A bad day at work is enough to put many of us in a bad mood.
Whether an obstacle is preventing progress on a project or there’s a concerning business announcement, employees often feel they are being tested at work.
Keeping people motivated in their jobs is a daily challenge for line managers, the CEO and the IC department.
It’s not every day that motivational speakers get called upon but, for the right occasion, they can be a good way to encourage your workforce to think positively.
Meet Henry Fraser.
Through his talk, Pushing Yourself, he has helped the England cricket and rugby teams, Arsenal FC, Saracens rugby club, schools, charities and businesses to see that when challenges occur, how you rise to them is what counts.
How does he do it?
By telling his story.
On 18 July 2009, Henry was on holiday in Portugal with his friends celebrating the end of their AS levels, when he ran from the beach into the sea – something he’d done many times.
But this time, diving forwards into the water, he went head first into a wall of sand. And then he could not move.
He was airlifted to hospital where it was discovered that he’d dislodged his fourth vertebrae and severed his spinal cord.
In intensive care, Henry underwent surgery twice, his heart stopped seven times, he was put on a ventilator and he contracted pneumonia and an MRSA infection.
After two-and-a-half weeks he returned to the UK, where he was told he would stay in Stoke Mandeville Hospital for 18 months. But thanks to his strength and resilience, he returned home after six.
Determination meant that by August 2010, he returned to sixth form at Dulwich College to finish his A levels.
“That was a good year,” said Henry. “I hate leaving things unfinished.”
He ended up working for Saracens rugby club as a writer, and it was there that the CEO suggested that he tried his hand at public speaking.
“Before my accident, I hated public speaking more than anything in the world,” he said.
“Afterwards, I realised that you never know what’s around the corner and I may as well go for it.
“I did my first ever talk to Saracens first team players and staff in April 2014. I was anxious the whole week building up to it. Once I’d done it, I loved it! I had such a buzz.”
In January 2015 Henry fell ill and was bed-ridden for several weeks. During that time, he discovered a drawing app on his iPad. Using a stylus pen attached to a mouth stick, he began to draw.
Since then, Henry’s art has spiralled.
His incredible work has been displayed at private exhibitions, he’s taken commissions, sold prints of his work and has a calendar available in Sainsbury’s. His 47,800 Twitter followers include Jonny Wilkinson, Sir Chris Hoy, David Weir CBE and Andy Murray.
“I’ve come a long way,” said Henry, who is now writing an autobiography.
“In Pushing Yourself, I share the thought processes I went through after my accident.
“I talk about teamwork because of the amazing support I had from friends and family, and about accepting change and adapting.
“People learn that there are different ways of doing things. When something sets you off track, it doesn’t have to set you back.
“Using a story to back up a message really helps. Other people’s stories have massively inspired me – so I’m using mine to motivate others.”