Hero to zero
I’m 9 years old, at my second provisional gymnastics competition, hoping to qualify for the national championships. I raise my hand to do my vault, the judges acknowledge… I make my run-up but as I approach the jump board my timing is not right and I abandon the jump. I turn around to start the run-up again, and then it dawns on me, actually, it’s staring me in the face as the judges are holding up a scoreboard with a zero on it… you only get one shot. One shot to get it right, get it wrong and it’s all over; no progression, no applause, no medal, no chance. Complete failure.
There are many times in my life where I’ve felt like this again. I’ve been faced with complete failure. One minute I’m feeling great and the next I’m looking at zeros. The “hero to zero” syndrome. It seemed to haunt my life. From my lack of ability with girls, to constantly getting fired from jobs that I desperately wanted.
I have faced many rejections. The difference with life is there is always another chance; chances to say sorry, chances to re-evaluate, to reinvent yourself, to learn, develop, transform. There is always another day.
We moved from town to town a lot
We moved around a lot when I was growing up, my dad worked in the gold mining industry and so I attended 3 different primary school and 2 different high schools. Friendships were difficult to establish let alone maintain, but I had great company.
I grew up in a family of four brothers, so at the least, I could say I was never short of a friend but the competition was on from a very early age! Of course, we all love each other and we love to see each other succeed in life.
When I see my brothers get what they set out to achieve I’m totally amped, I’m like “yes that’s my bro!”. And my brothers had plenty of successes! They are all talented at sports, motocross, gymnastics and of course with girls. There had to be one in the family who wasn’t quite as naturally blessed… but did it have to be me?
My awkwardness with the ladies
I remember this one time two of my friends and I were out and we confidently approached these two beautiful ladies. I’m doing the math and thinking there’s three of us and two of them, someone is going to missing out here, and I was determined that this time it wasn’t going to be me. So, I put my training into action. I mean I’d watched my brothers enough, I had some wingmen, it couldn’t be that hard could it?
But here’s the shame and really I can’t believe I’m even telling you this but all I could think to say was “you’ve got a nice bum”. I mean what an opening line! Come to think of it, I probably deserved a slap, thankfully I was spared but my ego took the hit, as needless to say, this wasn’t one of those second chance situations.
I started a band!
I started having more luck with the ladies when I started a band, Spin the Flava, I mean who doesn’t love a guy in a band?! I gained a lot of confidence from what I did and from my Christian beliefs at the time, or at least from feeling knowledgeable. There was so much good that came out of this time in my life, and I don’t want to rob anyone of the memories of this time.
I made some of my best friends, we created community and sense of belonging and so many happy memories but there is also so much I regret about this time, so much that when I look back I wonder how could I have got it so wrong.
My unfortunate turn to tribalistic and dogmatic thinking
I continued searching for meaning and fulfilment in life through religion. And in my world view, I became quite judgemental and tribalistic. I may have been preaching a message of acceptance and unity “one nation, one soul, one body, one goal” but if you ever had the pleasure of getting into a conversation with me you would have quickly seen that my beliefs were very rigid and left almost no room for grace or differences in beliefs. I was closed minded, legalistic and lacking generosity of opinion.
Getting better with the ladies!
In 2010 my determination to be good with the ladies finally paid off, although I’m not sure she would tell the story the same way. I got married to the most beautiful loving wife I could ask for. And marriage brought with it a lot of changes both blessings and hardships; four kids, new jobs, new country, new culture, a mortgage.
In amongst all these outward changes, I started changing internally too, questioning and experiencing a gradual loss of faith in my belief system. The place where I had once gained my sense of self-worth and confidence from was crumbling beneath me and at the same time I was not looking after myself, I wasn’t eating well or doing any physical exercise.
I was okay, I was a good dad and I tried to be a good husband but I started to lose my sense of self and my confidence and my insecurities were showing up in my relationships, threatening to destroy some of what I hold dearest. By all accounts, I was lost at sea without a paddle.
Taking control and developing my character
I knew something had to change and it started with me deciding to take control of my situation instead of being the observer and recipient of what happened in my life, I realised I could in effect make a change to my experiences. Is started by me watching some videos about how to never get sick again a day in your life. I had always been interested in health and nutrition. I watched a man called Wim Hof talking about how he does breathing and cold exposure techniques to bring his autoimmune system under control and to increase his energy.
On a high from learning new ways of thinking I had never explored before I soon started listening to different podcasts and teachers who spoke about mindset transformation. I discovered a community of people connecting to something greater in a new way, and I wanted to learn more. I began to recognise the power within each of us to overcome and succeed in life, and that happiness can be found in the journey, not just in the goal.
I now recognise that my identity does not reside in my past actions nor in my daily activities, though they certainly help. But that my identity is the very being that I am right now and I have a chance to accept who I am today and mould the “who I am” of tomorrow. And I invite you to that journey too.
I have the power within to overcome anything
One of the biggest blessings in our life is the ability to grow. To grow is to live. I have started to live in a more open and accepting way, seeing first the similarities of all people and how interconnected we are. I can’t claim to know it all, much of what has helped me I have learnt from others which is why LifeShot to this date has been focussed on learning from the experiences of others, through interviewing them on my podcast.
I have created the LifeShot community as a place where people are able to explore ideas on a journey to self-discovery and self-improvement in an open and honest way. In essence, I want to create a place to grow. Where together we accept that we all have more than one shot at life. A place to encourage each other on our journeys, to seize the moment of now and an incorporate new ideas in order fine-tune our mind, body, heart and soul connections; to ourselves, to one another and to that which is greater.
I want to invite you on that journey too, in whichever way that looks like for you and hopefully, you too will share your story with us so that we can learn from you, as a part of our LifeShot community.