“Don’t be someone who they forget” – Melanie Chisholm.
The Spice Girls were pretty big weren’t they? They were huge in fact. They were noticed. They won’t be forgotten. Neither should you strive to be the forgotten one. I hate anonymity. It grills me. It’s almost fake. Standing back and hiding yourself. Do you dress yourself in dark to hide from the world?
I don’t. I don’t aspire to be the forgotten one. I’m more Toto Schillachi than I am Colin Ramirez (exactly – who is he?). This might be a long post and I could have cut it into two parts but it’s all in one so here goes…
I used to be the forgotten one, I used to go un-noticed, especially at school and when playing football as a teenager. I was nobody’s hero. I never craved the limelight, I never really wanted it. I didn’t want the glory. There was no money to have so I didn’t have a want for it. A few triggers changed this attitude for me. I was one of the least noticed players in my BB football team in Northern Ireland. Yet I played as a striker. A striker that goes un-noticed?? What that meant was I wasn’t really any good.
Good strikers get noticed all the time, by: Scoring a goal. Hitting the post. Missing a penalty. Getting sent off. Hitting the bar from 40 yards out. Bagging a Hat-trick in the FA Cup. I went un-noticed. So I did something about it. I played football every week, sometimes every day down the park aged between 9 – 13. I practiced, I trained, I watched football on TV. Still, when I was 13/14 and on paper probably the least admired player on the pitch, I was still one of the “also rans” of the team. My own team never saw me as a danger-man so obviously neither did the opposition. I saw this as the opportunity to prove them wrong. Never underestimate someone. Never underestimate yourself. Believe. I was more belief than confidence. But I bumped them both up.
So one day I was out on the pitch and I looked at the opponents two centre halves and thought to myself “I’ll score a hat trick today”. I set my mind to it and that was it. My aim was to score twice in the first half by chasing through balls, by wanting it, by looking for slip ups, by shocking my entire team by offering to take a 30 yard free kick, by challenging for every ball and knackering myself out, even if it meant being tired or working too hard. I was up for it. I wanted it, big time.
By half time I’d scored twice. (I can’t remember if the score was 2-2 or we were 2-1 up). I made it look easy that day. I was the hungriest player on the pitch. By a country mile. I wasn’t the best player on the pitch, not by a lot shot. Maybe I was one of the worst players on the pitch, but by half time I had made the opposition defence look weak, I had made it look like I was the best player on the pitch. I had got noticed.
“You are who you make people believe you are” – Malachy Murray (I think)
I knew at half time my own team would be thinking:
– If we get a penalty give it to Jonny for his hat trick
– Let Jonny continue playing the way he is – he wants it
I knew at half time the other team would be thinking:
– That small striker that scored those 2 goals is crap. They were flukes. He’s nothing to worry about. Don’t mark him – he’ll be too tired for the second half. Mark the big lad up front with him (who incidentally was called Chris Stewart).
So at half time we had our usual orange slices and water. But I had only scored two goals. Nobody remembers that. Only a hat trick hero gets remembered. I crept up slow. A few minutes into the second half I ran along to a through ball down the line on the left side. I cut inside a defender, swerved back on myself and fired a left foot rifle into the bottom corner. I remember so well I could recreate the goal again right now. The keeper had no chance. I had scored a screamer. I had just scored a hat trick. As my team mates came over to celebrate with me I know for a fact they were shocked. I wasnt. I was just shocked at how easily I had done it. We won the match 4-2 that day. That meant that without me it would have been a defeat. I was ecstatic. I had stood out from the crowd. I had believed in myself and I had got noticed. There was a certain sense of inspiration in me that day. I had no real right to score a hat-trick. I wasn’t the best player on the pitch. I wasn’t even the best player in our team. In fact some weeks, I’d be happy to be a substitute. But I had proved myself. I was pretty confident and content.
In the next match I scored twice and hit the post and I think we won 7-3. Confidence comes and goes. And that was that. Those two matches were the best two personal matches in my career (although from a team perspective I later won the NI BB National Cup). But something had changed. I wasn’t the forgotten man any more. As it happens, and predictably so I never scored a hat trick before or after that match. It stands as my only career hat-trick! I’m proud of that day and I loved the attention. I remember people saying “what? Jonny got a hat trick?” even the next week someone said to me “heard you got a hat trick last week and the third was like Teddy Sheringham”. Yes I did and they were all screamers – not even arrogant to say it – they were good goals and any football fan would know it. And I did watch a lot of Teddy Sheringham and Matt Le Tissier goals on TV and VHS in those days. A DVD copy of my hat-trick match sadly doesn’t exist. I had proved my point though. Here are the goals from my hat trick, as best I can remember them, as recreated by real footballers:
Goal 1 – Jonny Blair for 10th Bangor BB, 1994. Right foot shot inside the box from cross in:
Goal 2 – Jonny Blair for 10th Bangor BB, 1994. Left foot deft easy finish inside the box – first goal on this clip:
Goal 3 – Jonny Blair for 10th Bangor BB, 1994. Left foot deft easy finish inside the box after running down the line (can be any of these goals):
So I had got noticed and that was 20 years ago. I never wanted to be the quiet one again. I wanted the limelight, I wanted the success, I wanted the attention.
