067. The Human Connection of Storytelling with Gareth Martin & Craig Haywood
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This is my first time having two guests on at once, and the hardest part may be the show notes page! Today, I'm bringing you Gareth Martin and Craig Haywood, the hosts of the amazing podcast, Ridiculously Human. They are committed to the art of storytelling by having guests come to tell their stories, and the two of them have a great chemistry and ability to draw out the best of those stories for the listeners (and for the person telling the story and for the two of them).
Both from South Africa, they share a passion to unwrap and explore the lives of interesting people. As humans, we are all connected on a much deeper level and through storytelling and storylistening, and Gareth and Craig aim to realize and understand those connections better.
Their podcast and website are dedicated to sharing the stories and journey’s of other incredible humans. They want everyone to realize that we all have responsibility and a role to play as micro-leaders and micro-influencers, and that together we are stronger and better.
Here is some more detail on each of them separately.
Gareth Martin Transformation Coach. Bodybuilder. Yogi. Ex-Investment Banker. Natural Chef. Meditation Teacher. Smiler. Traveller. Lover Of Challenges. Networker. Organisation Guru. Podcast Host.
Gareth Martin, knows all too well about trying many things in life. He believes that there is a certain importance around experiencing new things, to help grow you as a person and find out who you are and what you want in life.
Gareth was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was never one to shy away from getting involved in team-sports and thrived in the competition and camaraderie, but he also found a lot of peace and solitude in individual sports, namely swimming.
His folks got divorced when he was nine years old, and like with many break-ups, it was pretty messy. It ended up creating a lot of confusion and sadness in his life when he was a teenager. He couldn’t quite understand the anger he saw between his parents, because Gareth was always a bit of a soft, compassionate kid at heart.
When he was sixteen, his life would take a shocking turn when he was involved in a life-threatening head-on collision while riding his motorbike. Gareth looks back on this event with good fortune because he believes that it gave him a different perspective on life which he would not have otherwise had. He knows it’s important to make the most of every opportunity because you do never know when your time might be up.
After deciding to overstay his first gap year in London, it was time to get serious and find a real job. So he went to a job fair and managed to get himself a role doing the filing at an Investment Bank. Little did he know, that it would be a career which would span almost 20 years.
These days, Gareth works as a Transformational Coach, he is also the co-host of The Ridiculously Human Podcast. It took him a couple of years of transformation and upskilling to get him here though. After banking, he spent 3 months in India learning to become a Yoga and Meditation Teacher. He then spent a year studying to be a chef. He also completed a few other life-changing courses, one of which included getting certified as an Executive Coach.
Gareth believes in not letting anyone else’s thoughts stop you from doing what you want in life. Embrace each opportunity which comes it’s way and make the most of every interaction you have. Make the most of your relationships and friendships and treat every moment as a learning opportunity.
Craig Haywood Doctor of Chiropractic. Science Enthusiast. Networking Machine. Smiler. Deep Thinker. Rock Solid Buddy. Truth Seeker. Pragmatist. Host of The Ridiculously Human Podcast
Craig was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, known as the friendly and windy city! He struggled a bit as a youngster with self-esteem issues. At times, he sometimes felt disconnected with his parents, he blamed himself for their fighting and would use food as a coping mechanism, and he ate a lot!!
His Grandad, played a big influence in his life and ‘their thing’ was to go fishing together. Besides being a great storyteller, his Grandad would also teach all the grandkids how to drive from a very young age, as well as, how to do the Waltz!
When Craig was 17 years old, something would happen that would take him on a new life trajectory. Their little family sausage dog, Jackie, was in extreme pain and had lost the use of her back legs. The vet could not help Jackie, so he sent them to see a Chiropractor. The Chiropractor, adjusted her spine and the lame legs she went in on, she managed to walk out on….!! A year later, he was living in his sister's garage in Johannesburg, to begin his studies to become a Chiropractor.
Craig suffered a severe setback when he was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, an autoimmune condition. It started with inflammation in his eye, and his pupils would not dilate. He then experienced inflammation in his knees and hips, which really impacted his mobility, and being a Chiropractor, that was a rather scary prospect. Through hours of learning and searching and implementing changes in his diet and mindset, he has never been healthier and has no signs of ever having anything.
Once qualified, a rather serendipitous scenario led him to accept a job in the Netherlands. It was a bit of a shock moving to somewhere he had never been, had no friends, didn’t understand the culture and never spoke the language either!! Talk about throwing yourself in the deep end.
Craig is a master of many things, two which stand out are, excelling in his profession as a Chiropractor and his likeability factor. He makes a huge effort to network and make others feel comfortable.
He likes adventure and to take calculated risks, and now resides with his wife, Chantelle, in Australia. He gets to see his brother often, lives near the beach, enjoys the great weather, has a thriving practise and Chantelle has a highly successful business too!
Key Points from the Episode with Gareth Martin & Craig Haywood of The Ridiculously Human Podcast:
Craig and Gareth are two South African guys who connected over their love to people’s stories, and they got together to start the Ridiculously Human podcast to give people a platform to share their stories.
