Everyone likes a story, so let me share mine with you.
My background stems from South Africa and Zimbabwe during the 80’s and the 90’s when a huge change took place in both countries. Nelson Mandela took on a huge task to repair the error of the ‘Apartheid’ era, and Robert Mugabe took on a similar task to become one of Africa’s longer serving dictators. As a kid I grew up spending time in both countries. I learnt some bush craft, and I learnt how to survive in the big city. Both skill sets which would have huge impact on me, giving me abilities that I now use within the business sectors I find myself in.
In the early 90’s I started from scratch, having finished school and moved to Pretoria, where eventually I would buy my dream car at 24 years of age, and my first house by the time I was 26. As a 20 something year old I was drawn to serving others, and found myself becoming heavily involved in the field of helping others. By the time I reached 27 I knew that a future in South Africa would be against the odds for me. My heart was looking for new adventures, and with interest rates soaring to 23.99% in South Africa by June 1998, I took the decision to close up and take a huge gamble at restarting everything a second time by moving to London in the UK.
My story of arriving in the UK might seem overwhelming to some as I arrived with £20, one nights accommodation pre-paid for a youth hostel, and my backpack. Everything else had been sold off to cover all sorts of costs etc. to get me to London. And this is where I spent the next 12 years working, getting back into the service industry. In 2012 I met my future wife, who was from Russia. By 2014 we married in the USA, and this is where my life took yet another turn, where I would become more deeply involved in helping others achieve their dreams and their goals.
Going back to my childhood, my dad was a high ranking officer in the South African military when he retired. That brought about a certain level of creating the mould of who I would be today. Strict discipline and ethics were all part of how he brought me up. When my mom and dad divorced I was introduced into the 2 family society. My mom remarried and so did my dad. So now I had a hugely expanded family and it was there that I learnt so many lessons in life. This was the start to experiencing life in the bush, gaining respect for the animal kingdom and their ways. It also taught me a lot about travel, and I would travel between my mom and my dad at least 2 to 3 times a year. As a teenager, you learn quickly when you travel, and by the time I was 14 I had some people asking me what I would be studying at University the next year. Little did they know I had another 4 years to go before that.
One of the most rewarding experiences I had, was working with a youth group in Pretoria in the 90’s. My dad had always told me what to do. So, being a military kid I needed to listen and do as told. But in the 90’s I learnt that if you have someones respect, if they trust you, then you can nurture them without having to issue commands. You can give them food for thought, hoping that they will listen and understand, and this is exactly what happened.
Frank was the younger brother of one of the girls in the youth group. He came along for a while, and then did something that required us to take action, and discipline him. His punishment was not being able to attend the youth group until he apologised for his actions. Of course he stormed off and we didn’t see him for nearly 6 months, but when he came back, he apologised and I made a point of not reminding him of what he had done, and making sure he understood that was water under the bridge. That alone brought a huge amount of respect for me from Frank, and when he was in his final year of school, a situation occurred that could have been disastrous for his educational career.
Frank’s best friend was sleeping with Frank’s girlfriend, and he knew but did not know what to do. We talked, and I gave him two or three possible outcomes, looking at it from a non-emotional viewpoint. And thats where I left it. A few days later he came up to me to say thank you. You see, Frank had a clash with his best friend, and of course Frank made the right decision not to attack him physically. Knowing Frank and his best friend, both could have ended up in serious trouble. What was special is that the advice I had given him, worked, as he had the maturity and ability to think before he did something, and my words cropped up in his mind to remind him of the pitfalls of doing the wrong thing. He made the right choice.
And this is what I believe in.
Each and every person has the right to make their own choices. And if they make educated choices, based either on experience, or on advice from someone else, or if they make choices based on logical and rational decisions then surely they will end up making good choices? Unfortunately the subconscious mind does not always see it the same way, and very often interferes with what a person can truly become or do in life. The experience with Frank, and the feedback from him when he came to say thank you to me was a started to greater things to come.
After moving to London, I started to understand different aspects of society, of different cultures, ethnic backgrounds and the ways in which people were similar and also so different!
You see, all of these things have an impact on how you grow. Your values will be determined largely by the things you experience, but also by the things you study. So allowing others the space to grow, giving them support and serving them in a professional manner is something that really brings a smile to my face. I could list so many different experiences I have had, from being chased by a hippo, to speaking with celebrities and even meeting members of the royal family. As long as you remember that every person you meet is human, and that we all have good points and bad points too – then you will always have the opportunity to allow yourself to share with others the good things in life.
After meeting my wife in London, I decided to help her with hosting events in Russia. And we have had huge successes with these. Not only have we been able to bring some super speakers to Russia, but we have also impacted on thousands of lives through the work that we have done. In effect I have completed the circle coming back into the service industry, and I now work hard at helping others achieve their dreams and goals. Why – because this is one of the passions in my life. Having Frank come to me so many years ago and say thank you was so worth the effort and the time I put into working with him. And now, I get to do the same kind of thing in a different way, even if it is on the other side of the planet with people who mostly do not speak the language I grew up with.