Find Your Inner Superhero

I was born and raised in the Hampshire overspill town of Basingstoke where my father worked as a self-employed Dental Technician. As a young man of seventeen, I left school, went into banking (expecting to become a Bank Manager) and soon discovered that I wasn’t to be considered ‘management’ material, and so I left there and joined a Community Church before leaving for Bible College in Vancouver, Canada. Now I was more highly favoured than any of my siblings, possibly because I was the firstborn son, possibly because I was quiet and amenable; and my Dad (very kind and generous man that he is) financed my theological adventures. However, after returning from Canada, I entered a dead-end job as a production scheduler within a printing company followed by a period of travel, reservation sales, and unemployment. Eventually, I joined a research company where I settled down into the type of work I enjoyed, leading me to take a role into self-employment and, subsequently, running my own business that morphed several times from copywriting to research to import and distribution and sales, training and the culinary world of fine dining. Quite a discombobulated career!

Now there are significant times in your life where you look back and reflect on your life, your character, and your credentials. One such time was last summer when I took a day retreat to create space and nurture a personal vocation and calling. The day included sessions on where I have been, where am I going, ‘beginning with the end in mind’ and creating a personal mission statement and with whom should I go? During the day, I was asked to imagine my funeral, and what I would like people to eulogise about me that was true and what I wanted them to say, including family, friends, colleagues, the marginalised and God. Now that is pretty challenging especially when you are asked to write your epitaph.

So why was this day important to me? Well, firstly it enabled me to sharpen my unique story and dip into my history. Thus by defining my origins, I discovered key moments that gave me assurance to who I am and what it is I do best. And secondly, and, more importantly, consider the inner superhero that is helping overcome the adversity of bankruptcy, despite its severe harshness to establish a legitimate authority as someone who can be trusted and believed in when I speak about indebtedness and its effects on human life, society and economic justice. The day also revealed how my past choices (even my mistakes) make me more authentic and relatable.

Now, I hear you saying, what’s this got to do with me? In fact, what’s this got to do with my business, employment, work or whatever? Well, two answers. The first is a kind of spiritual one. I believe that nothing happens without a plan revealing itself, and the best way to move forward is to serve that plan by foretelling it and speaking into being. And secondly, more visionary: when we grow in confidence about our story, it becomes infectious, and the effects of the story manifest itself upon others. The more your vision attracts others, the more you make the right relationships and luck. You align with your gifts, intensities, and disposition. You position yourself for maturity and acceptance. That’s what I am doing with this story, positioning myself for new opportunities and growth by sharing my bio and hopefully it will resonate with you? And by doing so, I’ll encourage you to find your inner superhero so that you too can be truly authentic and, at the same time, remain true to your values. 

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Why Character Trumps Credentials

You know there is much in the world to whine about: economic underperformance, poverty, modern slavery, austerity and neoliberalism for starters. On a philosophical level, why is it that some people live in fear and dread of the bank while others are a law to themselves, keen on self-promotion, piling up stolen goods and making wealthy by extortionate profit and unjust margins? And why, for example, on an emotional level, is there such anger, wretchedness, gloating, scarcity, misery and anxiety within the world? Apparently, if any of us knew the answers to these questions, we wouldn’t be asking them. And yet, these are not just only questions for today, but questions from the past and, no doubt, questions for future generations too.

Over the past two years, I have been asking such deep, meaningful, and even tormented questions, time and time again. As, you might imagine, trying to pull oneself out of a state of self-pity, discontent, distress and debt is no fun. The journey my family and I have been on are a long-suffering, fractious and disjointed group of stories. And, right now, it is no easier as I try to regain meaningful employment and new sources of income. I could quickly, and still do reflect on why, after many years of earnest endeavour and sacrifice a competitor ruined my business, Culinary Innovations Ltd. when I was achieving so much progress. And why, another competitor was so keen to copy my business model and indeed my copyright text, and then buy my stock below market value when vulnerable. Until now I have kept my silence.  However, my intent is no longer to put up with the contempt of companies, indeed governments, and influencers of all persuasions, who are quick to take advantage of self-interest without taking consideration of their moral and social consciences. My reply is just beginning. And today, I make it to the starting gun and cross over the line for the next chapter in my life’s sojourn.

But before I continue however I want to put my hope that living as an ex-bankrupt can be positive, fulfilling, and joyful. That I can rejoice in whatever circumstances I have to face and will continue to face. This blog then is the story of my daily struggle to climb back the ladders of economic justice and competence with such virtues that I once lacked: prudence, temperance, fortitude, justice and as much humility as I can muster.

You see, I have learned a crucial lesson in life, especially economic life. When you see vulnerable people, organisations and countries fall in on themselves (like they do), I am better prepared to handle their personal stories, business challenges, and political ventures and can hold conversations that invoke constructive change. Thus, my sad story is not one I wish to hide. Far from it. It’s the opposite. It’s one I want to present courageously to others as a challenge to business morality, financial integrity, and government providence. To whistleblow on those who exploit power, position, and money. And to tell a story about ethical, economic systems and the moral imperative to see why the process of business and the journey within an economy, not always the end-result, matter and motivate people. In other words to understand that character trumps credentials and yours and my stories are much more than a resume or an ‘About Us’ page.

And so over the coming days, I hope to post my story of renewed confidence and revival so that you the reader, can come to know the entirely authentic me. And in return, I can layout my recommendations for a new kind of finance in an age that blurs the lines of professionalism, ethics, and conduct.