WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

Inspiration and Life Coaching, Speaking Comments Off

In 1997 I received a letter from a gentleman who had worked with my father during his time at the Black Star shipping company. It was then I felt it was time to learn about my African heritage, something I new nothing about. I had met my father only once when I was 4 months old. The meeting was a few hours and he gave my mum £40 and bought me a new dress. He told mum he would visit again the next week but unfortunately that time never came. My father returned to his beloved Africa.

My mother, grandmother and my mum’s only brother, my uncle Billy, made sure I had everything I ever needed. Something I was never without was Love, I was drenched in it.

The time would come when I would be curious to what my African heritage was, if I had any siblings etc.

When I held the letter in my hand in 1997 an Opportunity arose to answer all my questions. Reading the words that my fathers work mate had penned, held the key to all my questions.

I looked into the eyes of the man who had taken on the role of my Father, the man who was always there for me through thick and thin, my uncle Billy, and I folded the letter and placed it back in the envelope. Would I hurt the Man who I still see as my Guardian angel? I don’t even know to this day, I never asked him.

In 2011 the niggling thought of my African history struck me again. How could I ever explain to my children if I never knew it myself? The search for my father started once again. Within 12 months I found my African family.

I contacted a friend of mine who had a house in Africa, and asked if she knew anyone in the Tema area, Community Ten, she told me that she had met a young man, called Eli, who she thought was from Tema and to check her Facebook page and make contact with him. Just by chance he lived in Community Ten and gave me his word that he would find my father. Within two weeks of making contact with Eli my African family was found.

I was no longer an only child I had five siblings on my father’s side, unfortunately I would never get the opportunity to utter the words ”I LOVE YOU, I FORGIVE YOU”, face to face with my father as he had passed away 3 year prior. The opportunity had gone.

I sat with the feeling of disappointment, of stories that would never be told. How many other opportunities had I missed over the years?

My uncle shared my sadness and asked why I never looked for my father in 1997. I explained to him that I never wanted to hurt my uncle’s feelings, after everything he had done for me. My Uncle Billy looked into my eyes and told me that my happiness was all he ever wanted, and knew that a love like ours would never die.

My unspoken words fourteen years ago meant I missed my chance with the father I never knew.

My Greatest lesson to date,

“Opportunities come and go, but your greatest opportunity may only knock once…”

 

Keep Calm and Carry on.

Inspiration and Life Coaching, Speaking Comments Off

I’m booked to speak at 7pm and I arrive at 6.15pm, early like I do for every presentation, so I can do a sound check, make sure the slides are ok, and check the space I’m presenting in.

Kevin the technician went through everything with me, and we were all ready to go. The Mike I was going to be using was hand held so I made sure it wasn’t too tight in the holder.

The Sports Hall of Rawmarsh School began to fill. One hundred and twenty students, forty parents, and five teachers. I felt good, I was prepared. I went and changed into my outfit and noticed an insole from my shoe was missing. Without my insole my shoes are a little too big and can sometimes slip off. Not good when you’re wearing three and a half inch heels. I searched for the lost insole but to my dismay it had gone.

A round of applause grew louder and I knew this was my cue to take my seat on the stage; I walked very carefully to the stage and walked up the stairs… Phew I had made it.

The head of the school stood at the lectern and made his speech, he then gave me a fantastic introduction, and I was ready to go. I stood up and took hold of the mike. Well, I tried to take the mike and it felt like it was glued to the stand. I couldn’t get it out. Seconds felt like minutes. Thank goodness for quick wit and comedy timing, the audience laughed as I commented on the situation and with a huge pull the mike was free.

I began my presentation and started to walk stage left, my shoe flipped off making me stumble a little. “Did they see?” Was all I could think off.

I carried on and clicked on my first slide and a photograph popped up of Newcastle College. My third slide was not the photograph I was expecting; it should have been me as a small child. I watched a little boy in the front row Cringe – That was exactly how I felt. While I had been struggling with the mike I must have brushed my clicker button and changed the slide.

What do you do when mistakes happen? Sometimes in life no matter how much you think you have everything under control, if something doesn’t go to plan, there’s no point in worrying.

You take a deep breath, smile… Keep calm and Carry on.