Welcome and thanks for visiting my website!
I’m Damian Riley and I’d like to share with you my journey so far so you can get an understanding about who I am, where I come from, where I’m heading and where you could potentially join me.
I was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, North East of England in 1968 into a loving family comprising of my mother (Maureen Riley – Primary and Nursery School Teacher), my father (John Riley – Painter & Decorator and later Elderly Care Worker) and sister (Judith Riley – 6 years older than me).
We were a very close unit and I can honestly say I couldn’t have wished for better.
Although I was reasonably good academically and in sports, I still had issues with self-confidence and can only liken it to a duck swimming on top of the water: looking calm and in control, but hidden below the surface, frantically paddling! I am not sure how much was due to nature and how much nurture but it’s been something I’ve had to work on with varied success through the years.
After Sixth form and A levels at School I took the expected route of going to university, following in my sister’s footsteps to study geography at Durham Uni. Admittedly, I threw myself into the social and sporting life with more enthusiasm than I did with the academic side but still managed to come away with a decent degree, fantastic life experiences and some great lifelong friends.
My next step was to move into the corporate career world. My sister had by this stage moved to the far south of the country due to her job, and as I knew this was a massive ‘loss’ for my parents, I figured rightly or wrongly that I needed to stay in the North East to pursue my career which naturally limited my choices.
Thankfully, I was hired by one of the top 4 Chartered Accountancy firms in their Newcastle branch and so started my 3 year training contract. The experience was a complete shock to my system, having to work extremely long hours, often with concepts I was struggling with and then having to get out the study materials when arriving home. I felt like throwing the towel in most mornings but managed to push through until the end of the 3 years when any part-qualified trainees were unceremoniously ‘released’. That was me out of a job and still needing to pass more exams to get the coveted ‘Chartered Accountant’ qualification that would open the corporate doors.
I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason and there’ve been numerous times in my life when I can look back and see how the negative turned out to be a positive. This was possibly the most notable example because while working for a temping agency after my ‘release’, I met and fell for my future wife, Fiona (believe it or not also a ‘Riley’ but I can assure you not related!!). Without that enforced move we’d never have met and our kids wouldn’t exist!
Following on from temping, I secured a job working for the UK’s National Health Service which allowed me the time to complete my qualification whilst working but I could never have stayed there long-term. My colleagues were great fun but the work was monotonous and unchallenging and most days felt as if the clock was going backwards. So, when qualified, I immediately looked to get out and join a company which could inspire me and provide the career rewards I was looking for.
The search resulted in me joining the international marine company where I’ve worked for the past 25 years in various finance and business partner roles. There’s a saying that ‘nothing is as constant as change’ and although I’ve remained with the one organisation, there has never been any 2 years where the environment and challenges haven’t changed, good and bad. More on that later!
Loss and Self Discovery
Fi and I married in 1995 and in December 1996 we had our first child, Daniel.
Sophia followed in 2000 and then Stephanie made it 3 in 2004. I’d always prayed I’d be able to have kids and feel totally blessed to have been given these absolute gems. Unfortunately my dad passed away in January 2002 after a brief fight with cancer, just before his 66th birthday. Far too young and before seeing our final addition.
My sister, Jude, would’ve loved to have kids but it wasn’t meant to be for her. Instead she treated ours as her own and took a lead role in helping to get my mam back on her feet after losing the love of her life. She’d accompany my mam on holidays, even enjoying 2 trips to Florida with us and ‘her kids’.
Fast forward to February 14 2010, Jude’s boyfriend proposed and she accepted. The next day she was informed that the ulcer in her stomach that she’d been treated for over the last 12 months was in fact cancer. The cancer was small but because of the delay in diagnosis and treatment, it’d spread to her bones and organs so all they could do was look at prolonging the inevitable – triggering the toughest period in all of our lives.
Jude married Tommaso on 1 April 2011 in an emotionally charged service with me having the honour of giving her away in my dad’s absence but she was to be taken from us in August of that year at the age of 49.