Through sharing out stories and hearing those of others, we grow as people and as a collective group.
There’s empowerment to people telling their stories and hearing the stories of others.
The biggest lesson they’ve learned through listening to so many people’s stories is to be massively respectful of people because you really never know what they’ve been through.
They have noticed the facade we are pushed to create given the pressure of social media, whereas storytelling, we can reconnect with a tangible reality rather than creating this version of ourselves. We can feel safe sharing our true selves.
We started with Craig’s story, which, like mine, is one of childhood obesity. And, like mine, it was fueled by anxiety and emotional unrest from being caught in the middle of fighting at home.
For him, the thing that broke him out of it was ego and a desire to be desirable. His ego was the catalyst to change things as he entered his early teen years, losing all the weight in about a year.
The mentality of things happening too you instead of for you amplifies the negatives in your life, and can lead you further down the wrong path.
While his initial reason for losing weight was about ego and appearances, he ended up going down a path of wellness later in life after an autoimmune condition lead him to need to be healthy for bigger reasons.
The weight had started to come back on during university as the stress and social pressure lead to poor choices. At the same time, he was diagnosed with an autoimmune issue.
He asked why his body was reacting to itself, which lead him to look into health properly.
Craig is a chiropractor, which came from seeing how his family dog, who could barely walk, was totally cured through a single chiropractic visit. He ended up studying under that practitioner, who was more a mentor and guide to him than just an experienced teacher.
What Craig learned through his health journey is true in so many situations – you have to look within. The answers can’t always lie outside of you.
You should become an expert on the aspects of your own life – your finances, your health, your understanding, etc. No one really knows it all or really cares enough about you to solve everything for you. Except yourself. To do that, you have to be ok with being uncomfortable, and take responsibility for your situation.
Getting into Gareth’s story, instead of obesity, Gareth was heavily into sports growing up. It was almost an addiction, and that was his escape from family issues from his parents’ divorce when he was 9.
He loved the competitiveness of individual sports, and also loved the camaraderie of team sports. As he has looked back on his life, he’s found that he always has thrived more when he’s around other people, so team sports had a real draw to him.
When Gareth was 16, he was in a terrible motorcycle accident as he was hit by a drunk driver, sending him flying through the air, into a telephone pole, and straight to the ground. An off-duty paramedic happened to be one of the witnesses of the crash, which is the only reason Gareth is still alive given how much critical, immediate care he needed to survive.
His first night was touch-and-go, while today, he is 100% back to normal so it didn’t leave a physical impact, but it did leave a major emotional one.
Surprisingly, it is very positive. Gareth has an incredibly positive approach to life, and finds himself treasuring each day of his life because of how clear it was made to him just how precious that is.
He’s taken so many chances and seized so many opportunities as a result, so he shared how thankful he was for the accident. It reminds me of others who have been on the show who went through something incredibly hard who feel the same about it, like Josh Perry, for example.
Looking back on his recovery, he doesn’t remember dark moments or feeling sorry for himself. He remembers all of the visitors and love he had. He remembers how his mother cared for him full-time (she was a nurse, so she was the right person to help him). He talks about the recovery process in the warmest way, and calls himself so fortunate for how it went, and notes how that positivity and love helped speed his recovery and his approach to it.
We talked about the impact Gareth’s parents’ divorce had on him and his idea of relationships, and he said he’s always very much craved close, honest, supportive relationships. Craig said how he’s noticed Gareth’s approach to others, and sees that connection from both the divorce and the way people were there during his recovery from the accident.
Gareth has found that we do genuinely want the best for each other and care about you, and if you feel that, you grow from it.
I did ask why Gareth was able to look at things in this way, and he isn’t quite sure. He says he was always a happy kid, and this is just who he is.
Craig wondered if this is just innately in us, or if there’s a way to choose to look differently or learn to think this way, which is exactly what I’m after with this podcast. How do we choose to interpret our experiences in this more positive way so we can rise above them instead of being stuck within them. How can we all feel the way Gareth does when we face something like his accident.
Craig was in a different mindset when he was in the midst of his health crisis. He is so curious about how to look differently at these things. He felt positive inside, but also still felt this darkness. What he found is that he can work through what he’s feeling versus it just being a bit of a light switch moment.
That’s very helpful – we all moments where we struggle, and we shouldn’t get down on ourselves for times we struggle to just flip and be happy. Stop and reflect on the things that we can be grateful for and the other hard times we’ve gotten through so that we can use that energy to face what we have going on in the current moment.
If we feel ourselves genuinely wishing others well, we should realize that they wish us well, and we can do it for ourselves, too.
They talked about this shift in the world to move from aspirational marketing to inspirational marketing. There’s a craving for authenticity.
Gareth left us with some excellent advice to be observers of the good out there.
Craig shared the responsibility we as podcasters have to help create new norms of better choices to help spread that message. Gareth added how interesting it is how norms become norms, and how long it can take, which reinforces the whole discussion.
Links: Website: https://ridic-human.com
Podcast: Ridiculously Human (hear me on Episode 91)
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