Are you ready to Mo?

Today is the 1st of a new month, but not just any month – it marks the beginning of a month formerly known as November. Once again I’ll be sporting the fur across my upper lip in the name of Movember, here’s why I do what I do:

On average, men die at a significantly younger age than women – the average life expectancy for man in the UK at birth and at age 65 is lower for men than women however there is no biological reason for this. The reasons for the poor state of men’s health in the UK and around the world are numerous and complex.

From Movember’s perspective the reasons for the poor state of men’s health include:
• Lack of awareness and understanding of the health issues men face
• Men not openly discussing their health and how they’re feeling
• Reluctance to take action when men don’t feel physically or mentally well
• Men engaging in risky activities that threaten their health
• Stigmas surrounding mental health

Movember aims to change the face of men’s health and reverse this way of thinking by putting a fun twist on this serious issue. Using the moustache as a catalyst, we want to bring about change and give men the opportunity and confidence to learn and talk about their health more openly and take action.

Using scary stats to motivate people is not how we roll at Movember, but the facts below are too startling to ignore…
• Men have a 14% higher risk of developing cancer than women and a 37% higher risk of dying from it
• Around 2,300 men in the UK were diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2010
• More than 100 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every day in the UK
• 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year
• Suicide is the single most common cause of death in men under 35
• 25% of men in the UK were categorised as obese in 2011 compared to 13% of men in 1993
• Since 1996 the number of people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes has increased from 1.4 million to 2.9 million
• In England more men than women have been diagnosed with diabetes. 6.3% of men reported that they had diabetes and 5.3 % of women
• Smoking causes around 87% of lung cancer deaths in men in the UK compared to 83% in women
• A study published in December 2011 estimated that smoking causes nearly a fifth of all cancer cases in the UK
• Men are twice as likely as women to abuse or become dependent on alcohol
• A quarter of deaths of men under 34 can be attributed to alcohol
• 6% of men in the UK are “at risk” drinkers – someone who drinks more than 51 units a week

The above information is taken directly from the Movember UK website. You can read more here.

So, please help me and my team to make a difference to men’s health – and do your part in helping us to spread the word.

Andy x

The Mo' crew of 2012

The Mo’ crew of 2012

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Are your friends giving you a helping hand?

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I’ve been privileged enough to attend some pretty fantastic training sessions through my time here at Bromford and one in particular was with a brilliant guest speaker by the name of Nigel Risner. If you’re not familiar with him I encourage you to visit his website and subscribe yourself to his newsletter. I did this shortly after he presented to my Leadership session and remember reading one particular post entitled; ‘Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?’ Nigel stated:

“You are the average of the five people that you hang around with”

It’s a great saying and one I’ve not really thought about properly until now. I’m fortunate enough to have a circle of friends that stretches slightly wider than the above quota but I can’t say that I see each and every one all of the time. Some of my friends live and work hundreds of miles away, some in this country and some jet-setting or cruising around the world (lucky devils), so really I guess those that I actively see right now probably is a little closer to five.

So, what do my current circle of friends bring to the table? In no particular order (and I’ve named them A – E here so to not embarass them!), let’s take a look:

A Confident
My first friend is without a doubt the confident one of the bunch. Nothing seems to faze him. He has certain suave about the character he portrays although when you know him like I do he’s actually quite aloof and a private person. So, despite any woes or worries you may be languishing try and rise above them and apply yourself 100%, be confident and be the best you can be.

B Supportive
There will always be a moment when you need that helping hand, somebody to run an errand for you or a person to talk to. More often than not you turn to that same person, time after time. I’m fortunate enough to have a guy like this in my life right now. You always need somebody like this person. That one you can depend upon for that second opinion and to tell you how it is, not just what you want to hear. Have someone like this close by and you’ll never feel as though you’re ‘going it alone’.

C Sociable
This person is one of the friendliest of human beings I’ve ever come across. I’m not aware of anyone who’s said a bad word about him and should anyone choose to, I wouldn’t have it! He’s young, sociable, and punctual and really easy going, he’s a pleasure to be around. It’s not easy to get along with everyone, you never will I don’t think, but we can at least make every effort to make every interaction count. Always present yourself in the best fashion and you’ll make a lasting impression.

