November 23, 2017

About Kevin

I grew up in the North West of England and finished school at the age of 16. My dad wanted me to become an apprentice at the local steel works or coal mine and learn a trade, so I’d have a job for life in a factory.

1968 Kevin with Prefect BadgeAlthough I wanted him to please him, I was clearly going to be a bit of a disappointment. You see, I had bigger dreams than he ever did and wanted much more than just a factory job. So against his will, I left home at 16 and went to college in Bristol. He once asked if this college would give me a trade or a job for life and again I had to say no, it wouldn’t. He later asked if it would give me a proper qualification so I’d be able to put letters after my name like a lawyer or doctor. Regretfully, I said it wouldn’t do that either.

Yet somehow I never forgot his questions – because they showed what I would need to gain his approval. And we all want approval, don’t we?

Eventually, years passed by, and I got a job with a large UK corporate.

I learned a lot and was good at my job. Yet I could certainly have achieved more, but I had no idea how – nor did I realise that it was me that was in charge of my destiny. Like a lot of employed people, life just seemed to slip away. I felt helpless… and so I got lazy and procrastinated.

My secret dream was to retire early, so I would be young enough to enjoy life! I dreamed of retiring at age 30, then age 35, then age 40. But I was already racing toward the age of 40 – so it wasn’t going to happen! I later discovered that goals without plans are just wishes. I learned to hate work and knew that I would remain a dissatisfied corporate ‘slave’ for the rest of my working life – until retirement at age 65. If I could give it all up tomorrow, that would be just fine!

I think I was turning into my dad.

Then my best friend Tom died of cancer at age 40, leaving a wife and two young children behind. That woke me up!

I couldn’t believe he was dead. I was already 39 myself; so next year I could be gone too – leaving behind a wife and two young children as he did. I felt that I was a nobody and that maybe it was too late to ever amount to anything. In fact, I didn’t have a clue what to do to change things.

But it’s in those moments of despair, when we’re ready to give up that everything can change for the better. It’s the decisions we make at these times that have the power to change our destiny – then nothing is ever the same again!

Sir_john_harvey_jonesIn my case, I saw the great Sir John Harvey-Jones on the BBC’s Troubleshooter TV programme, some years after he’d retired as Chairman of ICI. In that TV series he acted a bit like Columbo; the scruffy American detective. Sir John simply doddered about, visiting a different under-performing company each week, and asking the company boss – and the company cleaner – what they thought was wrong with the company. Then in a taxi on the way back to his train, he made a few scrawled notes on the back of an old cigarette pack.

Later, back home in London, he met up with one of his mates at the pub and asked what they thought this under-performing company should do. And he wrote it down!

Columbo

The following week, he went back to the under-performing company and charged them a fortune to tell them what his mates advised – he was a business management consultant.

So I thought to myself, “Wow! That’s so easy, I bet that even I could do it.”

I didn’t even think about ‘the how’, I had a motivating goal and that was enough!

At the time, I was working as a project manager in a big corporate company. So on the spur of the moment I decided I would get them to train me as a business management consultant instead. I already loved creating plans and designing processes to get things done, so I would specialise in project management – simple! Then I drew up an audacious 10-year plan to retire aged 50; a plan that would give me enough money to live on for the rest of my life. Strangely, once I knew what I wanted, the rest became easier than I ever thought possible.

Then for the next decade, I talked big, got trained, passed exams, worked (too) hard, took risks, got ulcers (twice) and learned more about managing projects than anyone else I knew.

During that decade, I learned three simple secrets that turned me into an ‘expert’.

That meant I could set up my own project management company and sell my expert knowledge to corporate clients. One day I was working for a client who boasted that he had more letters after his name than within it. Strangely, it reminded me of what my dad had asked me all those years ago. And, in that moment, I really wanted to be able to say the same. But my full name is long, very long – Thomas Patrick Kevin Bermingham (28 letters) – so I naturally dismissed the thought: it would be an impossible achievement.

But what if I could? What would my dad think of me then… more importantly, how would I feel?

So I rose to the challenge.

I worked hard and eventually had 31 credibility letters to put after my name (MBA, BSc, DipM, CMC, MIMC, MBCS, MIMgt, MIBPR). It took me 5 years, but I was truly an expert; just like Sir John!

Kevin's Certificates

If you’d asked me at Tom’s funeral whether I would ever achieve anything like that, I’d have given you a blank look and a thousand excuses why not. Sadly, my dad had already passed away, but I already knew he’d have been proud of me!

Machu Picchu & Llamas (Enhanced)I’d become so successful that, four years later, I was able to retire with enough money never to need work again; and I achieved it at age 49, a year before the target I’d set all those years ago. Now, I don’t tell you this to impress you; simply to impress upon you that with a belief and a motivating goal, you can do anything!

Retirement definitely wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

I then spent a few years reading and learning, travelling the world a few times… and I was getting very, very bored! So I tried to keep myself occupied by buying and developing properties to rent out, but nothing changed. You see, it had all become pointless – somehow having those letters after my name just wasn’t enough.

I needed to achieve a bigger purpose; create something worthwhile to leave behind behind when I’ve gone.

Then I had a breakthrough. In 2006 I attended a personal development seminar – along with 4,000 other people – and I finally figured out what I really wanted to do with my life. I came to the realisation that retiring had been a dreadful mistake. It wasn’t WORK that I hated after all, it was just my corporate JOB that I’d hated. Actually, I quite liked working! So right there, amongst a crowd of 4,000 people, I decided to design and set up the perfect business that I would love to work in. Maybe even something to leave behind when I’ve gone.

I had a goal again!

But over the next few years I made a lot of mistakes and took a load of wrong turns. Things weren’t going well; things got bleak and I felt that I’d made a mistake all over again. I became demotivated, slipping back to my old habits of procrastinating and getting overwhelmed – I was definitely ready to give up – ready to ‘retire’ a second time. I’d reached a point of despair. My goal wasn’t enough; something else was missing. But I didn’t know what.

So I decided to look for another ‘Sir John’.

Finally, I found a man called Ian, who was a Life Coach – someone who could see the wood from the trees when I couldn’t, and he helped me work out where I was going wrong. I worked out that I’d been compromising on my values and had moved away from doing the things I loved best. I also found I was spending too much time thinking, rather than ‘doing’. Luckily Ian was able to wake me up and remind me that I was an expert – in project management – now I become motivated again!

I simply needed to focus on what I was best at.

More importantly, I discovered I could now use my project management skills to improve my personal success – not just that of past corporate clients – enabling me to start achieving tangible results for myself.

Beliefs-Front Cover-PocketThat week in 2010, I sat down and wrote my first book, Change Your Limiting Beliefs. Then I used PowerPoint to design its cover, got it proofread, bought 100 ISBN numbers, and then published it on Amazon just three weeks later. In that rollercoaster month, I literally managed to get all my thoughts out of my head and physically into my hand. All those abstract thoughts had become something that was ‘real’ – now others could benefit from my knowledge, experience and skill. I had created the first part of a legacy to leave behind after I’ve gone.

Publishing my first book changed my life – yet again!

Since then I’ve published a second book, The Seven Secrets of Successful Authors, and found I was able to help others to publish their books too; each one written and published within just 90 days of starting. Then, to help even more people to do the same, I set up my own publishing company and published 22 books on Amazon within just 12 months. Here are just a few of them …

Book Montage Slider

Do you think I could do this for someone you know? If so, please feel free to download a complimentary chapter of my book, The Seven Secrets of Successful Authors, for them to get started with. Meanwhile, I look forward to reading your own book one day.

 

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