I have three kids, two of my own and a wonderful stepson. They are 14, 14 and 16. I talk to them often, although sometimes I really wonder why I bother as it seems they already know everything!
I wanna give you the same talk I gave them on several occasions, but to do that, I have to go back to when I was young.
See, I came from a very poor and abusive household. My father recognised my musical talent, and he exploited it. I did way more than I ever should have as a child and really missed experiencing a normal childhood. But he and my mum did one amazing thing for me. Whether they meant to do it or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is what they did.
I am the eldest child. There are 6 of us. My parents never did the same with the rest of my brothers and sisters, but I really wish they had because it has made me who I am today.
When I was young, my parents told me I could do, have or be anything I wanted to be! Which was quite an odd thing for them to say to me, considering they are from a multi-generational welfare family. Nonetheless, for some unknown reason, they believed that I was born really special. Now, you’re probably thinking that all parents are like that, right? Not mine, they had 6 of us, and they thought I was the one that could do anything.
Because they drummed this into my head from a young age, it became a part of who I am today, and I believe that it’s why I have such a strong, relentless drive to achieve and succeed. Even though it took a while for me to take action on it after the burnout of my childhood. I believe it’s the best gift they gave me, and it’s a gift I am passing on to my kids and now you!
If your parents never had this conversation with you, listen to this today. This is for you.
When you were born, you were born with a huge gift, and that is your life! So many well-meaning parents want to send you down the right path. But, where it all becomes a little grey is where that “right path” leads. Parents want security for their kids, and I’m sure your parents wanted you to grow up with a good education, get a stable job with a good income, maybe buy a house, settle down and have a family, the fairytale life, right? Well, for me, that version of life is my literal nightmare! We are all different, all unique, and that’s what makes the world go round.
My stepson wants to be a famous basketball player, but he is scared to share that with anyone because of what they might think and say. I told him how all of my life, people told me I wouldn’t achieve the things I have. What matters is what you believe. Not what anyone else thinks, but what you believe. If he wants to be a famous basketball player, then there is absolutely no reason why he can’t be. I actually find it strange when people think others are incapable of doing things because we literally have a world of human beings doing and achieving amazing things all of the time, so why can’t you be one of them? If someone tells you that you can’t do something, it’s generally a reflection of what they believe about themselves.
But you’ve got bills to pay, kids to raise, and a wife or husband that counts on you. I get it, I’ve got all of those things too, but I still get to do what I love. I tell my kids they get to choose! It’s their life, and they get to create it. If you don’t plan and create your life, then life happens to you. And that is how the majority of the world works. They believe life is something that happens to you rather than you creating it.
Is it going to be easy to live out your dreams? Probably not, but you shouldn’t be looking for easy, you should be looking for amazing! For happiness and fulfilment.
Here are three things that I tell my kids they need to do to live the life of their dreams.
My friends often used to ask me what my backup plan was and what my plan B was, I always answered the same. My backup plan is to get up every time I fail. Why have a backup plan? In case you fail? Just don’t fail… if you have a backup plan, you’ll use it.
Some of you might think this is reckless advice to give your children, but they see me walk the walk. They see me achieve everything I set out to achieve. I choose to lead by example. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible.
I have friends who grew up with beautiful parents who gave very well-meaning advice, and so many of them are stuck in jobs they don’t enjoy, paying for a house they can’t afford, and in strained marriages because they are unhappy. The best advice I can give my kids is to live their life the way they want as long as it’s legal! Being happy in life is the best gift I can give them. Giving you permission to do the same is the best gift I can give you!
I will leave you with another of my favourite quotes, “whether you think you can or you think you can’t… you’re right” - Henry Ford.
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