Dean Fox

So, a little bit more clarity. And so, I still asked some questions like why am I going through all of this? Why has this happened to me? But I started to ask questions like, well, okay, if I go ahead with this, I could have died several months ago in a road traffic accident. And I didn't.

 

And everybody who saw that event said, there's no way that you should have survived that or any of you should have survived it. So why did I? It can't have been just to go through some more crap, there must have been a reason for it. And maybe I don't know what the reason is, but there must be a reason. There must be some reason I'm still here.

 

And those were enough for me to, you know, sounds a bit cliché, but to see a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel to say, okay, maybe now is not the time. Maybe there is something else. And I don't know what it is yet, but maybe I need to go and start looking.

Dean Fox

 

Dean Fox-6.jpg

Our 80th episode is with Dean Fox.

 

Theme: You are already all you need to be.

We talk about: 

💡 Growing up with the idea that he had to be the best at everything.

💡 Coming to a standstill physically and psychologically.

💡 And how you don’t have to be part of the 5am club!

Bio

By 2007 Dean had been a National Sales Manager for a Major Company and built a multi six figure property business, but just a few years later, he had lost the business, was bankrupt, almost killed in a car accident and contemplating suicide. 

 

By immersing himself in personal development over the last decade Dean has built a coaching and speaking business and is now a leading international mindset coach, trainer, consultant and speaker. 

 

Using his personal experience he works with Directors, Business owners and Entrepreneurs to eliminate their doubts, fears and procrastination, increasing self belief and unlocking their true potential.

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James:

Dean let's get started with childhood. Did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?

Dean:

No, I didn't. I had absolutely no idea. I probably had periods in my early years where I wanted to be all sorts of things. So, everything from a cowboy to an actor to a musician at one point, although I was terrible in music, my brother has all the music genes. But my father's a fairly good musician and singer, but no, I didn't really have any real focus when I was younger. I actually kind of, I just went from one thing to another, just to see what I enjoyed. I think the only one thing I did enjoy and looking back is that I did like to, I was always a why person, why does it do that? How does that work? So that kind of led me into...my engineering background came from there, I think. Kind of science and engineering, something I enjoyed, but it wasn't something I kind of grew up saying I definitely want to do this, I really want to be an engineer. As I didn't really have any direct focus at that point.

James:

Were you one of those children then...engineers are often the kids that they're taking, like the radios apart and the microwave...

Dean:

Um, not so much. It was more for me when it started, it was more science based. So, I was always a kid that mixed the vinegar with the baking soda and all that sort of stuff to see, would it blow up? How can we make a big bang and all that sort of stuff? Rather than to take things apart.

Michelle:

Yeah. We used to make our chemistry teachers at school...Can we please play with the magnesium and potassium please? Mr Morris yeah.

Dean:

Yeah. So that was my focus rather than the taking things apart engineering bits. And I ended up kind of moving into that sphere. My father worked in the steel industry, so I ended up in the steel industry, but in the lab. So, I was a lab technician within there and that sparked my interest in materials. So, my science background linked with my engineering from that perspective, it was more about, you know, how do we make this metal this way? What will the properties be like? And I thoroughly enjoyed that bit. That started my journey into industry really in there. I tried the academic route, so I was quite academic. I got really good results at what were O Levels then. Now GCSEs. But I'd gone to college thinking A Levels and university, because that's what everyone had told me.

 

But I didn't really enjoy it, if I'm brutally honest. I didn't do really well at college the first time I went, because I didn't really enjoy or have a passion for any of the subjects I was doing. So I left not really doing a great deal, and when I got a job as an apprentice effectively, they sent me back to college and I was thinking, or no this is not good, but actually I was going back to study science and materials. And so it was really good. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great and I did loads better the second time around than I did the first.

James:

It makes a huge difference doesn't it?

Michelle:

Yes. Cause it's fun.

James:

Yeah. but often it's the things, not always when we're younger is it, but things you really enjoy, you can be steered away from as a kid. Cause it's sort of, Oh, you know, that's not a career. No one does drama, no one does art. You can't make a career out of that. Which is a shame really, cause you stamp out that enthusiasm and passion for something quite early on.

