Really get to know me...
If you were able to wander back to the early ‘70s you would find yourself in a country of unrest, strikes and power cuts!
As a child that didn’t mean much to me until at the age of 11 my best friend Steve knocks on my front door!
That’s when my ‘sales training began’.
You see, Steve was one of the local villains who was known by everyone, including the local Bobby (that’s what we called Police Officers when I was young). In fact, just a few weeks before that fatal knock on the door I was on a push bike with Steve when we were stopped by a man in a car!
Steve, un politely told him where to go … at that point he pulls out his Police warrant card and chastises us for riding pillion on the public roads … yes, you were stopped by the Police for having a passenger on your bike.
We both got off the bike and walked along until his car disappeared then jumped back on the bike!
So, back to the knock on the door.
I opened it and Steve said “Gaz (yes, my name had been shortened as normal for the day) do you fancy earning some money?”
“Of course,” I said.
He said “great … get you Dad’s wheelbarrow and follow me”
And that’s what I did.
So, what was the big, grand money-making venture? I hear you say.
It was this …
Steve told me to say these words:
“We’ve come to collect your old newspapers and magazines”
He was very clear that is what I had to say.
And that’s what we did.
Wheel barrow after wheelbarrow we collected thousands of newspapers and magazines, which were taken to our local scrap merchant, weighed in and converted to cash … which we split 50:50.
The only time I didn’t collect any papers or magazines was when I asked the following question:
“Do you have any old newspapers and magazines we can take away please?”
When Steve heard me say that he quickly reminded me of what I had to say.
You see, he had stumbled across one of the best kept secrets of sales.
And that is asking questions that get an automatic yes based on what sales trainers call the assumptive close.
As a reminder, here’s the question again:
“We’ve come to collect your old newspapers and magazines”
Interestingly Steve invited more ‘mates’ to get involved which saw an increase in the volume but a far less share of the profits, so my Dad and his Dad decided it was costing too much petrol to take the papers and magazines down to the scrap yard, so ended my first taste of sales and business.
There I am, sitting on the stairs complaining of another stomach ache and feeling sick when my Mum asks what’s wrong.
I couldn’t stand it any more so blurted out I was afraid of a couple of kids at school, ‘Steve and Mick’ to which my Dad said I’ll show you how to fight!
That wasn’t what I wanted to do at all.
Running away was my main option and the fear of having to face them one more time was becoming unbearable.
I didn’t want my parents complaining to the school because in my mind it would only get worse.
Strangely the 1972 Olympics had just finished, and we had just won 3 medals in Judo!
My Dad gets this idea to take me to the only judo club in town called aptly ‘Judokwai Leicester’, which was based above a church hall in East Bond Street (it’s now converted offices) but for years it became almost my second home.
On that first day, I remember the typical, musty sweaty smell that hit me when I walked up the wooden stairs to what is known in Japanese terms, the Dojo (training hall).
It was noisy and there were loads of kids running around on a big canvas mat and then a command went out and all went silent!
It grabbed my attention for sure.
When the class came to an end the instructor came over to have a word and I was delighted to find out I could join the novice class the following week.
The first session was memorable … my first nose bleed – without the tears!
I was enjoying the tumbling and fun so much I didn’t notice it at first.
It was a very hot and sweaty session though and couldn’t wait to get changed out of my old cub’s jumper and corduroy trousers … it would be another 3 months before I got my first judo kit.
I still have the jacket today, to remind me of where I started and how I grew up within the sport.
Interestingly six months after starting judo my Mum asked the instructor if it was ok for me to use judo if I was being bullied. I remember him coming over and having a chat saying so long as I didn’t start the fight it was ok to finish it.
That’s all I needed.
The following Monday, ‘Mick’ decides to have a fight with me in the boy’s toilet.
A crowd gathered and there was a lot of shoving and pushing; I felt strangely at home, being used to it on the judo mat.
