How the power of words shaped Roger Frampton’s career
In this episode of Our Voices, we are taken on the evolving journey of the life of Roger, a former model and now a public fitness coach. Roger’s life has had a uniquely interesting trajectory. He recounts some of his life-changing conversations and how the power of words has shaped him along the way.
A deceptive appearance
Despite having a public schoolboy demeanour and currently living in a cottage in rural Gloucestershire, Roger grew up as one of eight children to working-class parents. He also didn’t like school and left without any GCSEs.
Part of the reason for this was due to the difficulty of relocating to east London from a small village in Northamptonshire at the age of 13. “I literally went from a school in a village to a school where we were getting scanned for knives and guns. It was quite scary, as a kid, because I didn’t know what I’d walked into.”
Following his father’s example
While Roger would go on to acknowledge the power of words, it was initially the power of example which influenced him. His dad was a carpenter and Roger took the opportunity of learning his trade.
His dad was a sublime role model as an example of conscientiousness and work ethic. “He was very methodical about his work. And so that’s definitely a characteristic that I’ve taken from him.”
An irresistible opportunity
Becoming a carpenter proved only to be the beginning of Roger’s story, however. While in the pub one day, he found himself scouted by one of London’s biggest modelling agencies and the potential opportunities excited him.
“So I was like, oh, hang on a minute. You mean I can travel to New York, Paris, Milan, have people taking pictures of me. Or I can just sit here and graft my way through life…”
The decision proved to be a no-brainer, and Roger spent the next period of his life enjoying global success. He modelled brands including Calvin Klein and Aquascutum. Yet he was acutely aware of the fact that, as a model, his career would have a limited shelf-life. He also did not particularly enjoy modelling.
He craved a career in which he could develop and improve. By contrast, modelling was completely based on Roger’s appearance and “you can’t change it, you can’t control it, you can’t get better at it.”
The power of words
Roger’s dissatisfaction with modelling led him to have a life-changing conversation. Talking to his uncle, Campbell, Roger confessed that he wasn’t sure where he was going in his life and that he knew modelling was not going to provide him with a long-term career. Campbell asked Roger what he enjoyed doing.
To which Roger replied “I love going to the gym. But, you know, that’s my hobby, that’s different.” And then Campbell uttered the words which would change Roger’s life forever, he said “You can do what you love for a living, you know?” The power of these words would change the trajectory of Roger’s life.
Starting a new company
The conversation developed and Campbell suggested that Roger should look into becoming a fitness coach. Roger jumped at the idea and he rushed out to get the relevant qualifications. He then set up his own company “Remodel Me”, a play on his past career and elite success.
He showed great dedication to his new venture, literally running across London from Knightsbridge to Paddington and everywhere else in between in order to train his clients.
The first few years flew by but then Roger realised he still hadn’t quite hit upon the perfect career. “When people are being coached, they don’t necessarily like it, they don’t necessarily want to be there… And that becomes frustrating because you realise you love it, and it’s your passion.”
An honest conversation
Roger was feeling the desire for another change of direction. It was at this moment that one of his clients, Dominic, shared some more powerful words which helped him move on to the next level. Dominic pointed out the fact that Roger’s company was inappropriately named. He said to Roger
“You’ve done all this. You’ve done all these extra courses, and you’re very specified in terms of what you do… Why are you not putting your name to this? Why is this not called Roger Frampton or Roger Coach?”
This set Roger to think about the motivation behind his decision to hide behind a name that was not his own. He realised that, to a large extent, this stemmed from insecurity, a sense of impostor syndrome. Part of this was due to leaving school without any qualifications.
“It was this story that I had created in my head where I was essentially not good enough, or not smart enough or not qualified enough.”
However, this moment of clarity allowed Roger to reflect on the past with a sense of pride. Perhaps he had not followed the traditional route through life, but he had found a pathway that had worked for him.
Being true to yourself
Dominic sensed that Roger could benefit from a further change in perspective. So he suggested that Roger do a special 3-day-course.
“Basically they force you to phone people and have conversations with people that you’ve had arguments with in the past, and to clear up any stuff that you’ve got going on, any hatred or any anger towards other people. They had this sentence, it was: ‘You are of your word’… So really be true to yourself.”
Releasing a TED Talk
These life lessons helped Roger to really discover the power of words when he put together and performed his own TED talk. The talk focused on the dangers of leading a sedentary lifestyle. He also provided advice on movement and stretching exercises that would help people to become more flexible and to have healthier bodies.
He followed this up with harnessing the power of words in their written form by writing two books. He also established a popular online community in which people can move and stretch together. The online venture particularly took off during the pandemic. It was not long after this that Roger received a call from Dominic.
“He was just saying how proud he is of what I’ve done, that I’ve put my name to it, that I’m not hiding behind a brand. But I’m doing what I love, putting it on video and allowing other people to try it and see how they get along.”
The power of conversation
Reflecting on his success, Roger believes that the most important things in life are the power of words and being open to opinions. He believes that what is said and heard can truly make a difference in your life.
“When you’re with someone, really be with them, really be present, really listen to the words that are leaving their mouth, because those words can be gold dust. And you could be looking back on a conversation in 10 years’ time going, oh I really needed to hear those words.”