A year ago today my Dad passed away after a 4-year battle with prostate cancer.
A few days later I stood at his graveside after the funeral, and one of his ex-pupils, who I barely knew, came up to me and told me to take comfort from the fact that my Dad had been an inspiration to him, believed in him and encouraged him more so than even his own father. He said that his life would have been a whole lot different if he hadn’t ended up with my Dad as one of his teachers.
That’s pretty powerful.
In the past year, particularly in the days and weeks after he passed away, I was surprised by the number of people who told us stories and sent messages of the positive effect he had on them at some point in their lives.
My Dad was a great people encourager. Being his son I always knew that, but he encouraged everyone in the same way he did me and my brother and my sisters. Not in a fist-in-the-air shouting “You can do it” kind of way, it’s just that he had a respect for everyone, he always seemed to have time for people, and he would encourage people to be better by getting in there alongside them and helping them.
For 36 years through the worst of the troubles in Northern Ireland, he was a teacher at a school in Strabane, which in its time was a troubled place. During the 70′s and 80′s a lot of kids in the area would have been tempted to join one of the paramilitary organisations. On more than one occasion someone has told me that they were about to join up, but my Dad reasoned with them and talked them out of it.
It was just little things like that I kept hearing.
Teachers who worked with him told me that he had really helped them settle in to the school when they started, and encouraged them to be better
Just little things
Several people told of how they had been going through a very difficult time in their lives and he (and my Mum) were there to listen and help for as long as it needed.
And so so many pupils who had been part of the school where he taught spoke of just the respect he had for them, the encouragement he gave them, and the time he gave to anyone who needed it.
Little things he did every day which mount up to a huge deal over time and really made a difference.
There are 2 quotes which come to mind when I think of my Dad, and I think best sum up what he was about -
The first is from “Within my Power” by Forest Witcraft:
“One Hundred Years from now it will not matter what kind of car I drove, What kind of house I lived in, how much money was in my bank account nor what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.”
The second is from Mary Anne Radmacher:
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
It seems he was very important in the lives of a lot of kids.
I’d like to thank every single person who’s said nice things or left a comment about him since my Dad passed away.
Your encouraging words have all made a difference.
I couldn’t put it any better than the some of the people he taught, some of who have commented here (among other places)
By saying these things you help keep his spirit alive.
Tonight I sat with my missus and watched “Pride of Britain” awards on ITV. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a UK star-studded ceremony which happens once a year, attended by everyone from Prince Charles, to Cheryl Cole, to Simon Cowell, to David Cameron, and everyone who’s anyone in the world of British entertainment, politics, sport, and public life in general.
But these “stars” absolutely fade into insignificance in comparison with the people who are there to accept the “Pride of Britain” awards. People such as . . .
- Aimee Dempsey who was badly burned when she saved 7 children from a fire (she’s only 12 years old!)
- An off-duty policeman who rescued over 50 people from a burning bus on the edge of a motorway
- A boy who’s been in hospital 900 times, but has managed to raise over £90,000 to help provide toys for sick children, and he’s just 12 years old!
-70-year old heart surgeon Sir Magdi Yacoub, who set up the “Chain of Hope” charity which has helped save the lives of over 23,000 people with heart problems, many in developing countries
- Anne Glover, a woman who stood up to thugs and drug dealers in her housing estate, even when they fire-bombed her car and threatened her life.
. . . . the list goes on and on, and every story is humbling – people with the odds stacked against them due to health, or poverty, or violence, or just plain circumstance, but who just wouldn’t lie down to them. Every one of them is without doubt a hero for what they’ve done, but also because they show us just what everyday ordinary people are capable of.
We don’t hear enough of this – every day the news is dominated by all the negative stuff happening in the world, because that’s what sells. This event happens once a year, and interestingly it gets double the TV audience of any other UK award ceremony (e.g. Brits / BAFTA’s)
But we need to celebrate our heroes every day, not just once a year.
And not just the people who have performed acts of bravery, but also those whose everyday actions demonstrate that there is hope for humanity and that most people are good, and the ones who appear on the negative news are in the minority. The people who shine a little light over everyone else and uplift us all a little bit.
Do you have an everyday hero in your life? From acts of extraordinary bravery, courage, and overcoming the odds, to someone who’s always encouraging when you need it.
I’d like to know.
Because in sharing the story you will in turn spread that light a little further.
So tell me about them in the comment section below . . .
