I am a sucker for any 'against the odds' story. When I heard about Reggie Nelson, it lifted my spirits. I just love his story, and I think you will too.
Reggie grew up on a council estate in East London. His family worked hard for little money and their prospects were pretty bleak. Reggie loved to play football, and he was GOOD - he played at youth professional level. But when Reggie was 17, his dad died leaving himself, his mum and his sister to somehow hold it all together. He shifted his attention from football to finding a way to offer some stability to his family. He needed a long term plan.
Reggie had seen a TV show called ‘How did you get so rich?’ where the presenter stops people on the street and asks them how they got their car, their watch etc, and if they had an advice to offer. Reggie was taken by how receptive people were to offering their experience, advice and suggestions for getting what they wanted in life. He wanted to try the same thing himself.
Googling ‘the wealthiest places in London’, Reggie was drawn to Kensington and Chelsea, and hopped on the tube to Gloucester Road. Despite his nerves, he started to ask complete strangers on the street how they got rich, what skills they had needed, and what advice could they offer.
This was a brave move by anyone’s standards. He had a mixed reaction; someone gave him £40 just for having the courage to ask strangers these questions. Some people ignored him and some people offered some great advice. One man spoke to Reggie for ten minutes.
Reggie then shifted up a gear, and started knocking on doors. Some people slammed the door in his face thinking was going to rob them, some offered advice and some were not prepared to speak with him at all.
He knocked on one door, and Elizabeth Price opened it. She saw a young man smiling, as he explained he was looking for advice to improve his life She believed he was genuine, was moved by his courage, and invited him in to chat. Elizabeth then introduced Reggie to her husband Quentin. This would change the course of Reggie’s life.
Quentin spoke kindly, at length, and explained what he did for a job, and that he wore a suit every day. Reggie loved the idea of wearing a suit everyday! There was a mutual intrigue and respect, and Quentin invited Reggie to do a week’s work experience at his City office. When the week was complete, Quentin suggested that if Reggie wanted to succeed in this environment he would need a University education.
Three years later, Reggie walked away from Kingston University with a 2-1 degree in Economics (he also studied Mandarin) and completed an internship at Quentin’s office.
Reggie now has a full time role in an Investment firm in London, and works with youth groups to inspire them to achieve more. He even spent time with Teresa May last week, discussing the ‘Race at Work’ Charter.
I love Reggie. I love his courage, his determination to do whatever needed to be done to get wherever he wanted to be. He never made excuses, he never gave up, his focus never faltered.
Reggie’s mum is super proud. Elizabeth and Quentin are honoured to have been a part of his journey. Reggie is special young man.
What feels so uncomfortable to you, that stops you doing something incredible? If you had more courage, flexible, optimistic thinking what could you achieve? The people who take risks like Reggie are the real winners in life.
Keynote Speaker, Executive Coach, Author