What Gets Me Out of Bed Every Morning?
Updated: Feb 15, 2019
They say when men turn fifty the sorts of questions they ask change from questions about success to questions about significance. On that basis, I'm now in my early eighties because I first became fascinated with how my life could make a difference when I was 7.
It all began with a critical moment watching a movie about a shy woman, who (in the opening scene) was abandoned by her husband in a crocodile-infested swamp and attacked by one of those powerful reptiles. Thanks to an elderly man passing by in his boat, armed with a shotgun, she narrowly escaped being mauled to death. (I know, I know... I probably shouldn't have been watching a film like that at such a young age. It's a long story, one that I'll tell in full another time. Anyway...)
This man, her saviour, nursed her back to partial health and then gave her money to make her way to a specialist clinic. At the clinic she met a doctor, not just any doctor - a plastic surgeon. Her extensive cuts and scars meant that she needed plastic surgery. From the moment the doctor performed plastic surgery on her, her life was completely transformed... She became confident, passionate, and alive! She was a new person. I remember thinking, 'Wow! Doctors bring out the best in people. That's what I want to do.' I held on to that aspiration for almost 11 years before I found out that medical science wasn't my forte and that my passion for people had more to do with the inner-self than the physical-self.
As a voracious reader of books, in my late teens I read a copy of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I was particularly hooked on the idea of having a compelling vision and purpose for my life and living everyday in alignment with that vision. From then on I developed a strong affinity for books on personal growth and development.
Another critical moment occurred at University. While studying for my degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering with Management, I took a course in Organisational Behaviour and became fascinated with organisational development and individual motivational theories (e.g. Frederick Hertzberg's Theory of Motivation). It made me ask questions like, what makes people tick? How do you get the best out of people? How do you get the best out of organisations?
Despite the fascination, after my bachelor's and master's degree, I joined the graduate development scheme of a London-based engineering and construction firm responsible for a multi-billion pound schedule of improvement and maintenance of the London Underground. However, in "Covey talk", I was frustrated "climbing a ladder of success that was leaning against the wrong wall" and so quickly navigated my way out of engineering into change management and eventually into people and organisational development, setting up my first consultancy, Motivatem*, in 2008.
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman
As it has turned out, people development isn't just a career or business for me, it's a passion. It's what makes me come alive!
You might be wondering, where does personal leadership come into all of this? Well, one thing I've observed in my work with private and public sector organisations, in my own life (reflecting on my successes, frustrations, failures, and struggles), and from the successful professionals I interviewed for my book, The Magic of Monday, is that the foundation of ALL success in ANY arena or role comes down to one main thing - taking responsibility for our lives. And, believe me, I know that's easier said than done. The Greek Philosopher, Aristotle, knew what he was talking about when he said, "the hardest victory is over self." If there is going to be any victory, any lasting victory, then it must begin from within and it must begin with you.
"When we are foolish, we want to conquer the world. When we are wise, we want to conquer ourselves." - Dr. John C. Maxwell
Because I believe that personal leadership is the foundation for a life of success and significance and because I'm passionate about bringing out the best in others, part of the legacy that I want to leave is to have equipped millions of individuals with the skills and mindset of personal leadership.
It's an audacious vision, but I'm convinced that when you have what I call the "AURA of Personal Leadership" then you embrace a life of maximising your success, joy, contribution, and connection with others. Seriously, who wouldn't want that?
So, there you go. Just in case you ever want to know what gets me out of bed every morning...