Cynic Inspired, Beware and Stay Away!

I would say this post may half my readership but the square root of not a lot is still not a lot so lets do this!

I’m one of Thatcher’s children and therefore, rightly or wrongly, I fundamentally believe that if you want something, go out and work and get it and by virtue, if you don’t have it, you either didn’t work hard enough or it was a choice to pick a different route. OK I get I’m very lucky to be so good looking and awesome but…. I know this goes against a lot of the more social views and to be fair, my views have softened as I’ve got older but still.

I’m not a great runner because I don’t train as much as I could do and I make the choice to do other things that don’t help (play second row and have fun primarily), but I’ve become broadly comfortable with that.

I was asked to help organise a work conference last week for my team. Like all good managers when faced with a problem, I threw a credit card (theirs) to solve the problem! To cut a long story short I was recommended a speaker, Mark Ormrod to come along and talk to the team. That particular session was to be focused around being accountable for your own development at work and I was told Mark could come in and tell his story about losing his legs and an arm on active duty and how he set himself objectives to get better (if that’s the right word). And this is probably being a little bit too honest but I thought, great: he’s different to other speakers, people have to listen as the guy is there in front of you missing some fairly significant bits of kit, he’s written a book and I can give them out as everyone loves a freebie! Done!!! I then asked whether the one armed bloke could sign all 50 books…. I’m such an idiot sometimes, I don’t easily get embarrassed but….

Met him the night before and seemed like a nice bloke and arranged to meet in the morning. In the morning, whilst I was prepping for the day (and watching the Lions tour match on Sky go) he came over for a chat and asked about the rugby with obviously limited knowledge. Who doesn’t know about the Lions??? the day was looking like a disaster! (ps the Lions lost the match, come on guys, I know it’s New Zealand but….)

Anyway, his talk unsurprisingly, was something else. An audience of cynics sat there listening intently, no phones came out, absorbing everything Mark said and I mean everything. Mark had the ability to throw in some humour when he knew people were getting sucked in a bit too much to the emotion and managed the audience brilliantly. Genuinely awesome with a story that he didn’t try to big up but just told the story and let the story do the work.

He also tried to convince us that the photo during the operation to remove his legs, which showed his rather small chap (or at least a very small box covering that part), was because his blood was being pumped to his vital organs, yeah right!!! Yeah yeah we believe you…


(I bet you all looked for the box in that photo then were disappointed!!!)

Whilst there was lots of great things in his talk, the one thing that resonated for me was him asking himself every day “what’s the one thing you’re going to do today that makes you 1% better than yesterday?” Obviously this was in the context of proper stuff like walking unaided, walking down the aisle at his wedding, running across America etc (you get the drift).

Of course I had to ask him to sign my book! You don’t believe me?


I can’t explain why, but at the evening drinks at the end of the day (it was a conference after all) it really kept playing on my mind. Woke up the next day and was still thinking about it during the presentations etc.

Fast forward 24 hours and I was at Endure 24 (relay race of 5 mile laps over 24 hours), quite chilled and in my team at least, taking it as a fun event rather than hardcore racing.  This is my third year and the first bit of the course is a slow long drag uphill and every year I walk it and then run the rest. As I got to the hill I just thought f$ck it, 1% and ran up it (ok, slow turtle speed amble). Next lap, I had the same response and did it again and did it for all 4 laps.

On Sunday, when I got back a bit tired and broken we went to the pub for dinner and I went to order a beer and thought 1% and didn’t get one. Tuesday, forced myself out for a run opposite the conference venue (another bloomin conference) because of the 1% and this has carried on all week in small ways.

Just to be very clear, this isn’t going to be a life changing thing and I’m not suddenly going to be a non drinking vegan (god that would be dull), but something has struck me with the message and hey, who knows in a month I’ll have forgotten it and it will just be a fad, but I really like it and it’s struck me in a way other stuff hasn’t.

The devil on my right shoulder is more times than not going to beat the angel on the left shoulder and my instant response to anyone saying fancy doing x or fancy a beer will normally be yes but if I can do 1 thing better each day to help me achieve my goals that has to be a good thing.

Mark is training for the Invictus games in Canada in 6 events and wants 6 gold medals. I don’t doubt he’ll get them and I’ll be following with interest. Mark has been an inspiration and if you’re looking for speaker, give him a shout or just follow him on twitter. He’s on @MarkOrmrod and as a self confessed social media wh0re he’ll love to get some more followers!

He’s written a book, is writing a second book and doing a documentary so you can’t miss him!

Anyway, enough of the man crush, my wife and rammers will get jealous!



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