So for those of you that remember the last blog I wrote a few weeks ago was all about gratitude & consciously trying to focus on the good things we have in life & being grateful for them rather than always focusing on the bad. For those of you that know me well or follow me on social media you’ll know why gratitude for me at this time of year is so important & that’s because tomorrow on Christmas Eve it will be exactly 8yrs to the day since I was blown up in Afghanistan & had my life changed forever.

Now having gratitude in my life for the things I have & the things I can do is extremely important to me but so is being grateful to all of the people that have helped to get me here. Now there are wayyyyyyyyy too many people to thank individually & I know that if I try you can guarantee I’ll miss a few people out & the last thing I want to do is upset anyone but there are some people who have been major players in my life post injury & so I just wanted to take some time to acknowledge them & say thank you (and like I said if I miss anyone its not personal I’m just doing the best that I can).

Now without a doubt the single biggest influence that has helped to shape my life & give me back my independence, my confidence & my spirit post injury has been the team at Hanger Clinic in Oklahoma City. If you don’t know who Hanger Clinic are they are a prosthetics & orthotics company based in America who have an office in Oklahoma City that specialise’s in the rehabilitation of bi-lateral above the knee amputees and as far as I’m aware they are the only place in the world that do that. Working with Hanger & my mentor Cameron Clapp & all of the other guys and girls over in Oklahoma was quite literally a life changing experience and it helped me to build the foundation on which every other area of my life then began to improve. What I owe to those guys I could never repay but every now & again I like to check in & say thank you to them & acknowledge them & let them know that I never have or never will take them for granted, so Hanger thank you, you guys rock!!!!

I need to say a huge thank you to the Royal Marines who never ever counted me out when I was inured, they never cast me aside on the scrap heap, they never told me I couldn’t do something & they empowered me & supported me in doing whatever it was that I wanted to do to rebuild my life and take it in the direction that I wanted. I also need to thank them for instilling in me the ethos & values that they did way back when I was going through training. I can whole heartedly say that without that mindset I’d probably never have left my hospital bed, it’s something all Royal Marines have & it never leaves us.

Since leaving the military in 2010 I need to thank my friend Alan Chambers & my speaking bureau JLA for setting me out on the path to becoming a motivational speaker. Since taking to the stage I’ve had the privilege of travelling the world where I’ve got to share my story with everyone from multi million pound corporations with thousands of employees to a school for disadvantaged children with only 6 pupils and I’ve loved it, it’s given me confidence, enabled me to grow as an individual & really helped me to get out there & do what I can to help others who might be in need of some motivation or perspective in their lives.

My good friend Lee Matthews who owns the gym Extreme Fitness down here in Plymouth for letting me use his gym out of hours when I was just getting back into training so I had the opportunity to play around with different bits of equipment & experiment using my prosthetics to see what I could do to really push myself. By letting me do that it really set me out on a path which gave me focus & direction & enabled me to fall back in love with training again. Now as a gym owner myself I’m really looking to take things to the next level in 2016 & get on line in a much bigger way making video’s & blogs to try & inspire as many people as possible to take a more proactive attitude towards their own health. I really want to grow my online presence & try to break into the fitness scene as a disabled athlete with the hope to motivate & inspire others so look out for me next year as the videos will be coming thick & fast. (Oh & if any of you out there are really good at creating & editing your own videos I’d love some guidance & mentoring as I’m starting from scratch).

While I’m on the topic of health & fitness I have to say a huge thank you to all of the guys at MyProtein for taking a chance on me & asking me to become a MyProtein Athlete. I don’t know about you but to me that’s the kind of stuff you dream about when you’re a kid, when you’re young flicking through a bodybuilding or fitness magazine you see these guys & think “it’d be really cool to be in a magazine like them one day” & now although slightly different because of my disability that dream has become a reality & in 2016 when I push hard to grow my footprint online I’ll be doing it proudly wearing all of my MyProtein gear fuelled by their supplements doing everything I can to promote them within both the disabled & able bodied fitness community starting in January when I head with the team out to L.A.

I need to say a big thank you to all of my friends both new & old, in ‘real life’ & on social media who I know I can always rely on no matter what. I like most of you have had lots of people come in & out of my life over the years, some good, some bad but I’m fortunate enough to have a huge circle of real friends who I know are my friends because they care about me not because they pity me or they think they can get something from me, I actually consider them more like family then I do friends & because of that I’ll never take them for granted, and while I’m on the subject of family the biggest thank you of all has to go to my wife & kids.

The thing with the world today when everyone lives on line is that you only ever see what people want you to see & you rarely see the bits in between & I’m no exception. I’ll be honest and tell you that my life is pretty awesome which is why I’m always putting up positive posts about things I’m doing or plans I have but I’m human like anyone & things aren’t always great, the only people that really get to see that are my wife & kids. They see me when I’m down & unmotivated (yes it does happen), they see me when things are tough & my plans aren’t working, when I’m feeling unfulfilled or people are trying to bring me down and despite it all they love me regardless, they see the struggle & they’re there for me no matter what. A lot of the time the focus is on me & my issues & challenges but they are the unsung heroes that get me through & keep me moving forward & I don’t think I’ll ever really feel like I can repay that, nothing I do will ever feel like its enough despite them telling me different but I guess that’s what makes a great family, the willing & the want to support each other no matter what.

So as important as it is to feel grateful I think sometimes it’s just as important to tell people that you’re grateful for them & that you don’t take them for granted so seeing as how its Christmas why don’t you do that. If there are people who have been with you through thick & thin, stood by you when no one else would, took a chance on you, believed in you or supported you & you’re truly grateful for them then let them know, this is my small way of letting those people I appreciate know it & for anyone (and there are lots of you) that I didn’t mention just know I appreciate you just as much & I don’t take any of our relationships for granted.

Have a great Christmas everyone, I will be celebrating my anniversary on Christmas Eve by throwing some weights around & spending time with my family & friends, wherever you are & whatever you’re doing I hope you have a great time.

See you in 2016

 

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