When one imagines a typical New Zealand farmer, it's unlikely the image of a Sydney-based life coach would spring to mind. However, in the case of Shane Bird, these two seemingly disparate identities are woven together to create a remarkable narrative of personal transformation.
Bird candidly discussed his transition from a New Zealand farmer, through tumultuous rodeo days, to his decision to quit drinking 13 years ago with REX host Dominic George. Bird's story isn't merely a tale of overcoming personal hurdles, but also a testament to his resilience, offering a heartening perspective to anyone seeking change.
"I was your classic New Zealand binge drinker," Bird said.
His alcohol consumption wasn't necessarily daily, but when he drank, he drank to the point of blacking out. This uncontrolled drinking had negative effects on his life and relationships, leading to his decision to quit in 2010.
When asked if he has had a single beer since, Bird admitted to unintentionally drinking a 3.5% beer, mistaking it for a non-alcoholic version. However, the beer was not consumed by choice, maintaining his record of intentional abstinence.
Bird's sobriety journey wasn't easy, especially with the social pressures that came with his rugby and rodeo environments.
"They say it as a joke, but it's just that subliminal messaging. So then you take it on and go, oh, maybe I won't last."
But rather than succumbing to peer pressure, Bird used a clever strategy of offering to be the designated driver during social events. This approach helped him avoid drinking without isolating himself from his social circle.
After eight months of abstaining, Bird finally shared his decision to quit with his peers. By then, he was known as a non-drinker and his decision was met with respect rather than ridicule.
Bird’s journey to sobriety was more than just quitting alcohol; it was a transformational journey of understanding his deep-seated need to fit in. He found a more resourceful way to meet that need by fostering deeper, sober connections and friendships.
Today, Bird uses his experiences to guide others through similar transformations as a life coach. His journey from farmer to life coach is an inspiring example of the power of personal change.
His story serves as a reminder that it's never too late to alter the course of your life, and it’s possible to navigate towards healthier choices without sacrificing social connections.
Shane Bird's story is a beacon of hope, demonstrating that personal transformation is possible, even against the most challenging odds. It's a story that will undoubtedly resonate with many and inspire them to take control of their lives.
Listen to the full chat between former NZ farmer turned life coach Shane Bird and Dominic George above.