Five years ago, over a glass of wine, I was asked by a friend what I really wanted to do in life. I answered by saying that I wanted to change the world, by helping people and inspiring people. As vague and as fuzzy as that sounded, thirty successful years in business has taught me that if you can inspire people and lead them with a noble cause, not only will you develop and create the leaders of the future, but they will build your business for you. I spent fifteen of those thirty years as part of a small team that grew a tech start up from zero to a £200m+ organisation. I am very proud of what we achieved and that business continues to grow. My purpose today however, is not the same as when I started out on that journey. What started as an itch, a yearning for something more, grew in intensity with each year that passed and it wouldn’t go away. I had a lot of raw passion and desire. I had already helped and mentored many colleagues and friends on their journeys, but I had no idea how to go about creating a business out of that nor how it would work.

It was around this time that I discovered something called coaching and set about qualifying as a certified coach. With its roots in modern and positive psychology, there before me were all of the tools and techniques that I had been seeking to bring science and structure to my passion and burning desire. I  met some inspiring people along the way who had read all of the same books I had. An intense professional speakers academy followed. I was excited for the future as I set about preparing the ground for this new and positive direction. This was it, this was to be the next chapter, or so I thought…

On 6th July 2016, I awoke to the news that my eldest son Charlie had taken his own life. He was just 18 years old. Life as I knew it stopped. Why Charlie? Why us? What now? How do we go on? What’s the point of anything? These were just some of the thoughts racing through my head as I struggled to come to terms with the shock.

The truth is that nothing can remotely prepare you for anything like this. There is no handbook, no course on how to survive something like this. Some say time heals. My truth is that I know I will never get over Charlie’s death. I knew it from the first day and I still know it. The fact is, I don’t want to ‘get over it’. So, how to go on? How to turn something so sad, so tragically awful into something positive and find meaning in it?

Gratitude is powerful. Being grateful every day for what I have has both saved me and continues to drive me.

I am blessed with the support of a loving family. I am grateful for every day that I have with them. Without knowing it, they have saved me. Gratitude is powerful and gratitude of itself has also saved me. I have learned to reframe. Shortly after Charlie died, I made two big decisions. Firstly, that I was not going to become a victim of this awful event nor seek sympathy for what had happened. I had a responsibility to my family and to myself to stay positive and find light in the darkness.
By refusing to let it define me, my second decision was to channel my pain and energy into a great work. Something that makes a positive dent in the universe. One of Charlie’s great qualities was his generosity of spirit. I want to take this spirit and use it to inspire others to find their purpose so, they can make their own mark on the world. This is my purpose in life.

My goal? To inspire and positively impact the lives of 111 million people, during my lifetime and beyond. Big, scary, bold and exciting. To create a legacy that I can be proud of. And so I created Smash The Box. A personal development business with coaching and mentoring at its heart, Smash The Box is dedicated to anyone who is seeking to improve any aspect of their life. In particular it is dedicated to helping people find and achieve fulfilment, whether in life, work or business. To find their purpose or re-connect with it. It is a place of inspiration, energy and positivity for living a great life and achieving great things.

I believe it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to what happens to you. Whatever life throws at you, there is always a way forward. Life can be challenging, tough and unforgiving but it is also amazing and beautiful at the same time. With the right mindset, we are each one of us capable of great things. The challenges and obstacles we overcome help us to grow stronger and from adversity can come great things.

It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to what happens to you.

My wish is that you find inspiration here. Whether in the form of a live talk, a coaching session, a podcast or a simple quote. Whatever you’re looking for Smash The Box is here for you. It’s time to bring your gift to the world and I believe in you. Don’t just think outside the box…it’s time to Smash the Box!

Because the world needs you…

Mark Pitcher