As Mick swung to grab me around the neck I quickly side stepped him and threw him over my back, very quickly.
He hits the floor and the breath is knocked out of him, his face contorts, and tears begin to roll down his face. I turn around and walk back to the classroom.
You would have thought it would have ended there, but no. Mick wanted his revenge, so as we were all getting on to the school bus to go home, he’s waiting outside with ‘Steve’.
Mick makes the mistake of grabbing hold of my jacket with his hand, as I push him away, I swing my left fist towards his chin (never done this before) and whack … connected so solidly he crumpled, went red in the face and started to cry. I turned and continued to board the bus without any fear or worry about the consequences.
Thus, ended the bullying.
Fast forward 10 years later and I gain my first dan black belt and reflect on how it all started.
Oh and a few years after becoming a black belt I became a double world record holder in the Guinness Book of Records for the most judo throws.
My first job was with Comet as a trainee TV and Radio Engineer. Well, suppose to be. I was in fact the glorified tea boy, lunch boy, do whatever the service manager wanted me to do boy because most of the other people who worked there weren’t keen on me.
Because unfortunately I was subjected to racism.
The only issue was this. I didn’t realise they were being racist, I just thought they didn’t like me.
For two, very long years this went on until one day, in the gent’s toilet, I overheard a conversation that wasn’t English and agreed with the two of them who were talking.
What followed was deathly silence and an uncomfortable moment for them (not me, because I hadn’t understood a word they said).
‘How do you know what we’re saying?’ said one of them. ‘Having been around you for two years I’ve picked up a lot of your language’ said I, with a wry smile.
Later that day I noticed everyone was speaking English around me and being politer!
Fast forward a few years, having moved through different jobs based around service I end up at a company that was to change my life; Canon.
Yes, Canon was one of those up and coming companies that was heavily investing in promoting itself through Formula 1 racing and the football league.
It was also a company that believed in training, so I got my first taste of professional courses and workshops designed to bring the best out of you. To teach you how to manage and present and to be the best you could be through the constant practice of Kaizen … constant and never-ending improvement.
The workshop that became the ‘tipping point’ for me was ‘Professional Presentations for Managers’.
At last, I found I was good at standing up and speaking.
But more than that; the audience genuinely enjoyed themselves and the feedback was tremendous
And I’d got the bug.
I’d got the hunger for speaking … more would happen later.
‘You must come to Sailors’ surprise 60th birthday’ said Rosemary.
Those words would open another chapter in my life that would eventually lead to where I am today.
Sailor was my judo coach but more than that. He was the inspiration in getting me into the personal development field. You see, he was a former special force soldier along with being an Olympic coach who exuded positive mental attitude with a very pragmatic approach.
He'd literally been there and done it.
Because he’d coached top Olympian and World Champions his view on training, technique and strategy was great but there was more.
He was also a very good physio.
So, there I am, waiting for Sailor to arrive home and his wife Rosemary had sworn us all to secrecy.
The aim was to surprise him as he came through the front door.
The only problem?
Sailor didn’t like surprises but loved his wife more … so the look that flickered across his eyes when he entered was fascinating … it went from killer to kind husband in just a second!
Phew, we all made it out alive.
However, what transpired was great conversation about life in general; a lot of laughter and banter went around his living room, we were even entertained with Rosemary’s operatic singing… yes, he’d married an opera singer.
Someone had brought along their guitar and somehow it landed in my lap. Someone said, ‘go on then Gary, let’s see what you can do’.
Little did they know I was classically trained by a Mr Wal, who lived in the Red Light district of Leicester (maybe more about that later) and he had recently shown me how to play Romanza; a beautiful tune famous for its links with a perfume advert during the late ‘70’s early ‘80s … so I picked up the guitar, tuned it by ear and away I went.
Mesmerized was the word … Sailor was totally shocked with my playing and then surprised me by saying: ‘Have you ever thought about training to be a sports massage therapist?’