Dean:

Yeah. And having gone through that process and some of the things I've learned since then, one of the things that Christine and I both really wanted to focus on with the two boys was this idea that I don't care what it is and I don't care what anyone else tells you about it. If it's something you're interested in and you want to do, then you should go and do that. You should at least be able to give it a go to be able to say, actually it's not really what I want to do now. I've changed my mind. There's no long-term strategy that once you're in that's it. You can't get out and do anything else.

 

And you know, we were really big advocates of that when they were at school, simply because, I agree, we are too structured in our, you know, we are either telling people they can't do something, cause there's no future in it. Or we keep telling people that only a select few make it in that particular area. And it's like, yeah, but you know, there's a thousand ways to make money within that industry. It doesn't necessarily have to be exactly the thing that everyone else set out to do.

Michelle:

Yeah. It's almost like if somebody else has already done it, there's a path. It's like, oh, you're never going to be the next Beyoncé. Well, Beyoncé became the next Beyoncé.

Dean:

Yeah. How much do you want it? And what you're prepared to give to get it, then you can have anything.

James:

Yeah. So then, so within steel, was that something that lasted a good while or what happened next?

Dean:

13 years I spent in the industry. I think what I realised over time was that I kind of, I grew up with this idea that I had to be the best at everything. I really pushed myself whenever I was doing something. And it was both a blessing at some points, but it was also difficult at times as well, because I would often not do something if I didn't think I was going to be good at it. I would rather not take part than finish third. I really wanted to push myself really hard. And so just being a lab technician wasn't enough. I needed to be a shift technician and then I wanted to be the shift manager and then I wanted it to be the materials engineer. And so I'd moved regularly about every two years I tried to step up and take another role and more responsibility, which let us move over that 13 years in that industry. We'd moved twice, we ended up in Scotland, working in the steel industry up there. And I stayed there for, in that role for probably four years, the last four years of my time in the steel industry. And, I wanted to move on again.

 

So, my final role was I looked after a team of what were essentially commercial metallurgists there. They were the specialists behind the sales team. So you'd have somebody bring a contract in and say, they want this, they want this specification, they want it in these dimensions and my team, we would go through it, pull it all apart and say, yes, no you can't. If we do it, there'll be a premium for this. We did all the background work around that on projects for all sorts of things, everything from.... So, we worked on the project that runs between Hong Kong airport. So, the island for Hong Kong airport, so the Ting Kau bridge, we worked on that. We worked on the Oresund bridge across from Sweden.

 

And I suddenly realised during that process, that again, I suppose to be the best, my next step, I wanted to challenge myself. But also, I saw all these salespeople at the time. We were doing all of this background work and they would go away, win a contract, come back and be lauded as these amazing people who had won this multimillion pound contract, be invited to the opening of the event. And they were swanning around in BMWs with expense accounts and we were all sat in the office and I was like, I want a bit of that. That's sounds way better, way more interesting than my role at the minute. And so, I wanted to move into that, but there were no real opportunities in the sector I was in. And then what they wanted me to do was to move again and having just kind of taken the family up there and got them settled for a period of time. And it wasn't quite time for us. I didn't want to move.

 

So, I left the company, stayed in the steel industry first. I left the company, went to work for a competitor and set up an office in Scotland for them. And we grew that rapidly over about two or three years. And then we'd got to the point where, what my ambitions were for myself and the business, didn't match what the company wanted to do. They were quite happy with where they were, and we wanted to grow it. And so, I left there and moved on again, but I moved slightly outside the sector each time. So, first role was outside the steel industry, but in engineering. So, I worked for a subcontract manufacturing company for two years. And then I left there, stayed in subcontract manufacturing, but went to work for a learning and development company. An organisation that was called Remploy. At the time the largest employer of disabled people. But we were the subcontract manufacturing organisation for people like Toyota, BMW, Port Sunlight.

 

We had workers and projects all over the country in the engineering sector. And I grew from working as a sales executive there to the national sales manager over seven and a bit years. But again, it still wasn't enough. I still wanted more. I think I drove myself to a point where I was like, actually, I think it's more about, I don't know whether I feel good enough doing this and I need something else. And so, you know, I talk about this a lot now, but I ended up with what I call finish line mentality, that it was always the, "when then." So, when I've reached this and we've got this, then I'll stop. I'll be happy then, and that never happens and you just kind of keep going and keep going. And so, I left that organisation where there was a massive change because they were attached to the department for work and pensions. And when the government changed, there was a huge change and restructure in their funding processes. And they were going to move more to what was more like recruitment and job placement rather than manufacturing.

