Someone with a goal is a force to be reckoned with. There’s no stopping them from planning for the future and making it a reality. They will make sure they’ll get to where they want to be and that everything will work out accordingly. But when something happens that drastically derails all your carefully laid out plans, you might be left staring at the wreckage and asking yourself, ‘So where do I go from here?’ And maybe thinking ‘I might as well give up’ 

In this episode, Angela’s husband Martin Cox shares his struggles with a brain injury during the past four months. With their family’s life plans thwarted and his health at a low point, he and Angela discuss how they got back on their feet. They did so by sticking to their goals and being open to changing the route to get there, being prepared to learn new things along the way.

Are you feeling discouraged because things aren’t working out the way you planned? Do you feel that perfectionism or ‘that’ll do’ mentality is holding you back? Then, this episode is for you!

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Hear about the challenging time Martin and Angela went through and how they are fighting back. 
  2. Find out how to get back on track when things don’t go according to how you’re planning for the future.
  3. Discover the key to turning away from perfectionism while also not tolerating mediocrity.


Episode Highlights

[1:01] Adapting to Drastic Life Changes

  • Early this summer, Angela and Martin were looking forward to a new lifestyle, a new job for Martin, a location move from the countryside to the middle of town. 
  • They wanted to do so for better opportunities for their entire family.
  • As they were preparing to move, tragedy struck. On 19th June, whilst on an overnight trip to Swansea, Martin had a serious brain injury and was in and out of consciousness.
  • Through a recording, Angela shares how Martin’s memories, speech and walking ability were impaired. 

[09:43] Planning for the Future and Sticking to the Plan vs Sticking to a Goal 

  • Though he feels strange listening to the recording of himself and being aware of how tough it was for his family, Martin is glad to be feeling well again.
  • Despite what he went through, the goal of building a new life remained the same.  However, how they would get there became different from their original plan. 
  • While having a specific goal drives you forward, your plan on getting there has to remain adaptable, so it won’t be troublesome to manage.
  • In the hospital, Martin was able to think and work things out. 
  • The experience also served as a massive lesson to Angela on sticking to a goal while remaining adaptable to change.

[13:47] Fighting Mediocrity and Standards

  • Martin and Angela are not a fan of mediocrity.
  • Martin’s experience in the hospital was more of an outlier’s case. This meant he was on a pathway that wasn’t fit for him.
  • But when you’re an outlier, you need a different way of working than what’s set out for most people. 
  • Fighting against the benchmarks of mediocre successes, they realized that Martin’s needs were not accessible in the hospital.

[16:21] Measures of Success

  • During his recovery in the hospital, there was a gap between goals.
  • What the hospital deemed as a success or improvement was different from Martin’s aspirations.
  • Martin and Angela struggled with their desire to stick to their plan and method. The hospital also had its own goals and methods, creating different measures of success.
  • They weren’t complacent and didn’t allow the hospital’s method to define their goals. So, they turned to experimentation and moved away from the idea of perfectionism.
  • Tune in to the full episode to hear more of Martin and Angela’s insights and experiences as they overcame this challenge.

[20:00] Martin’s Initial Diagnosis

  • Martin was in the orthopaedic ward because of his fractured skull. But his predominant injury was in his brain, so the people around him were not set to take care of it. 
  • Frustrated with the situation, Angela reached out to the hospital’s executive team to get an expert for Martin. 
  • A consultant disclosed that they felt Martin had cancer. They picked up tumours that were likely to be Stage 4 cancer.
  • Martin and Angela went from planning for the future to build a successful life to possibly not having it at all.
  • Angela expounds more on what they went through as they received the news in the full episode.

[27:29] Martin’s Real Diagnosis

  • The Thursday evening after receiving the first diagnosis, Angela received good news from Martin’s consultant.
  • The brain tumours turned out to be brain bleeds—what he had was not cancer.
  • But Angela doubted this diagnosis and wanted more information on the situation. 
  • After getting clarification, they went back to planning for the future and their original goal.

[30:06] More Setbacks and Challenges

  • During the move, Martin’s transfer to the ABI unit was delayed as there were no specialists who could attend to him 
  • Martin was at a low point at that time because the transfer was supposed to get him closer to his family. 
  • At the time, he couldn’t see how he was going to move forward. 
  • With Martin being the fixer of their family, Angela now felt responsible for the position.
  • Tune in to the full episode to hear how Angela navigated this ‘that’ll do won’t do’ situation by setting up a GoFundMe campaign for Martin!

