'It's not real work, is it?"

Are you guilty of under-valuing what you do? Of not appreciating the importance of your work as it’s viewed by other people?

I am sometimes, because I don’t have a business in the sense that ‘real’ business-owners do. Since my stroke ended my career in journalism at the age of 49, I’ve tried to raise awareness of stroke in working-age people. And with this blog, my Warrior podcast (on iTunes and other podcast platforms worldwide now) and my public speaking, I’m more active in that field than ever. But it’s not real work, is it?

Then, last Tuesday, I realised that it is. I was listening to a talk by Mike Gardner at a 4N networking meeting. Mike has had three heart attacks and a stroke. Perhaps he shouldn’t be alive. But he tells his story to inspire others; to make them think about their lives; to realise that the stuff we want, the work goals we have, aren’t what life’s about. Life is about family and friends and experiences; all the things you miss while you’re working yourself into the ground. As Mike said, your perspectives change when you are in a hospital bed wondering if you will see your family again. That’s why what Mike does, what I do, is important - we make people think about that. And having heard Mike speak, I’ll never devalue my ‘work’ again.

That's why it wasn't difficult to haul myself out of bed at stupid o'clock on two mornings last week to publicise my stroke-awareness work. On Thursday, I was at a networking meeting at Bawtry in South Yorkshire; There, I met a number of new people who wanted to know my story. I am hopeful that a speaking opportunity might emerge from it.

Then, on Friday, I was on an early train to Manchester for a networking lunch with nearly 100 people present. I wasn't speaking, but the networking opportunities in a room that big are obvious. I can't say anything yet, but I made some very interesting contacts. 

The next few weeks are a lot quieter, which is probably sensible. They will however, contain two funerals of people taken far too young. What was Mike Gardner saying?