A Man of Few Words


I wanted to post this very personal story from Phil Lee as I found it very touching and it reminds me of the tremendous impact that we can have on people with only just a few words.   Phil is my adopted brother, he came home from school one day with my brother Robert, and he has been part of the family ever since.

The story he tells is one about my father, so this is rather poignant to me.

A Man of Few Words – by Phil Lee

I thought i’d send you a little muse…

Ever heard the expression paralysis by analysis? howzabout the analysis of paralysis.. in other words what stops people doing what they must do – should do or is nice to do?

Lot’s of reasons..

Years ago…

In a far distant galaxy called”Archery Place” in the tropics of West Yorkshire (UK)

A young wannabe Jedi warrior called Phil Lee asked a Yoda like father figure (Jeff) a question related to personal development and pursuing a full time further education course in soft skills development… I was unemployed at the time having left the Army hugely disadvantaged in civilian experience and recognised qualifications… I could teach someone to pick off a target at 800 metres, to help them blend into their environment and disapear through effective camoflague and concealment or inspire a group to run over mountains but a real job?? not a prayer… it felt that way and I felt as though I should re-train.

The Yoda-esc response was impactful, life changing and certainly thought provoking…

“Just get a job” were his precious life changing and impactful words…

That’s it!

Underwhelmed? I thought so…well let me explain why I labelled them so highly.

Some of us for many reasons seek answers to lifes challenges, to “things” that may appear clouded… others such as my step father understand what is important and won’t waffle, won’t hide, won’t twist words for some alterior reason – no, my blunt as they come Yorkshire step father simply gave me an answer I wasn’t expecting and as such interupted MY PATTERN.. my pattern for over analysing, for paralysing action.. I looked into EVERYTHING for deeper answers/reasons/whatever I could find…

My step fathers response in short.. “Get a job.”

I did get a job, but I also chose to seek and acquire answers in the process.

We can often “hear” answers to questions that we pose but do we really “understand” what is behind the words? the intent? the depth? the real learning.

As a coach I often work with people who have read all “the” self improvement books, done the courses, have a million saved websites on their toolbar for improving their lives… but have they “got their job?” or are they paralysing themselves with analysis, avoiding…?

Or.. as I like to say…

“Doing what MUST be done”

There are obvious arguments for and against learning soft skills full time at College instead of acquiring a full time job, but my stepfather knew the real issue at hand here, which for me was the avoidance of taking on the rejection issues around getting a job, (my self esteem was low and I had many unsatisfied deeper held issues)

The self worth issues in work and in earning a wage are often hidden and rarely mentioned but one truth I do know is that being employed means being valued and irrespective of salary creates some modicum of a platform in which to build upon – I did, I started as self employed sales agent, promoted to marketing asisstant, then to Branch and the Regional Manager and now running my own Business Consultancy all whilst acquiring the very skills I had yearned for – 3 Diplomas, a Service Sector Management Degree, Chartered Marketer status, a recognised teaching qualification and numerous NLP and other “self develoment” courses..

I faced my demons, I did what MUST be done…

I know had I not had those wise words thrust in my direction at such a crucial period in my life I may very well have taken the easy route and missed out on one of the most important aspects of esteem building – working with and through others within a performance measured environment.

I listened to my step father, I understood what he was saying and I then

Did what “must be done”.

Phil Lee


Jeff is now in the Autumn of his life and struggles with 1:1 communication due to a serious stroke – however, I will always see and think of him as a very smart, wise and sincere man with massive integrity who never failed to deliver impactful and life directing advice whilst instilling belief…. one of my great teachers and a man of whom I will always be grateful to.