I was a sixties child, but there was little love and peace in our home. My father was a violent man who for twenty years physically abused my mother and me, all witnessed by my terrified younger brother.
As a teenager, I would go to sleep as early as 6pm in order to get rid of the days as fast as I could. I thought everything would be OK when I was 20, and I just had to make it to my destination alive.
That may sound a little melodramatic, but I would continue to survive three attempts on my life before reaching that magical milestone. And when two of the attempts are by family members, you justifiably become a little paranoid!
I went on to become a life insurance salesman with a young family. Trying to eke out a living on commission-only wage. Thwarted by the limiting beliefs graciously given to me by my father.
“You’ll never amount to anything, and no one will ever want you.”
Those words would haunt me for 30 years.
However, I had other plans – I decided that I was going to be one of the world’s top salespeople.
All I needed to do was shatter the glass ceiling of self-limitation.
I contacted the two top salespeople in the world and asked them to mentor me for free; my audacity endeared me to them. I think they may have seen a younger them in me, and they both said yes.
Over the following year, something incredible happened.
I realised deeper issues within me needed to be dealt with, and I began my personal development journey in earnest.
Several hundred books later, I stumbled across a book in my grandfather’s attic, a place I was forbidden to enter as a child. As I ran my fingers along the dusty library, I heard a thud behind me; I turned and saw a book on the floor. It was by Dorothea Brande, called “Wake up and live”. I grinned at the aptness of the title.
That book posed a question to me that would change the course of my life forever.
“What one great thing would you dare to attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail”.
I affirmed that I would be one of the world’s top salesmen and believed, expected and acted as if I couldn’t fail. By the end of the following year, I ranked in the top one-tenth of one per cent of the world’s top salespeople from my spare bedroom, with no secretarial backup and zero computer skills.
As my story got out, companies began to ask me to come and speak to them, and I realised that I could serve more people by speaking than by one-to-one sales calls, so my speaking career was born. I knew in my heart I had found my true calling.
I have been an inspirational speaker and coach since 1994 and have just published my second book. I am about to launch a tool I invented that helps people to believe in themselves.
None of this could or would ever have happened if not for my childhood experiences. I have a lot to be grateful for.
I love you Dad; thank you from the bottom of my heart.