Rebirth Through Personal Crisis – My journey of purpose
by Kevin Wilkinson of The Living Full Project
Throughout one's lifetime, most of us can reflect and say something like, “if it wasn’t for that time back then, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” From a teenager I’d always been quite an entrepreneurial individual, creating something out of nothing and then being rewarded for that was a high I loved experiencing. Growing into my 20’s I realised there was a shadow element of my desire to create. You see what I really enjoyed was the creation of money, the respect it gave you, the flash stuff that I placed so much value in. External validation, from my peers, strangers and the biggest critic of them all, second to me of course, My father.
The thirst for this approval meant that I’d make decisions primarily on how I looked instead of what was good for me, things appealed to my greedy nature, I was obsessed with making the maximum amount of money in the shortest amount of time. Patience certainly wasn’t a virtue of mine as I needed to impress people now, not in 5 years time. You could say that looking the part became more important than actually being the part. I share this with you so that it frames a mindset, but also gives you an insight into patterns in my behaviour which I’ll come on to shortly.
I’ve always classed myself as unemployable, meaning I would go into a job and see immediately how “I could do it” . Sadly this doesn’t go down well in corporate life. I’ve tried everything, door to door sales, clothes, importing cars from Europe and selling in the UK. But it was the collapse of this particular business that changed my life forever. After a brief spell as a recruitment consultant, supplying predominantly manual workers to the industrial and construction companies. A good friend of mine planted the seed that I could probably do this myself, explaining that he and a few other companies we knew would be happy to use me directly. So, within a few months, I did exactly that. I started supplying labour, management and cleaning teams to the interior construction industry. Servicing lengthy contracts, there was an abundance of work. I had a fantastic relationship with my credit line who allowed me to get the workers paid, and invoiced the companies directly. It was then I had a brainwave that literally increased my company's bottom line by 400% within 3 months.
In addition to supplying labour I also gave my main clients a credit line through me, meaning all their staff were to be paid through me and we invoiced their clients directly. And of course I had a healthy margin on top of this. It was working beautifully for quite some time, stressful but then that’s what you get paid for right? Or so I believed at the time, anyway. Here in the UK, there is a cycle in construction where the bigger companies will delay payments, knowing that the smaller companies don’t have the power to chase legally, even if they did they could delay the process for months, sometimes years, with no real promise of a conclusion. This exercise forces the smaller companies to fold and start up again, whilst the larger companies add that saved money onto their bottom line. My main clients all serviced the same larger client, and as they say “shit always rolls downhill!.
Such an interesting time, looking back. I had a few cars, houses etc all of that went as I tried to hold on, paying out workers directly, out of my own pocket sometimes too. The experience of having a man come knocking your door and breaking down in tears because of having no money for his family at Christmas is something that I never ever want to experience again. A month or so later, I ended what would easily be identified to me now as an extremely toxic relationship. Finally left my home to be taken, and moved into a tiny flat above a chip shop.
Before I continue the story I want to share my observations from that time in my life.
Although what would seem a great lifestyle, i.e. cars, houses, beautiful partner, successful business, it couldn’t be further from the truth. I actually hated the job I was doing, the environment itself was hostile and you always had to watch your back. Rich food, cocaine, alcohol and strip clubs were pretty much the staple diet for me and most of us in that industry, that’s how a lot of new business was won. There was zero peace in my world, furthermore I think I created it that way as there was a need to feel alive at the same time.
So, back to the story.
As I say I was in poor health, living on a mattress on the floor and eating chips primarily, my only saving grace that I would still show and go to the majority of my martial arts classes. But apart from that you’d find me at home sleeping my days away. I know I was depressed at the time, but didn’t even know it! I decided to go to school reunion, I hate those fucking things, but actually going to this one, changed my life forever.
I met a friend who was recently back from Ireland with his family, a hypnotherapist and coach, he told me that he was looking to build up his practice here in the UK and wanted to keep his hand in, so offered me free weekly sessions. The work I did with him spanned 8 months, it soon became apparent that my appetite for personal development and matters of the mind was insatiable. I studied anything I could get access to, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Joe Dispenza, Deepak Chopra, Rumi, Jim Rohn. I called that period the University of Youtube era. Often I would fall asleep listening to something, I would consume as much as I could. I soon began to catch a few breaks, getting bits of work here and there, and found a college where I could officially study NLP & Coaching. It was graduating that course I became clear on what I wanted to do and the reasons behind it, one of my visions was to have a centre like a retreat style facility out in nature where I can work with a team to help people reconnect with themselves. I also always wanted to live by water, in a home with floor to ceiling glass so I could see nature all the time.
Fast forward some ten years and my thirst for knowledge hasn’t changed. Still very entrepreneurial, I have other interests in business, mainly investments, however I learned through that experience also that it brings me back to what's really important and what my values really are:
If you follow me on any of my social channels long enough, you’re bound to hear or read, “life by design, not default” This is more than just a corny slogan, it’s a belief. I’m so grateful for that massive breakdown/breakthrough as it showed me my values, just how resilient I can be, and how I can create things that I want in life by assisting people get what they want. I’m very much about the win/win.
As I write this, I’m sitting in the very house I described earlier, in fact I’ve been here four years now, and just moved into the second property on the same estate. This will also be year 3 of me running retreats in Bali, I haven't quite manifested the centre yet, but it is close, I can feel it!! I tell you this not to show off, but to explain that I did this primarily through a lot of surrendering, by only taking inspired action and insuring that I’ve created win/win scenarios; of course only allowing in what’s aligned with my values. People, places, opportunities, thoughts and habits, regardless of what it is, it's either for you or it's against you, it's that simple.