A tribute to my dad...
Earlier this week, I was honored to be invited to my old high school, Preston Manor, to give a keynote speech at their annual Awards ceremony.
Students from all year groups were recognized for their outstanding achievements in what has been an exceptionally tough year. It was a such a privilege to be invited by my former tutor and share my journey of compassion, determination and resilience that got me to where I am today with the next generation.
It was an amazing moment in my career, one that I will remember forever. My speech was a tribute to my Papa, gone 1st March 2000. I know he was watching over me that night, feeling proud.
[Short excerpt from my speech]
The theme of my speech today is about the art of resilience. A topic that is not only fitting for the current climate we're in, but something that has also been instrumental in making me the person I am today.
I learnt the concept of resilience from my father...an incredibly strong man. After being expelled out of Uganda, he was forced to leave behind his home, business and all of his possessions. He arrived in England with no job prospects and started again from scratch. But he had a dream and a vision, that one day, he would own his own business again, just like Uganda. And he did.
My father always taught me to never give up and not believe that voice in my head that told me I couldn’t do it. He taught me to work hard if I wanted to get ahead in life.
And while we may have had different ideas about my career path, he did instill a fighting spirit in me as I watched him build his own business despite so many stumbling blocks along the way.
These traits of finding strength during times of hardship, coping with change and believing in myself have also helped me in my life journey.
Some years ago, I was involved in a life-threatening car accident, which severely impacted my health and mental wellbeing. My journey of healing ignited a fire in my belly to help others going through the same struggles. I went back to the books to get the qualifications I needed and founded my own business.
Today, I’ve built my dream career, doing something I love and transforming the lives of others, while working for myself.
Needless to say, there has never been a dull moment in my journey. But one that has taught me an incredible amount of grit and determination to bounce back.
How did I get here? I didn’t give up. During my darkest moments, when I changed my thinking from why is this happening to me, to what is this trying to teach me? Everything changed. My mindset shifted and I believed there could be a brighter future ahead and believed I could get there.
My message to you today is to keep going, learn from the setbacks that you may be facing right now, and celebrate every win along the way, big or small, to keep you on track. And every time you do this, you’ll bounce back stronger than you did before.
My father is no longer with us, I lost him 20 years ago, but his guidance and life lessons will stay with me forever:
Work hard, never give up and believe you can, because you will.
That, is the art of resilience.