Luke Ambler is a former professional rugby player, dad, entrepreneur, award-winning mental health campaigner, charity chairman, and motivational speaker. Luke believes everyone has potential. Some just don't realise it, believe it enough or need it coaxing out of them. His workshops are focused on personal development and improving mental health.
We all wear masks…
They say things come in threes. Well, I learned this lesson very early on.
One. My parents separated when I was 8 years old. It hit me hard. To deal with the inner turmoil I began comfort eating and put on a lot of weight. In fact, I ate so much, I actually weighed more than my age.
Two. I was a happy-go-lucky kid and used to love school, but then the bullying started. Every day I would get physically and verbally abused. School didn’t seem so fun anymore.
Three. My mum was in a serious car accident on her way to pick me up from school. The crash was so bad it left her with brain damage.
Separation. Bullying. Crash. I was just 8 years old. No one knew what was going on inside, but I chose to wear a mask.
Rugby was a real escape for me. It's a place where I felt significant...
To help me cope with everything going on in my life, my dad encouraged me to play rugby. In school, the bullies called me nasty names about my size. But on the pitch, my size was an advantage. If you gave me the ball, I’d score. So, rugby gave me a feeling of significance that I’d never had before.
Then the Leeds Rhinos called. This overweight kid from a council estate in Ovenden was now now picked by one of the best rugby teams in the league. I traveled the world and competed with some of the best rugby athletes at the time. My life had changed. I was significant.
After a year on loan at London, I returned to the Rhinos. But it didn’t work out. They let me go. My life had changed again. I wasn’t significant…
I felt like I’d failed. The Leeds Rhinos had let me go. I was playing semi-professional rugby, but I wasn’t happy. The inner turmoil returned.
I began comfort eating again just like when I was 8 years old. I pushed my partner away and we broke up. I missed her so much but I couldn’t talk to my friends about it because their reaction was always to go out drinking. I felt the loneliness and isolation creeping in. One night I went out drinking, got in an altercation and ended up in a police cell. How did I get here? I went from the heights of playing professional rugby to being locked up in a cell.
Like many people, when something went wrong in my life I always asked myself, “Why me?” It was a question that was slowly crushing me. As I sat in that cell, another question came to mind. Little did I know, that my life was about to change – and the lives of thousands of people…
The question that nearly ruined my life was, “Why me?” The question that changed my life was, “What’s next?”
As I sat in that police cell, that question popped into my mind – “What’s next?”
I thought to myself, that every time I ask ‘Why me?’ I end up in a bad situation. But I can change the situation by changing the question. If I ask myself, ‘What’s next?’ I can get to where I want to be.
That night I learned the most important lesson in my life:
If you want better answers, you need to ask better questions.
The ‘What’s Next? Theory’ was born.
How asking, "What's Next?" started a worldwide movement...
We lost my brother-in-law, Andy to suicide. After days of picking up the pieces, I asked the question, ‘What’s Next?’. That question led to the creation of one of the biggest mental health movements on the planet – Andy’s Man Club.
I’m proud to say that Andy’s Man Club now helps thousands of men every month. The hashtag #ITSOKTOTALK can be seen all over the world – from social media posts to bumper stickers.
And it all started with asking a better question – ‘What’s Next?’…
No matter the situation, I believe that by asking better questions we can get better answers and ultimately overcome.
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