 

And I didn't see myself doing that and they didn't see me doing that either. And we kind of came to a mutually beneficial agreement that I was just going to leave as part of the changes. And that started what I would class as my first kind of step into running my own business. At the time we'd moved with Remploy, we'd moved back to the North East. As the national sales manager, I covered the whole of the country and covering the whole of the country based just outside Glasgow didn't really work.

James:

It's a lot of miles.

Dean:

Yeah. It got to the stage of going away on a Sunday evening or very early on a Monday morning and coming back late on a Friday night, by the time you'd travelled around, and it just became too much. So, we'd moved back to the North East and we'd always, again, one of those things we'd always wanted to do. Christine and I'd always talked about building our own home rather than buying another home. So, when we said we were going to take this opportunity that when we moved back, we weren't going to buy somewhere. We were going to try and find somewhere to build our own home. And so that it took us about a year or so when we moved back to try and find something that we thought could work. And we started, we built our own home just on the outskirts of Durham. And the plan was that was our home. We were going to move the children from the school that they were at over there, and that was going to be it. But they'd already spent a year and a half, nearly two years, by the time we'd finished it in their current school, the school we'd moved them to and they didn't want to move. They were adamant that, you know, and they had to be fair, they'd moved several times. And they were like, no, we've got friends now. We want to stay here.

 

So, we did a year of keeping them in the same school, but living over there, sort of travelling back every morning for an hour or 50 minutes and then picking them up from school. And then it just, it became again unworkable. It just, it didn't really make sense. And so, we said, look, we're going to have to do something, we're gonna have to change. And that was about maybe 2006. And we, Christine through a friend, had heard about a plot of land, which was an area that would suit us perfectly back on Teesside. So, she had gone across to look at it first. I went and followed, and we put an offer in and bought the land while we still had the other house thinking, well, we'll sell this one. And then when that one's finished, we'll move in there. And that started us even more into this journey of property development and investment and that sort of thing. We bought another property that we renovated and kept to rent out. And that led to another one. So, we built up this essentially, a fairly profitable business, but we didn't have a direct intention when we first started that, that's what it was going to be. It kind of just grew into this thing. And we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was really good.

 

But we ended up in 2007 / 2008 with a position where we had several properties. One was on the market for sale, which was our existing home. We'd finished the one we were going to move into. We had another couple of developments that were kind of just in the early stages. We put a deposit down on an investment property. And we were looking at buying some land and then 2008 happened. And, the thing about 2008, I think was it happened so fast and all the rules changed. So, it wasn't like, okay, we're in a major financial crisis. So, you know, the next six to 12 months, this is going to be the way that we operate. It was just like at five o'clock, we're no longer doing this anymore, ever again. And that had some real financial ramifications. You know, we lost a lot of money. We lost several deals. We took stock at the time and said, okay, you know, how can we, we didn't foresee it lasting a long time. Everyone assumed it was going to be a year or two. And it was like, how can we potentially see ourselves through the period?

 

And so, you know, we'd done reasonably well up to that point and we'd invested some of the profits that we'd made, some of the money that we'd made. And so we said, look, okay, we're going to have to retract some of those investments, but that'll probably see us through, I think financially that will probably see us to a point where we can start recovering again. And then two things happened in very quick succession. The first one was that we'd invested a large amount, a relatively large amount for most people in a company based in Scotland that turned out, the guy turned out to be a fraud effectively. He spent some time in prison after that. But that cost us virtually everything we had left. And so ultimately the next step was okay, well, we're just gonna have to go back to surviving. So, I can probably get a job in sales. It might not be what we had before. It might not be the same lifestyle, but it'll see us over the bump in the road.

 

And then in March 2010, whilst kind of applying for those positions, my wife and I, and my youngest son were in a really bad car accident. And, that left both of us essentially, but me in particular, unable to work for...well I didn't work for about 12 months, 13 months, Christine didn't work for about eight. And that period I talk about this often was the most difficult period because it brought me personally, you know, financially it completely ruined us. I ended up bankrupt in that period of time and we lost everything else that we had. The one thing I swore we wouldn't lose is this house. The one we had moved into finally, and I'd said, I'll do anything to keep this. We got a lot of support from friends and family during that time, because it was really difficult. But I think the hardest thing for me was that all of the things I alluded to before, like wanting to be the best and wanting to push myself, I'd just come to a complete standstill, physically, but more importantly, you know, psychologically, I really kind of just crashed. And it got worse and worse over that, probably that year.

