Well today is my birthday. At the end of one of our most challenging years and at the start of a year which might be even more challenging. But I’m grateful to be here to see it. 

I have a beautiful wife Becky, 4 stunning children Willoughby and Vera and my twins Isla and Oliver from a previous relationship (you may not know about). I still have both my parents, all of my brothers and sisters and many friends - the numbers of which have grown exponentially in lockdown through Twitter and for that I am blessed. 

We have an award winning coffee house, I’ve started to draw and paint again and I’ve also started to coach again for the first time in years; which have all brought light to what could easily have been so much shade. 

I’ve written much over this past year some of it worthy of its readership and some of it, well, that should have stayed in my own journals - but life is for living and you need to make mistakes out there in the open air to grow. 

Born in Wolverhampton in 1977 my parents couldn’t buy me trainers or a full PE kit for school but they always rooted for me. Through bullying and fighting back I ended up at university and studied law, went to work in a building society and ended up delivering sales, change, coaching and leadership at national level via various incarnations. 

Having ‘made it’ to heady heights in ‘the city’ we decided to move to the Isle of Wight and set up what has now become the award winning coffee house - The Freshwater Coffee House - it was a risk - and inspite of Covid - the right risk; for we’ve been able to grow into ourselves. 

Along the way, I’ve been blessed to have met the people I have and to have been asked to help those I have too. They helped me more than they will ever know. And so, without further ado and in honour of them and you - I place a few words below. 

Happy birthday ‘old man’ - there’s plenty of years left for living 

Stefan 

“A few words at 44...

I turn 44 today and what have I learned? 

I have a voice and a mind that creates space to be heard.  

I have questions, perspectives and experience that cause, the people I work with to let go of internal applause. 

And my greatest achievements stem from the fact, that I’ve felt those same feelings; and what it is to have cracks. 

And if I have one lesson to hand to my younger self; it’s that, Stefan, all of those ‘fault lines’ will be your greatest wealth. 

People will love you for who you really are; because pressure helps shape diamonds and collapses form stars. 

One day you will realise how good you already are”.

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Stay well people and remember it’s a life lived that creates the gravity that draws others towards you.

Stefan