SPECIAL Forces hero Ant Middleton has led a life of wild highs and devastating lows.
The tough taskmaster on Channel 4 show SAS: Who Dares Wins served with the Special Boat Service in Afghanistan, and in 2018 climbed Mount Everest for a Channel 4 special.
Yet he has also had to cope with a jail term – after a bust-up with police on a night out in 2013 – and losing his dad to a heart attack when he was aged just five.
Now, after a series of bestselling books that have turned him into a self-help guru, Ant is offering his advice to YOU, Sun readers.
Hundreds of you have written to The Sun’s Ask Ant series with career and relationship worries – or just things you always wanted to ask the TV hardman.
As Ant says: “No one’s perfect. Everyone has messed up, but you learn from it and move on.”
Here he offers his “no bull” advice . . .
DEAR ANT: I have pulled through serious illness and my wife and family have been so supportive, as we run our little shop we started ten years ago. But Covid has just about destroyed us. We are still going but are suffering.
There used to be no one more positive than me but I also lost my dad last year and need some positive vibes. What can you say to lift me for that extra fight?
ANT SAYS: It sounds like you have a lovely family. You can gain strength from your family, who are your responsibility.
Your business worries will take you outside your comfort zone so embrace that. Don’t be scared of that.
Don’t think about the weight on your shoulders but the importance of who you’re carrying. Embrace your responsibility.
Sometimes when you’re at your lowest ebb you come up with your best ideas, because you’re forced out of your comfort zone.
You’re still here, fighting. Look at the small positives, keep them in your head and let them grow.
Cut out the boozing and stop acting like a pr*ck
DEAR ANT: I split with my girlfriend just before the second lockdown. I was acting like a pr*ck, drinking too much and eyeing up other women. After a load of arguments, we agreed to go our separate ways.
I’m now really down and don’t think I’ll ever meet anyone like her. I’ve started to hate myself, I’ve put on a load of weight and have lost the confidence to try to win her back.
I’ve tried talking to her but I’ve lost that spark she liked. Any ideas how I can get my positivity back?
ANT SAYS: Stop acting like a pr*ck, drinking too much and eyeing up women. If you can’t stop eyeing up women, this relationship obviously isn’t meant to be.
You know what you need to do. Cut out all the alcohol for a bit and self- reflect. Be honest with yourself and then you’ll know if you want this woman back.
If you do, and when you’ve sorted yourself, make it up to her and try to rebuild the relationship.
DEAR ANT: Have you ever lost a fight?
ANT SAYS: No. I’ve been in many and never lost one.
DEAR ANT: My mum is battling cancer and we don’t know if she’s going to live. How do I support my family at the same time as keeping a level head?
ANT SAYS: My mother died of cancer back in May. Your mother will want someone she can draw hope and strength from. Be that positive influencer.
When I found out my mother was stage four with cancer I went to see her with a smile on my face, talking about memories.
I wasn’t speaking to her as if she had stage-four cancer and my mum drew strength from me.
DEAR ANT: I lost my husband of 34 years in May and am still struggling to come to terms with this.
I have a great support network but don’t feel I can begin to grieve properly while Covid is everywhere. Everywhere you go, look, watch and listen, there’s no escape.
Any advice on being able to move forward would be so appreciated.
ANT SAYS: You have to be brutally honest and admit he’s not coming back. But you had 34 years together so pull from the positive memories.
When I lost my father I would imagine him looking down.
Remember the love you had so you can push forward and move forward.
That’s what you husband would want. Grieve but take deep breaths and continue what you had with him. Have a look up and go, ‘You know what? I’m so proud of this man. I’m going to continue that for both of us’.
DEAR ANT: I’m in Year 12 at school and looking at joining the military as a doctor after taking a medical degree. What advice can you give me?
ANT SAYS: A military career is physically and psychologically demanding. You have to be sure it is really something you want to do. But it’s great for discipline and structure.
When the tough times come, you have to realise it is part of you growing and finding more resilience.
It’s all part of building you up so that if you’re deployed into a combat zone you are robust enough.
DEAR ANT: How do I stop worrying about what others think? I would like to start running but won’t because I’m scared I will see someone I know and they will just laugh at me because I’m overweight.
