The Virgin Strive Challenge is fast approaching and one of my favourite things about the challenge is meeting and getting to know so many wonderful people as we prepare to strive together. We all come from different walks of life and have different motivations behind taking part in the challenge, but one thing unites us; a passion for creating change.
In the lead up to the challenge I want to introduce you to some of the amazing people taking part – first up is Daniel Davies-Luke. Daniel is part of the Virgin family, working at Virgin Media and has very personal reasons for wanting to take part in the Virgin Strive Challenge – it’s hard to not to be inspired when you hear what he has achieved so far and I’m so excited to have you striving with us.
Over to you Daniel…
What has turned you into the striver you are today?
For me getting diagnosed as having MS was the probably one of the best things to happen to me. I’d just become a father, four weeks earlier and both these events made me re-evaluate what was important in life.
Before I was diagnosed I was a confident, cocky, big lad (22 stone), working in a call centre and using my size to my advantage, working as a bouncer. When I got diagnosed however, it all changed. I wanted to improve myself and stay around for my wife and daughter. I realised unless I changed my fitness levels and mindset, my illness would drag me down.
I know one day I’ll need a walking stick, and I may even need a wheelchair, but I’m putting myself in the best position to fight it; I’ve got down to 15 stone, I can finish a 10k obstacle courses and run with my daughter on the beach. I want to show her that regardless of disability, a bad start in life, or whatever happens later, it doesn’t need to get you down.
All she needs to worry about now is that in 16 years time I’ll be chasing her boyfriends down the path. They’d better run bloody quick!
What about Strive are you nervous and excited about?
I’m worried about being the guy that works in a call centre surrounded by people from the highest level of their industries. I have seen some of these people on TV shows, I’ve read about them in Forbes magazine and I see their products in the shops when I’m out – and I’m just the guy you ring up to cancel your Virgin Media account!
Our lives would never normally cross paths and that’s mind boggling to me. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be inspired; not only about the overall aim of STRIVE but also by the stories around the campfire at night. I don’t want to miss anything. I don’t want freeze. I want to take everything on board and learn from all the amazing people on STRIVE.
What do you know now that you wish you'd been taught at school?
I came away from school with 13 GSCEs and four A Levels, but I didn’t know anything about loans, finances, job preparation, interview techniques, the importance of fitness – the practical things that make the world go round. Everyone leaving school should leave with a clear understanding of how to handle money.
I also wish I’d know that life’s not all about the grades you make at school or how much money you make. The way you interact with people and the impression you leave is the most important thing. Help those around you and trust good things will happen.