 

And to a point that in December of that year, so December 2010, I made a decision. I got up one morning and I said to Christine, it was a cold morning, but it was quite bright. And I said to Christine that I was going out for a walk. I needed to clear my head and get some fresh air. I had no intention of going home if I was being honest with myself at the time. And I walked to some woodland near where we live. I sat for a while and I was massively angry with myself, the world, everybody. Why is this happened to me? All of the usual questions. And I made a decision then that, okay, the world will be better off without me. You know, my family will be better off without me. Look at all the things that have happened because of me. But at the time I couldn't explain why, but when I made that decision, there was almost like a few moments where it just became really quiet, really peaceful. I'd never felt like that before. And I wasn't sure what it meant, but it gave me enough I feel, of a breathing space from all of the things that were going on in my head to ask some better questions.

 

So, a little bit more clarity. And so, I still asked some questions like, well, why am I going through all of this? Why has this happened to me? But I started to ask questions like, well, okay, if I go ahead with this, I could have died several months ago in a road traffic accident. And I didn't. And everybody who saw that event said, there's no way that you should have survived that or any of you should have survive it. So why did I? It can't have been just to go through some more crap, there must be, there must have been a reason for it. And maybe I don't know what the reason is, but there must be a reason. There must be some reason I'm still here. And those were enough for me to, you know, sounds a bit cliché, but to see a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel to say, okay, maybe now is not the time. Maybe there is something else. And I don't know what it is yet, but maybe I need to go and start looking.

 

And so I went home, I went back that day, and I went into the office. I'm kind of looking for some inspiration if you like, I didn't know what it was, but I'd gone into the office. And I took a book from the shelf. I'd read the book before without really having any meaning to it. But the copy I took off the bookshelf was one that my son bought me on our last trip away. We'd been to Australia and at the airport on the way home, my son bought me this copy of this book to read on the plane. And it was a book called Think and Grow Rich. And like I said, I'd read it before, but I took it from the shelf, just looking for something to kind of inspire me, motivate me to do something. I literally couldn't put it down. I started to read things in there and think, wow, I have never seen that before. How did I never see that in there? How did I miss this before? I'd like to say, you know, everything just changed like that and everything was wonderful. But it wasn't obviously.

 

But it really started me on more of a journey to find more about myself than ever before. And, people talk about personal development. I didn't know it was called personal development or I didn't even know there was an industry designed around it. It just felt something I needed to do. And from that point on, I went back to work for a period of time. So, I did go back and get a sales job, but it just never felt right. I think being out of the industry and working for yourself, I think it's really hard to go back and work for somebody else ever again. And so, it was only a couple of years and I was like, I need to get out. I need to do something else. So, I had a couple of jobs and then I left, and I set up as a consultant. So, I'd been working in education. So, training and education, vocational education particularly, and I left there and set up as a consultant, helping organisations develop vocational training programmes or apprenticeship programmes and those types of things, mainly in manufacturing and engineering.

 

And some of the companies that I worked for previously became clients of mine. When they'd won projects, they said, would you deliver them? And we had a period of time where that was a lot of what I did. Travelling and helping both governments and companies, industry sectors, develop programmes, standards, and all those sorts of things. And I thoroughly enjoyed it, but every time I got an opportunity to talk, we ended up talking about personal growth or my backstory or how I ended up where I was and what I do and the things that I'd done with myself and the investments I'd made in my own growth, how they changed me in my life and how they changed my family's outlook and what my boys are doing based on what we'd done. And I suddenly realised, hang on a minute. This is the bit I enjoy. And this is way more fun than even the consultancy I was doing.

 

And then again, I still did not make a connection. I didn't make a decision to say, so this is what I'm going to do, but slowly but surely things started to happen. People started to ask me to go and talk about my story. Would I share it with somebody, would I share it with a group, would I speak at some networking event and that's kinda how it started. And then people would come up afterwards and say, that resonated with me. I really struggled with that. Do you think you could share with me how you got through that? And I started to, and they had some results and I really felt great about that. And then people would say, well, you need to go and speak to Dean and before long, I had people coming to me saying, I understand you can help with this.

