Turning a Setback into an Opportunity is About Mindset

The Great Storm of 87 Fell Many Trees in Stanmer Park

In 1986 my Dad @philhove had just left the Army after 24 years and bought a small, run down cafe in Stanmer Park.

He’d ploughed all of his life savings into it and we were going to make it a success as a family. My Mum and Dad worked 7 days a week and when they weren’t serving teas and scones to dog walkers they were painting, doing DIY and making the cafe better.

In October 1987 there was a great storm and so many trees were uprooted and blown over.

Customers couldn’t get to the cafe for weeks as the roads were impassable without a 4X4. Business just died overnight.

That first day my Dad realised we were in trouble and he went out and bought a chainsaw, an axe and a splitter and he began chopping the fallen trees.

We spent that entire winter chopping logs day and night which we sold by the van load around Brighton and Hove for £40 a load from one advert in the Argus, our local paper.

I would leave for school at 7am (it was a long walk!) and he’d be up chopping logs and he’d still be doing it when I got home at 4pm. I would help him bag them up and deliver them every evening until 10pm at night.

I was just 13 years old and I clearly remember my Dad’s focus at that time, he was 100% committed to succeed.

We did that for six months, 7 days a week. Because of that income the cafe survived.

I learnt a valuable lesson that stays with me today; even in the biggest set backs in life, with the right mindset, success is possible.


Also published on Medium.

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