The Man on the Train

Inspiration, authenticity and personal transformation.

A good few years ago, I was a self-employed magician, sitting at home and cursing my agent for not getting me enough work, and struggling to maintain my business. Then, whilst on the train, travelling back from a trade-show gig, I met a delegate who had seen me perform. We got chatting about business, and it became clear that I didn’t really have a clue. He began talking about coaches and speakers that had turned things around for him, which was a new thing for me. I thought a coach was a sports thing, and this was before Google, let alone TED, so a speaking was a bit of a mystery to me too (it was a long time ago).

To cut a very long story short, he was kind enough to send me a couple of books, and there began my journey into the world of self-development, training and coaching. The effect was immediate and profound. Where before I was trying to get my head around the idea of running a business, it became clear that my focus was way off the mark. These ‘business’ books weren’t really telling me how to make money; they were more about a way of thinking and approaching life, which of course, in turn, increased my revenue.

Self Awareness

Prior to this moment, I had labeled myself as a performer and explicitly NOT a businessperson, thinking the two had to be exclusive. The image of a successful person that came to mind was very different from the one I saw in the mirror, which was the first limiting believe I needed to eliminate.

Next came the self-awareness. Through training, I began an exploration into myself, and my relationship with others: how I behaved in certain situations, the self-limiting beliefs I had and the revelation that I could change any of it (with a great deal of work of course). It became clear that the key to success was nothing to do with being the ruthless, cash-hungry workaholic stereotype of my childhood, but more to do with being an authentic, aware and generous human being with a good idea of what they want, where they want to be and a map of how to get there.

Develop your approach to business

I write about this not just to tell a part of my story, but because it’s important to know that if I can develop my approach to business and work, anyone can. I am a flawed individual who fights and now wins, the war with procrastination, time management, and motivation. And I have yet to find the successful person who doesn’t fit this description.

From my own experience, successful training and coaching are about authenticity, sharing these challenges and tried and tested ways to overcome them, highlighting the common pitfalls and how to avoid them and understanding the importance of empathy and communication. These are skills on which we can all build, and what can make a profound difference to our lives, our work, and our organisations.

For me, it’s about being a version of that person on the train, providing the tools and inspiring action. To be able to start someone on that journey, help them along the way, and having a little bit of fun doing it, is a privilege.

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