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.