My greatest teachers Part 1: Primary school

My greatest teachers (and what made them great) Part 1: Primary school
We can all agree that teachers are very important people in our lives. Some of us had teachers that inspired us to want to become better, and some of us had dire teachers that we couldn’t stand. I think in our lives we do encounter both and you can learn from all experiences. I was lucky to have some amazing teachers in my life in education. They really helped shape my character in different ways. All of these teachers offered something different perspectives and paradigms. All of these people will always be special to me, and I will remember them always. What’s really funny is that looking back, it wasn’t their lessons that really made the most impact on me, but it was the way that they treated me and made me feel that I remember most.
Primary school: Mr Sale
Mr Sale was great because he had high expectations. I remember quaking in my boots the year before entering his class because every now and then you could hear him giving someone a serious ear bashing in the corridor. It always sounded brutal because you could only hear impressions of what was said, and his voice sounded so guttural and deep.
My first day in his class filled me with dread. What was he going to be like? Very quickly I realised that although he was strict, he was also kind and thoughtful. He loved the things that I loved. He was a huge football fan and he loved stories. One of my most memorable experiences was listening to War of the worlds on tape cassette in his class. It scared the life out of me, but it was one of the most exciting story experiences of my life and I spent six months checking the skies at night to make sure the martians weren’t on their way.
He made me the captain of the school football team and had faith in my ability to carry out the role. I was so proud when we beat our local rivals three nil and I smashed in a hat-trick.
He talked to us about our interests, and made us all feel important. He had the same high standards for everyone in the class and did not tolerate excuses.
I know that Mr Sale still works in the school today. He has been there twenty years since he taught me, so he also has immense experience on his side. He has committed himself fully to St Malachy’s primary school and that is really commendable.
Thank you Mr Sale. You had belief in me and had the ability to make all the children in the school feel important and valued. I wonder if he still makes the kids listen to war of the worlds? I will have to go back and ask him.

It’s your time!

I heard an inspirational song this weekend when I was cooking dinner for my family. It’s catchy and the lyrics are motivating. The premise of the song is to really go for what you want. It makes references to God being behind you and on your side. Now whether you believe in God or not, there is something to be said about belief and faith to power you forward. Whenever I have achieved notable things in my life, I’ve had to struggle and fight with fear and laziness, and kick them in the ass. Faith is the way to do it.
Faith is what pushes you forward when there is no evidence around you that things will work out. When watching high level performers, the unifying factor they all have is belief in their abilities.
Do you have faith that you are going to achieve the goals you have set for yourself?
Belief might be the most important factor.
Before I signed up for total warrior this summer, I was undecided about whether I was going to take part. As soon as I made the commitment and signed up, my actions became easier. I trained consistently, got into good aerobic shape and performed really well on the day.
I had faith in my ability to succeed and did not entertain the thought of not competing and giving it my all. Here are my top tips for keeping and strengthening the faith.

Unleash the beast!

Unleash the beast!

1. Take action!!!!!!!!!!! Activate your beast mode.

Before Total warrior, my fitness was not up to par, so I set myself a challenge. Every Monday, I would set myself the challenge of running to the bottom of West Vale, and then turning back and running back uphill all the way to the peak. To put this in context, This hill is constantly uphill for about forty five minutes. At points it’s so steep that I never imagined that I could get to the top. Every Monday I would lace up my trainers and go for it again with the simple mantra of one more step than last week. After two months, I conquered the hill. Not only that, but I started to thrive on the hills and enjoy the feeling of dominating what I once thought was impossible.
I have never felt so powerful from running and this pumped so much belief and faith into me that I couldn’t wait to get to the race day and push myself. Beast mode is a state of feeling but you can’t just tap into it straight away. You have to develop it through persistent consistent effort no matter what the memes say.
2. Have a partner in crime.
Having someone training with you or helping you develop a skill or capacity is extremely powerful. You have that person then who knows what you are going through and can encourage you, as well as keep you accountable to what you agreed to.

3. Visualise yourself succeeding.
I had never really practiced visualisation before until I came across the practice in Tom Venuto’s book ‘Burn the fat feed the muscle.’ It then seemed like every book I read on personal development and health talked about it’s power. I have not yet made this a consistent practice yet and it is something I am incorporating far more these days. However the early benefits warrant the reviews. It gives me clarity and purpose and is a daily reminder of what I want to achieve with my life.

