The Gift of Friendship 

Sometimes in life things happen which stop you in your tracks and make you feel like pinching yourself. Today’s blog is about one of those times where I am still in a little bit of shock and excitement about a new client I have started working with.
The story starts in 1979 when I joined Sunderland Basketball Club as a full time professional. I was already an England International, but my dream was to become a professional and this was the start of my dream.
This is where I first met Randy Haefner, a 6ft 6” All American basketball player who was our star signing from the US. He was a dominant force in the game, and we bonded extremely well. We went through great highs and great lows together on the court as well as becoming good friends off the court.
Winning the 1981 Play-Off Championship
We both had the privilege to win the Basketball Play-Offs Championship in 1981 – the biggest prize in English basketball. These were great times when there was huge sponsorship in the game and TV coverage. Basketball was growing and they were exciting times.
Unfortunately, due to a serious back injury I retired at the very young age of 27 and became the commercial manager for the team. Then after 3 enjoyable years I went into sales in various roles across the country. Meanwhile Randy or Haef as I called him developed a very successful basketball coaching career.
When I finished my position as commercial manager, I landed a role with the local radio station Metro Radio in Newcastle and had 5 great years in sales ending up as regional sales manager.
I tried it on my own
I then set up my own business which lasted for two years and due to the recession at the time I had to close it down and go back to radio sales. However, this experience of running a business and failing actually helped me avoid the mistakes I made and has resulted in running my current successful business.  
During those two years I had immense struggles and challenges and I have lost count of how many times Haef helped me both financially and emotionally. I owe him a huge debt of gratitude for that, and it is something I will never forget.
We have kept in touch over the past 40 years, and we even met a few years ago in Gibraltar where he now resides. He and his lovely wife Ana Marie were also at our wedding in 2015.
A great introduction
Over the past few years, we discussed if he had any contacts he could introduce me to and nothing really transpired until a month ago when he recommended me to a businessman in Gibraltar who is an ex professional basketball star.
Sam and I had a Zoom call to introduce each other and discuss if there was any way that he could be interested in working with me. We connected straight away, and Sam saw the potential of my Mind Resilience Masterclasses for his staff.
Sam Buxton is the CEO of Damex a Digital Asset Management company based in Gibraltar and is a hugely successful company. He set the business up in 2017 and has grown substantially and rapidly.
He has a deep desire to help the local community and is doing so in many ways funding many projects. He has also purchased a professional basketball club in Spain and is dramatically improving this team.
It’s going to be amazing
He agreed to run 4 of my Masterclasses in my programme. I currently have 3 so I am developing a fourth one specially for him. I delivered Masterclass 1 online this month which received great feedback. Next month I fly to Gibraltar for 3 days to deliver Masterclass 2 face to face to his team as well as going to watch his team play in Spain.
I will be having dinner with Sam and Haef and this will be an amazing time when the stories will be coming thick and fast. Then it’s Masterclass 3 in March online then back to Gibraltar in August to deliver Masterclass 4 and watch the Pro League he has set up.
This is extremely exciting as it combines two of my passions – basketball and mental resilience. To think I was delivering these Masterclasses free of charge to anyone who would book me and now this! I am so excited I feel like a young kid again.
Perseverance and hard work
This proves that perseverance and hard work are key to success. It doesn’t come easy but if you persevere and work hard you will create a life which will stun you. It’s not luck, it’s down to self-belief, commitment, and motivation.
As I said last week, anything worthwhile doesn’t come easy but the pain of getting there is worth it when you reach the life you have created. You have to have a vision of where you want to end up then you work towards that place.
This week I have delivered Mind Resilience Masterclass 1 online to the staff of Rothera Sharp Solicitors in their Staff Development Forum. The feedback from this session was wonderful and they received an Action Plan via email to help them integrate the techniques they learned into their daily routines.
Thoughts for the week 

  1. Is there anyone in your life who has had a positive impact on your life?  
  2. Think back over your life and see who comes up.
  3. When you have someone in mind, if you have their contact details contact them in some way and thank them.
  4. This will have a huge impact on them when this comes out of the blue.
  5. Finally remember that hard work and commitment pays off. First the work then the pleasure. 

Well, that’s it for this week, have a wonderful weekend and keep believing!
Warm regards


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