The Leicester City effect

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Being a huge fan of football I could not help but get caught up in the story that has been Leicester City this year. Leicester City came from narrowly avoiding relegation last year, to win the Premier League this year, despite being 5000/1 to do it.

I normally don’t bother watching the Premier League trophy ceremonies as they are normally pretty mundane but I actually wanted to watch this one and felt quite sentimental when I did sit down to watch it. Seeing people achieve, what to some seemed like the impossible dream was life affirming and gave me hope.

Finding hope

It is surprising where in life we find hope, what stories really touch us and what captures our imagination. I think especially in the UK we love a good underdog story and I think we are a society that is a bit jaded, so whenever we see something we don’t expect, we get even more excited for it.

Leicester City this season have shown so many great things, but two things have really shone through for me. The first is their work ethic. Everyone on that team is willing to try harder than the opposition, to run longer, to run faster, to be stronger. Everything they can control as individuals, they make sure they do better than their opposition, which is great advice for life really.

When you get the ball

The other thing, which I think has been a great message, is that their style of football this year hasn’t been about having the ball for long periods of time in a game, but just to capitalize on every time they do have the ball. Sometimes in life you are not given an opportunity for long or more than one opportunity. So in life it is important that when the opportunity does come, you make the most of it.

Stories will be written about this Leicester team for years to come but to me this is the first time in my lifetime where a team has transcended the sport of football. I hope this team inspires many people for years to come and I hope looking back, that this is one of the main ways their success is talked about. Leicetser City are what the world needed: A team that came and shook up the established order and said the name of the team doesn’t matter, the prices players cost doesn’t matter but it is what that team does out on the pitch that does.

Another year older

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So this year I turned the age of 32. With every year that passes I always seem to look back and say to myself “that last year was crazy.” Last year I became a dad and that has made it the most life-changing year of my life! In previous years I have got married, travelled to places across the globe, written books, won awards, accomplished many great things etc. And in there own way they have been crazy years too.

I like to use my time on this earth wisely and do the best I can with it. That is why I know I have a lot of crazy years ahead of me. It is also my outlook on life as well that makes them crazy years. I choose to celebrate the great things and try not to dwell on the not so good. I appreciate every year and every opportunity I get. Every year I try and make sure I try new things, accept new challenges and put myself in the way of opportunity.

Amplifying experiences

The great thing about my years now, is the people I have chosen to do life with. Every good experience means more and is amplified; every accomplishment is backed by people that are so proud of me. I am surrounded by people who want to see me succeed and who go out of their way for me.

My years will always have lows and sad times but I all I can do is control how I react to those and by reacting well to them, I know that positive times will always follow them. My birthday isn’t about getting older to me. It’s about looking back on my experiences and looking forward to more that will come. I just can’t wait to see what I will be looking back on at my next birthday, as I can only see great things in my future.

A great celebration

My birthday this year was a lovely day thanks to my amazing wife who made it a great celebration. Life and experience should be celebrated. My birthday was a great day to catapult my in to the new year with. I have got no clue how far I will go or where I will land but I know the journey is going to be a fun one.

Hard work creates opportunities

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If you are looking for an opportunity, the best way to get your hands on one is through hard work. The more you do, the more opportunities you expose yourself to. The people that give out opportunities are more likely to hand those opportunities out to those people that work hard, so make sure you are working hard.

I have been afforded many great opportunities in life, commentating at Wembley stadium, speaking at the House of Commons, writing for a national newspaper, coaching my team to a national final and the list goes on. Each of these I can honestly say I worked hard to achieve. None of them came easy and I was beyond thankful for each opportunity I was given but I believe I deserved all of them. That’s the thing; with every opportunity, I wanted to know that I deserved it and that I wasn’t just given it.

Unexpected

Sometimes opportunities don’t come quickly, sometimes they come from unexpected places and at times you don’t expect. It’s like this week I have been asked to be a trustee for one of the best theatre projects in the local area. I wasn’t expecting this opportunity and I have never worked with them before, but because of my hard work in the community they have found out about me and think that I can add something to their board.

When this week started I had no clue this offer would come in and was not expecting it, but it felt so rewarding to receive. The great thing with this opportunity is that it presents another chance to get stuck in and work hard in an organisation that creates opportunities for others. Because I have had so many amazing opportunities I want to do all I can to help create opportunities for others and be in a position where I can give opportunities to others.

Making the most of an opportunity

I now want to do the best I can with this opportunity that has been given to me. If you work hard to get an opportunity and then don’t make the most of it, then was the hard work worth it? I have got no clue where this latest opportunity will take me but I am excited to see where it does. That’s the thing with opportunities, sometimes you don’t know where they are going to take you but for many the journey itself is exciting enough and you never know what further opportunities this one opportunity may lead to.

