Welcome to the #AdventureSeries No. 8 with John Mew.
Introducing John Mew; father of 3, rugby coach, devoted husband, athlete, survivor, public speaker and so much more. John describes his wonderful wife Christine Mew as his ‘rock’. He joined the Royal Navy in 1974 and served his country for 11 years. He was a physical training instructor, ships diver and a member of the Portsmouth Command Crew that ran at Earls Court. John describes one of his defining moments on the bridge of the HMS Coventry, during the Falklands war, when she was bombed. The ship capsized within 20 minutes. After leaving the navy, John became a commercial diver. This role took him to exotic and faraway lands including the Middle East and West Africa.
Photos from top left
Portsmouth field Gun crew marching through Portsmouth with trophies won through breaking world records, John ready for a commercial dive, John relaxing, debating at the Great Veteran debate, John during a recent training session, a younger John in training
When John ended his diving career in 2005, the absence of a work role contributed to his difficulties with anxiety and depression unfolding. John described ending up in a ‘big black hole’. During this time, he believes that his whole family suffered. He was eventually diagnosed with PTSD and began to receive help to overcome his trauma. The help that has significantly aided John’s recovery came some time later in the form of a Veteran charity called Forward Assist who supported John with their innovative approach and access to life coaching through Adventurous Coaching. Both interventions embrace a solution focused approach and help people to tap into their competencies to allow post traumatic growth. John has embraced the help offered to turn his life around. Little by little, by taking small steps in the right direction, John has changed his life. He is moving on by leaping in to new experiences.
John decided to speak up about his mental health challenges to raise awareness and to act as an advocate for people with mental health experiences and their families. this started with a facebook video, which led to newspaper articles, an interview with local radio, and it has taken him into the world of debating. John recently took the opportunity to participate in The Great Veteran Debate and went on to speak at parliament with the support of Forward Assist. A poem that he wrote whilst undergoing intensive trauma work was requested by the Secretary of State (see below).
John has since combined his desire to help good causes, his determination to raise awareness about mental illness and his passion for fitness and entered a notoriously challenging SAS selection route called The Fan Dance to fundraise for Forward Assist and SSAFA. Training is in good progress and John has built a strong team to assist him to go forward. You can click here to enjoy one of John’s training videos. John Mew has become an inspiration to people from all walks of life through re-creating his life purpose, speaking up about his vulnerably and by talking steps out of his comfort zone. Read on to learn more John and how he had created an adventurous life despite facing adversity.
What does adventure mean to you?
The sort of activities that show up in my life now have been inspired by my physical training and royal Navy background. Adventure to me is about the sort of activities that create that adrenalin rush and excitement. There has to be an element of danger, and outdoors element and I love to be thrilled at the end of a hard training session. Since life has started moving forward, I have been able to experience new things. As well as training for the SAS selection route, I joined a debating society. This enabled me to speak at the house of parliament. I have been interviewed for local radio and by a local and national newspaper. For now, my focus is on supporting and enjoying my family, and training for my big challenge.
What have you learned from having an adventurous lifestyle?
Despite my ongoing challenges, I can have more in my life. Although the forces years are behind me, I can still create adventure and connecting with people from the forces that were once part of my life. I am also discovering that I am inspiring other people. I am reminded of the power of building a motivational team to help me achieve my goals. I am lucky to have an amazing family and an outstanding team thanks to High Tide adventures, Newcastle Falcons foundation, Nutrition X, Pinnacles Health and Fitness Gym, Forward Assist veteran charity and Adventurous Coaching.
How has life changed because you have allowed adventure back into your life?
I am starting to experience that adrenalin rush and excitement back into my life again. My voice is back and I want to share my story to help people who suffer from mental health conditions. I am passionate about highlighting the challenges that people with a diagnosis like bipolar affective disorder, depression and anxiety face. I want to people to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel and to help them have hope.
How do you motivate yourself to keep an adventurous approach to life?
The help that I am getting and the positive company that I keep continues to motivate me. I am spending time with inspirational and motivational people. Knowing that I have committed to a significant challenge and to fundraising for good causes motivates me daily and has given me purpose. It reminds me to stay focused and to believe in myself.
What helps you to adopt a positive mindset?
I am the stage where I have allowed adventure back into my life. This has encouraged me to have a positive outlook. Adventurous coaching and Forward Assist helped me to open my mind to new experiences. This has taken me in so many new directions including public speaking, debating, and presenting my trauma poem to the secretary of state. Continuing to plan ahead and set goals to keep me focused on my training will sustain me for my almighty challenge this summer
What piece of advice have you been given that you have taken to heart with good effect?
The power of a positive mindset as a daily habit.
What one piece of advice would you like to share from your experiences?
Move forward all the time and continue to keep moving forward. Set a goal, make it big but then break it down into bike size chunks and start small. Set a monthly target and know what you are giving your full attention to. One thing always leads to another and a snowball effect happens.
Who inspires you to keep adventure as part of your life?
My family inspire me. When I was unwell, I put my family through hell. I am encouraged by the idea that I have the opportunity to have my family be proud of me for who I am becoming. My wife Christine inspires me. She is my rock. I spent many years working away from home and Christine brought up our three children for many years on her own. That is quite an achievement and I am proud of her and grateful to her. As a child I was adopted. I have a sister Annie who inspires me tremendously. She played hockey for England. She continues to play for England Masters even now. Annie travels Europe with the Alexa Ladies Team. She is yet another strong woman that I am very proud of. Between my family and myself there is proof that it is possible to triumph in the face of adversity and that inspiration can be found in ordinary people.
I would love to thank the aspirational John Mew for sharing his adventures and helping to inspire us all to turn up the heat on life’s big adventure.
If you would like to help John Mew with his fund raising efforts and to motivate him with his training you can sponsor him by clicking on this link. You can watch John’s interview for the #AdventureSeries by clicking here
Look out for #AdventureSeries No.9 – launching 1/3/18
Here you will meet Squash Falconer, athlete, adventurer, speaker and presenter. She has spent her whole life seeking out adventure. Her adventures have taken her all over the world including the top of Mount Everest! Check back 1/2/18