f you’re expecting to read about a man who’s made millions, created empires and mixed with the rich and famous, you’ll be disappointed…although I did meet Tom Cruise once!
Fame is not my goal.
I’m driven by something far more important to me – creating a life of meaning, freedom, excitement and adventure and helping other men with this desire do the same.
My ‘wake up’ journey began in 2004. Two events that year would prove to be defining moments, each one pivotal to my own personal evolution.
The first was the birth of my son at a time when I was lost and heading off the rails after a heart breaking divorce.
I lacked confidence, ambition, hope.
I had a multitude of unhealthy habits that would take years to beat, driven by ideas of self loathing. Fortunately the birth of my son inspired me to commit to becoming the best role model I could.
He was the catalyst that ignited my search for greater freedom, purpose and success.
During the same year I attended a spiritual retreat with an amazing teacher called Mike Robinson during which I got to see for the first time that there was more to life than I’d ever known.
I suppose you could call it a mini awakening, I was asleep back then but it sparked something within me that’s meant I’ve spent the last 12 years exploring and deepening my understanding of how the mind really works with some of the worlds best coaches, teachers and positive psychologists.
I see many men turning their back on the adventure that stirs in their bellies, innocently choose to live a life of quiet desperation, because they don’t believe there’s another way to live. I’m here to prove there is and I would love to show you an inspired life need not be a place to get to. But an existence you can experience right NOW!
Which is why I work with men who want to create greater freedom, success and adventure in their lives and business.
The Back Story
I grew up in a good family with parents who continue to always do the very best they can for their kids. My parents are hard workers, who grew up in post war northern England, during a period of rebuilding a country that came so close to defeat.
The notion of hard work is ingrained in our family story. You took the jobs you could get, wiped your mouth and got on with it. There was never any talk about living your passion or following your heart. These over used cliches of today, would have sounded like a foreign language when I was growing up.
The people in my family weren’t high achievers, great leaders or academics. They were coal miners, factory workers, welders and civil servants. So it’s no surprise I ended up following the well trodden path, because everyone I knew was doing the same.
Somewhere along the way I acquired the destructive idea that I wasn’t good enough. So like most people who don’t believe in themselves I kept my ambitions low. I was never a top student or great athlete. I hung around with kids who under performed. School became a chore, which left my results looking pretty mediocre.
This doesn’t mean to say I haven’t had success. When I put my mind to something I always did OK, more than OK. If the measure of success is monetary I did very well for many years, but on the inside I rarely felt confident or felt like I was fulfilling my potential.
For most of my life I’ve played it safe, making choices based on where I thought I ‘could’ and ‘should’ go rather than having life be a great opportunity for adventure.
So like many others I found myself placed firmly on the well trodden path, working in a sales role. By the age of 26 I was married, had a mortgage and some great friends. Life was great and I had no complaints.
But then the world I knew began to fall apart; starting when my marriage ended and then I subsequently lost my job. Devastated and out of work for 6 months, I pretty much gave up on ambition, instead I did what I knew well – alcohol, partying and recreational drugs.
I’d eventually got another job but I was more interested in living life for the weekends. I had some great fun, drugs gave me a sense of freedom. They shut down the busyness of my mind, clearing away doubt and giving me a false sense of self confidence, but the low following the high, soon took it away.
I was in desperate need to break free and wake up to something much bigger than my ego had allowed up until then.
Fortunately things were about to change.
One of the biggest defining moments in my life was in 2003, during a very hedonistic, self indulgent and destructive phase of my life. I found out I was going to have a son which provided a new sense of purpose I badly needed.
I vowed one way or another to become the best role model I could. I have failed miserably many times, but I’ve always done my best under what have become ‘difficult’ circumstances.
Since then I’ve spent a small fortune creating one of my most important habits – the willingness to invest in myself.
Initially this was about fixing myself because I thought I was broken. I thought the answer was to add more to my life, increase my wealth, get a faster car and find a new relationship but even though I increased my material wealth and did OK with the ladies, I still felt like I wasn’t good enough.
This decision to invest in me meant I’d begin to see the stories I had about who I was, were nothing more than fabrications. As a result new ideas about what was possible would begin to emerge. I’d start to see that I wasn’t broken and that chasing the money was never going to give me what I really wanted – to feel at ease in my own skin.
Quitting the 9 – 5…For the First Time
At the same time, I was waking up to see that working a job just for the money seemed like a waste of this precious life. I didn’t want mediocre, I wanted adventure, I wanted to do work that I love. For the first time in my life I started to believe I was capable of creating a different life for myself.
I’d watched my parents toil away for decades, unhappily conforming, taking orders from people they didn’t respect, becoming victims of the system for meager pay, 18 hour days and lost lives and I was following in their footsteps.
I’d spent the last 10 years or so working a job I’d become OK at. It had is perks and it wasn’t hell by any stretch. I was getting paid way more for exchanging my precious life than my parents ever did. But I was never going to excel, my heart wasn’t in it.
The impetus for change kept building, so at the end of 2009, after finding myself in an ambulance, having what I thought was a heart attack. I quit my job.
Fortunately it turned out to be anxiety, but I took this as a sign it was time to get out.
I walked away from a well paid job, a high end company car, benefits and perceived security without any solid business plan or much in the way of savings.
Looking back I could say it was a stupid thing to do, because over a 3 year period I created a financial mess, which left me seriously stressed and it negatively impacted my relationship with my son and his mother.
I tried to create a number of different income streams, but nothing worked. I didn’t have the clarity of mind, let alone the support network, experience or courage to get anything off the ground.
I was afraid and my confidence was at it’s lowest and I sometimes regret making that decision to leave, but in the same breath it was one of the most transformational periods of my life.
My commitment to the spiritual path strengthened and I was lucky to find some amazing teachers who would help me to find my way out of the darkness but the fact remained that I was broke.
The numerous credit cards I’d been using to pay the bills had long reached their max. So I felt like I had no option but to reluctantly go back to the lifestyle I’d been working so hard to avoid.
Returning to the Corporate World
In October 2012 I reluctantly returned to the corporate world and it was OK for a while. It came with a decent salary and a company car, but it also meant a 3 hour daily commute and a 60 hour working week week, doing a job which was a million miles away from what I really wanted to do.
I performed well, but it was soul destroying. I’d already had a taste of freedom, only to have to return to a lifestyle that was unhealthy and constraining.
Yet in some ways it was exactly what I needed. Knowing that I could pay the bills each month was a relief plus it reminded me of what I didn’t want.
I’d remind myself over and over again that there was no way I was going get caught up in the perceived safety of the 9-5.
Ignoring the Safety of Mediocrity
After a long and enduring 18 months back in the corporate world, enough was enough. I quit again. It wasn’t easy walking away, I knew how difficult it had been first time around. But the unknown was pulling at me much harder than mediocrity, even if it was paying the bills.
The desire to be of service to others, to live life in a way that’s healthy and authentic was a calling I could ignore no longer. That was in April 2014.
It hasn’t been an easy 10 years. I’ve continually got in my own way. I’ve often questioned what the fuck am I doing many times.
But there is so much to being human and so much of this planet to explore, new people to meet, new adventures to find the risk is worth it.
I don’t know what the future holds or whether I’ll become the man I want to be or make my life the adventure I hope, but whatever happens at least I’ll have given it a go.
I hope you find something in what I share that useful on your journey.
A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving ~ Lao Tzu
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