What I Wish I'd Known
In this episode of What I Wish I’d Known, entrepreneur Richard Branson shares how despite his success with his business ventures from the Virgin Group, he has come up against challenges just like you and I. From living with severe dyslexia, to leaving school at 15 years old with teachers doubting his potential and how he’s learnt to manage his ‘yes man’ personality- Richard reflects on how the adversity he faced in his life shaped his success.
WARNING: contains some strong language and discussion of sensitive topics.
Series producer: Anya Pearce
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9. Jimmy Akingbola01:00:17“Perseverance can lead to a life that maybe society thinks you're not going to have”, that’s what Jimmy Akingbola tells us despite being placed in a children's home at the age of two years old. The actor, best known for his roles in Ted Lasso and Bel Air, was disowned by his father and abandoned by his mother, who suffered from schizophrenia not knowing what fate would be in store for her son, she left him in a social-security office. Despite the feeling of not belonging that consumed Jimmy as a child, he has always remained a positive outlook on his life, acknowledging how lucky he was for the love and support he received through foster care. WARNING: contains discussion of sensitive topics.Series producer: Anya PearceProducer: Calum McCrae
8. Jamie Wood52:24“Everyone was fake in the world I was in”, that’s what Jamie Wood, step son of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, says of growing up in the shadow of a rockstar. He claims he was unwittingly introduced to drugs at a young age, which became a big part of an alternate reality he carved out for himself, away from the limelight. But multiple health scares, including a heart attack in his 40s, have made him rethink his own health. If he had the chance, he would tell his younger self “don’t take drugs, don’t trust dad”.WARNING: contains very strong language and discussion of sensitive topics.Series producer: Anya PearceProducer: Calum McCrae
7. Mya-Rose Craig56:02“The birds will help you”, says Mya-Rose Criag. The 21-year old ornithologist, author and campaigner explains how catching glimpses of rare birds has the ability to heal and soothe. She saw the positive effect in her own life as she grappled with her identity at school thanks to an unusual family life. And she saw how her mother’s Bipolar Disorder was calmed by family birdwatching trips; “at the start she couldn’t focus… she couldn’t talk. At the end, she was sharp and present and spotting things… she was my mum again”. Series producer: Anya PearceProducer: Calum McCrae
6. Gary Numan55:11“People talk about being obsessive like it’s a bad thing… but it’s not, it’s a really good thing. It drives you,” says Gary Numan. The influential pop star explains how he has come to see his Asberger’s diagnosis as a superpower, despite struggling with it as a youngster. For Gary, his early fame and success felt like an “express train”, one he was always looking into from the outside. Now, he speaks about how his wife, Gemma, reinvigorated his declining career in music, when “she encouraged me to go back to doing it as a hobby”. Series producer: Anya PearceProducer: Calum McCrae
5. Suzie Fletcher59:10“I am so grateful for everything that’s ever happened,” says Suzie Fletcher. The Repair Shop’s resident leather expert explains how traumatic experiences have shaped her into the person she is today. Chief among those was the abusive 15-year marriage to her late husband, Rob. Despite facing violence and psychological manipulation, Suzie maintains an open and ever curious approach to understanding abusers as well as their victims; “he was a human being, too. He had all the same emotions”. WARNING: contains discussion of sensitive topics.Series producer: Anya PearceProducer: Calum McCrae
4. Joe Wicks MBE56:01“If you love your kids, they will be more resilient than you think,” says Joe Wicks. The nation's P.E.teacher talks about how his parents’ enduring love shaped Joe into the person he is today. Through his dad’s struggles with drug addiction and his mum’s mental illness, Joe found that movement and exercise helped him through his difficult childhood circumstances and since then he has made it his mission to ensure all kids have the same opportunity to get moving and "use your body to shift your mindset and change your reality for a few moments”.WARNING: contains discussion of sensitive topics.Series producer: Anya PearceProducer: Calum McCrae
3. Karl Lokko57:08“I’ve been able to be equal parts missionary and mercenary,” says Karl Lokko. In this episode of What I Wish I’d Known, the venture capitalist and former gang leader talks of how his extraordinary youth has led to a clear purpose in the work he now does. At the age of just 12, Karl witnessed his first shooting. He went on to be shot at, stabbed, cut in the face and he saw his close friend get murdered. But with the help of certain influential women in his life, Karl turned his life around before founding Black Seed, which finances black entrepreneurs. Karl’s experiences have shaped his mission; “I went uptown to get resources to bring downtown”.WARNING: contains discussion of sensitive topics.Series producer: Anya PearceProducer: Calum McCrae
2. Anthony Horowitz CBE56:40Best selling writer Anthony Horowitz, shares how he believes his astonishing drive and creativity was born out of trauma. He fought against countless people telling him he would never be good enough, including his own father, and now he’s one of Britain's most prolific writers with more than 55 books, including the Alex Rider teen spy series that has sold over 21 million copies, and adding to the James Bond series of thrillers.WARNING: contains discussion of sensitive topics.Series producer: Anya Pearce
1. Deborah Meaden01:00:44“Life is what is in front of you” says Deborah Meaden. In this episode of What I Wish I’d Known, the business leader shares how the challenges she faced in her early years shaped her as the entrepreneur we know today. At four years old she lived with a surrogate family whilst her mother worked to make ends meet. She met her biological dad on her doorstep as a teen, and left school at 16, and her first company failed. Deborah prides her success in later life from the determination, grit and tenacity that she learnt from the challenges she faced in childhood.WARNING: contains discussion of sensitive topics.Series producer: Anya Pearce