It’s strange isn’t it, that our best opportunities can sometimes come from the greatest difficulties we face?

A while back I heard a colleague, Harry Singha, give a talk on ‘meaning’, and how by changing the meaning you give events, you can turn the worst day of your life into your best day. Harry told how leaving home at 15 to escape an abusive father, although extremely traumatic at the time, was really the day that turned his life around. If it hadn’t happened he wouldn’t have gone on to meet the love of his life. If it hadn’t happened he wouldn’t have gone on to start the Youth Life Coaching Academy, and do all the great work he does, both at home and Internationally.

And he’s not alone. There are many, many people out there who have faced adversity, yet gone on to achieve great things. Because of course Harry’s right, the negative events that happen to us have no real significance except for the meaning we choose to give them. We can whine, complain, play the victim, and use our ‘misfortune’ as an excuse as to why we aren’t happy, rich, successful, good at relationships [enter your issue here], or we can (as the NLPers would say) re-frame the situation and look at it in a more positive light.

My own story (and Alfie’s) really starts a few years ago. It was June 8th 2008 and I was case number 770 of 2008 in Norwich Bankruptcy Court. I’d lost my business, my car, my credit cards, my bank accounts, and my self esteem. I’d just sold my Rolex (and my wifes) in order to pay the rent and buy food for us and our children, then aged 2 and 4.

To be honest I felt like crap, and I was ready to play the victim. I wanted someone to blame so I looked for a likely target.

And there were lots of them.

The Banks for not seeing the potential of my amazing business plan and bailing me out…

The credit card companies for stopping my credit…

The credit card companies again for giving me too much credit in the first place and allowing me to rack up a mountain of debt…

My clients for not seeing the bigger picture…

My colleagues for not giving me the support I deserved…

My suppliers for changing their terms on short notice…

My parents for sending me to boarding school when I was 11…

The list went on…

But in truth I knew deep down that the buck stopped with me. You see, people don’t often go bankrupt overnight, it’s usually the cumulative effect of lots of bad habits and poor decisions practiced over a long period of time. And I realised that if I was to move forward and (in the words of Henry Ford) start again more intelligently, I had to accept the responsibility for my failings.

I was completely broke, but I’d often heard it said that ‘the more you learn the more you earn‘. If that was true it looked like I had a lot of learning to do, so I decided to go on a mission of learning and self development in order to discover exactly what went wrong. I read personal development and motivational books. I went to business and wealth creation seminars. I did intensive courses on all sorts of subjects. I studied blogs and articles on prosperity. I spoke to highly successful people…

…and boy did I learn a lot of stuff!

Here I was, at 46 years old, suddenly realising there was a whole world of knowledge out there I’d known nothing about. I’d never before been shown the basic principles, disciplines, and mindset required for success, and I don’t just mean financial success, but success in all areas of life.

Although I was grateful for the ‘education’ I was receiving, why was I learning this now instead of when I was a child? If I’d learned all this ‘stuff’ back then I may have been living the life of my dreams by now instead of being middle aged and broke!

So I looked for a way to teach what I’d learned to children, and I mean children young enough to still believe they can accomplish anything.

Children who still have a dream.

And I came up with the idea for a children’s book about a 12 year old boy named Alfie Potts who, with the guidance of his father, becomes an entrepreneur. My thinking was that through Alfie’s entrepreneurial endeavours I could pass on my new found wisdom to children before they get programmed for mediocrity by well meaning family members, the media, and the world we live in.

Then, with a possible book title scribbled in my notebook, I went to London for the weekend to attend T Harv Eker’s Millionaire Mind Intensive with a couple of colleagues. And if you’ve ever wondered whether events like the MMI can change lives I can answer that question for you…

Yes They Can!

The positive energy you are exposed to during a weekend like this lifts you to a whole new creative level, and by the time the weekend was over I’d changed the book to a book series, sketched out the first few stories, written down a whole list of lessons I wanted Alfie to learn during the series, and come up with the start of a product range.

And I’d decided to go for it…

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said ‘Once you make a decision, the Universe conspires to make it happen‘ and in the case of Alfie Potts it was true. Within a couple of weeks I’d found an illustrator, and a couple of months later I’d finished the first story, written a proposal, and landed a publishing contract!

Now, a few years later, the first 3 books are in print and selling well with great reviews on Amazon, and the fourth is written and ready for publication.

To read what people are saying about the books click here

Writing the books made me realise I could also write copy. Strong, persuasive web and sales copy that will convert your web visitors into customers… and I firmly believe this ability has been a major factor in the success of the successful ‘Fun Casino’ events company I part own.

In my spare time I give talks on entrepreneurship, success, and prosperity principles to classes of young children in various local schools… and very importantly, I’m loving it!

Now I know there are those who have suffered far more than I have. For me the difficulty was mainly financial, and I haven’t lost limbs, been ill, lived in a war torn country, been beaten or abused, or lost family members. The point I’m making is that from my own adversity I discovered my life’s purpose. I found out what it is I was born to do, and what I’m really passionate about. Now, through the leverage of the Alfie Potts books and courses, I can inspire a whole new generation of entrepreneurs and teach children about values, success, prosperity, and a whole host of other important lessons they don’t often get at home or in school.

So that’s the story of how Alfie Potts came about, but what does it mean to you? Well of course I’d love you to buy my books for your children or ask me to speak at your event, but the real message is…’if I can start with masses of debt, no credit, and low self-esteem, and do something which (I think) is pretty amazing in a short time, anyone can do the same‘. Because it’s never where you are now or where you’ve been that matters, it’s where you want to go in the future that’s important.

We are all capable of great things, so if you feel you’re not achieving your potential right now perhaps you should start looking at what it is that’s holding you back. What excuses are you telling yourself, and where do they come from? What has happened in the past to make you feel this way? Then go back and change whatever ‘meaning’ you’ve given to those past ‘events’, forgive, and let go. If you don’t it may well stop you from realising your dreams.

For me? Well just a few years ago I was case number 770 of 2008 in Norwich Bankruptcy Court…

…and it was the best day of my life!

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“Mark is an exceptional writer who uses the psychology of persuasion to devastating effect. Whether you want to change hearts and minds, inspire and educate, or simply sell more stuff, he can help”... Joe Gregory - www.rethinkpress.com

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“Mark can do anything with words and knows how to speak in your voice to help you sell your stuff. He doesn’t muck about. No word is wasted. He can be entertaining, precise, and persuasive. But what he does best is get the sale and uses whatever works to achieve it. He’ll research your market and will write in its voice, relating to your potential customers, and more often than not swinging the balance so they buy into your product or service”... Jimmy Lee Shreeve - www.doktorsnake.com

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"We've noticed Mark's background in sales gives him a great advantage over other Copywriters. He understands what motivates people to buy, and has the ability to translate that into powerful copy. I'd highly recommend using him if you're not yet getting the conversion rates you want"... Marcus Hemsley http://www.fountainpartnership.co.uk