“I Can’t” is only one letter off “I Can!” and over the last seven days I proved that point and not to anyone else other than myself.
To make an impromptu “I Can” and then to grab a bike, a ruck sack and a map and cycle from Edinburgh to London is, reading it now and looking back, somewhat insane and slightly radical but it was not unachievable and defiantly not out of the realms of possibility and it is was, without question, one of the greatest things I have ever done in my life.
I learnt so much about myself, I learnt that when someone puts their mind to something anything, really anything is possible.
I have watched over the years huge stars take on massive challenges, David Walliams swimming the Thames and Chanel, John Bishop running rowing and cycling and a lady who truly inspires me, Davina, look like we may never see her again as she exited Lake Windermere, I now, as a result of doing something for myself, have a better understanding of what they went through, which looking at it, was a far greater challenge than I took on.
My point here is you do not have to be a star, you do not have to be a celebrity, you do not have to be in the public eye to be someone or do something out of the box, I am not and I just did. The beauty of twitter and Facebook is you can lead from the front with only a handful of followers or FB friends and prove that you can do something that others think you will never do or complete, you can start the ball rolling of change and maybe, just maybe, get others doing a similar thing. Stephen proved this point and got my ball rolling!
I shall be forever grateful to Stephen, a young man facing the greatest fear of all, faced it head on and refused to be defined by it and that in my book is nothing less than a hero. I had never met him or spoken to him but I found myself being inspired to do something as a result of his message and that suddenly made Twitter and Facebook a good thing. My only regret is I never got the opportunity to thank him for inspiring me although I thank him now in my quiet time.
I hear so often on TV, radio and social media people moaning and complaining, constantly asking what others can do for them, how others are messing with their lives, how others don’t understand, I hear people abuse others from a place of jealousy and attack those who are making a difference and that is so sad. I have been guilty of this, we all have, we are human, but I learnt over the past seven days, it is I who can only take responsibility for self. I urge you to try doing something for yourself by yourself and I categorically promise you the results are life changing. We live in such an “I want” society, trying turning it around and asking “What can I give” Stop for just a second and ask what can I put back in rather than take back out!
I hit some really low points on my ride, too many too mention, but it was at these points that I found an inner strength and determination to win my day, it was then as I faced failure and defeat that I found a resolve to fight to go forward, it was then I began to grow, it was then I found parts of me I did not know existed and it was then I found a new Ian, a new way and a new part of life I knew not existed and a new inner strength.
I was alone, scared, exhausted and often deflated, I cried, laughed, grunted, groaned, sang, whistled and loathred the wind and the rain but as I reached the end point at the conclusion of the day I felt a huge elation and an overwhelming sense of achievement and I got to share it with me, just me and that was the greatest feeling ever. I did something for me and during that process I got to freely give back to another, it was the perfect week.
Lead not follow, step out of the box, stand up and be counted and try something new, different and exciting! Be positive and never doubt yourself, there are plenty of people who will do that for you, prove them wrong, prove yourself wrong and go make a difference to you and most importantly someone else.
As Rhianna says “Shine bright like a diamond” grow from within and stare at yourself in the mirror and say “I Can” then push out your chest, smile big and shout from the top of your voice “I just did!”
RIP Stephen Sutton.