 

And it was then when I thought, well, actually this is, I love doing this. And I'd spent ages telling my two sons, particularly you should go and do whatever you want to do. There are no limits, stop following what everyone else says you should do. And I certainly thought well should take your own advice. And now it's about time you should do something that you enjoy doing. That's what led me into doing what I do. It was never a conscious decision. It was more a series of synchronicities that kind of led me to a point where I was like, yeah, this is where I need to be. This is where it should be.

 

And now I look back, I often say that you can't join the dots looking forward. You can only join them looking back. And now I look back at some of those things and say, yeah, so all of those things were pushing me all the time. Not you shouldn't be here, go somewhere else, go somewhere else, go somewhere else until I found where I should be. And that kind of brought me to where I am. That's why I do what I do simply because I love it. I would do this all day, every day for free.

Michelle:

Yeah. I get into trouble with that one. As my job is so much fun. I shouldn't be charging people for this, this is brilliant.

Dean:

But, but it is. And I used to say all the time, my sons and I still say it to them now that, you know, if you enjoy what you do, you'll never work a day in your life. It's not work. I've run or put on a one-day workshop. Or I worked with a client. People will say, you know it must be so much hard work to pull all that together. And I'm like, no, that's not work. I absolutely love it. It's great fun.

James:

There's almost, we've talked in a number of podcasts, haven't we that there's almost in society, work is almost meant to be a drag, something to bitch about, something that's hard. It has to be hard. Whereas really, if you keep persisting and keep looking and trying new things, eventually, if you do get to that point of it's like, Oh, I've arrived. This is something I really enjoy. And the fact is I get paid to do it as well...double bonus!

Dean:

Absolutely. I often think particularly in the North East, for some reason, I think it comes from our industrial background, is that we're very much focused on, you know, it should be roll our sleeves up, it should be hard work. It should be a struggle. We should be fighting to get what we want. And I'm like, why does it have to be like that? Somebody posted something on social media the other day. And I commented to say, you know, you are the only other person I've heard say this recently, aside from myself, which is that we've also now bought into this idea that we've got people talking about the 5:00 AM club and people should be getting up at 4:00 AM to go to the gym and 5:00 AM to go to work. And I'm like, why? Because some successful person got success and that's what they did? Now everyone thinks that's the only route to get there.

Michelle:

Hell no. Can't make decisions without sleep.

Dean:

Someone said to me the other day, and what time do you get up? I said, when I wake up!

James:

Cause if you need a bit of, I mean, we've found this over the weekend. I'm usually someone that'll be awake at quarter to six or sort of quarter to seven. And by that point I'm awake and I'll probably start to read and I'm already feeling like, Oh, I need to get up and do something. But then I'll kind of wind down a bit and have almost a second sleep and sleeping in usually kind of makes me think, oh, it's nine, it's 10 o'clock I should be cracking on and doing things. But the difference in actually saying, I'm glad I had those two extra hours, because now I do feel refreshed in the day and I'll get more done or I'll be more productive, but I've not had to get up at six.

Dean:

Yeah, I agree. And I think there are people who wake up at 4:00 or 5:00 AM and can get up and perform really well for four or five hours and like to get work done. But I think we all have different body clocks. I think, you know, some people are...I could sometimes still be working at one in the morning. And I don't think I'm absolutely shattered; I must go asleep. So, I can work late on a night. But sometimes I couldn't get up really early unless I forced myself to, and then I'm not being authentic then. Cause I'm not doing it because that's the right time to do it. It's just because someone else has said, oh you have to be up at 5:00 AM that morning. I think we all work best at different times.

Michelle:

Yes. It's where your energies are.

James:

Yeah. And we try to plan that around our days as well. I say plant it, it's more, if we're feeling post lunchtime and it's like, no, we're not going to get any work done. We could sit at our desks; we'll get nothing done. Let's go for a walk or let's do something that's a bit more creative or sit in the sun for half an hour, an hour. And it's kind of, you've got to almost flux with the day and the energy really to get stuff done. We've found.

Dean:

Yes. And I agree. And I think we've been conditioned again that this idea that we've go to work from eight till five or whatever it is and that that's a working day. So, people will say to me, it's Friday and we're heading into the weekend or it's bank holiday Monday. And I'm like, oh yeah, I'm working on Monday. And they're like, well it's a bank holiday. And I'm like, I know, but I had Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off.