D Happy
This guy never fails to raise a smile. Call him daft; call him stupid, there are never dull moments when this guy is around; the life and soul of every party. A sense of humour is so important to me. I do my best to wear a smile every single day, no matter how I feel and what might be happening personally. A smile is radiant and infectious, go ahead and smile at the next person you see – they’ll almost always smile back at you!

E Successful
I’ve known this guy the longest of all my mates and have always admired what he has done with his life. Every group of people has at least one success story; somebody who, against all odds, no matter how big or small will always achieve great things – even when things are stacked against them. They lead from the front, they innovate, create and succeed – but most important of all they never forget where they have come from. They remember those who supported them from the beginning; and this is something I’m always mindful of.

And that’s it, these are my five. Like I said, these are the main people who currently keep my company. But are these really my fingerprints that make up my identity? In reflection I can say that I do take on some of these qualities, I’m not sure whether they come across and are perceived by the wider audience, but I’d like to think so.

So what do you think? Who would make up your five? Are you happy with the people you hang around with and do you see their qualities in you?

Is there anyone who’s zapping all of your energy, who brings you down? Is it time for a change or do your group bring the best out of you? Have a think and let me know.

Pay it Forward

I remember watching a film some 10 years ago called Pay it Forward. It wasn’t the greatest movie I’ve ever seen but its message has stuck with me to this day. The movie is based on a novel of the same name which tells the story of a young boy who does three good deeds for others in need. All the child asks in return is that they pass on the good deed to three other people and keep the cycle going. It made me think that I should be doing more for others.

Over the past few days I’ve been badgering my family, friends and colleagues to help me on my personal journey to promote awareness and raise much needed funds for men’s health including prostate and testicular cancer. And over the coming weeks I’ll continue to give them all a gentle nudge to dip into their pockets, tell people about the charity and tweet where and when they can to get the message even further widespread. For me the 11th month of the calendar will now take on a new name, no longer November but instead Movember!

I’ve always been keen to support fundraising of good causes. I find it difficult to walk past somebody collecting in the high street without putting in some loose change and just as hard to pass up the opportunity of re-tweeting for somebody who’s asking for their message to get further into the digital domain, so it seemed only right that I now try and make a difference to peoples’ lives using some of my own initiative.

In the workplace we are always conjuring up fantastic ways of raising funds for charity. A number of colleagues are keen runners and one in particular raises huge amounts of money each year for Children with Cancer UK, a leading national charity dedicated to the fight against all childhood cancers. Another colleague runs the brilliant Link Romania Shoebox Appeal where boxes filled with gifts are passed onto families at Christmas time who live in some pretty appalling living conditions. These are just a couple examples of some amazing fund-raising people I know do; year in, year out – and I’ve supported both. But now it’s my turn to help raise the coffers!

Sadly I lost my father-in-law to cancer this month. Dave was more than just my wife’s Dad; he was like a friend to me. We’d quite often speak on the phone or text each other, we’d shared many family holidays, played snooker together, even shared a similar taste in music and often went to concerts together to see the likes of Kasabian and Kings of Leon. Dave had, in my opinion, three of the finest characteristics any human being can possess; a huge amount of patience, heaps of kindness and a seemingly endless amount of time to listen to what you had to say. Having spoken to friends and family who knew Dave, they all said the same.

I’m hoping that these three gifts from Dave will be passed onto at least three others whose lives he touched and they in turn do the same to three or more others that they know. This is why my post this time is more of a personal one. Movember is in Dave’s memory and I’m proud to be able to do something in his name and hoping that this post touches at least three people who, like me, can help make a difference.

Movember isn’t for everyone so you may choose to do something different; bake a cake for a colleague who needs cheering up, do some voluntary work for a charity close to you or take the rubbish out for your elderly neighbour who finds it difficult. No matter how big or small, if you did just three random acts of kindness and the good deeds were reciprocated – how amazing would that be?!

So, it’s nearly time for me to step up to the mark and set deed number one in motion. For one month I’m throwing away the razor blades and donning the coveted nostril tickler known as the moustache. If you’d like to support me and my team you can do so by clicking on my link below.

Thanks!

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