I was recently preparing a background synopsis in readiness for a radio interview that I am soon to make. The interviewer wanted an outline of my life so as to understand how I got to where I am today.
I saw the interview as an ideal opportunity to yet again encourage people to think outside of the box and to encourage them to be entrepreneurial and achieve more than what society tries to determine for each of us.
Looking back I am pleased with what I have achieved and I believe that my life accurately mirrors much of what I espouse to the young of today. When opportunities have presented themselves to me then I have taken them and then worked out how to accomplish them! As a result my life has been full, exciting and very varied.
However, in putting the synopsis together I also realised that, to achieve what I have done, I have had to overcome serious doubts put there by society.
When I became the first boy to get to grammar school from my primary school, my first reaction was joy at my accomplishment, followed by concern that society didn’t expect my sort of school to provide entrants.
I also remember expecting to perform in a hierarchy defined by the teachers. A certain girl was reckoned to be the brains and hence I often thought there had been a mistake when I found that I had scored better than her.
When I went to train as a teacher, a noble profession I believed, he grammar school almost indicated that colleges of further education were a sort of shame by only listing all of the university achievers on speech day.
Even into work I remember this attitude permeating my thoughts. When I was appointed to my first managerial position in IBM I thought that a mistake had been made because the person I was up against had a degree, had been in the army and spoke with a classical English accent.
There were many more occasions through life where I have found myself outside of the oddly norms defined by society and where doubt sometimes crept in during quieter moments.
What this synopsis has done for me has been to reinforce my understanding of how, if not challenged, the norms of society can be very limiting. It has also reinforced my belief in what I do today in trying to get people to challenge and break down those norms.
Finally, it has taught me that by not accepting the limits placed by others life can be much more fulfilling and you can achieve much more than either you or society ever imagined!