Resilience - Change - Adversity - Gratitude.
I recently had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the VINCI Facilities Leadership Conference. Before discussing what I talked about, I wanted to tell you what I learned about them.
Even before I arrived in Coventry on a rather cold and snowy day, I had already gotten to know some of the senior management team via a productive online chat where they had told me what they hoped to get from my input. Our conversation elicited way more than their expectations; they welcomed me and made me feel like part of the team; they listened to my ideas, and I took on board what they expected. I had that warm fuzzy feeling that it would be a great day.
I like to turn up early when I deliver a motivational talk; I get a feel for the people and understand more about them as a group. I had the opportunity to attend some of their briefings before I spoke, and a few things stood out.
VINCI are a big organisation; as you would expect, they use various suppliers to support them. To recognise their input, VINCI has a biannual reward ceremony to celebrate efforts. I've never heard of a company doing this; I thought it was a positive initiative. Is it something other companies do?
One of the reasons they wanted me to talk was my advocacy for disabled people; now, I'm no expert, but I have learned a thing or two since becoming a double amputee. They are keen to give more opportunities to people with disabilities; I hope that this is something other companies are also considering.
For my motivational talk, as is typical, I'm always nervous before I get up to talk. Am I going to fall off the stage? Am I going to struggle to stand for thirty minutes? Luckily, VINCI were sensitive to my concerns and made sure there was a comfy seat for me to sit in for the duration of my talk.
I started talking about things I got up to before my accident. I enjoyed sport and as much adventurous training as I could get myself on. Although challenging, I talk about the day that forever changed my life. The day I lost both my legs. The day I thought I might die.
I talk about how my wife was affected and how it changed everything for her. I spoke about my recovery and what I did to rebuild my life.
I wanted to drill down into some of the on-trend catchphrases currently being used. I covered topics which included resilience, overcoming adversity and adapting to change. What do these terms mean? Are you born resilient? How do you overcome adversity? How do you build resilient foundations in your life? How do you adapt to changes in your life? I covered all these topics and more; I used my own life experiences as a guide to explain how I grew after receiving life-changing injuries.
Since returning home, people who attended my talk gave me lovely feedback. My ideas and thoughts have guided them to manage situations in their own lives.
We are all on our journeys in life; we all have ups and downs. I feel proud that by telling my story, I can help others.