“It’s funny how your dreams change as you’re growing old. You don’t wanna be a spaceman, you just want the GOLD.” – Noel Gallagher
Here are 10 ways I personally believe you can go from being a nobody to being noticed, but you have to want it.
1. Be relentless.
“I can’t sleep cos the world won’t wait” – Liam Gallagher. The world won’t stop for you and you have to grasp these moments while they happen. Don’t just do things once, twice, be relentless. Keep doing things. Over and over again. You score a goal one week. Score another one the next week. Never slow down. Never stop. I’m relentless. 7 years of travel blogging will tell you that.
2. Be hungry.
You have to WANT things. Be hungry for success. Even be hungry for failure. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we make them for a good reason – so that we know what not to do. I’m hungry. Right now I want success from this travel blog. I want happiness, health and peace for myself, my girlfriend, my family, her family, my friends. The hunger and desire in me is sky high now. I could eat a whole pizza. I’m a greedy ba$tard.
3. Bombard people.
Sometimes people don’t notice you – or they brush things off to pretend they don’t notice you. In that case, continue to be relentless and bombard people with things until they notice you. A good example of this is the rock band Manic Street Preachers. In the early days, they bombarded every single record label, gig venue, music journalist etc. in London (and bug UK cities) with their songs, their messages. They kept at it. Eventually they got signed, they got big gigs, they got on Top of the Pops. They were relentless. In fact, it took them about 10 years to get a number one single. Proof that longevity and relentlessness works.
4. Never change your message.
Consistency is key. You have a message to tell people – tell them. Stick with it. Don’t change it. It’s your message. Barack Obama wants to be the “first black President”. He stuck with it, he stuck with it. HE DID IT.
“The song remains the same” – Led Zepellin
5. Have good PR
If you can’t do PR for yourself, get someone to do your PR. Everyone needs good PR. By that I mean Public Relations. Strategies, marketing, business models. I do my own PR. JonnyBlair.com. I have a degree in the subject and years of experience. It works. PR works. Outsource your message to a PR agency. They’ll brainstorm your needs and send your message out and get the attention you need.
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire Public Relations Officers” – Daniel J. Boorstin
6. Prove the doubters wrong.
Everyone has doubters. Even Diego Maradona. When he returned to the World Cup in 1990 and 1994 people said “Oh he’s had his glory moment”. He got to the Final in 1990 and he scored a 30 yard screamer in 1994. Ignore the fact he got done for drugs, he proved a point. Andre Agassi returned from the tennis wilderness to reach a Wimbledon Final.
7. Be sensational.
Do SOMETHING a bit CRAZY. Just something. It will get noticed and stand out. Be aware though, that publicity for sensational stories can be both negative and positive so get ready for the onslaught. My hat-trick was also a bit crazy. It was like I was the quiet Nick Barmby character in a team with Teddy Sheringham and Alan Shearer. Yet I bagged a hat-trick. A sensational thing could be anything – running naked down the High Street, slagging off the local MP on TV or Radio, booking a return flight to Iraq to go backpacking, dressing up as one of the X-Men down your local pub. You’ll be talked about – you’ll be noticed. One rock star releases a brilliant song. Another rock star throws a TV out the window. Who makes the news the next day? Sadly the one who threw the TV. I’m not suggesting to do that, but something within the law that is sensational.
8. Appear on the Biggest News Site in your Target Country
Going back to my media and PR roots here, one thing I know is that news is read by everyone. You get nowhere on your own without media. Nobody reads this travel blog. Nobody reads my stories without me appearing on other media. Look at the biggest media channels and target them. Last year I appeared on national Northern Irish radio and on the biggest news site in the UK – the BBC. These opportunities actually came to me – I didn’t look for them, but my hunger, desire, passion and sensationalism got me noticed. I also got interviewed on Sky Sports in Baku, Azerbaijan. Get yourself familiar with giving quotes to a microphone.
9. Promote the good stuff.
Talk about the good times. Promote them. Big them up. Make them sound amazing. That time you hiked through the rain for 4 days to reach a lost city. Talk about it. Rave about it and convince and inspire others to follow in your footsteps. Aim to get noticed by urging others to do what you do. You’ll get a load of kudos and respect.
10. Gloss over the shit.
You wrote a crap blog post once, you lost money in a river. Laugh it off. Gloss over. We all have good or bad moments. You’ll get noticed for these crazy stories too – so use them to your advantage. If done the right way and if you can admit your mistakes and laugh them off then you can polish your turds.
That’s my Sunday’s Inspiration for today – I have a really busy few weeks coming up with work, online business, new websites etc. and my next proper travels will be to East Timor as I aim to visit 100 countries within the year. I hope you can get cracking on these 10 ways to get noticed and see if they work. If all that fails, you can always Dress up as a frog in downtown London.