6 June 2016

When we talk about inspirations, if you had to pull together 5 people who’ve inspired people to make changes in this world, Muhammad Ali would surely feature on that list.
There are a hundred or more ways in which this man influenced both me personally and my businesses over the years. Too many to go into now but, as the world collectively comes to terms with his death, I can’t help but reminisce.

I met Ali many years ago when I was playing piano at what is now the Palace Hotel. He came over to me and requested a song. Having been fascinated with him for most of life, especially as a boy who loved boxing, I knew from my love of music that he has contributed lyrics to a song called the Greatest Love of All. As such, I suggested playing this.

He gave me a wink and I proceeded to play. It is still one of the greatest honours of my life.

Muhammad Ali has had an immeasurable influence on UKFast and our way of thinking.

I have always been a firm believer in The Power of Intention, and Ali pioneered it. I suspect he pioneered the technique before it officially became a technique. Now it is a staple part of modern sports psychology and used across the world.

By believing and saying he was the greatest of all time, even before he was anywhere near that, he became just that.

In business, this is an essential skill to have. When around a third of startups are set to fail, self-belief is essential. In the early days of UKFast we joined the industry looking to beat the biggest in the market, not simply aiming to survive in the tough hosting arena. I believe that this approach is what has helped us to reach the position we are in today.

Ali was not only an incredible motivator; he was also an extraordinary humanitarian. Having returned from the Olympic Games in which he won a gold medal; Ali was turned away from a coffee shop because of the colour of his skin. He’d represented his country at the highest sporting level, yet threw his medal in the river because there simply wasn’t enough change in the world.

When he refused to go to war to kill other humans, when was stripped of his titles, he stood firm for what he believed in and he spent his life trying to change the world in which we live.

His inspirational qualities span the globe. A photograph of Ali hangs in US President Barack Obama’s office.

Muhammad Ali stood firm both in the boxing ring and in a prejudiced world against him. He was an extraordinary person who I doubt we will ever see the likes of again. He had a profound impact on many lives, including mine.

I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes of his:

“…Impossible is nothing.”

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