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Best Laid Plans

Updated: Feb 11

Someone once said "if you want to make God laugh, start making plans for your life". I had decided what my life would be by the age of six. All I ever wanted to be was a surgeon, like my father. In my naïveté, I could see my perfect wife, my perfect children, my perfect career, and my perfect life as it would be and, in my mind, all would be well with the world.

While in high school, I took up trampoline gymnastics and was picked to represent my country at the world Championships in Essen, Germany, in 1990. However, while preparing for this I suffered a spinal-cord injury which left me a C4 quadriplegic. As it turned out, God had other plans for my life – and it didn't include any of the things I had dreamt of.

In order to understand me, you need to go back to the very beginning. I have always been encouraged by my parents to distinguish myself in the world, that is to say, to make a big splash. I have always lived my life with a mindset that anything is possible. What the mind can conceive, and believe, it can achieve. I truly believe this. So, it should come as no surprise that having have something happen to me that may have wrecked another person was simply one more hurdle for me to overcome. The word "quit" has never existed in my vocabulary.

My six year old self saw life in pretty straightforward terms. As I would find out, however, life is not neat and tidy. Life is messy. It seldom goes exactly according to the script. And so it was for me. I had to find my plan B. I spent six years at university, studying for two different degrees. I subsequently took up a job in fundraising, using none of the skills I had accrued during that time. But, hey, it was gainful employment and, for the short time I busied myself with it, I learnt a lot. Mostly, I learnt a lot about myself, the world, and how hard it was going to be for me, going forward.

After trying my hand at a few jobs