I didn’t really get caught up in the Olympic fever, but one story really resonated with me because it reaffirmed one of my strongest beliefs. Whilst this is no surprise given the way our unconscious filters in the things which fit in with our beliefs and values, as I explained briefly in a post on my other blog, it still feels good when it happens!
It’s my belief that every child has a seed of greatness in them, that if nurtured and cherished will blossom.
Not everyone will go on to be an Olympic champion, but they can go on to be the very best version of themselves and that’s all any of us can hope for.
Here’s the story, taken from Sky News….
“While 80,000 people in the London Olympic stadium held their breath, wondering if Mo Farah could become the first Brit to ever win gold in the 10,000m, one man had no doubt.
Alan Watkinson, Farah’s PE teacher and the man he credits with turning his life around, knew he’d be a champion from the age of 11.
“He was a lively kid,” Alan recalls with a wry smile. “He was swinging from the goalposts and doing all sorts of crazy things in lessons but he loved PE. He loved sport, he loved to be active and that was something that needed to be harnessed.”
Farah came to south west London at the age of eight, an asylum seeker from Somalia.
In a mainly white school he stood out and the language barrier didn’t help matters.
Farah came to the UK from Somalia as an asylum seeker when he was eight
He fell behind in lessons and started to get into scrapes, but Alan spotted Mo’s talent and persuaded him to try athletics.
Back then, Mo was more interested in football than running, and Alan had to resort to bribes to motivate him to win competitions.
“I said if you win the English Schools (he had come ninth the year before) I’ll buy you a football kit. And he did win the English Schools.
“So before the Olympic final yesterday, I sent him a text message saying ‘If you win I’ll buy you a football kit’.
“He hasn’t sent me a text back yet so hopefully he won’t expect it!”
Far from being just another teacher in Mo’s past, Alan has stayed close friends with the long distance runner, even standing as his best man at his wedding.
Watching his protege cross the line in the Olympic Stadium was an experience Alan says he will cherish.
“I was jumping up and down and screaming. The people next to me must have thought who’s this guy? What’s he doing?
“It was just a remarkable feeling. From knowing him 17, 18 years ago and seeing him develop from that youth who had a few troubles at school but who was charming and good humoured … to see him go from that to the stadium in London was just … you couldn’t make it up.
“Tears were rolling down my cheeks, I don’t think I even saw him go across the finish line I was so emotional.”
He’s gone from a mischievous child to an Olympic champion, but Mo Farah can’t relax yet – he’s scheduled to compete in the 5,000m final next week.”
Isn’t that a wonderful story!
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a teacher like Alan Watkinson. Many don’t even have a friend or parent to believe in them.
What I would like to say to you if you have grown up feeling unloved, unworthy and unfulfilled is..
It’s never too late!
At any moment in life we all have choices. Choices to do, say, think, feel and be what we will. It may not always be easy to make the right choice and your race may be starting way before the start line, but the past does not equal the future.
You can build a great life despite a poor start.
You can be so much more than you know if you will just give yourself a chance.
Mo Farah became an Olympic Champion with the help of his PE teacher, who saw and nourished that seed. You can become a more brilliant version of yourself by routing out and cherishing your own shoots of brilliance.
Why not start a new race today.
The race to be the ultimate you, whatever that might mean. Build yourself up and start the journey to the life of your dreams.
I know it can be done because I have been fortunate enough to work with people who have changed their lives around. You can do it too!
You deserve it, all you have to do is believe that, want it and be prepared to make the choices to make it happen.