I have spoken regularly in my previous blogs about having dreams, about not taking life for granted and about why I am doing this whole thing in the first place.
So in this piece I have decided to discuss what drives me. What makes me tick?
A huge part of the motivation that I have had to do things and achieve stems purely from being successful and wanting to give something back. Being told that you have done something well or winning a competition is an addictive feeling, at least it definitely is for me. I have said before that I am an extremely competitive person, that is something which I will openly admit. But I think being competitive is an important attribute to develop. It gives you a determination to learn and hone skills and it encourages a will to succeed. For me competition brings excitement as well as making me slightly nervous. Why nervous? I simply hate losing. I think I am a good loser, but I still hate it.
I used to play the tuba in a number of successful different bands. One of the most successful bands I played in was the Carnoustie and District Youth Brass Band or CDYBB. CDYBB was made up of brass and percussion players from Carnoustie and the surrounding area. From its formation the band was highly successful and won 1st place in the Scottish Youth Championships in its first outing. The band went from strength to strength and quickly became regarded as one of the finest youth brass bands in Scotland. We regularly gained first place in competitions and winning almost became the norm. We were extremely well drilled and the attention to detail was very high. I remember we travelled to Manchester to compete for the first time in the British Youth Brass Band Championships which were held at the Royal Northern College of Music. The band went to Manchester undefeated from its inception and optimism was high for a good result. In the end we placed fourth in our first British Championships. Immediately after the result I was gutted. We had only placed fourth! It wasn’t until someone put it in perspective that I realised it really was a fantastic result. It was our first ever time competing against the best bands in the UK and placing fourth out of a large field was actually far better than we should have ever expected. We returned to Manchester year on year and in 2010 won the most prestigious section the ‘premier section’ and became the best youth brass band in the UK. For me there is no greater feeling at the end of months of long, tedious and stressful practices than to pull of a near perfect performance and come away with a win.
I reckon I tasted success with the band more than in any other area of my life, but then again, it probably occupied the largest amount of my time! Honestly, it proved that practice makes perfect!
But what drives me now? Well for one I have a job that I enjoy, that gives me satisfaction and earns me some money. Some people find it hard to comprehend but I genuinely enjoy going into work and seeing what the day will bring. We all know each other pretty well and probably better than the average colleagues do. But that’s part of why I like it and why I enjoy going into work. It gives me the opportunity to travel and to enjoy so many amazing experiences. It does not make me rich however and if that is what you want from life, firefighting is probably not for you. You’ve got to love what you do and for me it makes being motivated easy.
I set goals. Goal setting allows me to focus more and ensure that I keep working towards something. If it’s just a thought I am far more likely to put it off or not do it at all. The beauty of goal setting is that it takes no time at all and a pen and a piece of paper is pretty much all the equipment that you need. Think of what you want to achieve, write it down, estimate how long it will take you, write that down and you are done. But for me the most important part of goal setting is reviewing it. Realising that you have achieved something is powerful and if you never look back at your goals you may never appreciate your own success. Always review. In fact make your list of goals so obvious to you every day that you can’t miss them. Please don’t ever think it will be a quick process however, you have to have a determination to persevere until you succeed, I have found that out a number of times! So many people with dreams and the potential to achieve them don’t, simply because they never stick with them. So as ‘Dory’ always said “just keep swimming”.
“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” – Steve Jobs
Your ideas matter, your contribution matters. You could change the world, just do it.