The Blog

The Comeback

A desire to 'comeback' is the difference between making excuses or fuelling motivation, failing or succeeding or applying the handbrake or stepping on the gas when it comes to facing any one of life's various and inevitable challenges.

If we were think of some of the greatest historical comebacks it evokes memories of achievements made by great people, leaders, sporting hero's and underdogs who snatched an unlikely victory from the jaws of defeat or against all odds.

What makes these moments special is that they were not meant to happen, or were at least looking particularly unlikely at the point before the balance shifted and sheer determination and courage took over.

From a sporting point of view, the victory is made all the sweeter when it was an unlikely one, if the favourite succeeds there is no element of surprise. When the underdog prevails it usually means that someone had a bad day at the office or that the less desirable runner played out of their skin. It also means someone somewhere probably won a lot of money!

Take Leicester City in the Premier League for example. This time last year they were bottom of the league seven points adrift from safety, they turned that around with a succession of victories and when the new season begun they continued their form so that today they stand eight points clear at the top!

Luck plays a small part, ability is obviously fundamental too - but the biggest aspect to their incredible year has to be the psychology underpinning the belief and fearlessness they have displayed this year.

I believe their survival exploits last year taught them a valuable lesson, that nothing is impossible, that you should never give up, that the unthinkable can happen and they froze that belief or bottled it up and have kept that very mindset throughout the whole of this campaign. It truly is an electrifying story that highlights the fact that a positive attitude married with a fair amount of courage can spark a comeback of epic proportions which can be carried on beyond the moment of safety.

A comeback is a recovery but that recovery can become a constant path.

There is a type of comeback that many people do not credit themselves with as an achievement yet it stands as big an accomplishment as any story you'll ever read on the front or back of a paper.

Lets consider what the score was in your life when you become an adult. If you had a great upbringing in a safe, encouraging environment you might say you were a good few goals to the good? Perhaps you had a disadvantaged childhood and you found yourself a good few goals down? Maybe you were somewhere between the two and it was a draw?

As an approximate figure, I was losing 22-3 when I left home at 16 to go and live with my Grandad and embark on a footballing career at Leyton Orient FC. I had a somewhat leaky defence up until then...

I was born to a teenage mother who fortunately for me, ignored everyones advice to abort and went ahead with the pregnancy although sadly my biological father wasn't keen on the idea of being a Dad and at 19 decided that he would have nothing to do with me.

My mother then attempted to raise me but after a year or two decided that she needed time to grow up so I was put in foster care with a couple called Margaret and Dave that I strangely, despite being an infant, still have memories of.

Whilst having no dad and being given up by my mother to go into foster care wasn't an ideal start in life for someone experiencing it I think you just see it as normal. It's not until you are older that the sense of injustice and rejection can creep up and take its effect on you.

My mum, at 20 years old, took me home when I was four or five because she had met a partner who would take responsibility for me and, when they married a year later, he was to become my stepdad. His influence in my life was a mixed bag, whilst he supported me with my blossoming football career taking me to countless training sessions and games and even managing the Sunday teams I played for, his temperament would leave me in complete fear of displeasing him.

I grew up in a largely volatile environment where shouting and arguing was the common form of communication. I was scared. Scared for my mum, scared to make a mistake, scared to make a noise. I took refuge in my bedroom which despite my success in junior football made me withdrawn and did nothing to help me deal with the bullies in my first two years of senior school. I read a suicide note from my mum one day. She didn't mean for me to see it but I could tell there had been something written on my pad so I shaded in the writing and could make out the message.

Fortunately she took another route and we eventually ran away - myself, mother and brother Spencer, born the year after they married seven years my junior with the physical condition cerebral palsy. It was incredibly brave of my mother to do this and we stayed in a women's refuge in Great Yarmouth for six months before we were rehoused in a village called Tiptree where I'd would say my own personal comeback began before my adult life had even started.