ANT SAYS: What other people think is their problem, not yours. You can’t control what others think so don’t let them control who you are.
Think what you want to achieve and forget those negative voices.
DEAR ANT: I have gone through a rollercoaster year, from the end of a 12-year relationship and marriage to losing my house. Then I put myself back together — new relationship, new job and new house.
But now I feel myself taking the foot off the gas, like I am losing my drive. Is this a bad thing or a good thing? What would you do in this situation?
ANT SAYS: Keep your foot on the accelerator. We’ve only got so many years when we’re psychologically and physically at our peak. Maximise everything. Be in the game, otherwise you may lose purpose.
If you’re comfortable, that’s different. But it sounds like for you it may be psychologically negative to take your foot off the gas.
DEAR ANT: What you have achieved is amazing. But what makes you laugh?
ANT SAYS: The old classic, a fart. It’s so childish but so funny. What makes me laugh is doing a silent one then watching other people say, ‘Who the f*** did that?’
How do I stop being so fearful?
DEAR ANT: I’m 27 and a mum of two. How do I stop being so fearful? I used to be fearless — I rode motocross bikes and the biggest rides at theme parks would not bother me. But over the past two years I’ve become such a chicken. I couldn’t even climb a ladder the other day to paint the top windowsills of my house.
I want to be a fearless, brave female again. What’s your advice?
ANT SAYS: Your priorities may have changed and there’s nothing wrong with that. I was the same, I thought I was fearless. But now I’ve got five beautiful children, a beautiful wife and a beautiful career. I don’t want to be put in silly situations any more. Before, I didn’t really take on board what might happen.
You’re a mum of two and it sounds like your priorities may have changed, too, so why put that at risk?
DEAR ANT: How can I motivate my son? He’s in his early 20s, with no job, and applies for everything but keeps getting knocked back. He is from a single-parent family and he struggles that his father has done nothing for him growing up.
He blames the world for his mistakes and previously drank to forget. He started self-harming but now has that under control, I hope, there is no sign of him still doing it.
Please can you help motivate my son, instead of him becoming just a lost soul in his bedroom.
ANT SAYS: He needs to acknowledge he’s now a grown individual and, to get on in the world, can’t keep making excuses related to the past.
He needs a bit of tough love so he can get control of his life.
And, listen, keep making him apply for those jobs.
Every time he gets knocked back, hopefully he will learn from it. Was it his appearance? Or his attitude?
Then, if he keeps learning from those job interviews, something will fall into place.
DEAR ANT: Who or what has had the biggest influence in you becoming the man you are today?
ANT SAYS: I don’t worship people. I’m not a sheep, I purposefully go out not to fit the mould. This may sound like a cliché but I try to influence myself. I don’t try and be or act like someone else.
We’re all unique. I just try to become the best possible version of who I am. And that’s through trial and error and tripping up more times than I succeed.
I get positive vibes from people but no one influences the way I think or the way I do things.
DEAR ANT: I’m an NHS nurse. What’s the craziest or scariest thing you’ve done and why?
ANT SAYS: Climbing Mount Everest during a storm. Why? Because everyone else was coming down the mountain. Reaching the apex of the world, fighting against Mother Nature, I thought I was going to die.
DEAR ANT: I would like to ask ant, what was his biggest and toughest challenge while in the Special Forces?
ANT SAYS: The responsibility of being point man — the responsibility of ultimately leading your team into a situation. The responsibility of having those people behind you and those lives in your hands was a really, really tough challenge.
You never want to be reckless because you never want to put anyone’s life in jeopardy. But you never want to be too calculating to not commit.
DEAR ANT: SAS hardman turns self-help guru to sort Sun readers' problems from relationship worries to career concerns
ANT SAYS: I like mixed martial arts and boxing because I come from a combat background. I would try a charity boxing match with Jason Carl Fox from SAS: Who Dares Wins. I’d love to beat him up.
DEAR ANT: What keeps you motivated during lockdown?
ANT SAYS: Not getting caught up in negatives about the pandemic. That’s stuff I can’t control. When the world is back on its feet, I want to be sprinting, whether that’s thinking of new business opportunities or me doing events.
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