[37:16] Allowing Yourself to be Helped

  • In a few days, they raised £20,000, giving them the control to employ the right people for Martin’s recovery. 
  • With the help of specialists, Martin is slowly making incremental steps towards his recovery. 
  • Currently, he is relearning to use home appliances and doing other chores. Listen to the full episode to hear more about his journey!
  • The GoFundMe campaign made Martin realize how connected they are to people.
  • It’s also helped him understand that asking for and receiving help has to be part and parcel of how you operate. You need to seek help and learn from the power it brings.

[45:56] What to Do When You Go Off Track

  • While you might not always know how to fix a certain problem, the principle of having to know where you are and where you’re trying to be remains the same.
  • When things go off track, reflect on what you expected would happen, what actually happened, and what you learned from it.
  • Rather than aiming to go back to what your situation once was, you need to learn how to transition and move forward. 
  • Every step you take is progress. They’re not failures just because you aren’t able to do them as well as before. 

[49:50] Questioning Success Rather Than Failure

  • You learn more from what you’re good at and understanding that, rather than the things you aren’t good at.
  • However, we often question why we fail but not why we are successful.
  • Sometimes, we get to where we are without understanding how we got there or what the positives about it are.
  • Reassessing and resetting goals are essential to planning for the future. Fixing something for the first time despite needing to do it long before is still moving forward.
  • Coming from a place of gratitude also enables you to want to be the best you can be because you realize the value of your life.

[53:23] Planning for the Future

  • We’ve only got one life to live, so make the most out of it by being grateful and striving to achieve better things. 
  • Though Angela and Martin could’ve settled for ‘that’ll do,’ it didn’t link into their goals.
  • Self-doubt or criticism from others might hold you back from doing things. 
  • When these set in, just remember to set your sights on your goal. However, don’t be a perfectionist about how to get there.
  • In planning for the future, you need to have concrete steps for moving forward. But don’t make it so prescriptive that there’s no room for learning and improvement.

[59:20] Mistakes vs Lessons

  • Just because something didn’t happen as you expected doesn’t mean it’s a mistake.
  • Viewing something as a mistake drags you into a negative spiral. So put yourself in a space where you can see these things healthily—from a learning perspective.
  • Ask yourself what you can do differently and build upon to make it work?

[1:01:50] Casting Away ‘That’ll Do’ and Perfectionism

  • Martin is grateful to Angela for everything, especially when he was unable to do things on his own. 
  • Don’t accept ‘that’ll do,’ but know that in planning for the future, your ideas won’t always pan out perfectly. 
  • Be prepared to experiment and learn. 
  • As things unfold and pivot, determine the lessons from the experience and decide on the next best step to get closer to your goal.

5 Powerful Quotes from This Episode

[44:21] ‘Willingness to ask and explore where you need help, whether that’s physical, whether it’s financial, whether that’s expertise, has to be part and parcel of the way we operate.’

[49:17] ‘Everything is progress, rather than everything is failure because you’re not like you were before.’

[50:01] ‘You learn more from what you’re good at and understanding what that is than you do from necessarily what you’re not so good at.’

[53:07] ‘When you come from a place of gratitude, there is a greater propensity within you to want to be the best that you can be because you realize the value of the life that you’ve got.’

[56:14] ‘The only thing I guarantee you about a plan is that’s exactly how it won’t happen.’

About Martin

Martin Cox has worked in business transformation for 20 years and is due to start a new role as Association Director of Improvement in the NHS. His experience as a patient has given him even more desire to make a difference. 

He is also a leadership coach and Kata coach and has worked in the B2B, B2C banking, financial, legal, law firm, consulting and corporate sectors for more than 20 years.

As a business leader, he leverages an open management style of coaching, mentoring, and leadership. He translates business requirements into tangible, realistic programme deliverables and outcomes. He also works confidently and effectively with front-line teams and executives, using strong engagement and influencing skills to deliver successful transformations.

If you want to know more about Martin, you can connect with him via LinkedIn.

Enjoy this Podcast?

Just when everything seems to be falling into place, something happens that sets you back from your goals. And that can be discouraging. 

But Martin is a living testament that you can overcome these hurdles, continue planning for the future you want and keep on moving forward. If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Mindset Mentor Meets…, then hit subscribe and share it with your friends!

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