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.

Avoiding Naysayers

I have yet to come across a single person who is living a fulfilled life by choosing to settle.

I am not going to convince people to aim big, even though that is the philosophy that guides my life and I talk a lot about it.

But, I will say this — be careful who you listen to. Be cautious about listening to people who don’t want what you want.

They will try and sell you into the idea of playing small. Why? So they don’t feel bad about their decision to settle.

I encourage you to maximise your potential, to join others who think like you and then go and set goals that make other people uncomfortable.


Average is Easy to Find

Average is easy to find. Success is hard.

Average doesn’t care about your qualifications, race, religion or socio-economic background. But neither does Success.

Average prefers to be surrounded by people who settle. Success prefers to be surrounded by ambitious people.

You don’t have to work very hard for Average. You will for Success.

You won’t have to take any risks for Average. You will for Success.

Average doesn’t need money to achieve. Neither does Success.

Average is not exhilarating, passionate or demanding. Success is all of those.

Average will give with an average life.

Success will give you an amazing life.

You’ll have to work hard for success.

Life Goals

Most people never reach their goals in life.

Instead, they end up lowering their expectations to avoid disappointment.

Even if they do have goals, they don’t properly define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable.

Successful people can tell you exactly where they are going, how they are getting there and who will be going with them.

They never lower their expectations. In fact, they are more likely to up them.

They are unshakeable in their belief that they will achieve their goals.

Define your goals.

Look Around You

How many people do you see settling?

Probably a hell of a lot. Most people settle in an okay job, an okay relationship, with okay people, living an okay life.


Because, okay is comfortable.

With okay you can pay the bills and sleep in a warm bed at night, drive an okay car and have okay holidays.

Some people are fine with okay….and that’s okay.

But okay is not exhilarating, it’s not passionate, it’s not remarkable and it’s not life changing. Okay won’t give you your dreams.

Okay is not why you risk everything you have for the chance to live an incredible life.

The World Owes You Nothing

The world only gives back what you put in.

Negativity attracts negative people, positivity attracts positive people. No successful person is negative, no negative person is successful.

  • I avoid negative people who lack drive and ambition. People who settle.
  • I surround myself with the ambitious, the doers and the fighters. People who believe.
  • I dream big, really big, plan carefully, then execute tenaciously.
  • I always share the glory and the riches with those that choose to fight by my side.

Dream Big and Dare Greatly

Anyone who has ever truly succeed has always ignored or avoided these two types of people:

  1. The doubters, critics, naysayers and cynics. So many people hold views on the successful or those striving for success. It’s always easier to talk about others than go and do it yourself.
  2. People who give advice who have not achieved what you are striving for
    Plenty of people fake success or talk themselves up. Instagram is full of people faking success. Talk is cheap. Take advice from people who’ve done it, not people who talk about it.

Ignore them all and instead dream big and dare greatly.

Success will come.