freedom - represented by a barbed wire fence and a plan in the background

As I write this I’m stuck in a prison – the prison of the mind. A lot of people run aground in their lives and stay in that place most of the time. I am determined to break free and live a life of freedom. Sure, things, or should I say, circumstances, happen in one’s life but the most important emotion is our reactions to these. We can be negative and feel sorry for ourselves or get into a positive state of mind and ‘tighten our belts’ and move on to the next chapter. The most important piont in your life is to not compare yourself with others.

You have been given a blank canvas and it’s up to you what you’re going to paint on it. My own life has had its ups and downs and most of my life I’ve let the downs keep me from experiencing the joys that life has to offer: low in confidence; feeling worthless; lack of self-esteem and hiding away. My aim is to break free and break these chains, start a new journey and use every part of the canvas to paint my picture.

I had, and sometimes still have, a speech impediment which drained whatever confidence that was in me. I hid away for so long when this happened so that the people around me would forget the episode, then I showed my face again later, hoping no-one would remember.

I have let these experiences run and rule my life for such a long time. I realise now that fear is the biggest challenge you have in your life. If you don’t face up to it, life has a habit of bringing you around to situations where you have to come out of your comfort zone and face fear in order to grow in your life. I used to be pretty good at table tennis (ping pong) in my younger years and not one of my friends could beat me, but in order to win tournaments I had to play better players who would and could beat me. So I could raise my skill levels which I did and won the uner 16s regionals when I was 14 years old.

The same applies now. If fear keeps holding you back you will stay exactly where you are and probably go backwards into frustration, depression and other negative emotions. Fear does not equal failure. Fear equals never moving on. You should never be negative about failure. Failure teaches us to improve. If everything we did ended up as a success we would soon get bored. When we fail we should try again. So don’t let failure equal fear. Failure is a positive component when used in the right way.

I read this one time:

  1. “What do you want in life?
  2. Why do you want it?
  3. How will you get it?

The most important of the three in my opinion is the second one because the more reasons you can have for wanting something the more chance you have at obtaining this. So I finish writing knowing what I want to become. I have a plan of how to get it and most importantly the reasons why. So the walls of this prison have been shattered. I can now see life more clearly and can be the author of my story.

Christopber McLaughlin is a writer and fitness expert living in Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Tagged with: , ,

I have published this interview on International Women’s Day 2021 because it has particular relevance to the theme of the event, which is #choosetochallenge.

In our interview, Sian Edwards talks about the lack of women at the highest level of orchestral conducting and why that may be. She also tells of the work she and others are doing to redress the balance.

In addition, Sian tells us how she achieved her own success and talks about her passions and pet projects, as well as talking about how to conduct an orchestra in a pandemic.

Tagged with: , , , ,

In this video I interview Professor Alyssa Westring, Vincent de Paul Associate Professor of Management and Entrpeneurship at DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business. We talk about how to create more successful lives as parents.

Juggling work, home, well-being and community life can make life incredibly challenging – even more so during Covid-19. Alyssa’s book ‘Parents Who Lead’ gives a practical framework for creating greater synergy within our lives.  She talks about her focus on Values and the Four-Way view used in her work with families and she explains her research into the impact of Coronavirus.

Tagged with: , , ,

In this video interview, I talk to actress, performance coach and author, Sarah Thurstan. We discuss story-telling, authenticity and disclosure as the keys to effective presentation. Sarah shares a range of techniques and approaches to speaking out, whether on a platform, via video or within meetings. We also explore some of the changes that are being brought about by the current pandemic.

Book - Personal Presence, By Sarah Thurstan

Sarah Thurstan is author of ‘Personal Presence – How Speakers Authentically Engage”, published by Novaro Publishing.

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Arnie Wilson, Vivianne Naeslund, and HestonBlumenthal
Arnie Wilson with wife Vivianne Naeslund and Heston Blumenthal

Guest post by Arnie Wilson, Ski, Travel & showbiz writer,editor and broadcaster. Guinness World Record Holder.

Today I continue my occasional series of guest blogs from successful people in all walks of life. In this piece Arnie Wilson tells the story of how he got to interview thousands of celebrities, write for the Financial Times and break a Guinness World Record skiing.

I referred to Arnie as a maverick, and he was somewhat surprised, but I think he embodies the kind of person who is resourceful and avoids the need to fit into one box.

The lessons? You don’t have to have a plan. Have a good mentor. Seize the opportunities because you never know where they might lead.

Read more »
Tagged with: , , ,

Man about to set out on his heros journey

Guest post by Ewan Mochrie, author of ‘It’s Time’.

In 1949 Joseph Campbell published The Hero with a Thousand Faces. By doing so Campbell brought into sharper focus the underlying structure of myths and storytelling. This structure is known as the Hero’s Journey. It is an innate human archetype; we instinctively recognise and utilise this pattern, despite having little or no conscious awareness of it. When you read a good novel or watch a good play or film you unconsciously identify the pattern and match the events you are observing to this structure. One of the reasons that you might think a film or novel isn’t good is that the author hasn’t followed the ‘right’ structure. More than this though the Hero’s Journey is playing out in your own life too.

Read more »