On giving and receiving.

I love spoiling people, but don’t ask me what I would like for xmas…

I have a problem asking for help, but yet I’m so good at giving it…

Receiving is genuinely hard for me, even allowing somebody to make me a cup of coffee and bring it to me in bed is hard. That’s my job, and you’ll get your favourite beverage, in your favourite mug, made just the way you like it.  Every single morning.

I know the root of the problem, it exists in the ego. A deep insecurity, actually a fear, and somehow having to ask for help makes me feel insecure about myself. Giving empowers me and makes me feel fabulous inside.

My occupation allows me to pour myself out and give everything of me, a big reason I love what I do so much. I arrive home exhausted and depleted, but deeply happy.

On April the 15th this year I took an Uber to go for a lumbar puncture, and after discovering that my tumor was in fact a carcinoma, I was immediately admitted to hospital for a brain operation. I took an Uber home too, despite offers of help.

It was an extremely traumatic time for me.

The closest people to me were angry and horrified.  Deeply disappointed that I had robbed them of an opportunity to love me. That’s just one example of what I did at that time, determined that I wasn’t going to put anybody out.

In my defense, as a single person, one learns to be independent, but perhaps there is a limit.

My mother has always called me fiercely independent. Somehow, I have loved that term.

At times during the subsequent recovery, and the seven weeks and 35 sessions of radiation, close friends delivered things to my house by contacting my housekeeper on the days she was at home. It was the only way that they could give me what they wanted to.

I didn’t want to feel pathetic, a victim, needy, or worse…dependant.  I don’t believe that anybody fighting cancer does.

I went to every session and appointment alone, despite the many offers of help.

I was showered with love and support, care, concern and more food than I could possibly eat. I was sent supplements and health products from somebody I hardly know.

Eight months later, and I have learnt some good lessons. Due to a very recent armed robbery wherein I lost a massive number of my belongings, and having made a call in May, between household insurance or paying off medical debts, I chose the debt.

It was a good call at that time when the prognosis was negative. There was an urgency to settle affairs.

But it left me financially unable to replace clothes, shoes, and even some basic belongings necessary to go to work. I lost so much, and am still discovering things that are gone. In the photo above, every single item I had on me besides the waistcoat was stolen.

Without my knowledge a special friend rallied support from another friend and together they started a crowdfunding project. I was perplexed to discover this splashed all over social media, it was incredibly hard to read the kind words and the plea for help. To sit back and allow this to unfold.

And worse still….it was shared over and over again. In the face of colleagues, family, distant friends, and people I have never met.

My colleagues started initiatives of their own, even sharing my bank account details obtained from the HR department..

I have been the recipient of an outpouring of love and giving I could never have imagined possible. It has been quite staggering. I’ve had to deal with my ego, put my pride in my pocket, and handle the fear of facing the people who have reached out in so many remarkable ways.

“how can I now stand in front of these people and deliver, inspire and motivate. Teach, and impart knowledge?”

I asked myself that question over and over.  It seemed deeply uncomfortable to me.

But yet I have discovered that it isn’t at all.  In my vulnerability I realise I have merely become more human.

Many many of the beautiful people whom have reached out have said how fortunate they feel to be able to give something back to me.  How grateful they are to have been enriched by me at some point.

And then I realised how selfish I have been at times to prohibit people from experiencing the delightful feeling that giving brings. That feeling that I adore, the one that motivates me to do what I do.

I am so humbled, and so hugely grateful to each and every person who has given in any way to me over the past eight months. From the messages, the calls, the visits and the gifts…to the amazing help I have received.

Thank you for teaching me to receive, and thank you for all that you’ve given to me!

From Richard the receiver… xxx

All or nothing – a blessing or a curse?

I’m sure that you’ve met them, those single minded freaks who seem consumed by one passion or another. Hell-bent on being the world’s best at whatever it is that they do.

Slow down buddy, take a chill pill. You’ll burn out before you hit 40.

Can you relate? Know one? Or maybe, just maybe it’s you.d3910-11244616_841332609284410_860039340_n

Hi, my name is Richard and I’m an all or nothing guy. It’s been 45 years now.

There’s no in-between for me, it’s either full speed ahead, or no speed. There are times when I wish I had an in-between switch, an idle mode; it can be frustrating when the turbos aren’t all charged and the engine is not racing full throttle.  But then I remember that every person who achieved a significant milestone in this world did it because that one thing consumed them to the core.

We are taught at an early age to try our best at everything, and to improve on the things that we are poor at. Ultimately, that way of thinking produces people that are just average at everything. I’d far rather espouse the idea of focusing all our time and energy on the things that we’re already good at, thereby making us brilliant at them.

And yes, I do understand that we only know what we are good at once we have tried many things. But if you try, and it’s not for you, stop! Just don’t ever stop trying new things.

Passionate people have an ability to trust their intuition, to follow their internal GPS. They understand that logic isn’t always superior. They are growth oriented, and continually strive to become better. Everything happens at high speed. They are not afraid to take risks, and let’s face it, nothing comes without a risk.

So there is the blessing, and it truly is. Embrace your passions and become obsessed. Obsession is a powerful thing, and all too often seen as a negative trait. Yes, there is a negative component to the word, so be careful what you obsess about. There is a fine line between blissful ignorance and being positively realistic.

all-or-nothingThe wonderful thing about people who are naturally obsessive, is that the same passionate energy spills over into everything else, including their relationships. I know that it’s possible to be obsessive in relation to my two girls – to the point that I become reclusive as a single dad when I get time with them – and to be obsessive about my work and also my sport. All at once.

