth
  63. Achieve £50,000 net worth
  64. Achieve £500,000 net worth
  65. Achieve £1m net worth
  66. Achieve £5m net worth
  67. Design my ideal home
  68. Build my ideal home
  69. Own my own land
  70. Go to a Wimbledon tennis final
  71. Go to the F1 at Monaco
  72. Go to the F1 at Silverstone
  73. Go to the World Snooker Championships final
  74. Learn, and make 100 recipes
  75. Lean, and make 100 cocktails
  76. Eat at the restaurant under the sea
  77. Eat in the sky
  78. Give £100 to a total stranger
  79. Live abroad for 6 months
  80. Visit all 7 continents
  81. Take up boxing training
  82. Visit a buddhist temple
  83. Sell a website for £10m
  84. Own a Walt Disney film cel
  85. Eat a fish I caught myself
  86. Own a boat
  87. Design a tattoo
  88. Arrange a medieval night at a pub/restaurant
  89. Scuba dive
  90. Inspire 100 people to write their own bucket list
  91. Surf
  92. Take up kickboxing training
  93. Hang glide
  94. Play in a band
  95. Abseil
  96. White water raft
  97. Swim with sharks
  98. Score a bullseye with a bow and arrow
  99. Get my whole family together for Christmas dinner
  100. Inspire someone
  101. Teach someone to read
  102. Teach a child to ride a bike
  103. Visit the Grand Canyon
  104. Drive a super-car
  105. Ride a jet ski
  106. Water ski
  107. Ski
  108. Snowboard
  109. Sell my own painting
  110. Be well known for doing something great
  111. Go zip lining
  112. Go on a cruise
  113. Swim in a waterfall pool
  114. Go to Hogmanay
  115. See a volcano erupting
  116. Go to the opera
  117. See a West End show
  118. Have a tennis lesson
  119. Ride a boat on the Amazon
  120. Build a tree house
  121. See a tornado
  122. Learn to juggle
  123. See the Taj Mahal
  124. Float in the Dead Sea
  125. See a blue whale
  126. Go on safari
  127. Build a roundhouse
  128. Plant a tree
  129. Own a seafront property
  130. Eat exotic meats

Some of the goals are stepping stones to other goals. The financial goals are insane at this point – but, massive goals inspire massive action. Setting limited goals can only stop you pushing harder.

As I achieve each goal, I’ll come back and highlight them – I’ll also mark the completion date on the list above. I’ll be taking pictures or videos along the way for a project I’m planning later on.

If you don’t have your own list of at least 10 things you MUST do in the next 2 years, I think you’re missing a huge opportunity. Think long and hard about what you’d love to do – I’d love to hear from you when you make your own list.

To blog or not to blog – that WAS the question

I’ve been on the fringe of the Internet marketing scene for around 7 years, well known for being eCoverNinja, my main business sees me creating salespage graphics, formatting sales copy and WordPress themes for information marketers.

Throughout that time, I’ve learned so many lessons about staying focused, running a business and generally trying to get along in life.

Blogging had never been a focus for me. I’d never seen a need to blog – my business runs along nicely without the additional time required to maintain a blog, I didn’t need the backlinks or the extra traffic. I was happily accepting repeat business from my clients and the new clients they happily sent my way.

What incentive was there for me to blog?

I didn’t have an answer to that question, so I never got started.

Today, it finally hit me, I’d been thinking about it from a purely selfish point of view – blogging was never supposed to be about me. It should be a place to give back – to share ideas and thoughts, and make a difference.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about giving back, making a difference and helping others – as I continue to write this blog I’ll share my motivation for that, partly to keep make myself accountable and more importantly to inspire others.

If, one day, something I write makes even the smallest difference for you, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts – by email or in the comments. That’s my reason for writing, and that’s what I thrive on. Have a great day, I’m looking forward to hearing from you.