Some of you will be aware that I have been a huge fan of Gavin Oattes since I heard him speak last year. Gav is a leader in the field of motivational speaking and he just has something a bit special. I often recommend him to people because I know he will spread a bit of magic wherever he goes. We need that.
These days I am churning out content across social like a Cheetah on Speed, but I always make a little time to tune into what Gav has to say. His content makes me laugh whilst giving me a little inspirational kick up the backside.
Gav feels the same way about a guy called Andy Cope and, after reading his work and following him on social media, I can understand why. Andy is a bestselling author and the UK’s first official Dr of Happiness (what a freaking amazing title). Last month, Gav and Andy launched a book that made me want to be a better person. It’s called Shine – Rediscovering your energy, happiness and purpose. I read it earlier this month over the course of a couple of days. That’s a pretty good effort as it had been a busy week. I stayed up later than normal and my eyes were a little blurry. It was worth it though because I was buzzing the next day and I still am a few weeks later. In fact, I have been recording a batch of podcasts recently and I found myself dropping in lines from it throughout the discussions. It is one of those books that just sticks. A bit like a song that becomes part of you.
Shine instantly grabbed me. There is some funny chat in Chapter one about Casper the Ghost hanging out by the buffet of a funeral (who doesn’t love a vol-au-vent? My Mum serves them warm, filled with chicken in a creamy sauce, man those things are timeless.)
What would you want people to say about you over a (creamy chicken) vol-au-vent at your funeral? Personally, I would want people to say I made them feel amazing. I inspired them, I made them laugh, I was a wonderful person to be around. I lit up a room. I made people feel good about themselves. I would be missed. I would be remembered. I listened with an open mind. I danced. I had made a difference.
I make it my mission to live that way as often as I can. But it’s not always easy. There are times I struggle to be positive. There are days that judge Jojo comes out and to be frank Judge Jojo is not living in her full mojo. There are times I feel like a bit of a weirdo for being positive. Thankfully, I have a whole load of people who encourage me to stay the way I am. The thing is – after reading Shine I want to do more. I want to be even better. I don’t want to just be a good writer and speaker. I want to be an amazing one. I don’t want to light up a room, I want to make it blaze. We can always be a better version of ourselves. A version that, as Gav and Andy write, shines. I want to be a person that people never forget and for all the right reasons. Don’t we all?
Gav writes about someone he met that made him think of Mary Poppins, I remember his story from his talk last year. It stuck in my mind. In my book (#comingsoon), I call it the champagne of the party, which is stolen from a poem my brother wrote and read on our wedding day. It just stuck. Why be the lambrini when you can be the champagne?
The reason I think I resonate with Gav and Andy so much is because they make me feel normal for being happy and positive (as often as I can). They have a passion for happiness. For years I felt embrassed about it. Some made fun of me at school for smiling all the time. Some called it too intense. When I was living in New Zealand, a fellow backpacker I was living with actually said to me and I quote:
‘Who are you and why are you always so upbeat and friendly. I haven’t figured you out yet – I just don’t get it’.
I killed him with kindness and told him he was just fine the way he was and who was I to judge. As Andy said recently on twitter – we should spread love as thick as we would Nutella. But I still remember how those words made me feel and I’m proud of how I reacted. You see, there will always be people trying to piss all over our champagne with a cheap, nasty lambrini. It’s how we react to it that matters.
Reading Shine transported me back to a 3-day course I attended this time last year all about The 3 Principles and the work of Syd Banks. I felt a lot lighter at the end of those 3 days. It had been a lovely little mind spa. Yes – positive thinkers are often dubbed as the weird ones but anyone can choose positivity. We all have the ability to change our thoughts and as my little Bonnie loves to sing ‘look on the bright side of life’. We do not have to be a fixed way. It doesn’t have to be a negative vs happy camp. For one, choosing to live our life in a positive way is so much better for our health. It is also better for those around us.
Why can’t life excite us and put a spring in our step? Why can’t we welcome the lows and use them to make our own magic? It can take a lot of effort to be our best self and tell those negative thoughts to back off. Surely it is worth it and we owe it to all those who didn’t make it. We owe it to the sperm that didn’t attach. We owe it to those who left us way too soon. To those who would give anything for another day. I choke up just typing these words because there really is nothing like the power of goodbye.
Saying goodbye can hit us like a tidal wave. Once we manage up for air, we have a choice. I like to call it ‘Acceptance Adele Style’. Adele accepted. She accepted that she had her heart smashed into thousands of pieces. Then she woke up from the pain and started living. She used her pain to create the most incredible music. Music that helped and is still helping to heal the broken hearts of the world. Music that unites us and reminds us to wish nothing but the best for those we loved. Those who didn’t want us. Because never mind, we shall find someone like them. Perhaps someone even better.
We all have our own magic inside us. We all have the ability to accept and create something incredible. Sadly, many of us say no and let the fire burn out. When that spark goes it drains us of energy and passion. It holds us back from incredible opportunities. What if we said yes? It happens. I get to work with people who say yes. People who have been abused, attempted suicide, lost a child or the love of their life too soon – the worst kind of lows you can imagine.
On the run up to my marathon, around 16 people shared their stories with me so I could help raise awareness through creative writing. The content was recently dubbed ‘mental health reality tv’. Why did I take the time to do this? Because as Gav writes in Chapter 4 – sharing things with our heart and soul – sharing things with passion and energy helps us to change the world.
What do you have to share? The more we share and support, the easier it is to say yes. Yes, I want to make a change in my own way no matter what shit has gone down.
Gav and Andy made a choice. They both do mind blowing things and one of those things was all the hours and effort they put into writing Shine. I understand the effort that goes into putting a book together. A book that will make a difference. Not just any old book. A book that will change the world. That takes crazy effort and crazy passion. You need to write like you mean every single word.
Shine is one of those books. It’s a book that deserves more than a prime spot in the self-help section. It’s a book the deserves a prime spot anywhere. It’s time to make the self-help section bigger and cooler. It’s time to make a whole new section for books that change the world. Books that change the world need to be up front. Not at the back, not like baby in the corner, not up the stairs.
It’s time for more voices, more love, more passion for living as large as life can be. It’s time to make wellness and this thing we call happiness (I like to call it authentic mojo) interesting, real and relatable. Less facts and figures, more real-life examples. More banter, loads more banter. I have said it before and I will say it again (and again) – when we take ourselves too seriously that is often when it all goes a bit tits up. It’s time to stop making positive people feel weird and ‘too large’ for life. There is no such thing.
Shine is a book that we can be very proud of in the UK. It’s going global and rightly so. It challenges what our world calls normal. It does it in an intelligent, heartfelt, beautiful and quite frankly WOW kind of way. Shine is the real deal. Do me a favour and please read it and if you like it as much as me then give it a review on Amazon and help books that change the world reach more people. But have tissues ready for Chapter 10. 10 has always been my favourite number and this book certainly doesn’t peak too soon.
‘It’s absolutely normal. It’s normal not to wake up every day genuinely pumped full of energy, buzzing, raring to go’. As Gav would more than likely say in his talk – ‘ let me repeat – It’s absolutely normal. It’s normal not to wake up every day genuinely pumped full of energy, buzzing, raring to go’.
I agree. I think it’s important enough to be repeated. I’m with Gav and Andy – SCREW NORMAL.
Right I’m off to blast a bit of Take That (really) and dance like it’s my last day on the planet. #FFB