Reaching the Heights - Steps to Personal Transformation

Steps to Personal Transformation

When I was at school, my two biggest successes were: Playing for my junior school football team when I was 10 years old, and playing for my senior school football team when I was 13 and 14. I left school at 15. The best of these three successful football years was the penultimate year at senior school. I unexpectedly got into the school team a year early, in my favourite position, goalkeeper. I didn’t miss a game that season, and played well enough to represent Thornaby Boys and be in the Stockton Boys squad. Later, at 17, I began a two-season stint as a junior with my home town professional club Middlesbrough AFC.

The other strand of my personal development started a year before I left school. I had not taken any GCE’s at school (it wasn’t GCSEs in those days), so I went to evening class for two-years with a view to starting an Ordinary National Certificate (ONC - about “A” level standard) when I started work. I had already decided I needed to improve my education if I wanted to achieve anything in life. Unfortunately my grades were not good enough to embark on the ONC I wanted. So I had to settle for a so-called Craft-Course. Since I had obtained an apprenticeship at ICI, the course chosen was Instrument Maintenance - I was an apprentice Instrument Artificer. I had a successful apprenticeship, gaining a lot of experience. ICI Billingham was a very large Chemical Complex at the time.

At 21, after completing my apprenticeship, I was offered the opportunity of a 6-month secondment to the Chemical Company of Malaysia, to be part of the start-up team commissioning a Nitric Acid, Ammonium Nitrate and Granulated Fertilizer Complex. I couldn’t resist the opportunity and the challenge. As preparation for this I was asked to spend 6-months in Belfast at Richardson’s Fertilizers (an ICI subsidiary). The factory was very similar to the one to be commissioned in Malaysia, so it was important and relevant experience before going abroad.

There was one drawback, the Belfast period started in January and I was 4-months into a part-time day-release course for the first year of the ONC I mentioned earlier. So I said I was willing to go to Belfast provided I could compete the first year of this course at a college there. Contacts were made and it was found to be possible. However, it ended up being a very tough time. I was working at the Harbour factory in Belfast 4-days per week and attending Belfast College on the 5th day. I also had to attend two evening classes per week. I was in digs and I knew no one in Belfast. All of my regular activities stopped. I could fly home once every three weeks for the weekend, but it was all work and no play. Fortunately, I met a girl in Belfast, which helped a lot.

I flew to Malaysia in June of that year and began my 6-month secondment. It was the antithesis of the Belfast experience: The climate, the setting, the job. I lived in an hotel in Kuala Lumpur for those 6-months. It was an exhilarating experience: New country, new people, new job which had respect and status. I rose to it all and managed to do the job of Instrument Technician and Trainer sufficiently well to be invited back for a further 6-months. I accepted and returned for the second spell. I remained in the hotel, which provided a very comfortable, air-conditioned on-suite room. I was now playing for the Selangor Club Football team and had joined a Baptist Church which was full of mainly Chinese people of around my own age.

At the end of the second 6-month period, I was invited to return for a further year, to facilitate training of local technicians and as an insurance against any plant faults that may occur. I did not hesitate to accept. I loved the job. I loved the country. In this second year I did a house share with a Chinese friend from the church. He was Marketing Manager with Eastern Agencies, a South East Asia Marketing Company.

I didn’t realise at the time, but by the end of the project I had undergone a personal transformation. I had found a job that ignited purpose in my heart. It was worthwhile. It mattered and I was needed. I was the Instrument and Control expert on site. The buck stopped with me. Rather than frightening me, this motivated me and I rose to the responsibility. My confidence soared.

I had to get help and guidance at times, especially during the spell of preparation in Northern Ireland and during the first 6-months in Malaysia. In Northern Ireland, I was playing catch-up at college, where chunks of the course had been covered before I arrived. This made it really hard work. This period was the nearest I came to going under. I just made it. I pasted the course.

The project abroad gave me the opportunity to leave my comfort zone: Home, a steady job, a predictable environment. Actually I was ready, not to so eager for the change. It was a challenge, I realised, a change I was glad to embrace.

It was not a quick nor guaranteed success story. I had to work hard, especially in Belfast and in the first 6-months in Malaysia. There was a process I had to go through where everything was new: The place, the job, the plant, the people. There were no friends, nowhere I was familiar with. There were times I felt very lonely. I had to call on all of the stickability I could muster. The process matured me and made me more grateful when things improved.

I learned to rely on myself, which in one sense was a good thing: I developed self-belief. However, there was a downside here: It also developed my ego. Even my wife told that when we first met (after I returned from Malaysia) I was conceited. It took me a while following the project to learn some humility. I don’t think I’ve arrived in this area even now!

Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials. Smith Wigglesworth
In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. Eric Hoffer
Take what bothers you most as an invitation by God to work at solving that problem. Lance Wallnau
Without grace, life is filled with struggle, it is not a life we enjoy; but with his grace, we can enter the rest (peace) of the Lord and experience joy unspeakable and full of glory. Joyce Meyer
You never lose; you win or you learn. Nelson Mandela
Your behaviour won't change until your thoughts change. As long as you think, "I can't do this", you are never going to be able to do it! Joyce Meyer
I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe. Smith Wigglesworth
Leadership is not about titles, positions or flow charts. It's about one life influencing another. John Maxwell
If God is enthroned on my praise, who is enthroned on my complaining? If I enter his gates with praise, who's gates am I entering when I complain? Bill Johnson
When we believe in God's sovereignty, and not our own understanding, we'll see how our problems will never outweigh what God has promised us (Prov. 3:5 NIV) T D Jakes
Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. Jim Rhon
If I give up my right to understand, He will give me the peace that passes understanding. Bill Johnson
Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill
You can't change your life, but if you change your mind, God will transform your life. Kris Vallotton
In prayer we bring our spiritual enemies into the presence of God. Jarrod Cooper
Once in a while we manage to stumble on the truth, but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened. Winston Churchill
The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter. Winston Churchill
When the Lord says, "Do something", the favour needed to do it is already attached to the command. David Forster
Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, then you aren't. Margaret Thatcher
The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but God will make us good because he loves us. C S Lewis
Fear is misplaced faith. Kris Vallotton
God has already seen every mistake, every failure and every weakness, and the good news is he's already forgiven you. He is not holding it against you. Joel Osteen
God is not nearly so interested in changing your circumstances as he is in changing you. Joyce Meyer
Pray, and let God worry Martin Luther
Those who never change their mind never change anything. Winston Churchill
What you do (for a living) is not who you are.  Celia Apeagyei-Collins 
 People who write you off when you fail know nothing about history and even less about life. No person ever fully succeeds until they fully fail. Lance Wallnau 
There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite. Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael.  C S Lewis
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Jim Elliot
You never know how much you really believe anything until it's truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life or death to you. C S Lewis
If you know you are loved, faith is easy. It's easy to trust someone you know loves you. David Forster
Every moment that you spend upset, despaired, anguished, angry, afraid or hurt, because of the behaviour of someone else in your life, is a moment in which you have given up control of your life. Unknown
Remember, you do not have to live today by how you feel, nor by what you think about yourself, nor by what someone else thinks about you. The person who created you thinks you are wonderful, and he waits with open arms for you to agree with him. David Forster
Shift gears from doing something in God's presence to simply being in God's presence. Lance Wallnau
Your future doesn't depend on what is in front of you, it depends on who is in you. Lance Wallnau
Did you know that you are utterly and completely loved by God, without doing a single thing, good or bad. David Forster
no one knows how bad they are until they have tried very hard to be good.. C S Lewis
If we are living daily by faith, we will be constantly over our head; Beyond our ability to do this our that. We should all be in that place in some area of our life. If we are not, we will be like an old wineskin; too rigid and inflexible to receive the Lord's new wine. Rick Joyner
For a believer intimacy with God is not an option, it's a necessity. Guidance and direction depend on this intimacy and sensitivity to Holy Spirit. There is no substitute for the latter. Graham Cooke
Jesus reveals the Father to us. He gives us peace and rest. He is not a hard taskmaster. David Forster
The God who creates everything, pursues you. Don't let anyone tell you you're are worth less than that. Louie Giglio
In the kingdom, physical obedience brings spiritual release. Bill Johnson
Don't be surprised if you pray for nearness to God and he sends a trial. Nearness always requires dependence. Desiringgod.org
Our corporate worship doesn't meet a need in God, it meets a need in us. Sam Storms
How you feel is not who you are. Feelings are great servants and terrible masters. Kris Vallotton
There is a lot that is good in your life. Don't take it for granted. Don't get so focused on the struggle that you mis the gift of today. Joel Osteen
The enemy commits identity theft when you believe you must earn what God freely gives. Alison Brown
If you agree with your creator and receive what he freely gives, you will have serenity in your identity and confidence in your countenance. David Forster
If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. David Forster
A satisfying and exciting life organises around an identity focused on Jesus, not the church..  Graham Cooke
Satan cannot impose his will on anyone, he has to have our agreement.  Graham Cooke
Every day adjust yourself to where God is taking you, that is, toward the prophetic vision he has given you. Lance Wallnau
Real faith is not faith in an outcome (of a particular situation or circumstance), it's faith in a person. David Forster
Be in no doubt that God will redeem the losses and mistakes of your past life. David Forster
God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because there is simply no such thing. C S Lewis
Wealth, women and status; these are the major temptations that can draw a man away from God. Each is morally neutral; yet given the appropriate significance, each can control us. David Forster
The devil's finest trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist. Anon
Fear is the enemy of love. The two cannot exist together. We have to choose daily: Fear or Love. David Forster
You are not saved because of the quality of your faith. You are saved because of the object of your faith; The Redeemer! Tim Keller
Revival goes from the bottom up; Reformation goes from the top down. Therefore reformation is institutional and revival is personal. Lance Wallnau
Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. Albert Einstein
Inner peace is key to experiencing God's presence. Rest is a weapon against the enemy Graham Cooke
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons exist. Children know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed. G K Chesterton
When you are at peace with God, you will be at peace with yourself and with other people. David Forster
You can believe in Christianity in the same way you believe that the sun has risen; Firstly, because you see it and secondly because by it you see everything else. C S Lewis
A little while ago I became old enough to start believing in fairy tales again. This means there are far better things ahead of me then what I have left behind. C S Lewis
Your unfinished destiny is your most potent argument with death. Graham Cooke
I am not focused on what I am not, I am focused on what he is for me. David Forster
Reaching the Heights