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Finding your motivation...

We've all been there or certainly will at some stage in our lives experience it, if you haven't already, times when you just want to curl up and hide, disappear from the outside world. Times, when you just haven't the physical or emotional strength to face the problems of the day. Even getting up and getting a hot drink or food seems too big a deal. You can when it comes to food, I know I have, gone past it and just can't be bothered.

But like most of us, you have contributing factors, like work, kids to get out the door for school, this list is endless. We are programmed to schedules and timescales.

You forcibly make yourself have a shower and get everything sorted or go to work.

My choices were so incredibly limited. My time was never my own. However, if I didn't show up, I didn't get paid. And as for being on duty, my time and how hard I worked was completely unpredictable. I have no regrets, it's just the way it was. I do wish I could have spent more time elsewhere, with my kids and family, friends, but the demands of work and the pressures of earning money had other stronger demands on me. You cannot claim it back, but it does plague my mind at times. I am also very aware of so many others going through a similar situation.

I was fortunate in that I have spent many years meditating, all of my own doing and in my own fashion, hey it works for me. Possibly influenced by my Karate years that when it came down to me sleeping, and yes I definitely needed sleep, I would revert to this, calming and focusing on my breath and grabbing a few deep hours and I somehow managed to continue.

So what is or was my motivation? My kids and providing for them and providing the best service I could as a Fireman for the public. Oh yeah and then a builder, landscape gardener, block paver, plasterer, painter and tiler.... oh and after realising I could no longer do this physically, I turned to Falconry. Work smarter, rather than harder right? It turns out this was my lifesaver as my alternative therapy to the Fire Service life and all its stresses I was absorbing.

Trust me, we all have to continue to work, but not at that pace. Block paving is a short term and young man's game. My back was nearing a breaking point, casualties seem to be getting bigger and heavier and why is it that a car will come to rest in the most awkward places for us to rescue them from?

So, around 10 years before leaving I was formulating a plan. A plan of being healthy so I could in fact enjoy retirement and not be broken. Physically or mentally. Being rich in health has no price.

People may think I am lucky and I am to a point. Lucky in that I was on the old pension system and could retire at 50 with 30 years of service, and not be forced to work until I am 60. Only a lazy seat shining, clean hands and never done a hard days graft in their life person would say you have to work until 67 or beyond! I detest these people who treat others the way they do.

I am not wealthy rich, just a lot healthier rich.

My motivation in the job during 12 weeks of basic training, being screamed at and beasted on how to become a firefighter was a great motivation. Passing was my drive, a drive to succeed. Then back on station, there were some crap incidents and the best way to deal with them was to crack on with the crew and get it done so we could get back and then we all have a rest. We jokingly used to say, we'd go to work for a rest, as off duty days are spent trying to earn enough or going in on overtime to cover the shortfall of personnel. If only wages were decent, people wouldn't have to work so incredibly hard. Nothing seems to have changed even today for so many.

In the later years, I chose to be out in the fields with my birds of prey, connecting with nature and having a complete contrast from Service life, but trust me this was incredibly hard work too. I had a responsibility to feed and clothe my kids and look after them and then to provide a decent job to customers and the well being of my birds of prey. Ultimately to earn money to provide.

I was last on the list of priorities. Which I look back on now and think it's crazy. Without me functioning, the rest doesn't happen.

My motivation was simple and if I didn't do something about it being proactive, then it wasn't happening. Thinking it through, yes this is precisely what we should be doing, but eventually, you have to take action.

Now after all those years and finally retiring, I took my birds to France to 'live the dream' as everyone thought and constantly told me. The promises of work at hotels just didn't come off. And taxes! Wow....very high. It was the last straw after many setbacks and challenges.

The outcome was being forced to sell the lot and going back to hard graft landscaping. I was physically exhausted and during 2020 we were forced into a very strict lockdown. That's when it really hit me. I had no more distractions.

So, how do I find my motivation?

