Why Giving Up Is Not An Option

There is a special ingredient inside you, that allows you embrace the abnormality that your own journey to success creates.

It is something that only appears, when your back is against the wall and you know that you either have to push on or give up.

That ingredient is resilience.

Resilience enables you to learn the lessons that you don’t wish to be taught. Resilience fuels the motivation and inspiration you need to face challenges, deal with the lows and reality of life/business and be humble when the highs come along.

Resilience forces you to learn more about yourself, your character, your relationships with others and to truly identify what is really important to you.

At age 24, I was in my full-time dream job – I was Birmingham’s leading Mentoring Trainer for corporates who wanted to engage staff in social activity and we also had a baby on the way. Life was great!!

One night I woke up in cold sweats, finding it difficult to sleep. Something was not right and I did not know why.

I went downstairs, found a pen and ending up creating a simple business plan on one side of A4 paper.

Within a two week period, I had left my job, negotiated reduced rent a one-man office, designed my own two page website, made my own business cards using a laminator and card, and was hunting for my first client.

Many said I was crazy, many said it would not work. People said “you are the wrong race, you come from the wrong class, you speak funny, you never went to university so what do you know etc etc” I got it all!

I doubted myself countless amount of times, ended up taking on ‘proper jobs’ on more than one occasion to supplement those Sahara desert months of no income and was a nightmare to live with.

But something inside was always burning away. A feeling of hunger but not for food, a desire to help others but not in a way I could articulate to others. You know that feeling?

I took some time out to really reflect on how I was, who I was becoming and who I really wanted to be. I realised that for me, business was not about the media hype perspective, but more about creating vehicles that help to add value to the personal, social, economic and commercial lives of others.

I learned 2 things about myself during that time, that I would like I share:

1) Your purpose is never about you: we all have something special to contribute to the lives of others and the world. You may already know what your purpose is, but if not, have a think about what truly makes you happy; what gives you that funny happy butterfly feeling whenever you think about it, a bit like when you saw that girl or boy of your dreams and you got all giddy 🙂

I know some days it may be hard to, but you must believe in yourself to realise the power that you have within you, whether it is through a job, a business, family or whatever route you can – no one has the right to stop you from maximising your potential to fulfil your purpose.

That includes you from stopping yourself..

2) Be humble enough to never think you have all the answers, but confident to ask the right questions: life is like poker – you get dealt the cards that you don’t expect, but you must play with those cards whether it is a good hand or not.

Real learning comes through resilience refusing to give up, reminding yourself daily on your big picture, thanking those who try to hold you back for the motivation and staying true to yourself!

Ask the right questions of yourself and of others, but ALWAYS from an authentic, real and genuine perspective – enjoy the ride, but don’t get sucked into the hype!

Like you, there is still a long way ahead before I fulfil my purpose and that’s ok! Life is for living and learning – it’s better to remain its keenest student!

Please feel free to share / comment on what you have learnt or are still learning from not giving up 🙂


4 Reasons Why The 50p Man Can Make Us All Feel Rich

It has been no surprise to see that the Channel 4 series Benefits Street, has been the topic of public conversation this week.

From many people slating the media for the portrayal of the residents of James Turner St, to those defending the plight of real people going through real situations and all in between, the debate has been crazy!

You can choose your own side and forge your own opinion, but the good to come out of all that was the inspiration of Stephen Smith AKA Smoggy.

His courage to try and better himself, his willingness to accept where he has gone wrong and use those lessons to be positive and his compassion for creating a positive social impact in his community, was simply sensational and it’s great to see that he has received a number of job offers to help him move forward – it’s nice to see the good guy winning for once!

His story shows that we all have the ability to help others, even when we are in the same circumstances, whether you succeed or not. The courage to dare, to dream but more importantly, to take action for the greater good, is something we can all learn from.

Unfortunately, there are others like this man who are a little extreme and take things to a whole new level!

But what can Smoggy’s journey teach us about Social Leadership?

Well, I believe that Smoggy highlighted a number of things about the importance of Social Leadership that are relevant for both business and the community – here are 3 of them:

1) Be true to who you are:

Authenticity is the one thing that allows us to connect with others – people are attracted to or repelled by people, based on how you make them feel, good or bad. In business, people also BUY from people first – remember that, next time you think it’s all about your goods and services….

2) Give without expecting to receive:

It’s human nature to want something, to receive from others – love, money, time etc are all resources that we expect for example.

But to give with no expectation of receiving is liberating!

It makes you feel good to know you are genuinely helping others. Karma is a female dog (think about it!) but she can be really kind too if you just give – it does not have be money either, sometimes the right words at the right time, is all someone needs…

3) Do the right thing, even if the world around you does not:

4) Never forget where you come from, but know where you are going:

That speaks for itself 🙂

Let’s be real.

Every community has good and bad points. I know from personal experience, and many others can relate, that inner city living is hard, tough and a matter of survival. You can find yourself surrounded by a ‘crabs in a bucket’ mentality and it takes a lot to be you in a world, where everyone expects you to be the same as everyone else.

But Smoggy represented what I know many young people and adults, especially in Birmingham, are doing -believing in the right thing to do, even sacrificing what they are doing and in some cases, their own lives to help someone else who had nothing to give them in return.

We all make choices in life and no one has the right to judge your fellow man (or woman). Birmingham is not perfect, but this city loves it’s people and really cares for others who show the city and it’s people the respect it deserves!

We all have leadership abilities that can help others to achieve. Our communities are trying to survive in a time of hardship, deprivation and poverty – our young people are suffering out there, yet many decision-makers simply don’t have the answers.

Ordinary citizens with a heart, like Smoggy, are the real community heroes – I’m not saying they are perfect themselves, but no one in life is.

We all have a responsibility to maximise our potential and do whatever we can to use our influences and motivate others, to maximise their own.

There will always be the few who may make choices that may tarnish the reputation of others, but feeling rich is about the happiness you feel and the reward that does come in some shape or form when you least expect it, by doing what you can to help others!

3 Ways To Make Corporate Social Responsibility Personal

As we enter a new year, it is easy to set off with the best intentions to achieve your Corporate Social Responsibility objectives and create business value.

But what is often missed, is a clear understanding of the personal foundation needed to achieve those objectives, the stability needed to overcome challenges and the cultural belief that the company will create holistic impact, in the lives of those affected by your efforts.

This ethos is relevant to businesses working towards CSR objectives, but also to you as an individual – the notion of CSR is often seen as just a business imperative, but the principle of creating holistic impact, is something that is relevant to both commerce and personal achievement.

So how is this possible?

Overall, one must have an inclusive and open mindset. There is beauty in embracing differences, whether that is people, perceptions or any other factor. It is never a straight line and good intentions do not always give you the results you desire, so you must be open to change.

But here are 3 Ways To Make CSR Personal:

1) Lead from your values: knowing who you are and what you stand for, is fundamental to achieving your objectives. Customers, staff and humans in general want to be associated with businesses and people who share similar values, so make sure yours are aligned to ensure success.

2) Create both social and economic value: Social outcomes must be aligned with rewards and incentives, and form part of the overall business strategy agreed from the top down. Personal growth must result in emotional fulfilment achieved through effort, whether you are dealing with staff or yourself.

3) Develop the right strategic alliances: You can’t do it alone. Everyone needs support – corporates can benefit from the agility of smaller businesses; you have the skills and resources to fill in the gaps that others have and vice versa, to achieve greater results for all – having the right alliances can save time, money and resources!

At Cultiv8 Solutions, we help others to create CSR activities that have a personal impact.

If you need any support on achieving your personal and corporate CSR goals, come and say hi!