He Believed in Me

Around 9 years ago I was still painting and decorating, and I was trying to set up a life coaching business which wasn’t going very well. I was so busy painting that I had no energy to build a business.
Then I came across a man who opened a door of opportunity to me which changed my life. This man is Peter Hills who is a successful business entrepreneur. He was running a recruitment business and a couple of groups for the Academy for Chief Executives (ACE).
ACE was at the time the UK’s largest organisation helping business leaders grow. Four years ago, it was bought out by Vistage the world’s leading CEO Peer Advisory Membership organisation and this organisation continues to thrive.
World class speakers
Managing Directors from various companies would join and pay a large monthly fee to have world class speakers run Masterclasses for around 4 hours in the morning then they would discuss challenges they have in the afternoon. It was normal for a managing director to buy a franchise and build a group or groups in their region and they would then become the Chair of that group.
This was a very successful model, and I was invited to a Chairs showcase where new speakers would deliver a short session to a number of Chairs who had gathered to see if any of the speakers were of the standard required with a topic which was of interest.
It wasn’t great
I delivered my session to the assembled Chairs and because I was just starting it wasn’t great. I did my best and I remember hiring a car to attend as I was driving a very old car at that time. None of the Chairs were interested in me except Peter Hills. If he wasn’t there I don’t think I would be doing what I do now.
He gave me a chance and booked me for one of his groups. I worked hard to develop a good session and it went well. Then I was booked by another Chair, then Peter again for his second group and slowly but surely I delivered sessions over the next few years across the country.
It all fell apart
When Vistage took over they booked me for a couple of sessions which went well so things were going great then it all fell apart in December 2019. I was booked to deliver a session for a Vistage Chair and the turnout was very low. Far worse than that however was the fact that one of the members didn’t appear to like the presentation.
I am not sure why, but I could see the reaction and the body language. So, I finished the session had lunch with them and then left. Vistage have a system where all the members post scores out of 5 and post comments of what they thought. If you score below a certain level you don’t get booked again.
The comment this person posted was that my Masterclass was too simplistic and not suitable for Vistage Groups. I didn’t check the website where the scores and comments are posted very often and on this occasion because of Covid I didn’t check it until the middle of last year and I was devastated that this comment and low score was up there for all the Chairs to see.
It was a huge blow
To say that this was a blow is a huge understatement I was completely devastated and embarrassed. I made a decision to see if there was anything I could do to have these comments removed but after many discussions I was told that there wasn’t any way in the worldwide system to delete comments.
The only way I could avoid the humiliation of this was to leave the organisation and have my details removed completely. I decided that this was what I would do, and I emailed Peter to let him know what I was about to do.
He persuaded me to carry on
He spoke to me at length and wouldn’t allow me to do this and said that he would book me in February 2022 to give me a chance to prove that my Masterclass is really good. I delivered this Masterclass in the Lake District last Thursday 3rd February, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
The group of 15 Managing Directors loved every minute of the session and the verbal feedback I received at the end was amazing. I even had the chance to take them outside and give them the chance to spin a basketball.
I could have walked away from Vistage because of one negative comment, and I would have lost. But because of the encouragement of one man, I have restored my faith in what I do, and I am looking forward to delivering many more of these sessions for months and years to come.
It’s not what happens
We all face negative situations in our lives and as I have often said ‘It’s not what happens to you in life which counts it’s how you respond which makes all the difference.’
I have to admit that if it wasn’t for Peter I may have succumbed to the negative voices in my head and given up with Vistage. Fortunately, I listened to a positive voice, and I hung in there for many months until my opportunity to put things right arrived last Thursday.
Sometimes it’s good to be real and to admit some weaknesses and on this occasion I did show weakness but with good support and the mental resilience I have developed over the years I hung in there to experience eventual success.
Thoughts for the week 

  1. Who do you have in your life who encourages and supports you?
  2. How do you respond to negative comments?
  3. This week think about the people around who may need a word of encouragement and make a call or text them an encouraging message.
  4. There is great joy that you receive when you help someone so this week see if you can find just one person to encourage. 

Well that’s it for this week have a wonderful weekend and keep encouraging.
Warm regards


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