Throughout my life I have always been a positive and outgoing person. I lived in a house with 3 other brothers for most of my childhood and my extended step family meant I had 5 brothers…so we are all extrovert and fairly resilient when it comes to life in general.
I have always been family focused and a bit of a ‘Mummy’s Boy’. This information will either make you think I’m spoiled, over confident or stubborn, but I can assure you that I’m none of these things. My younger, and only ‘blood’ brother, Colin (Born 1984), died in 2007 so I feel it is my duty to ensure the relationship with my Mum is absolute. I love my family, my parents, my Grandparents, my Brothers, my Cousins, Aunties, Uncles and my best friends, and I’m not afraid to say it, I’m not afraid of what you might think of me.
Maybe you think I’m a pushover, perhaps a bit of a pansy, but I can assure you that I’m neither of these things.
I was what you might call a ‘happy-go-lucky’ type of guy. I had a good upbringing and nothing ever really phased me as something I couldn’t do. So if I fancied doing something, I just went and did it. The passing of my brother knocked me off and has perhaps sent me on a different path, and looking back that path has been incredible so far. This event in my life made me more determined and more focussed, and each day this determination grows like a fire in my belly.
School, College and Professional Experience
I didn’t particularly enjoy school but I got decent Standard Grades (O-Grades) and went on to study my Higher (A-Level) subjects, which I completely failed at – this had a lot to do with a certain six stringed instrument!! However, this didn’t stop me heading off to college to achieve my HND in Hospitality Management. In 2001, my girlfriend at the time was offered a place at St Andrews University. I am from Inverkeithing originally and I hadn’t really spent any real amount of time in St Andrews, but again I just got on with things. I applied for a job at the University and they gave me a flat to stay in for a reasonable rate. It seems that I landed on my feet with this one and so I moved to St Andrews for the following 10 years.
I worked hard whilst I was there, as I had done in my previous roles throughout School and College. I regularly worked 50+ hours per week, sometimes 70+ hours, and I didn’t mind coming in early or going home late. I started my management career off as a Trainee Manager and worked my way up to Deputy Manager over the course of about 10 years. I worked in several departments with lots of different types of people. I left the University in 2011 with 10 years of experience in working with people in a medium sized organisation. Safe to say that I learned a lot about people and how an organisation like this works. My most recent position of Deputy Manager was the best job I had because it gave me the platform that I needed to make changes. You could say that my favourite part of the job was team dynamics and team building, customer service and developing a customer focused team, introducing team values, developing value statements and enhancing communication through technology, applications and social media. In short, I was able to hone my leadership skills and this platform allowed me to experiment with new techniques; it was a great learning experience for me. The greatest part of the job was the people; I really liked the people that I worked with and this is the part I miss the most.
Tragedy & Resilience
In 2007 my brother Colin died and this has obviously had a massive impact on my personality and philosophy. It took me a while to get myself to a place where I could understand what this all meant and how I could deal with it positively. To date, I have never been depressed, although I have to admit that it saddens me to think about my brother, as it would any one else that has experienced loss.
Is it possible to deal with a tragedy like this positively? Is it possible to get on with your life after something like this? I think it is possible. I’m resilient, and I used to mistake this for ignorance. I have the ability to quickly ‘get over’ things and get on with what’s important. Quite recently I only came to realise this. I used to think that I was being inconsiderate and uncaring, which used got make me feel guilty, but I know that isn’t the case. I do care about people and their feelings, it’s just that I am able to re-focus in a short space of time and get on with things. I see resilience as a much needed skill for today and the future as there are so many bad things happening in the world and around us. If we aren’t able to ‘get back on the horse’ then we are doomed to drag our heels through life and never really achieve anything. I see everything from a completely different perspective.
Leaving Work and Further Study
I left the role of Deputy Manager in 2011 for several reasons; firstly, it was the right time as there were a lot of changes and I couldn’t picture my future there; secondly, I had outgrown my role and felt that I had much more to give; thirdly, they had a good deal going. It wasn’t as easy as that, but it wasn’t a difficult decision either. I didn’t really feel scared or nervous about the future, I just got on with it. I looked to the future positively with the vision that everything would work out OK for me.
Whilst working at the University I started studying a part-time degree in 2009. I really wanted to achieve an Honours Degree in Business Management, but that wasn’t going to be possible on the part-time course. So in September 2011, when I left my job, I was offered a full time place at the Uni. You could call this luck, or you could call it the law of attraction. Whatever you call it, I landed on my feet again. I left my job, got a lump sum and then was able to study full time and, because I live in Scotland, I didn’t have to pay for it! It looked like everything worked out perfectly and fell into place.
Personal Development & Blogging
My history of personal development goes back to my childhood. I am grateful to have attended a Mindstore event when I was 14, which I attended with my brother Colin. My Dad is an advocate of Jack Black’s programmes and techniques and thus he wanted us to experience it at a young age. There is no doubt that this had an impact on me, as I have always been interested in developing personally and continually throughout my career. Looking back I don’t think I really appreciated this fully until I was about half way though my career at the University. This is when I began to take a keen interest in Leadership and Management and the first books that I really took a lot from was the One Minute Manager written by Ken Blanchard. He taught me pretty much everything I know about team dynamics and performance. The timing was perfect as I was able to implement his guidance into everything I was doing at work. Since 2005 I studied with ILM and CMI and at the time of writing I only have 6 months until graduation from University. For the past 6 years I have read and studied as much as I can, and knowing what I know now, it is the best investment I could have ever made; investing time and money in my self education.
I began blogging in December 2010 with the notion to send out what I was learning and contribute to the knowledge on the internet, hoping to educate and help others. Over the past few years my writing style and topics have changed as I have learned new things and refined my skills. I feel that I have still got a lot to learn and I continue to read and write on a daily basis. My blog typically includes things like: -
- Personal Development
- All kinds of Marketing
- Business Development & Entrepreneurship
- Leadership & Management
- Books that I have read & recommend
So if these things interest you then please connect with me and help me build on what I write by providing feedback and sharing the content. There is also the opportunity to guest blog here, contact me for more info on this.
You are probably wondering what my future plans are. I have a keen interest in marketing and my plan is to fully establish my company ‘Learning Everyday’ from June 2013. My intention is to build a business to help other business grow by focusing on customer service, marketing and product and service development…In short you could call it a Business Consultancy company.
What else do I get up to?
I’m not always reading and writing though, I also love playing guitar and I have been in a few heavy metal bands over the years which included a number of gigs over Scotland. I have a nice guitar collection and I play guitar at least once per week. I listen to a lot of different types of music ranging from the heaviest of metal to pop! I also dabble in a little bit of body art and if we meet, and you are interested, we can talk about these things.
I can safely say that I am no longer a ‘happy-go-lucky’ kind of person. I have developed structured plans, goals, a routine, disciplines and focus…I am determined to achieve. I am focused on learning everything I can about improving my life and I do this by reading and writing everyday. Oh, and I enjoy it! It’s not like I have to force myself to read and write, I really love doing it and as a result I have started to build a substantial library and a great understanding of who I am and what makes me tick.
The events that have taken place in my life aren’t due to luck, or from being unlucky, it has been down to knowing what I want and putting things in place to get them. Looking back to 6 or 7 years ago I was planning haphazardly, but now I have much more focus and know how I am going to get what I want. For the times where I ‘landed on my feet’ I can pick out 4 or 5 other instances leading up to these big events that determined how they turned out. It wasn’t luck, it was all down to what I did, how I did it, and most of all, why!
I am available on all social channels so please feel free to connect with me in any of these places. I look forward to hearing from you.
(Updated – January 2013)