All:

[Laughter]

Dean:

But we've been conditioned that these are set things that you have to do. You have to have a Friday off or a Saturday or Sunday off, because you've worked Monday to Friday. It's like, no.

Michelle:

Oh, I'm way more productive on a weekend, cause I'm not getting bothered by clients. So, I always do my kind of deep work, I suppose generally at the weekend when my little boy is at his Dad's house. So yeah. And not being bothered by clients, not being bothered by child, you know, it works.

Dean:

Yeah. And same as we talked about earlier on about conditioning children that they've got to fit into this structure. That is what we've done over all these years is we do it with careers, but we also do it with the times that people are geared towards working around. I often say there's for me, in my opinion, there's no reason why schools shouldn't be seven until two or one until six. But it's designed around a working day. So, people get used to this idea that, well, I go to school at this time and finish at this time. Therefore, I go to work at this time, and I finish at this time. It just kind of builds this cultural idea that that's the only way it should be.

Michelle:

Yeah. It's from the industrial revolution as well, isn't it? It's like when everyone was in factories and then the summer holidays are when the kids start to help with the harvest. Don't know any kids helping with the harvest nowadays!

Dean:

Well, we rarely challenge those things. It just, you know, we are conditioned into it and then we accept it as we move forward.

Michelle:

And, obviously this year, they've had most of the year off.

Dean:

Somebody was saying the other day, oh we think what will happen is they'll go back to school, and they'll cancel the school holidays to allow them to catch up. I'm like...

Michelle:

Oh yeah, the teachers will love that one, won't they?! They'll be marching. I'll be with them.

Dean:

I think we become too rigid and things that, you know, everything should be this way as opposed to no, it'll be what it should be. Let's let it flow the way it goes. And we'll see where it ends up.

James:

Yeah. It's almost like kids should be at this level by this age. That's why we're getting the young kids back now because they'll have missed most, and they need to have achieved this by this age. And I look around at when you've got schools like in Finland, they don't send their kids to school until they're about seven. So, all the kinds of play learning and interacting with adults and family and this kind of experience, there's still a lot of learning I think for kids, without them needing to be able to know what...

Michelle:

All the weird words for the grammar stuff...

James:

...for their subordinate clauses and tense work. They'll have got more from it I think going forwards...almost the experience of resilience. Because we often talk that that's your quote usually isn't it that by 2027, if not earlier, half of Western workers will be freelance.

Michelle:

It was the world economic forum, but I'll take it.

James:

That's it. And it may even be sooner than that or a greater percentage. So, if you're able to, if you've had an experience at home, you've seen mum, dad, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles, working from home. What a great experience to say, well, actually now we don't want to employ you, but we can hire you as a contractor. Okay. I'll work from home. I've seen mum and dad do that. So yeah. I'll have a go at that. So, there's a lot, I think they've probably learned without us really realising it.

Dean:

Yeah, I think so. I talk about this idea of the ripple effect. You know, the work that I did around developing myself, some of that rubbed off on my two sons and my wife and my close family without me actually directly saying, oh, you should do this. Or you should think about this. It's just the ripple effect of them seeing and going well, actually. Yeah. Well, why can't I do that then? I'm just going to have a go at that without the fear of saying, oh no, it's not going to work out. Or what if it doesn't work out? Or what will people think of me if it doesn't work? And all those kinds of scenarios, it gives you the freedom to just be able to say, well, I'm going to try that. Yeah, that sounds good. Let's try that.

Michelle:

We ask every week, every guest that we get in the podcast, did you know what you wanted to be when you grow up and we always say that's the wrong question to ask kids. And I always ask Oliver and all his friends, what problem do you want to solve? And Oliver always talks about hunger. I want to solve world hunger. It's like, how are you going to do that? He's like, I'll be a fisherman or I'll have a farm so he's got, you know, he's kind of looking at the problem he wants to solve and look at your strengths, what are you good at? And that can make a difference.