4. Study those who have done what you want to do and learn from them (mentorship)
Nothing is more powerful than a role model. They give you the faith that what you want to achieve is possible because they have done it themselves. If you can speak with some of these people, then you are on the fast track to success because they can share their strategies and ideas with you that might make the difference between struggling alone and really blossoming into your true potential. My mentor has really helped to develop my mind-set and as I grow and develop, I will look to other mentors to learn even more from.

There are four strategies that would go a long way to helping you develop your belief and faith in yourself and the things you want to make happen. Now go get it!
Are there any other strategies that you would include in this list? Do you already use any of these techniques successfully. If so it would be great to hear from you.
I wish you the best
Shaun

Ideas for taking B.M.H.S forward.

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Just a short blog post today. I have been thinking about what I could do in order to improve upon what I am already putting out on my blog at the moment. I’ve decided that one change I will make is the sharing of powerful ideas and insights that I have discovered from other people.

For example, I am currently reading “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin Sharma. When I have finished with that book, I will share on here the main lessons and insights that I have gained from it. It will be less of a review of the book in terms of a recommendation and more of a sharing of the ideas and principles that resonated with me and I believe have value.

I believe that I should share these ideas that I get from other sources more regularly as it will allow me to post more often, and to give people ideas about where they might want to look for resources that will help them in their lives.

I will also take the time to re-visit some of my favourite books of the last couple of years and do the same thing with them. Books have the unique ability to give us the insights and expertise of experts without us having to meet them directly. The right book at the right time can change the philosophy or direction of a person’s life. It would be wrong of me not to share the great wisdom of these amazing authors.

I plan to do this with any art form that has inspired me in some way with it’s content. Be it music, film, theater, the list is endless.

What inspiration have you found through the masterpieces of others?

Choose success

Shaun.

Inspire through action.

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I went to the park to complete my workout today. It was an intense session complete with kettlebell snatches, chin ups and dips. I was focused on the session and really enjoying my workout. When the first person of the session said hello to me during my workout. He was an elderly man. i would guess he was into his sixties. “Well done” he said as I struggled and strained through a set of chin ups. 

About five minutes later it happened again. “Keep going” the next observer commented as I completed my set of kettlebell snatches. Later on, a couple of boys were making their way towards me kicking a football between them, as they made their way closer to me, I saw them stop and watch me for a little while. They then waited until I had finished training on the chin up bars and decided to make their way over and have a go themselves.

These little exchanges reminded me that sometimes it’s watching someone take action that inspires us to take some for ourselves. Those boys were intrigued and interested in what I was doing. As a result they wanted to have a go at doing some chin ups for themselves. I wonder how many times they have walked past that bar without stopping to try. I hope that the man who saw me earlier on in my workout decided to do something a little more active that day. It’s not always what we say, but who we are and the actions we choose that can inspire others.

Inspiration can come from anywhere

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Last Friday was a great day. It was the last day of half term, I was going to a training day conference with all the other teachers from the local area, and I met one of the most inspirational people I’ve met in my career so far. Alistair Smith.

During the preliminaries, I was thinking about all the great things I had planned for my half term holiday. In the main, lots and lots of sleep. I was not prepared for what was to come. In short, I was blown away by the delivery, content and insights that the guest speaker gave me. The reason I was so inspired was because he gave me a glimpse of the life that wanted to create for myself. I was sat there thinking: I could deliver a speech in that style. I could engage an audience in that way. He wasn’t over the top, and he didn’t make me want to cringe throughout his speech. He spoke at a level that I could relate to, and then elevated my understanding of what the elite in our field do on a regular basis. He also used lots of practical activities that meant we were engaged constantly from start to finish.

About halfway through the speech, I realised that I had to speak to him and make some sort of connection. He was too great a character to never contact again. What in the world was I going to say to him? This was not my style. Then I told myself another story. If you want to become a man who has created his own life on his own terms, you need to be resourceful at all times. Don’t use shyness as some pathetic excuse to not step up.

So, as soon as lunch time was announced and everyone made their way to the massive queue for food, I made a bee line straight for the front of the room.

I started with a compliment, and that broke the ice. Then, he asked if he had met me before and that he recognised me. We hadn’t met before, but I played along to make a deeper impression on him. I asked for a business card as I wanted to contact him about something. He said that would be fine. Yes! I had done it. There had been a moment where I wasn’t going to bother, but I knew that within my discomfort lay my personal growth.

