Great Escape Podcast episode 0

great escape Jun 07, 2019


Welcome to the Great Escape Podcast pilot episode. My name is Stuart Morris and throughout out my life, as a child, an adult, a husband, a father, an entrepreneur and as an employee I’ve found myself in various situations that were impossible to bare and, at the same time, seemed impossible to change. Over the years I’ve developed a framework for facing and changing these situations and finding freedom. In my conversations with other people, I’ve found that this framework fits pretty much all of their situations too.

I know that this podcast will help you to build your own Great Escape Plan.

In this pilot episode I’m going to outline this framework and in upcoming episodes I’ll be interviewing a variety of people who have faced impossible situations in their lives and found the way to change their circumstances to bring their whole lives into better balance by changing whatever aspects of their own internal attitudes, their health, their relationships, and their careers needed to be changed. Each of these people has found a way to escape whatever situation they were trapped in and build a better life. Many of them have gone on to build lives where they serve others and offer escape plans themselves. I hope you’ll find inspiration and comfort in their stories and begin to build your own Great Escape Plan.

If you want to follow along with the six steps to escaping any impossible situation please head over to and download your free Six Steps to Freedom worksheet. You can also sign up for the free video series where I go into each of the steps in more detail.

Before we start unpacking the Six Steps to Freedom let’s have a quick look at how we end up trapped in the first place…

Why do we get trapped in the first place?

The most challenging prisons we build are the ones we build for ourselves in our minds. Through a combination of our experiences and the lives we lead we build a set of beliefs about the way life and the world work. More often than not these beliefs are flawed. A classic example of this is the child who goes on holiday with their parents and picks up on their parents’ nervousness about the flight. In reality the parents weren’t scared of flying, they were worried about getting their family to the holiday destination without losing any of the children or baggage… but the child didn’t know this. They were just aware of the tension and connected it to getting on a plane. As an adult this “fear of flying” then develops into a debilitating prison in which this person never leaves the country because they’re afraid of flying and there really is no real reason for it. No amount of rational quoting of the safety statistics (commercial jet travel is safer than walking along the road) will help them get over it. The belief was set deep in their minds at an early age. We are programmed to learn fear from our parents. From an evolutionary sense this makes perfect sense when the child in a stone-age village needs to learn to stay away from the wild animals outside the encampment.

These days we leave school or university, get a job, may start a family, buy a house, a car… and in short, we build a life with a set of commitments that we didn’t really plan at the time. Years later we find ourselves trapped in a career that we don’t like, working for a boss who is a jerk, in a company that doesn’t care if we live or die and we have no way to escape this situation because there are bills to pay and mouths to feed. We’ve unconsciously built our own prison and our physical and mental health suffer as our stress levels rise. We’re not living in congruity with our true selves. This is the classic problem that the Six Steps to Freedom will help you to solve just as they have helped me and all of the people interviewed for this podcast.

The Six Steps to Freedom

Every story of a life of quiet, or not so quiet, desperation, transformed into a full and vibrant life with career, relationships, health and attitudes in balance goes through these Six Steps to Freedom:

First we must decide that change is essential, not optional, not a good idea. We won’t change anything until it is absolutely necessary. Sometimes this change is forced upon us: for example with a redundancy or the death of a loved one but more often than not it is a choice we have to make for ourselves. For me the decision to start my own business came when the company I worked for was taken over by a rival business with a completely unpleasant management style and an untruthful approach to customer support. I couldn’t work in this environment. They ran their business in a way that was a complete anathema to me. Change was essential because the stress of trying to be like “them” was destroying me.

Second we must understand that, whatever the situation, change is possible. It is always possible to change something. For me at that time I had a wife, an 18 month old son and another child due any time and a mortgage to pay. Change seemed impossible but I came to understand that it wasn’t just essential but that it was possible. There were a number of options: I could get a job with someone else or start my own business. There were two choices where previously I couldn’t see any.

Third, and often this is the most difficult step, we must believe that we can make this change. It isn’t enough to understand that change is theoretically possible. We must believe that we, personally, can make the necessary change. This was really hard for me. I’d never run my own business. I knew all the stories about most startups failing within the first three years (which aren’t strictly true but that’s a different story) and it seemed wildly irresponsible for me to start a business and put the roof over my young family’s head at risk. I had a choice to make and I had to make it fast. In the end I decided to contact all my old customers and ask them if they would like me to continue to provide their customer support rather than the new company. 24 hours later I had my first customers and my first startup was born. Step one of any startup is always sell something to someone. I’d tried to sell my services and been successful so now I began to believe that I could actually do it!

Fourth, we must choose what has to change. What is it that we are going to change to make life better? I was sick and tired of working for bosses that didn’t know what they were talking about and shareholders who didn’t care about me. I had made the choice. I was leaving and starting my first business.

Fifth, build a plan. What are the steps necessary to make this change a reality. Long or short this plan is the route map to the freedom you are seeking. The plan was so simple to begin with: Step one resign. Step two get the customers to sign annual support contracts with me. Step three deliver that support. Obviously the detail was full of little devils all over the place but at a high level it looked pretty simple.

And finally, perhaps most obviously, we need to make the change. We need to start executing our plan. Often we will need to revise the plan along the way but unless we set off along the route nothing will change and we will remain trapped in the prison we’ve built for ourselves. Writing that letter of resignation was one of the hardest things I’d ever done up to that point. Who was I to think I could start a business? I was just a European hardware support engineer for a mid-sized American technology company. 24 hours later I was the chief executive of a pan-European hardware support company with two customers and the truth is that I’ve never looked back. In the last 24 years I’ve been involved with pretty much a start-up per year. I’ve taught entrepreneurship to PhD level at one of the top business schools in the world and helped hundreds of people start their own businesses all over the world. I’ve had terrific business success and horrific failure but most of the time I’ve had, and am having, a terrific time. I often tell people that I don’t have “work life balance”… I have my life and a love it.

And that’s all there is to it: Decide, Understand, Believe, Choose, Plan, Change.

Every story you’ll hear on this podcast boils down to these six steps. Often the people we’ll be talking to haven’t broken it down to this degree of simplicity but they’ve all been through these steps either consciously or unconsciously in order to create a new, more balanced and fulfilled life for themselves and through their stories you can find the inspiration to make the necessary changes in your life whether that’s in your career, your relationships, your health, your attitudes or a combination of all of these.

Finishing up...

Well here we are at the end of the pilot episode. I’ve introduced myself and outlined the Six Steps to Freedom framework. Head on over to to download the worksheet and sign up for the free Six Steps to Freedom video series and start your journey to your own Great Escape today. Make sure that you subscribe to get future episodes and click the like button to help us share the Six Steps to Freedom with as many people as possible. You’d be doing me a personal favour and I really appreciate it.

If you have a story of a Great Escape that you’d like to share on the podcast or if you know of someone with a story to tell, or if you need help getting yourself unstuck, please email me at [email protected] and let’s keep the conversation flowing.

The Great Escape titles music was created by Darren Reddick

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