Turning 40 – A Year of Opportunity

Some people groan at becoming a year older and a major birthday can terrify people. Not me. When I turned 39 last December, I decided that as I had 12 months to go til I hit the big 4-0, I was going to make this year one to remember and seize any opportunity that came my way. I’m normally a positive person but what has happened so far has been pretty spectacular and surpassed anything that I had hoped for.

Starting the year, I had 3 things that were guaranteed to happen, going on an NLP Practitioners course, running 2 marathons in Paris and Edinburgh and that I would be getting married to the lovely Allison.

The NLP course was simply incredible and can be described as one of those life changing experiences. I finished the course feeling lighter, more energised and less worried about things in life as I had discovered ways of dealing with it all, channeling the energy and a new direction.

The marathons were challenging yet enjoyable. I had decided that I wanted to run a PB in Edinburgh and while I was on course to smash it right up until the 23 mile mark, the heat and limitations in my training saw me slow down but still finished in a quicker time than Paris but no PB. One thing I learned doing NLP was the term ‘there’s never failure, only feedback’ and this has not only served me well throughout the year but I’ve also passed that onto my clients. What it means is that if you don’t get the outcome you wanted, learn from the feedback you’ve been given from the situation and understand what needs to change in order to get the desired outcome next time.

A chance conversation with Helen MacKinnon from PKAVS at the gym one morning while I was waiting for a client led to a meeting where I offered to help her team from the charity prepare for their fundraising climb up Mount Etna. I offered to help prepare them mentally by using some motivational techniques as I knew they had already been doing some fitness work and hill walking and an invite to join them on their last big climb before Etna, tackling Ben Nevis followed. I’ve never done much hill-walking before so to go up Nevis was a bit of a dream come true. I was pleased to find out that the techniques I used had worked well and in Helen’s case, had made the difference in getting her to the top of Etna.

I discovered at a Perth Road Runners Committee Meeting that the Perth 10k race was in danger of being cancelled due to lack of support from the organisers. I have run this race regularly in it’s many guises over the years and thought it would be a shame if it was to be scrapped. I arranged to meet up with the organiser to offer my help and following a few conversations and the realisation that the organiser was now committed to hosting another event on the same day, I offered to co-organise the race in his place on the condition that I take control of the future of the event. A few weeks of hard work and many phone calls to ensure a successful race this year now sees me as a race organiser!

NLP has given me a new set of beliefs and that instead of approaching things with the mind set of ‘why’ or ‘I’m not sure I can do that’, I now look at things with a ‘Why not?’ and go for it.

My 40th birthday is only around 5-6 weeks away and I’m looking forward to it as I feel I have accomplished so much this year and I am already looking forward to next year. I had the fortune to read the book ‘Yes Man’ by Danny Wallace while I was on honeymoon and it underlined what I had already done and where I was going with everything. There is still time, though, to achieve even more!

I firmly believe that if I hadn’t decided to take a more positive approach to life, I wouldn’t have climbed Ben Nevis making new friends along the way and I wouldn’t now be in charge of  a 10k race.

Life can be very exciting when you become more positive and seize opportunities when they come up as you begin to find yourself becoming a magnet to other positive people. A problem is only a problem if you decide to let it be. I encourage everyone to go for it and enjoy everything life brings you, regardless of what age you are.


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