You may think I’m crazy summing up my last decade’s worth of success’s, failures and learnings to one single piece of advice. You may not want to believe that there is such a simple thing that kept me going in the last ten years. Yet during my time of reflection at the end of this year and the many discussions I have had with friends and family I caught up with over the holidays. My thoughts kept on coming back to this one thing that has led to the success and happiness I have today.
Those of you that have know me well, will know that a decade ago; I was lost, frustrated and very very poor. It was a turbulent decade of personal and professional hyper growth for me. I think it is typical for anyone going from their mid 20’s to their mid 30’s. Yet, there is no doubt today when I talk to people around me that my super power through this all has been to keep a positive attitude.
At the beginning of the decade I was lost, hunting for a change and desperate to find happiness. I had given up my career as a chef, vowing never to return to the dark life I had sunk into during my years in the kitchen.
I didn’t feel very positive, I was grieving for a lost love for food that had started in my early teens. Burnt out by the chef’s lifestyle, the crazy hours, the low pay and never ending late nights. I vowed never to wear my chef’s whites again. At the beginning of 2010, I had nothing more than a rucksack full of clothes. I was lucky that my family believed in me, they took me in and looked through the rocky months of me changing direction and gaining a new focus and goals.
During this time I met many people who offered advice and council. Many people had ideas of what I should do next and where I should go next. From all the sound bites, books, ted videos and council I received the one resounding piece of advice I took to heart was;
To grow in your career, you first have to take a step back. By March 2010 I had started to apply for jobs. No one wanted to hire a burnt out ex-chef who had finished school at 18. I managed to persuade the sales director of a Door to Door company to take a risk. I started with no base salary, knocking on doors on the south coast earning 50 pounds every time I made a sale.
There is nothing better than being told to get lost (or worse) 80 times a day to hone a positive attitude. The conversation you have with yourself when its 8 o’clock at night and water is dripping down your neck and you have made no sales may sound crazy to most of you.
Stay positive, keep smiling, the next door could be the one.
I believe, having a positive attitude is all about the conversation you have with yourself. Everyone faces tough situations every day. Telling yourself you can tackle it, with a smile in your mind is all you need to start keeping a positive attitude.
I have been lucky enough to meet and interview thousands of very successful people over the last 10 years. Those that achieve the most unbelievable things are not from the best families or the best educated, they are the ones that can stay positive in any situation.
My single piece of advice to you, however you want to grow and live in the next decade is to stay positive.
Sadly, my wife has been terribly sick at the end of this year and the last few weeks have been really tough. It didn’t stop us traveling around the UK and enjoying our trip as much as possible. People are always surprised at how positively we approach our life. She will get better thanks to the great doctors and support from the people around us. Whatever the worry, we approach everything with a smile and a positive attitude, I’m convinced it’s the secret to our success. You can do it too, stay positive and smile.
Today, I’m looking back at the beginning of the decade with disbelief. I feel so happy. It’s been an amazing year ending an amazing decade of personal and professional transformation. I found a career, a voice, a mission. I fell in love, became a dad and built things that (I think) helped the world get a tiny bit better for some people. I have no regrets, I’ve lived life to the full and am happy with my shortcomings.
I always over estimate what I can achieve in 6 months and under estimated what I managed to achieve in the last ten years. As we approach the next decade, one that promises to be filled with chaos and change. My advice to you is all you need is to keep a positive attitude. It’s your smile that will help you succeed.
Happy New Year!
I hope the next decade will be filled with everything you want.