I heard an amazing story today which just goes to prove that the experts are not always right. Heard it on Sky News too – not normally the source of inspiring stories, but let’s give credit where it’s due.
The story concerned a Mum in Sydney, Australia, who quite literally nursed her baby back from the dead – it’s an incredible story which really struck a chord with me
Kate Ogg gave birth to twins prematurely at 27 weeks, with the babies weighing just 2lb. A little girl, Emily, was born healthy, but her brother Jamie was not breathing when he was born, and he was taken away by the medical staff to try to save him.
If I may digress for a second here, when my own daughter Ruby Grace was born, there were complications, and she was rushed out of the delivery room not breathing. Thankfully the medical staff were able to revive her after a few minutes, but that was the longest few minutes of our lives – I can only imagine what Kate Ogg and her husband must have been going through at this stage.
The medical staff fought for 20 minutes to try to save little Jamie, but they came back into the delivery room and broke the news to Kate that Jamie didn’t make it.
In her own words it was the worst feeling she had ever felt, and she unwrapped his limp body from his blanket, and just wanted to hold him next to her skin.
And that’s what she did
She just lay there hugging him and talking to him, after doctors and medical staff had tried everything they could to save him, were unable to revive him, and pronounced him dead.
But she lay there cuddling him and talking to him.
She told him his name, and about his sister, and about what they were all going to do together.
I’m sure they thought she was crazy
After 2 hours, he gasped for air, but even then the doctors explained that it was just a reflex action
In her own words: “But then I felt him move as if he were startled, then he started gasping more and more regularly. I gave Jamie some breast milk on my finger, he took it and started regular breathing normally.”
“I thought ‘Oh my God, what’s going on?’ A short time later he opened his eyes. It was a miracle.
“Then he held out his hand and grabbed my finger. He opened his eyes and moved his head from side to side.
The doctor kept shaking his head saying: ‘I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it’.”
So this woman goes through premature childbirth and delivers 2 babies, one of them dies, doctors tell her there’s nothing they can do, and she literally hugs him back to life. If it wasn’t for Kate Ogg (and probably her husband too – us Dads are sometimes forgotten!), then little Emily would be growing up without her twin brother.
In these times when rappers, footballers, actors, and even serial killers are hero-worshipped and lauded with praise, I’ve got to say that Kate Ogg and her husband stand head and shoulders above all of them.
I take my hat off to you both. You’re a real life inspiration.
And thank you for reminding us that the experts are not always right.
After I wrote my last post about developing your entrepreneurial spririt, I happened to receive an email from Perry Marshall, a Google Adwords expert, and it just about summed it all up with a kind of “Entrepreneur’s Creed”.
This PDF – Perry Marshall For Against absolutely hits the nail on the head – it’s very powerful, and I wanted to share with you
Click the link above, download it, and use it to keep alive your entrepreneurial spirit
It’s up on my office wall in front of me as I write this
Powerful stuff! Enjoy
Life can be tough, uncompromising and seemingly unfair sometimes, and that’s especially true if you’ve ever tried to do anything out of the ordinary.
Try to better yourself, to create something, to build something worthwhile, and you’ll always have something or someone getting in your way, telling you it can’t be done, or distracting you from what you’re trying to do.
But remember this.
It’s so easy to criticise – it costs nothing to do, after all it’s just words, but the impact those words can have if you take them on board can be very significant. The old adage that “No-one ever erected a statue to a critic” is so true.
On the other hand it’s difficult to take action, but only those who have taken action have ever done anything worthwhile.
The thing is, the vast majority of us are programmed to have an employee mentality – we’ve been conditioned over our lifetime to think that we should get a good job, and work hard for someone else, trading in our time for money. In the process we pay our bills, and have a little (usually not much) left over each month for some luxuries.
If you want to step outside that, you need to think different, and develop an entrepreneurial spirit
It’s like the analogy of the fleas in a jar, which if you’re never heard it goes like this:
A flea can jump up to 6 feet – (if a man could jump that far in relation to body size, then we could jump an entire football stadium in one leap!)
So to train fleas to control their jumping, you place them in a jar with a lid on it. When they start jumping they repeatedly hit the lid in their attempt to escape.
After a few minutes the fleas change their behaviour and stop jumping so high, so they won’t keep hitting their heads on the lid, at which point the lid can be removed and they will never try to escape. In other words they BELIEVE they cannot escape from the jar, so they stop trying.
They change their behaviour and accept their situation.
