Understanding yourself, uncovering your true potential, identifying your hidden strengths, skills and weaknesses, so that you can gain clarity of purpose and plan towards those life goals that you should strive to achieve. Surely this is what we should all strive for, right?
Well absolutely, as far as I am concerned anyway, I would be a bit of a fraudster and hypocrite, if I did not believe this or live by this belief myself, especially when I work with my clients on exactly this, within their Personal and Business Development.
But wow it can be really hard work making the plans, committing to them, staying motivated, following them, even when the hardest of challenges are presented by life. It can be timely too, lets not forget that "Goals" are not "To Do" lists or "Daily Tasks" and some can take a lifetime to achieve, if you even manage to achieve them at all, but you can sure have fun trying!
However, that feeling you experience when you do finally achieve your goal, the one that means so much to you for a countless number of reasons, some of which no one could ever fully understand or appreciate, my god, I could never attempt to verbalise it! Have you ever experienced it? Do you know what I mean? I certainly hope so.
I never made any plans or thought of personal goals during my time in the Army, there was always a "Mission or Tasking", but never a personal goal. However, I managed to achieve so much during my time, a fact I will always be forever grateful for and with this came that same feeling. After Operational Tours away, obviously the middle east, but also on completing the charity events I planned and took part in, such as the Basrah 1st Valentine’s Half Marathon in Iraq or the 1000mile Euro Cycle. I felt like "King of the World".
On leaving the Armed Forces though, with 7 prolapse discs and later to be diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD, no support network, no friends or family to speak of and an uncertain future, setting goals still evaded my thoughts. If anything, my only goal, was surviving the day and getting through the constant pain I felt, and still feel, from varying parts of my spine.
July 2016 saw me in rehab with Combat Stress, losing my struggle with: PTSD, control over my Chauffeur business and personal life, where bad decision making had cost £thousands financially and lost me friendships. Something had to change.
Twelve months later and I had a plan, goals to work towards and my fight back is going well, although certain things have worsened medically with my spine. One of those goals, was to once again, climb a hill in the Lake District, a region that I lived in for many years prior to joining the Army. However, I thought this might be too large a reach, even after the great challenges I had overcome to get to where I was then.
Things had taken a huge change, I was dating someone who knew all about the bad side of things and also my medical side, yet she was still interested in me! See what I did there? Well an opportunity presented itself for us to go away for the weekend and I told her what I wished to achieve if at all possible, she was very supportive.
Long story short, you will have to buy the book, the goal was to climb a hill called: Wansfell Pike and walk the ridgeway, some 485m high, I achieved it. I was so ecstatic, the feeling that I hadn’t felt for so long was back and I just wanted to tell the world, show that regardless of those challenges you may face, there is always a way and you can achieve so much more than what you ever think you can! But....what would people say? What would people think?
Now you may well say, what do you mean, of course people will be fully supportive and congratulate you. Unfortunately this is not always the case and I had already faced various accusations, questioning the validity of my injuries and the reasoning behind my being open and vocal about having PTSD. This was combined with other spiteful and personal suggestions, not least of all, a petition being created and shared around Social Media, to remove me as a 'Business Director' and from the 'Workplace Mental Health Awards', that I would later go on to receive a "Highly Commended" for.
So, I said nothing of this great accomplishment and all the challenges I had overcome, the pain I had gone through and the levels of medication I had taken, just so that I could achieve this goal. You might say that I cheated in a way, because I could have floated to the top with the number of opiates I had inside me! Just don't tell the Dr ok, that's only between you and I.
Anyway, I was marching/limping around Bicester Market on Remembrance Sunday, with the Veterans and my beautiful, wonderfully supportive partner, thinking of those who sacrificed so much and what they had gone through, when I suddenly realised that I was doing them a dis-service and hardly honouring their sacrifices!
I have a duty, a responsibility to demonstrate the value in values, to show that those with an invisible injury or mental health challenge can still compete with their peers, that having a disability does not disable you from achieving great things and your own personal goals.
Look at the Invictus Games, this is a prime example of just that and is quickly becoming a shining beacon of hope to everyone out there, not just Veterans and certainly not least to the younger generation.
It has saddened and frustrated me these past couple of months, not feeling able to say anything. I feel ashamed of myself, for not having the strength and the conviction , to see the goal through to the bitter end and stand up and be counted.
You see, there will always be those who perceive you and your actions in a different way, they are not wrong doing so and it will be their actions, that will define them as a person and demonstrate the values they have. This is beyond your control, there is nothing you can do about it, so try not to waste your time or energy on it, try to understand they merely perceive your actions differently and that is their problem to deal with.
You need to believe in yourself and demonstrate the confidence you have in your actions. As long as they are honourable and you stand by a strong set of values, then your clarity of purpose and direction, will show you in the light you wish to be seen. Be strong, identify your goals, gain clarity of purpose, of self, live by your values and stand true to who you are.
Believe in you, as I believe in you and don’t secretly achieve your goals, if no one else, then I want to hear about them.