Dean:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that, I talk about this often as well, that even when we set a goal, people will say, oh, it didn't work out in the time I was expecting it to. I always say, look, set the goal and keep the goal. It should never change. But the strategy for getting there can move. It can flex all the time. Just because that didn't work out that way, it might work out a different way or there might be another reason. And again, I think conditioning, we're too structured in things. We set a goal and we say, right, this is the plan to get there. And there's no other way, if it doesn't work out that way, then we can't have that. We can't achieve that. As opposed to, well, you still can't, it just might not work that way. Try something else, do something different.

Michelle:

What other kinds of, what are the kinds of problems that you solve and with what kind of people?

Dean:

Yeah, I've worked probably with two types. Most of the people I work with are either entrepreneurs or business owners. So, people like myself, and are corporate and looking to get out of corporate, and do it for themselves, or are already in the environment. They're an entrepreneur, they're a business owner, or they already have a successful business. And the three stages for me are those who are transitioning, are trying to understand, okay, what is it that I need to do or understand about myself that's going to be different in this world of running my own business, as opposed to being in the corporate world? So, the changes in their mindset and approach to that, or the entrepreneur who is already there and is stuck. So, they're growing, they feel...one of my things was I always used to feel like I was capable of way more, like I never felt like I was fulfilling that. I never felt like I was there.

 

I have this phrase; I coined this phrase that I always felt like I was driving with the mental handbrake on. It was like, I can't seem to go as fast as I feel I should be able to go. And so, I worked with a number of people in that aspect looking at, okay, so what is it that's stopping you, preventing you taking the action? And we look at belief systems and things that they've been conditioned to think about themselves so that we can release that mental handbrake. We can get them to go, actually, yeah, that's not true. I can just go and do this, and we get them into action. And then the final end of that spectrum is people who have got a successful business and I've worked with a number recently who, so they're exiting a business, or they've got a successful business.

 

You know, they've got what appears on the outside the perfect life. So, they've got an amazing house, they holiday every year, they've got a wonderful family, a beautiful home and a business, but they feel unfulfilled because they did that "when then" mentality. They thought that happiness was going to be when I've got all of that. So, when I am successful and I've got this business and we've got the house and we can do this, that's when I'll be happy. And then they get there and realise they're not. And so those are the kind of people that I work with. Those problems of either I'm stuck, I've got this mental handbrake and I can't seem to take the action I want, or I thought this was what was going to make me happy.

Michelle:

We've done lots of research around happiness and we're Action for Happiness volunteers and have been running courses for them and going on a little happiness journey and doing lots of research on positive psychology. And one of my favourite positive psychologists...can you have a favourite? Yes, of course you can...called Shawn Achor. And he posits that we were always taught that success leads to happiness. It's the absolute other way round. Figure out what makes you happy and then you'll be successful. And I think it's really almost profound, isn't it? And that's not how we're educating our kids. And it's not how we're almost developing our people in organisations as well.

Dean:

Yeah, I took a quote from a guy called Earl Nightingale, he's a bit of a personal development guru from years ago, which was his definition of success. And I use it every time I'm talking with a client because his definition of success is that success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal. And I use it because I say it therefore cannot be an end point. It's the progressive realisation. It's the steps you take towards whatever it is you've decided is worthy of your time. And it's the one I use all the time. Cause for me, it's never the "when then" mentality has finally stopped because it's now not that when I've got this, it's just who I am and I'm happy. Success is just this continuous journey towards whatever it is that we want to do.

Michelle:

Hmm. Totally. Awesome.

James:

Great stuff. So, let's move on to the quick-fire question round. Question number one, if everyone said what they were actually thinking, what would happen to society?

Dean:

So, if everybody said exactly what they were thinking, so I think there'll be a fair few people who wouldn't say anything, but I also think that we would reach a place I think of more authenticity in the world. I think too many people are worried about saying who they are or what they feel for the fear of what everyone else think about that. So there's too many subjects for me that we don't talk about that or even when I was growing up, whether it was money or people say to me sometimes when I tell my story and they say, Oh, you know, it's refreshing that people would talk about depression and suicide. And I'm like, yeah, but why wouldn't we? I don't, for me, I don't understand why we wouldn't talk about that. That's who we are. So, I think the world would be better off, I think for sure if people would actually express what they were thinking and what was really going on with them at the time.

James:

That's good.

Michelle:

Awesome. So, question number two, what is the most important goal every person should have? I think I know what the answer to this one is!