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, it takes constant daily effort, (and a thick skin!) to keep your vision and focus alive and targeted.
But keep it alive.
Keep stoking the fire
Keep reminding yourself what it is you want to do, whether it’s charity work, inventing something, creating a business, starting a family, getting out of debt.
It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s important to you.
So if you have something worthwhile that you want to do, even if you haven’t started it yet, then just do it. Even if it’s just a twinkle in your eye or a mad idea in your head, then just take the first step.
And remember, when someone (sometimes someone close to you) looks at you strangely and tells you you’re crazy, it doesn’t mean they don’t support you, it probably just means they don’t understand your vision.
A good friend of mine sent me this story as one of those chain emails, but I believe this one has a very worthwhile message in it – here goes:
Would you have made the same choice?
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:
‘When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection.
Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?’ The audience was stilled by the query.
The father continued. ‘I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.’
Then he told the following story:
Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball.
Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’
I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.
I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’
Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.
In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.
However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.
The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.
The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.
The game would now be over.
The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all team mates.
Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first! Run to first!’ Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.
Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’ Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball … the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.
He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman’s head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.
All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay’
Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third! Shay, run to third!’ As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’ Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team
‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’.
Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!
A FOOT NOTE TO THIS STORY:
We all send thousands of jokes through e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.
Well, I happen to believe that every one of us can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the ‘natural order of things.’ So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice:
Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?
A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it’s least fortunate amongst them.
Next time you are faced with 2 choices, do the decent thing.
May your day, be a Shay Day.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Tony Robbins – he’s probably one of the best known mindset coach / self-improvement experts around today (if nothing else you might remember him from the movie “Shallow Hal” – the guy who met Jack Black’s character in the lift and changed his thinking to realise that beauty was on the inside!)
It’s Tony’s 50th birthday, and to celebrate he’s sent out to his subscribers this powerful & inspiring video – it’s only a few minutes long but made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.
There’s nothing to buy or sign up for, just stop what you’re doing for 4 minutes for a reminder of how good you are.
Enjoy, and leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you think!
Years ago I heard a story which I only ever heard once but has always stayed with me.
At the time I thought it was a simple but powerful illustration of the difference that each one of us can make by just doing small good things for people.
With all the bad things we hear about on the news every day, it’s very easy to forget that there is good in the world. Mother Theresa summed it up:
“What we can do is just a drop in the ocean. But if that drop was not in the ocean, the ocean would be less because of that missing drop”
It’s very easy to think “What good can I really do?” but in actual fact you can do a lot.
Do just one small thing every day.
Just one kind word to someone.
Help one person in some small way.
Remember what you think may be small may be a big deal to them.
You can make a difference.
Here’s that story I promised you:-
“Parable of the starfish”, which is adapted from a book by Loren Eiseley…
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? There are thousands of them – you can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”
This site is founded on the belief that YOU are far better than you think you are, and you’re capable of much more than you believe yourself to be.
We believe that the dreams and aspirations that you either hold now or have held in the past are well within your reach, if only you would just focus on them again. Maybe you’ve put them to the side to simply get on with everyday life, maybe you’ve lost focus as you just don’t think that you could possibly achieve them, but we’d like to help you resurrect them, dust them down, and go for it.
You can do it.
One of my mentors, Mike Litman, has a saying that I’ve now adopted as a mantra – it goes like this:
You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get going.
Whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to do, JUST START IT. Don’t try and figure out how it’s going to end up. It may not be exactly the way you want it or imagine it to be, but you can develop.
As you progress you can change and adapt it, but as that wise old guy Confucius said:
“A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
Take the first step – then you’ll figure out the second step. Just worry about the first one for now.
If you wish you can SIGN UP FREE to our e-mail list, and we’ll send you a regular e-mail over the coming weeks and months to help you achieve your goals. These may have resources suggested – many of them will be free, as we always make a point of trying to over-deliver, and some will be particular programs we recommend will help you. And just for signing up you’ll have access to several free resources to get you going!
One word of warning, and this runs through every single communication from us, and here it is:-
YOU NEED TO TAKE ACTION!
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got. We have everything from programs to teach you how to make a part or full-time income learning to give Professional Massages (Click here for details) right up to programs to teach you how to set up a fully-fledged online business bringing in thousands of pounds each month in passive income (download our FREE E-book on Overcoming Information Overload & it’s all in there! (Click here for details))
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But YOU have to take action, or nothing will change. I know we can help you with these regular communications, and I look forward to working with you on helping you improve yourself
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