Before that could fully take effect though I had to deal with the day my stepdad turned up at the front door the very day I was off sick from school and in on my own, came in kicked a few kitchen cupboards in and then got on the phone to all of his family to tell them he was going to go inside for what he was about to do. Luckily I managed to warn my mum at the front door before she got to the bottom of the path. I thought she would run but she didn't, she was sick of running. Fortunately the police soon arrived and dealt with the matter before anyone was hurt.

My stepdad was not a bad person despite these accounts, he was a young man doing his best with the tools that life had granted him. Whilst that may sound rather forgiving, a big part of my personal recovery was to understand why people around me behaved the way they did. I looked at the kind of childhood he had and it was little wonder that he would contest fear with aggression, i don't speak to him, but i do forgive him, my mum could never entertain such a notion and understandable so.

By understanding his path it enabled me to almost devalue the effects of his presence in my childhood because I worked out at a young age that in society victims create victims and I don't want these issues because they are second-hand being passed down through generations, and I most importantly recognised that I had he power to choose to not accept what was being handed to me.

I wouldn't be giving you all of the highlights unless I mentioned when my mum sat me down at the age of 13 to ask me the question 'would you like to meet your real Nan and Grandad?' It took me no time for me to realise that she was telling me that my stepdad wasn't actually my real dad, although I had never actually questioned it once up until that point. Incredibly I had somehow suppressed all memory of the stepdad not always being there and the instant she muttered those words I immediately remembered an occasion, a memory locked away somewhere, when my stepdad had punched his way through a window so we could get back into a council flat we had been evicted from. I then recalled how I entered the bathroom where he was sitting on the edge of the bath and me saying "your hand is bleeding, Ron". The lightbulb flashed - you don't call your dad by his first name? So I replied, "what about my real dad?"

My mum then had to tell me the difficult part. My biological father had lost his life as the skipper of the Marchioness which sunk on the River Thames in 1989 when it collided with another vessel. On one hand everything was clearer now I knew where I was or wasn't from, whilst on the other it had been sad to learn that I wouldn't get the opportunity to have a relationship with my real Dad the very second I learnt about his existence.

I suspect everyone would have an opinion as to how they would have took that information on board, the only way I know how was to be positive though. I jumped at the chance to meet my 'East End family' that I had just learnt about and, if my Dad were alive, I would have forgiven his earlier abandonment in a heartbeat, I guess I thought that you cant miss what you never had, although seeing as I'm apparently so much like him I often wonder what the difference in me would be if he was here. Would I have had so much to come back from? How good of my mum to allow this family into my life, given the rejection and abandonment she experienced at their hands only 13 years before? That's putting your child first.

I think it would be fair to say there are criminals locked away in our prisons and people that are experiencing a state of depression that would have experienced less than this, yet attributed their actions or state of mind on their past. A desire to 'comeback' is the difference between making excuses or fuelling motivation, failing or succeeding or applying the handbrake or stepping on the gas when it comes to facing any one of life's various and inevitable challenges.

I think society tells you that if you're from a council estate background and have all of these limiting factors stunting your self-esteem as a child, you're much more likely to follow suit. Most probably do. They think like a victim, feeling bitterness instead of optimism, dejection instead of hope. There are the odd ones that summon up some kind of sense that theres more to life, I feel an entitlement to a great life after all of this. The truth is, we all do.

I've often described to clients how our childhoods create a path for our life and the problems in adulthood are often corrected when an individual realises that their life is a product of the rules and conditions imposed on them by those responsible for for them in their younger years but how in adult life we can build a new path that takes on a very different and more suitable direction through exercising choice and the right to disagree. To disagree with the lies we were taught to believe about ourselves as kids.

To me this is the epitome of a comeback. It's one thing to recover a situation that you create yourself, its another to recover from a situation that developed around you, one that you were powerless to influence. The biggest comeback anyone can ever embark upon is one that requires us to create the reality we will later entitle 'normal'

If you are interested in making your own personal recovery go to and register for my exclusive forthcoming 14 day online course 'Simple steps to Increase your Positivity, Confidence and Happiness'.