Dean:

I suppose there's two sides to it for me really. People use the words being the best version of you. I'm not a fan of that simply because that suggests there's something wrong in the first place. So, I think for me more latterly over the last two or three years, I think but is this idea of you already are everything you need to be. Be happy with that and let that allow you to go and do the things that you want to do and not have the fear and the guilt and the worry and the stress that goes with it all, because that doesn't exist in a place where you are everything you need to be. Those things only exist in a place where we think we're somebody else or we're trying to be what everyone else thinks we should be.

Michelle:

Mmm, awesome.

James:

Great points. And the final question, you can have a round of golf with anyone, who would you choose?

Dean:

As a golf fan and a golfer, that's a tough question, but I think, I suppose in the current situation and because of the way that I approach life, I would have to be with Tiger Woods because I think he has shown all aspects of what I talk about. You know, always true to himself, a real kind of, this is who I am, this is what I want, and I'm going after it with everything that I have, but also realised I think at certain points in his life, as I've done and other people have done that, trying to be what everyone else thinks you have to be when you reach that level, doesn't always play out the way you expect it to. And has had to address those inner demons and address those things. And has also battled with physical struggles and everybody's saying that's it, you're done. It's all over. You're finished. You know, he'll never be the player he was before. You'll never get back and to have the resilience and mental strength to say, no, this is who I am. I'm just going to keep doing what I do. And I know that it's going to come to where it needs to be. I'd love to have a conversation with him over 18 holes, just to kind of dig into some of the things that he's gone through and how he's been able to continue to do that.

James:

Well, it would be a good one. I remember I was on a plane with someone. She was a leadership coach and she told a story that was, and I'll be paraphrasing it, but it was, I can't remember which tournament it was and Tiger was paired up with another chap and it was really windy and it was hard to get your drives landing on the fairways, et cetera. And the guy that he was paired with, the reporter said, oh, you know, so what happened today then? Oh, you know, the wind, it was terrible. Things were sheering off. And, the greens were wet and this, that and the other. And then they asked Tiger the same questions and it was sort of, I just wasn't hitting the ball well enough today. And it was that sort of difference in mindset that it's, I can't control the wind, but I can adjust with a different club, how hard I hit. And that I think epitomises who he is and how he approaches things.

Dean:

It was, I read something in, I read his autobiography, well, not his direct autobiography, but I read his book. And within that, there's a story about him and Steve Williams, who was his caddy at the time before a rift, they had this falling out. But it talked about the tournament when his back was really bad and he was playing through it. And there were several times during that round where Steve had said to him, you've got nothing to prove. You know, you're world number one, you've won tournaments. Let's just pull out. Let's just, we'll come back another day. You know, we'll live to fight another day.

 

And he just kept saying we're playing on, we're playing on. And it got to a point where he hit a shot. I think it's the one that they keep playing now where he drops to his knees in the fairway, he's in pain and Williams comes over to him with a bag and says, I think this is time to call it a day. He said, he pushed himself up on his club and stared him in the eyes and said, shut up, Steve, we're winning this tournament. They went out and won. And it was just that attitude. And I've been watching The Last Dance with Michael Jordan on Netflix. And it's the same, it's exactly the same mentality of there is nothing to stop us. I will not quit now.

James:

Love it.

Michelle:

It's on the list that one. Awesome, so if we could get a DeLorean, pull outside your house and you could go back to your 18-year-old self, what advice would you give to him?

Dean:

So, it's a question that gets asked a lot. And over the years, I've probably given lots of different answers thinking about what sort of things would help me at 18 through my journey, but having reached where I am now, I look back. The only advice I think I would give my 18-year-old self is everything will be okay. I wouldn't change anything. I wouldn't say do this, don't do that. I would just say, it'll work out, just trust that it'll work out and just do what you want to do. So not so much change something, just trust the process and it'll be okay. Everything's going to be okay.

James:

Good advice. So, if that's of interest to our listeners, and they'd like to get in touch. What's the best way to find you?

Dean:

You can reach me at my website, which is www.Deanafox.com. I'm on all the social channels, but Instagram and Facebook are @deanfoxcoaching and I'm on LinkedIn under Dean Fox and you can find me on there as well.

James:

Brilliant.

Michelle:

Lovely.

James:

Well, we've really enjoyed chatting today, Dean.

Michelle:

Thank you so much for your time.

Dean:

It's been a pleasure.

James:

Thanks for joining us.