As you can imagine, this affected us all deeply but nobody more so than my mam who suffered a severe breakdown and spent a number of years living with us before moving into a care home. She never recovered from Jude’s loss, putting a brave face on for the kids but always suffering inside.
My mam eventually succumbed to a combination of illnesses and passed away to be reunited with my Dad and Jude in August 2016.
This was the real pivotal point for me. I guess I’d not really grieved fully for my sister and had focussed my attention on supporting my mam’s struggles up until then. I was approaching 49, the age my sister died and I came to a deeper realisation that life is too short and unpredictable and we have to appreciate each day and live it to its very fullest.
I’d always been interested in healthy lifestyles (exercise and eating) but this interest intensified and extended to mind-set and all areas of personal development. This hunger coincided with my son starting his own blog and introducing me to development books and podcasts I was completely unaware of. The fire was burning but my 20 year old son was pouring oil on top!
On the work front, I was becoming more aware of the lack of fulfilment in my role and realised that my growing need to contribute positive things to the world wasn’t being met. On top of this, the seemingly constant rounds of restructuring were preventing me from finding any peace of mind and triggering fears of financial insecurity.
I started looking around the internet for ideas and it was around this time that I came across an advert on YouTube for Six Figure Mentors (SFM), a digital marketing organisation. I registered for the free videos and immediately felt that their core values were aligned with mine. They provided me with all of the tools, training and support to grow or set up my online business from scratch but the part that really impressed me was the emphasis from day one on not just financial growth but also personal development, improvement (health – wealth – self) and on giving back to the community.
Right then, I knew I’d found the right home not just for me but also for my kids, so I decided to invest in order to gain the necessary skills and education for constructing the right mind-set and acquiring tools to build the ideal life: financial and geographical freedom whilst doing fulfilling work and giving back. This is real hands-on education and certainly not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme.
I’m still working full-time but ultimately this business will replace my salary. Ironically, in the meantime, my employer is benefitting from an employee whose motivation and outlook on life is more positive than ever and whose confidence, productivity and skill set have increased immeasurably since joining SFM.
If any of the below points apply to you, then it’ll definitely be worth you registering for the free video series and seeing if SFM is for you;
- You feel undervalued in your current job and are frustrated by the lack of opportunity to be fully rewarded for your hard work and effort
- You feel financially insecure in your current position and want to future-proof your finances
- You want to stop living from paycheck to paycheck
- You are concerned about the next round of corporate restructuring, cost cutting and where the axe will land next
- You feel you can’t control yours and your family’s destiny and want to feel more empowered
- You want a better work / life balance so you can spend more time with family and pursuing interests you love (moving away from trading time for money and moving towards a scalable business model)
- You want to join a supportive community of like-minded individuals dedicated to making a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others
- You are prepared to take action to make the changes needed to build your ideal life
I know SFM won’t be for everyone so, if that applies to you, I wish you well and thank you for your time.
I appreciate that everyone’s time is precious so I try to keep my blog posts as brief as possible without sacrificing value and diluting the message.
Even if SFM is not for you, please feel free to register to my mailing list so you can benefit from the content. I strongly believe that in life, discovery and learning should never end (books, podcasts, blogs, travel, meeting new people) so I will continue to share what I discover in the hope that it helps someone, even if just in a small way.
Take care and keep smiling,
My Core Values
- Gratitude & Happiness – taking nothing for granted
- Service – for family, friends and anyone seeking support
- Love, Kindness & Forgiveness – self and others
- Compassion, Acceptance and Non-Judgemental
- Balance – a healthy, balanced, peaceful lifestyle with all things in perspective
- Legacy – role model for my children to be proud of and to touch the world in a positive way
- Self Growth – mental & spiritual
- Self Development – always curious and wanting to learn more
- Sociable / Open / Friendly / Playful
- Committed – to finish what I start