Stevie Kidd: ‘people have no coping strategies’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Interview: Stevie Kidd, entrepreneur and motivational coach
Perhaps it is no surprise that Stevie Kidd turned his attention to the motivation business, working with those who have lost their way, their mojo, their purpose, or are looking for an explanation about the why, where and ‘what ifs’ in life, and an explanation as to who they are. After all, he’s constantly in search of it himself.
He litters his conversation with the ideas and techniques that not only form part of his Pathway coaching courses but have been at the forefront of his thinking since, as a boy, he saw people lose their livelihoods at the nearby Linwood car plant where his father worked. His mother, he says, “looked after people”, taking lonely and unhappy souls under her wing when they needed help.
“So, working hard and caring is my DNA,” he says. “I am a visual person and all my life I’ve seen people who look vacant; they don’t seem to have a direction.”
His business is about re-igniting the spark, not only in the burnt-out lives of those who fell out of the factories, but in middle and senior business managers and owners who have become de-motivated, confused and generally unsure about where they are going. Often they’ve had a bad experience, personally or in their career, but they may just be trying to discover what really works for them and what next steps they should take.
“People have no coping strategies. They need to learn how to reduce the s**t in their lives. I get them to disassociate with the past and focus on where they are going, and what they can achieve,” he says.
His courses draw on a fascination with neurology and how the brain works. He combines brain-mapping with physical endurance challenges, which includes climbing mountains such as Kilimanjaro, even Everest.
“I am giving them a theory about changing who they are, dealing with their emotions, their hopes and their capabilities as people,” he says.
The ideas and practices now being applied by the older Stevie Kidd were bubbling away in him as a boy when he realised that traditional schooling didn’t work for him.
“I was non-academic. I always wanted to run a business and had nine jobs by the time I was 16, potato and strawberry picking, milk and paper rounds, that sort of thing.”
After leaving school he went every day to the Bridge of Weir leather tanning factory and asked if there was any work going. When the manager eventually found him a job he told him he would stay only until he had saved enough money to start his own business. At 17 he bought an ice cream van, touring a scheme in Paisley where he saw first hand the people he thought needed help.
“I paid attention to people’s stories and that’s where my thoughts accelerated,” he says.
‘I got a tap on the shoulder from the manager saying he’d noted I had run businesses and wanted to know why I was sweeping up’
He sold the business and went to work for a cash delivery firm “where I really started to learn about business”. He ended up running the Glasgow and Edinburgh divisions until he left in a dispute over the roadworthiness of its vehicles.
Although he was ambitious and now had managerial experience he was prepared to take any sort of work and found himself sweeping the yard at the Menzies depot near Linwood.
“I got a tap on the shoulder from the manager saying he’d noted I had run businesses and wanted to know why I was sweeping up. I was eventually put in charge and found they were spending millions, but had forgotten the people.”
He explains how he responded to a fire at the Irvine depot by organising for the work to be transferred to Linwood. “I was handed a free copy of the Radio Times as a reward. I threw it to one side and decided it was time to leave and set up on my own.”
His distribution business grew to work with major companies such as FedEx, and distributing medical products for Alliance Boots. He also had a business working with disadvantaged and special needs people which had to be shut down when the UK government closed the Innovation Fund which had supported it.
He’s witnessed loss in his own life, and holds back tears as he recalls two of his close friends taking their own life.
He felt he needed to find “freedom and happiness” and that led to him spending years understanding nuero science taught by Dr Richard Bandler, the American author and trainer and co-creator of neuro-linguistic programming, who remains an inspiration.
“I wanted to discover who I am. It triggered a lot of what came next,” he says. “When education didn’t work for me I panicked. I created an imaginary room and I go into it every night to evaluate my day.”
Dr Bandler’s teaching has helped him develop the Pathway programme which aims to give participants the tools and mindset that will set them on a better road. It’s run from his office in the Innovation Centre on the Hillington Business Park. Those who have been on it speak of how it has helped turn their careers and lives around.
“We are taking people from who they are to who they can become,” he says. “Clients come to the Stevie Kidd Pathway as chess pieces and I turn them into chess players.”
Occupation: Entrepreneur, coach
Birthplace: Paisley, raised in Bridge of Weir
Education: Understanding neurology
Career highlights: Took a range of odd jobs during teens, operated own an ice cream van business at 17, headed Glasgow and Edinburgh office of security firm G4 Falck, took charge of Menzies depot in Renfrewshire, launched own delivery company KDS Group, moved into personal coaching with Stevie Kidd Pathway
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your career?
My role models are all people who showed entrepreneurial spirit, also my mum and dad for work ethic and caring, Sir Alex Ferguson, Lawrie Robertson, Mohammed Ali, two of my uncles and a cousin who owns DMK Golf Design
What did you hope to be when you were young?
Entrepreneur since age of 12, so much so I told anyone who would listen to me
How do you relax?
Meditation, mindfulness, spend time with family, watch movies about people’s lives, Mind Spa nurtures my intuition , training, climb hills.
Do you carry cash?
What have you learned about yourself?
I know nothing in relation to what there is to know, also pain is a gift, it’s a bonus to see a door where you can create change and innovate, create new thinking that empower yourself to create new reality
Optimist or pessimist?
Optimist. I am very open-minded and believe we all have the power to lead and be the difference and the example
I see the good in everything, magic is all around us even in what you choose to see, change focus and lens to see magic and pleasure everywhere, the conditioned mind
What do you find frustrating and what annoys yo?
Negativity – being around negativity – problem minded energy
Name three people, living or dead, who would make the perfect dinner party guests
Sir Alex Ferguson (former football manager), Dr Richard Bandler (American author and trainer in the field of self-help), Tony Robbins (American author, coach, speaker, and philanthropist)