We do what excites us.
It’s about being in that moment, that at that very moment the only thing that matters in your world is that singular thing. I can stand up in front of a crowd of people with many other things on my mind, I could be sick, I could be taking strain in other areas of my life, but for that moment, the obsession consumes me, and the people in front of me get ALL of me. I don’t think about it, it just happens.  And the excitement boils over, it becomes contagious.

There is another side to the gift of passion though.

Knowing when to let go is extremely hard for those who give everything that they have to every situation. We are so used to making things work. Being tenacious and enduring discomfort are all part and parcel of the trait. We don’t know when to give up or when the obsession becomes detrimental, or when it has merely become time to move on.

We are all too aware that giving up might mean the difference between becoming extraordinary or just plain normal. What if Thomas Edison given up on his 999th try at the light bulb?  Although I’d like to believe that he knew that he was close enough at that point.

A great example of the healthy obsession. I’ll bet there were many people telling him to give up.

f3259b3ebd9f1e4d9ed01a471bdabe93We are courageous and determined and therefore we tend to see giving up or walking away as failure, when in truth there are times when our actual failure is the inability to stop or channel our energies elsewhere. It’s a fine line.

All or nothing people can sometimes become self-destructive too. I know that if I have an athletic goal that I’m working towards, and I am training full speed ahead, the world is rosy and life is good. The minute that I have a hiccup and am unable to train for a couple of days, I find it hard to pick up and finish the week. My week was a failure, full stop.

And so I end up doing nothing for that week.  We tend to be particularly self-critical. It is unfortunately self-defeatist, but all too real. We are idealists.

It is hard for us to understand that not everybody is internally wired the way that we are. Please don’t expect us to be patient.

Passionate people give all of themselves to the people who matter to them, and don’t cope well when they get less in return. We commit, boots and all, and would like your boots to be committed too.

Weighing up the pros and cons, I will take being passionate any day of the week … as if I really have a choice. J

Self belief has to ooze from your pores, your very being.

IMG_20140125_114256When I was little my teacher once asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I didn’t become a fireman, nor an astronaut, and I am not Batman – well nobody has ever seen Batman and me in the same room…
Instead I am something I never imagined I would be. And I kinda got here by default. Stuff just sort of happened. I don’t regret it, I love what I do! But at some point I stopped believing that anything is possible, and I’ve held myself back from all sorts of things as a result.

For most of us, the last time that we truly believed we could do anything we set our minds to was at the age of 6.

We were moulded by life, by choices our parents made, by choices we made, where we grew up, and by the generally subjective opinions of the influential people around us.
No Richard, you can’t do maths, you’re not smart enough. Really? No Richard, you wear glasses, you can’t become a swimmer. Really? No Richard, she’s too good for you, set your sights lower. Well maybe….

And so it continued.

Some of the constraints were real, some were obstacles that others had experienced in their lives, and the intent was to protect me from experiencing the same disappointments myself. That is a natural, understandable, and although good intent, it is not necessarily in my best interests. The reason is simple, I am not you.

1743689_704539719566636_1543313980_nUltimately though, my biggest constraint has been the person looking back at me in the mirror. My own lack of self-belief and lack of self-confidence has been the greatest inhibitor on the journey my life has taken.

As much as I would like to blame those around me for robbing me of the ability to believe in myself, especially in those hugely influential formative years, the power to change that has been in my hands ever since. It is hard to realize how great that power is when you’re trapped in a mire of self-denigration.

So essentially it is the biggest word in the English dictionary that has tripped me up – fear.

Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of disappointing others and fear of not being good enough are just some of my fears. I have always put huge pressure on myself to do everything ‘right’. Now there’s a play on words… But right in whose eyes, and what is right anyway!

As a deep thinker, and an intense over analyser of life and stuff in general, it is easy to get caught in the trap of trying to figure out what caused my lack of self-belief, and how best to turn it around. I have a doctorate from the University of Over Analytical Thinking.

But the fact of the matter is that no amount of philosophizing will affect one iota of change. In the words of Richard Branson – a man who was handed a raw deal in life and who believed in himself enough to change it  – “Screw it, let’s do it”

Besides, what have you got to lose?

Failure? Rejection? Disappointment?

Ironic that we fear the very things that already prevent us from succeeding.

Waiting for others to believe in you before you dare to believe in yourself is a recipe for failure. But that’s what we do. We wait until we’ve already proven ourselves, not realising that that is failure in itself, and I know all too well the disappointment that accompanies the look in the eyes of the man looking back at me in the mirror.
Most of us live our lives based on what we already know to be true. And so our life becomes a repeat of exactly that – our past – a comfort zone if you will. We keep making beef lasagne because we know we’re already good at it.
Our comfort zone is not the place where magic happens. Magic happens when you step outside of that zone.

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When you come into contact with someone who oozes self-belief from every pore (not arrogance and not attitude, but a genuine self-acceptance and self-confidence) it’s hard not to believe in them. In fact, dare I say it, it’s nigh impossible. Self-belief is contagious. I believe in you, because you believe in yourself!

It is not too late to become all you ever wanted. Because ultimately what you wanted was to feel that anything is possible. To feel capable. To feel the confidence associated with a deep seated belief in whom you are.

The secret is simple. Stop wasting time whining and trying to figure it out!
Screw it, just do it! Make a conscious decision. Today!

You truly do have nothing to lose.