If I was to ask you to close your eyes and think back to your childhood, most of you would only be able to recall certain moments.
Moments that have stood out to you in some way; and stuck to your hippocampus (the part of your brain that’s responsible for memory), like glue. It’s fascinating how our life is basically a collection of moments and stories; and that these stories ultimately make up who we are if we’re diving deep back.
While most people will now associate me with words like property, success coach, entrepreneur and even “fitness expert”, there are specific experiences from my childhood that I believe make me the businessman I am today.
It’s so easy to only appreciate the tip of the iceberg thanks to the likes of social media and blog features that only highlight the “shiny” parts of a CEO’s life. But behind every entrepreneur is a story, an experience, perhaps a “phase” that at some point, triggered them to take control of their own lives and step out of societal conformity.
So for today’s blog, I’m going to take you back 30 or so years.
Diving Deep In The Early Years
Back when the smell of chlorine was the most familiar thing I knew – and my mindset was (unbeknown to me) being bullet-proofed for the future.
Swimming became an integral part of my childhood from about the age of six.
I was fortunate to have a supportive Dad who showed great potential from the moment I completed my first lap. My earliest memories of swimming are back at Peterlee. It was a cool leisure centre that had everything a budding swimmer needed; and a place where I really honed my skills.
My Dad – in his usual fashion – would bribe me with rewards to continue swimming. I’d love to say there were some deep-seated “life lessons” narrated in the process. But back then, the bribes themselves were enough! I’ve always been a go-getter of a person, so even at the age of six, the idea of reaching that finish line (and getting rewarded for it) was appealing to me.
Looking back at it now, I guess that was an unspoken life lesson within itself.
Eventually, my family moved out of the area we were living in, and I continued swimming in Durham. By this point, I’d perfected all strokes (the backstroke in particular) and was particularly good at the shorter distances like 50m and 100m.
I swam competitively till the age of 18. Every weekend in Galas, with training every weekday (often twice a day).
How The Past Can Make You Disciplined
For me, there was nothing more mundane than swimming up and down… and up and down… for such extended periods of time.
That practice became a ritual; and while it didn’t excite me in any way, it disciplined my mind to such a great extent – that even now as a grown adult, I’m brilliant at getting on with boring tasks and have the discipline to rarely ever procrastinate.
It became clear to me back then how consistency over a course of time (however boring it may seem) pays off in great amounts. And that the majority of people won’t be prepared to put the hard work and grit in like I did.
When you’re this determined and disciplined, you immediately become part of the minority (with the greater advantage). Always remember, motivation comes and goes – no matter how much you claim to love what you do – but discipline is the beast that keeps you in the right lane.
Motivation Or Discipline
While it’s been years since I’ve swum competitively, I still spot glimpses of that young boy who’d get excited by the shiny trophies and medals, while giving out some of his best backstrokes – I spot this in my business journey fairly often, where I’ve remained disciplined and hungry for success.
Of course, I’m an advocate of enjoying what you do – but my years of training have also taught me that it’s impossible to stay motivated and passionate all the time. This mindset is unattainable, so you must train your brain to discipline itself, especially when you’re tired and don’t know how you’re going to reach that finish line.
There were moments of anger, despair and maybe even frustration during those never-ending laps at the pool. But do you know something? I couldn’t be more grateful for them now; as they’ve shaped the businessman I am today, and I owe a lot of success to that time in my childhood.
I try not to forget where I started and what “made” me. It’s important to lean on these childhood experiences from time to time, especially in a world where it’s so easy to lose yourself and your greater purpose.
I’m sure you have childhood stories of your own that have brought you to where you are now. If by any chance, they’ve inspired you to scale your own business in the property empire and create more time for your family (so you can take your kids swimming, too), then please do check out the support we’re offering at my brand new club ROOM 22, THE PROPERTY CLUB!