When I spoke with my mentor, he was pleased and we shared some strategies about how I could leverage this new contact and approach him with some ideas that he might be interested in.

Even if nothing comes from making initial contact,I’m glad that I did it and told him just how much of an impression he had made on me. He was a true inspiration, and a frame of reference for what my life could become with hard work, vision and ambition.

Who are the role models that you have in your life.

Do you have heroes who inspire you to become the greatest version of yourself?

I have many. Here are a few of mine: Sir Alex Ferguson, Robert Kiyosaki, The Roots, Outkast, Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Tom Venuto, Chris Lopez, Alan Peat, Alistair Smith, Denzel Washington, Eric Thomas, Antony Robbins,Brian Tracey, Jack Canfield, Jim Rohn, Adam Wallis and there are many many more including my Mum.

Choose success

Shaun.

Post 16: Welcome to the world

Post 016: Welcome to the world.

As I look back on 2013, I have much to be thankful for. On the 27th December 2013, my daughter Ava entered the world and since then has enriched my life immensely in her short time with us. She is so beautiful that I find my-self staring at her for hours on end and cuddling her constantly.

My family unit is my main source of motivation in life. I get out bed and go to work for them. I write my goals and aspirations down and am trying to reach them to show my children and wife that we literally can have whatever we want in life. The example that I set for my family with my focus on self development and improvement, I see as one of the greatest gifts that I can pass on to my children. The reading, writing and gathering of wisdom of great characters and thinkers will serve them well and help them to reach their goals in life when their time comes.

Just yesterday, my wife was talking about how it would be nice to go away on holiday to a hot sunny place this year. We have set a goal of paying off all our bad debt over the next 2 years, so realistically this probably won’t happen. This hurt me because I want us to be in a position where we can decide to do something like go away for a holiday without having to worry over money so much. But we’re doing the right thing. Delayed gratification will mean that when we finally do take that luxury holiday, we will be doing it on our terms without limitations and with the feeling of being free from consumer debt. That motivation is far greater than the need for a lavish holiday right now and the realisation that we are on that track already really cheered us both up. Plus, if I raise my income level then that debt might be written off earlier and we could be packing our suitcases sooner than we think.

2014 is a big year for us where I plan to make a career change that is more in alignment with my goals and dreams. Yes it will be challenging, but the reason why I must persist is stronger than any fears for my future out of the comfort zone of my current working position.

Welcome to the world Ava, we’re going to have a great time together.

Post 013: Let’s just be who we are

Inspiration can come from many sources.

I was just marking my class’s P.S.H.E work from last week. (Personal and emotional aspects of learning) The question we had tackled was ‘What makes me special?’ The responses that the children had come up with were fantastic and really made me appreciate just how creative and free thinking children can be when we ask the right questions. However, one response blew me away especially considering the child in question is 8 years old. After listing some things about what makes her special in her opinion, she then said. “I know that in the future I will learn lots of skills, but for now let’s just be who we are.”

Wow! I hope that she can stay true to herself and be who she is for the rest of her life. If she can, it will be one of the greatest blessings she ever has. I was amazed and humbled that someone so young could have such an insightful and beautiful view of the world. My job and the job of all teachers and mentors is to allow her and all children to keep their uniqueness alive.

It is a challenge, because for me I spent so long trying to be all things to all people that I forgot about being myself. Far too often in my job as a class teacher I feel the pressure to do this to the children as well. According to the powers that be, they should all progress at the same rate, get fantastic grades in all areas and basically be clones with different faces. At first, this overwhelming pressure was crushing to me. Then I realised that the problem wasn’t mine but the systems and that made the pressure ease massively.

The best thing I can do for the children I teach and my own children is to develop myself into the best person I am capable of and be an example for self improvement.

The spark that really ignited my passion for personal development was the birth of my son. I need him to know that he has no limits and that he can create whatever reality he wants for himself. In order for that message to be authentic, I have to live it myself and pass it on through example. I now visualise our family experiencing so much of what life has to offer. I imagine taking my family to seminars and talks with exceptional people who have positive messages.  I want to pass on the wisdom and knowledge I have gathered throughout my life to help them to get where they want to be. I want my children around adults who will allow them to ‘Be who they are’ by being in touch with their own unique voice. Surely this is true success. Not money, status, or fame. But satisfaction, development, progress and service.

I wish the girl who wrote this all the happiness in the world. I also hope that she comes to recognise that if she can be who she is and stay true to that, the world is hers for the taking.