Updated: Jun 24
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain
This is part two of the career purpose blog that looks at how people break away and transition from one career to another. This is also an excerpt from an upcoming podcast. You can read part one here. Let me take you back to how Part 1 finished...
“I was in the back of an ambulance, on the way to hospital after just being knocked out. I’d lost my world title, and I’m in the back of the ambulance, sirens are blaring, we’re dodging through the traffic and we’re on our way to the royal free hospital, because the fight was at Wembley conference centre, and it was in that moment, in the back of that ambulance that I realised that my life as I know it was over.”
What Billy didn’t realise is that he was about to start a new chapter. This was a new beginning, but he had to go through hell to get there. Billy Schwer. Former British, Commonwealth, European and World boxing champion, and now a successful businessman. He’s an incredible speaker, motivator and personal coach. He’s dedicated to his art. He knows the importance of (and is highly qualified in) nutrition, fitness and wellbeing - mental, physical and nutritional fitness. And yet this wasn’t always the case. The two years after Billy retired were possibly the toughest fight he had ever faced.
“I really struggled. I was depressed. I was depressed and I had a breakdown. I was depressed, I had a breakdown, I wrecked my marriage - which ended up in divorce. I made a few bad mistakes, I got involved in some business which didn’t work out. I got some property and got caught up in the ‘07 crash, and I kind of lost everything.”
He went bankrupt and lost his home. He was lost and in pain. So much so that he contemplated ending it all. He needed help but didn’t know how to ask for it. He was a fighter after all. He believed he should be able to figure this all out by himself. He didn’t know who he was anymore. His entire life he was Billy the boxer. The boxing was over, so who was Billy now?
To find out he went on a journey of self-discovery. He started reading books, went to seminars and studied for thousands of hours. He pealed back the layers of his identity. It wasn’t pretty. It took time. It was scary and he resisted it. But he kept pushing forward and eventually awakened to a new purpose.
He knew he wanted to make a difference to people. Everything else he tried didn’t make a difference to anyone, and left him unfulfilled.
“All those things just left a gut feeling saying ‘it ain’t it, it aint it’. I kept getting that all the time. I kept pursuing what I was pursuing. And I've tried loads of different thing, but it just wasn't ‘it’. It wasn't fulfilling. I want to be fulfilled, happy and satisfied with my life and develop myself and keep growing.
I didn't know that at the time. Upon reflection I get that now. It makes sense. But when you're in the thick of it when you're in the in the middle of the pain and the suffering the anguish of that stuff it's hard to see a way out.”
And this is a common theme that resonates with a lot of people ‘stuck’ in a role, in an industry.
Through a lot of hard work, Billy developed a new role. Today he speaks at corporate conferences, and delivers his ‘Mental Boxing’ master classes;
“And the words mental and boxing came together when I was in the middle of a depressive episode, because I kind of realised that I was having a mental boxing match with a voice in my head. Myself. And it kind of made sense. I was boxing myself, and every human interaction has an element of mental boxing if you think about it. The mental boxing match we have with ourselves. That voice - can I? can’t I? shouldn't I? is it possible? I'm not good enough? I don't fit in, I don't belong.
All of those conversations that we have with ourselves. Then, with the conversation that we have with others. We have a mental boxing experience. Because a lot of times we're trying to try to dominate, we’re trying to be right. We're not really listening, we’re thinking about what to say next. We kind of have an experience with somebody, and we're not really present. But that's the mental boxing match you have with others and then there’s relationships. The mental boxing match we have in relationships. I mean, have you ever had a disagreement or argument with a partner? It’s like, nobody wins that one do they?!”
Billy didn’t know this was the direction his career would take when he was in the back of that ambulance.
“But, the point is, there is something else available to each and every one of us, if we’re willing to go through the work.
“People, they start and they stop. You got to push through the pain and look at it. Go to work on yourself and that's what I do with people. I'm a mirror. I'll show them what they don't really want to see, and it ain’t always pretty, but on the other side of it - if you’re willing to stick with it - that's where champions are made. Champions are made in the gym. They're not made overnight. They’re in the gym doing the work consistently overtime. Effort, overtime.”
I then asked Billy how, with all that effort and dedication, social media has helped with building his business;
“Social media can be a hindrance and a curse. It depends on your attitude towards it. For me, it is a godsend. It's everything. Those videos I put out there [are] like my salesperson. I get all my business from social media, especially LinkedIn. Here’s the thing. It's all about connecting with people. We connected up on social media right, then, the thing about social media is, use it as a social platform. Connect, then get off the platform and get social!"
I couldn’t agree more (and with that in mind, do feel free to reach out and connect!). This blog is an excerpt from the Next Play (www.nextplay.agency) podcast (coming soon!).
Next Play are a group of ex-LinkedIn employees that know the LinkedIn platform and environment inside out. Our deep expertise comes from decades of digital experience and cover everything from personal profile building, to lead generation. Content marketing to advanced analytics. Together, we can help you and your company with your Next Play.