At this time of year, I like to take a little time out to reflect over the past twelve months.
I am so grateful for the opportunities that have come my way this year. I have met some truly amazing people and have shared my story with a wider audience, which was my main goal for 2015.
Meeting children effected by cancer at the Light It Up Gold event was a stand out moment for me. I think these encounters help us put things in perspective and it certainly did that for me. I made a list of goals at the beginning of the year and one of the aspirations on that list was to stay in contact with everyone I met throughout the year.
I am happy to have kept that promise and I hope to reconnect with them all in 2016. I am learning that the connections you make with people are so very important. If you can help out in any way, then offer to do so. Ten minutes of your time could mean the world to someone else.
I recently received an email from a girl in America who has been diagnosed with cancer. She is a young girl who has suddenly found herself in an alien situation.
She spoke of the fear associated with such a diagnosis and how she often felt angry. I felt compelled to share everything I could with her and, although I don’t know her and may never meet her, I was able to bond with her over one common factor. Despite how busy my schedule may become, it is vital that I never miss one of those emails. My message to you this Christmas is to make yourself aware of your surroundings. Keep your eyes open for someone who may need your help.
They may not come out and ask directly, but if you look you might spot someone in need of a helping hand. That helping hand could be as simple as grabbing a coffee with someone and asking them how they are. Allow yourself to be the listener instead of the speaker.
I would also like to encourage you to take time out over Christmas to just be you. I work with people who are extremely focused and driven. That is great in the workplace but, at home, I often think these people struggle to switch off. If you are one of those people sitting at your laptop right now reading this while you are also trying to answer emails and finish work stuff, please do me a favour. Close the laptop (after you read my column of course). Take time out to eat all the nice Roses out of the tin and leave all the horrible ones for the kids! Take the family to the cinema or to the park. Download Netflix and waste an entire day watching House of Cards. Do whatever makes you happiest this holiday season.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me out this year. Neil Barrett, of Fit-Hub, thank you for pushing me to the limit every Wednesday afternoon. I hope 2016 brings more of the same!
Iain Miller, thank you for letting me abseil off Fanad Lighthouse and for being there to bounce ideas off.
Mum and dad, thank you for your support and encouragement. You know how difficult things can get at times, set backs in Birmingham etc, but you have helped make me the person I am today.
To everyone else, friends and family, and to those who have reached out from countries all around the world. Thank you.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and an adventure filled 2016!