So people its time to start enjoying hard work and its time to get yourself ready for the opportunities that may come your way. Don’t go in to everything expecting an opportunity to come your way but be ready for any that do. If opportunities don’t come your way then its time to start thinking of taking your hard work and investing it in something else that gets you closer to the opportunities you would like in life. The opportunities are out there and ready for those that want to take them.

International Support

Most weeks I will check the stats for the blog to see what people are reading and what subjects have really engaged them. The one section of stats that I absolutely love though is the one where I can see the countries that my visitors are coming from.

At the moment it seems like each week I check my stats there are new countries represented. It would be amazing if one day the stats showed that someone in every country on the planet had viewed this blog. That’s the thing I love about the internet, how when you post something at any time of day someone, somewhere can click a link or type in a web address and read your work.

A Connected World

We live in a world now where you don’t even need to go to a country or place to have a positive impact on it, which I think is super cool. A world where you can change the world in your sleep. We are a more connected world than we have ever been before and the possibilities to share in each other’s life are there for us to take.

I am appreciative of every view this website gets and I thank each and everyone of you for taking the time out to read my blog, regardless of what country you come from, but it does always touch me when people whose first language isn’t English take the time to read.

I wish I was fluent in a second language and had the ability to converse with people of other nationalities in their language and read information from their countries. I am also pretty sure that there are many bi-lingual and multi-lingual people out there who’s English is far superior to mine, which puts me to shame really.

A Thirst for Knowledge

I am though so glad that there is this thirst for information and knowledge that people aren’t letting language be a barrier to obtaining it. I wish I could translate this blog properly and have it available in multiple languages to make it easier for people to read, as I think that would open up some important and big audiences.

More than ever I think many of us now understand how important the events in other countries are and how they impact us all. The world is also a more open and accessible space these days, so I think we should be encouraged to learn and understand other languages. I think the English speaking world has it much easier than most other countries when it comes to conversing with the world due to the number of English speakers, but I think it is important that we don’t get lazy with it and that we appreciate the position it affords us.

Shared Experience

I wish I could be there sitting with one of the viewers of this blog from another country when they read it and talk about it with them. I would love to know what they think about what I am saying and how their opinion or viewpoint might differ to mine because of their background or culture.

No one person can experience everything or know everything. This is why I am so keen to use the Internet to share my thoughts and experiences, but to do it in a way where I can connect with others and learn from them as well. I don’t think there are many people out there that you can’t learn something from.

To the people who have not let language be a barrier to their development, dreams, opportunities and thirst for knowledge, I salute you. In life there are so many things that can stop people from achieving what they were put on earth to achieve, so for those that push through them I will be forever impressed.

Don’t let language or anything be a barrier to success in your life. If there is something you want to achieve, its time to go out there and achieve the things you need to achieve to make it happen. If you want to change the world in a positive way don’t let anything stop you.

Life is a bit like Netflix

Like millions of others my wife and I subscribe to Netflix. We enjoy having all the films and TV shows available to us whenever we want to watch them. The amount of choice is unbelievable, but it’s that level of choice that sometimes makes it hard for me to decide what to watch.

I can spend ages just scrolling through all the categories adding titles to my list to watch later. I like expanding my list and having a great diverse range of brilliant films and TV programmes on there. After I have spent what feels like an hour doing this I will then go back to my list but then because I have so many good things on it, I then spend another age deciding what to watch from my list. By the time I have decided what to watch I could have watched a whole film in that time and by the time I have decided it’s probably time to go and do something else.

I think the same is true for life. We all have so many options and opportunities open to us in so many areas of our life that we can end up doing nothing because we can’t decide. In todays world decision-making is a more important skill to have then ever before. We are a generation that has an overload of information and media bombarding our lives and I think our future is defined by what we let in to our lives and how we react to it.

There is a school of thought that deciding to do something like a particular job or educational course means you are closing yourself off from the millions of other things you could be doing and losing some of your potential. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as the only way you are going to achieve in life is to commit to something. If you look at successful people in life, there aren’t that many jack of all trades but there are loads of people that committed everything they had in to one avenue, one talent or one area of specialism.

The only way we learn is by trying something. Like a film on Netflix the only way to find out if it is any good is to give it a watch as you will never know unless you watch it. Never forget that in life there will always be a new avenue, a new opportunity and a new life to lead much like on Netflix there will always be another film to watch.

Don’t be scared by the number of opportunities that are out there, be scared of not taking one. Don’t be scared of failing at them or taking the wrong one as all this does is get you closer to finding the right opportunity for you and the right path to go down.