CHILDHOOD AND TEENAGER
I was born in Porto, Portugal. I am the eldest of 3 siblings, my nanny was the mother of 11, therefore my childhood was part a large family.
My father Gonçalves started to work at the age of 12 for an insurance broker, just stuffing envelopes but his perseverance took him to branch manager. He never left the company and worked for them till the age of retirement. Due to his work commitments we moved from town to town and by the age of 12 I ended up in Aveiro, a medium size town by the sea in Central Portugal.
Rather than going to University after Secondary School, I decided to start work at 18 and soon I had my own business, which was a sports goods retail store.
I went from success to success and my business became one of the most important in Portugal in this industry. As a result of being number one seller we won several awards for example trips to Thailand, USA (twice) and a beautiful trip to the Portuguese island Madeira. I also won recognition from Adidas for the Best Customer of the year and a Gold Customer award from NIKE.
I married when I was 19 and became a father of a son (Daniel) and a daughter Barbara.
By the late 90’s the financial climate changed dramatically in Portugal. Following the decrease in business and big competitors I started to experience some difficulties and decided together with my wife and business partner to accept and open the partnership to some suppliers.
This partnership collapsed and we lost everything which had took us 25 years to build up, in monetary terms around a quarter of a million, but in personal terms the emotional impact of losing everything.
At the age of 45 it’s difficult to start all over again so I decided to take a chance in another country and UK was my only choice.
From day 3 of arriving in this country, I started to working various jobs, to earn an income that would provide for my family in Portugal. I needed to provide food and shelter for my family. I could do nothing to alleviate the shame and loss of pride and dignity they were going through but at least I could do something practical.
For many years on my own, I worked in food processing factories (chicken and pickles) pharmaceutical industry, minibus driver, painter and decorator. By 2006 I decided to take an articulated lorry driving licence, a couple of months later I was driving all over Europe: Portugal, Spain, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Denmark, Italy, Austria and Switzerland these countries were a pleasure to drive through.
LUXEMBOURG AND SPAIN
In an attempt to be closer to my family and trying to save my marriage of 25 years, I moved to Spain (2004 and 2006) where I used my Class 1 Driving Licence to be able to go back to Portugal every other week.
By 2005 I went to Luxembourg where I became a painter and decorator but that also failed and I ended up back in the UK.
UNITED KINGDOM AGAIN
But I wasn’t happy. Following my divorce in 2008, I decided that in spite of the good money that driving a lorry was bringing, this was a very lonely job and a need to find something more rewarding.
That’s when my life changed. I became a support worker, helping the elderly to overcome their daily challenges I helped with personal care, bathing, feeding and medication just to mention a few. I became a team leader, senior and quality manager. In the meantime there was a need to do something else: by 2009 I started to study Counselling in my spare time and in 2012 I got my Diploma in Integrative Counselling – Golden Book Standards.
After doing some volunteer work as an Alcohol and Substance Misuse Counsellor, a position was offered by one of the charities I was working for and my life changed completely.
A couple of months later I quit the support worker role that I had been doing part-time, I became a full time self employed Counsellor, dealing mainly with gambling addictions.
After more than 5000 hours clinical work I became one of the most experienced Counsellors in this field and became one of the most creative and experienced Counsellors on gambling addiction. Many techniques I “created” are now being used by some of my colleagues and the constant research I’m doing, helps me achieve a very high rate of success. I feel that my life experiences has contributed to my ability to empathise and help those in need.
Due to the “failure” of the family business in 2002, I never thought about starting a new business again…till recently when he came across the Visionary Business School by Ryan Eliason. Past experiences are meant to be lessons, not life sentences. I just needed to find my “thing”.
So this is it, helping people is a feeling that is second to none and the sense of achievement and fulfilment that comes from the good I can do for others has become my passion.
This is what this blog is all about: I want to share with you the results I have gained from a very diverse life experience, combined with years of caring and counselling.
The satisfaction I feel when helping others has turned into a passion because only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.