Sunday, 25 September 2016

Seeking Help, Rollercoasters and Life Challenges - Advice From the SUMO Guy

Hi All,

Something a little bit different on the Thrive blog today. I thought it would be interesting for us to hear from someone with a lot of experience in the personal development and motivation fields. It's the Sumo Guy himself, Paul McGee.

Paul gives keynote presentations at conferences around the world and provides motivational workshops particularly in the education and health care sectors. Paul's also had his fair share of troubled times. Like me he dealt with a long spell of chronic fatigue syndrome many years ago, and this adversity and others has informed his current work.

He's particularly well-known for developing great mental imagery to illustrate his concepts such as hippo time and the BSE (Blame Someone Else) crisis and he's managed it again with his answer to this "one question interview":

Thrive: "If you could only give one piece of advice to someone going through a challenging life situation, what would it be?"

Paul: "Seeking support is never a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of wisdom - so make sure you don’t try and battle through things on your own. 

'Also recognise that ‘roller coasters are OK’. Life is full of ups and downs, let’s not deny this fact, let’s just realise we have to deal with it. If life was always a ‘flat line’, in medical terms you’d be dead!"

It's memorable imagery which puts a smile on your face and which Paul uses to make two important points for us. 

Seeking Help

Seeking help is not a topic we've covered very much on the blog but it's massively important for those of us just entering a point of crisis or who continue to struggle with life's ongoing challenges. And it begs the following four questions:

1. To what extent have you sought help for what you're going through?

2. What else could you do to get help?

3. Who else could you ask for help?

4. What's stopping you from asking for help right now?

I challenge you to take a pen and paper and write down answers to these questions as honestly as you can. The answers may surprise you and get you onto the road to recovery.

Rollercoasters and Flatlines

Paul's contrast between the rollercoaster and the flat line makes an important point for all of us as we seek to move on from a challenging life situation. Life is about both ups and downs, about yin and yang, about black and white. There can be no up without a down, no mountain top without a bottom.

Having said all that, it's difficult to accept that there are ups and downs in life, particularly when we feel there will never be another up. 

In such situations using the experience of people like Nelson Mandela can help us. He barely went a day in prison without planning for his release and looking to the future when apartheid would be a thing of the past. Viktor Frankl, when in the concentration camps, knew he could not guarantee leaving a free man but he decided nonetheless to use his time there as an experiment in human behaviour and looked forward to the time when he would share his findings with the world.

Both men recognised the "down" of the rollercoaster they were in and even in their horrendous situations, which may have had an end in their deaths, they decided to have hope that there would be a future.
Read more at: life, fortunately, I spent a lot of years, about 18 years with other prisoners, and, as I say, they enriched your soul.
Prison life, fortunately, I spent a lot of years, about 18 years with other prisoners, and, as I say, they enriched your soul. Nelson Mandela
Read more at:
Prison life, fortunately, I spent a lot of years, about 18 years with other prisoners, and, as I say, they enriched your soul.
Read more at:

Strategies and Solutions

1. Ask yourself the four seeking-help questions above as honestly as you can. What difference do the answers make? Are you more likely to get the help you need?

2. Take a ride on the rollercoaster and envisage the life you want to lead. Take that image and use it to give you hope for the future and more importantly, tell yourself that you're not flatlining!

Related Posts

Feeling Stuck? One Thing You Must Try Right Now

Seven Ways To Stay Mentally Strong In A Crisis

Nelson Mandela Read The Anne Frank Diaries In Prison. What Did He Find In Them That Was So Important?

Are You Up For A Challenge?


A big, big thanks to Paul McGee for being the subject of a "one question interview" and for his insight.

If you want to check out what Paul has to offer, you could do a lot worse than read his new book "How Not To Worry", available now from Amazon and all good booksellers!


I really hope this post has helped you and if you know someone else it could help, then give them a boost by sharing it on social media using the buttons below.


Coming Up

Future blogposts on a terrific strategy for moving forward and how I confronted my mental blocks to progress.

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