You never know how far you can come until you take that first step
Josh set off on a journey to find a focus, an outlet for his mental health and fuel his passion for adventure. What he found was a remarkable community, an acquisition of empathy and the realisation that he does not struggle with mental health but rather uses it as his power.
It’s no surprise that Josh is so driven to achieve and push beyond what man-kind has done before. Growing up in the UK academic system, Josh’s GCSE Grades inhibited his ability to join the Marines – a career that inspired Josh due to the sheer discipline it required. It wasn’t until ten years had passed that Josh had the incredible opportunity to compete in the Bear Grylls Survival Race and fulfil his dream of training with the Marines.
‘Training with these guys unlocks a part in your brain that you didn’t know existed’.
Continuing to push himself, Josh applied for a White Collar Boxing Match in 2017, to raise money for a friend’s father in need of medication. At this time, it wasn’t just a physical fight Josh was enduring but a mental one. Negative TV and Media exposure was ruthless, legal battles were relentless and Josh felt powerless; harboring mental health difficulties and aggression. Focusing on this challenge and driving to raise the money he wanted was an outlet for that aggression and Josh soon came to realise that having a focus and discipline enables you to regain that feeling of power, and turn your struggles into strength.
‘Boxing isn’t about the fight. It’s about defense. I think you can apply that mentality to a lot of what you go through in life’.
Then came the accident. Josh’s best friend Tano had a motorbike collusion on the way home from visiting Josh and his daughter, India and was left paralysed. Incredibly, Tano was determined to put the accident behind him and set upon completing the Berlin Marathon with Josh by his side. Josh became the first able-bodied person to complete a marathon in a wheelchair. Josh wanted to get his best friend through a dark time but in fact, this race and Tano got Josh through what was later revealed as the darkest time in Josh’s life.
‘With each challenge, you are exposed to a different reality, someone else’s reality, and my empathy just grows and grows’.
Josh wanted to continue raising awareness for the spinal community and after the Berlin marathon, the drive was no longer racing but achieving what had never been done before. Every time Josh achieves a first, it’s a first by someone that has and is battling with mental health. That is the drive.
John O’Groats to Lands’ End was a defining moment – 900 miles in a wheelchair in a record-breaking 19 days. This accomplishment put Josh on the map as a man that is willing to make a difference, not just by breaking world-records but by using these challenges to inspire others to recognise the strength they have within themselves, even in their darkest moments.
The 5 Pillars
Strength in Vulnerability
With every challenge Josh undertakes, there is the drive to raise exposure around topics that require more awareness. Through this awareness, Josh hopes to motivate those that have mental health, changing the narrative from ‘suffering with mental health’ to finding your strength.
EMPATHY IS A QUALITY that so few people have but those that have it do the most wonderful things”. Taking on not just someone else’s reality, but a challenge within those realms has enabled Josh to develop true empathy for not just specific communities, but mankind as a whole. This journey does not have a finishing line and Josh hopes to continuously advance through every challenge he undertakes.
It’s important for Josh to redefine perceptions of an ‘alpha-male’. The prerequisites that surround the terminology of male and alpha-male need to be challenged and for Josh, an alpha-male is vulnerable, and having the capability to show that vulnerability.
‘It’s ok that you have anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts – it does not define you. Look at what you can still achieve”
Josh wants to inspire people to support others, to be compassionate, show empathy and come together collectively. ‘Whenever your focus in life is monetary or materialistic, there will always be a sense of void. When your focus changes to people and individuals, to connection, that is where fulfillment is achieved and how you will grow and learn from every experience’
India, Josh’s daughter, is always in the front of his mind. It’s so important that she has the role-model that Josh needed through his darker times. He doesn’t wish for India to follow in his footsteps, but rather pave her own path and hopes that the exposure he is giving her will give her the foundation to live her life and go on to achieve incredible things.
Count Down to Run 4 £1 Million
The Road to one Million is Josh’s next driver – a huge and highly ambitious task to raise 1 Million pound. Josh wants to continue building a community and be a part of something bigger and this will be his motivation to do just that.
“I want to know that I’ve put more into the world than I’ve taken out. This is my chance to repay people out there less fortunate than I to give them the chance that I was lucky enough to get.”