It had never crossed my mind, however the thought stuck, and I pursued the different training schools that were around at the time and eventually enrolled.
Years later I was running my own therapy practice as well as working as a Salesman with a well known photocopier company when I read a book called ‘The Games People Play’ by Eric Berne.
It intrigued me.
Because the underlying principle was that all physical and mental problems could be deduced to a cause and once found and released the problem would cease to exist.
This coincided with a tragic twist of fate.
One patient I was just seeing had complained of lower back pain for almost 18 months and had been referred to me from a friend who had undergone successful treatments with me.
She presented with classic low back pain associated with the stresses and strains of modern living, so I commenced treatment and after the first session she said she felt a whole lot better but let slip she always felt the weight of responsibility of her husband who had passed away about 18 months ago.
The obvious link did not resonate in my mind until I received a call from the patient’s sister the day before her next session when she had to sadly inform me her sister had taken her own life.
Her suicide letter begged doctors to find the cause of her pain, however her autopsy revealed nothing.
The pain, that was real in her body, had been generated from within her thoughts.
I reflected on how powerful the mind along with its thoughts was and so decided to find out more. At the time there was no internet just the ‘Exchange & Mart’ and the Daily Express for information on courses to do with hypnosis, hypnotherapy and psychotherapy.
I sent away for more information and eventually found a training school that was just what I was looking for.
With a combination of home study and weekend seminars within 6 months I’d qualified as a hypnotherapist and would soon find out that theory and practice were two very different things and the phrase ‘nothing as queer as folk’ was so true when I first started.
The problems people came to see me with varied from wanting to lose weight, stopping smoking to getting over the feelings of deep depression and anxiety.
What I did worked for 1,000’s of people and found myself gravitating more and more towards sports and business mental enhancement.
In fact, the turning point came when I was invited to speak at Ragdale Hall; one of the UK’s leading health spas.
A hypnotherapist had let them down and so I was asked to go in to present to 60 guests on the power of hypnosis.
Having prepared a talk four weeks earlier for the Leicester Tinnitus Group I felt it would be good enough for them and it was.
In fact, the guests loved the presentation so much they wanted me to go in and do private sessions which I happily did … and then something special started to happen.
Because the type of person going to Ragdale was often a stressed-out business executive they would come up to me at the end to see if I could share my thoughts with their colleagues at conferences and meetings.
Which is where my business presentations started.
I find myself working, commission only, for an Australian marketing company because I’d decided it would help my business education to be schooled in the best marketing practices whilst applying my sales skills.
At the same time, I was building up my hypnotherapy practice whilst fitting in presentations for companies who’d seen me present at Ragdale Hall … busy would be a word!
As it happened, one of my colleagues John started to talk about branching out on his own and I suggested we combined my knowledge of hypnosis with his knowledge of marketing strategies.
What became known as the Winners Edge was born and off we went networking and presenting our unique ideas.
Within a very short time we built our client base up through a very simple strategy of giving free talks to business groups, chamber of commerce members and the fsb and then making an offering at the end with a money back guarantee – it just worked as John liked to say.
During one of our lean times we found ourselves driving over to our accountant to set up a Limited company and were listening to an audio by Joe Vitale who said one sentence that was to change the course of my career and life.
“All marketing must be both outrageous and courageous”.
I turned to John and said, ‘I’ll be the Outrageous Marketing Director and you can be the Courageous Marketing Director’. He thought about it and then turned to me and said ‘yes, let’s do it’
And do it we did.
And that’s where Gary Outrageous was born along with John Courageous.
And little did I know what a difference a change of name would make.
In fact, it makes me very memorable in people’s minds.
It’s unique so it makes me stand out.
All the qualities I suggest others do for their business success.
You see, in a crowded marketplace, it’s vital you stand out head and shoulders above your competition.
That you become the ‘go to person’ when someone thinks about your industry.
And that is my story … so far!