I have always been upbeat, well as best I can, as I've seen enough to know my life and circumstances are fine compared to others. And with the world events and Ukraine situation happening now, I am incredibly grateful to have a roof and food, but I have choices. Living the dream compared to many. Their motivation is to fight for their country.

But something had to change and my motivation has always been my kids.

I now find myself in Portugal and life is very different from the UK and France, I have completed 3 books and am out regularly cycling to not only better my health but to also raise awareness of PTSD and Mental Health issues and funds for the Firefighters Charity and the Bombeiros here in the Algarve.

I am in a much better place physically and mentally and can keep pushing myself to reach the goals I've set for myself. My motivation is to make it happen and help others, but seriously, and it may sound selfish, my motivation is my health first.

How can I help anyone if I am broken, tired or ill?

So, when people talk about self-care, don't shrug it off, dismiss or scoff at it. Only when you ignore it all for too long and you are forced to notice because you fall ill or take on an injury, will you then realise how important your health is too.

Cycling out here has been amazing, in that it's not freezing and the mountains compared to the Pyrenees are only half the height, but the hill challenges are all mind games. Motivation has to come from within, a willingness to better me and to achieve.

If I cannot do what I said I would do, then I will let others down and the voice of self-worth would come up triumphantly screaming, saying, 'I told you so, you're not good enough.' We have enough critics in the world already, adding my own voice isn't helpful. How quick are we to judge and ridicule when we see someone struggling and looking uncomfortable as they have just started their fitness journey. Babies have to learn to walk and will tumble numerous times before it's mastered. We don't laugh, well we may be a chuckle, but we praise and encourage.

So, again finding my motivation, is how does it feel to be on the end of such piss-taking. It's not nice, even if it's not meant and said in jest, it still has an effect.

Questions of doubt rise from within us.

But turn that around and how amazing does it feel to be part of something and it all comes good, encouraging and praise given out freely to all? Collectively rescuing someone is an incredible feeling. So, never take anything away from it, without your intervention they'd still be stuck there.

My motivation now is to achieve my goals so that others can see that if we put our minds to it and then take action, they can achieve theirs too. Set your mind to it and make it happen. A quote I read once, was 'the loudest 'boo's' are usually from the cheapest seats.' The armchair critics and those not prepared to do it themselves. Going back to Ukraine and this conflict, which deeply saddens me, it takes actions from heads of state and not mere words to encourage and motivate others. Leading by example. How incredibly powerful is this. Yet the critics will always be there to pick holes and ridicule or fault find. These types will always be there so your motivation in whatever you do must stay true to you and your goals.

If you had some crazy idea and you've started it, it's ok to have a wobble, but sit with it and ask yourself why you started down this road in the first place. What is the real reason you wanted to push yourself through difficult times? Cycling up mountains isn't easy, this I have experienced first-hand here and in the Pyrenees, but the mind can get you there when the body has nothing left, this I know only too well. But reach the top I have, numerous times now.

We are stronger than we think.

I will be announcing the first event soon, and I sincerely hope it helps encourage others to try.

Sometimes the toughest roads are the right roads to walk.

I look back at where I was and how close I was to the edge many times, but I acknowledge how resilient I am too, as are you too.

To quote from book 1, 'What if?'

What if I listened to all the doubters and haters, and these are just in my own head.... let alone all the armchair critics.

But then being a stubborn sod, I ask the question, 'What if maybe?'

What if maybe the world and its leaders wake up and stop fighting and work together to have a better world, I sincerely hope so. My heart goes out to many.

We can only deal with what's in front of us...

Listen to your instincts, motivate yourself by your progress, not by your critics.

Or maybe use the critic's words to spur you on and prove them wrong.

Progress can and does go unnoticed for too long before we see results.

How we treat ourselves and speak to ourselves makes a huge difference.

Like the baby, fall over, pick yourself back up and dust yourself off. Chuckle and try again. Success doesn't just happen, we make it happen.

Seeing others reach their achievements is also my motivation.

Allow yours to be heard.

It is within us all.

Sending positivity to all.


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