My Values

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On my journey to discover who I am, I have been thinking about my values. By codifying my values, I hope to have a list of criteria for things that I do, then if what I’m doing doesn’t reflect this list of values, it’s the wrong thing for me to be doing.

I took me a while to get the list together, but I finally was able to boil it down to 5, each beginning with a different vowel. The 5 initial letters gave me a challenge to really think this through and pick what are the quintessential values for me:

A – Authentic
E – Essentially
I – Integrity
O – Orderly
U – Unity

Authenticity is being true to myself, open with my life, being genuine. This would probably be the number one word that people use to describe me when they talk to me, something I hold as a great honour.

Essentially is about minimalism and essentialism. It’s an adverb, so it’s about how I do things.

Integrity is doing what’s right by others and by myself. Integrity is very important to me.

Orderly is about doing things in a systematic way. It doesn’t mean pushing order onto others or not being able to handle the messiness of life, rather it’s an adverb about how I naturally seem to do things in an orderly, systematic way, and as a leader bring order to chaos. This means that when I do something, I can turn it into a framework or maxim, which I love.

Unity is being one with the world, with nature, with others, and therefore not being judgmental. There’s a spiritual element to this, but also an aspiration to be someone who’s at peace with others, rather than in antagonism with those I find difficult.

What I like is that as vowels, these are my “vowels” – and every “word” that I write with me life will have will them in it. They are also my “vows” – the way that I commit to living.

The difficult journey of being yourself

Years ago I read that as a leader you will have your own values that you lead by. This was a revelation to me – I had assumed that as a leader who should get rid of your own personality (I was a self-effacing church leader, after all!)

Recently I have returned to business after a hiatus, and one of my struggles has been to create the offerings that people will buy from me.

The struggle has been twofold. First of all, it’s finding out what’s valuable to others that I have. But the second has been in the way I’ve tried to edit who I am in order to provide that value.

Then in a moment of frustration (and to be honest, depression) a month or so ago I realised that I was making a mistake. Why was I trying to change myself in order to be valuable to others? Or, was it that I need to become even more driven, more promotional, to make things work?

Then I read this tweet, from my friend Adam, that really set me free from this pressure:

What a beautiful line! “Be yourself. Eventually we all are.”

Isn’t that just the truth? How often do we try to edit ourselves for something to end up only reverting back to ourselves in the end anyway. Thus, I realised that I would save a lot of time if I could create business offerings that were as close to the authentic me as possible.

I’m still on that process of working that out. (Hey, clarity is hard work!)

But, I have made progress by codifying my values – the essence of who I am. More on that another day.

 

5 Years Later

No, this isn’t like 28 Weeks Later.

It’s been 5 years since April 2011, the month that I stopped blogging after doing it for 2 years, and also the same time that I was already drifting away from social media, and from the wonderful relationships that I had built with about 50 people through this blog.

What has happened in the last 5 years? In chronological order:

  • I had my first daughter, Summer, in April 2011.
  • My friend Trey Pennington sadly passed away on September 4th 2011. It was a tragedy.
  • The end of 2011 I decided I wanted to I move on from Like Minds, the conference that I co-founded, so that I could:
  • Fulfil my dream since I was 16, and start leading my own church, in Plymouth in March 2012.
  • My second daughter, Phoenix, was born in May 2013.
  • At the same time as Phoenix was born, I also had to remove my senior minister (who had been a mentor for 16 years) from his position due to serious moral issues. That was a biggie.
  • Phoenix had open heart surgery at 5 months old in October 2013. She had a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot.
  • In 2014 I had the best year of being a pastor since I had been a lay or full-time minister. The church in Plymouth really flourished. We grew to 150 people from the 30 that there were when I took it over.
  • At the beginning of 2015 I took a break from church leadership owing to depression from the fallout of my previous senior minister. As I began to read about spiritual abuse, I realised that he was a sociopath and had been pretty horrendous to me for the 16 years that he mentored me.
  • This led to me questioning my faith, which led it to it changing, which led to:
  • In May 2015 I left my pastoral role as I couldn’t continue it with integrity and started looking for work.
  • Thus I applied for 45 job applications with not a single interview!
  • September 2015 I started consulting again. I was nervous if I had anything to offer, but slowly rebuilt that as I got in touch with my old blog network.
  • In Feb 2016 had the wonderful news that Faye, my wife, is pregnant again :-)
  • March 2016 I put The Engaging Method online, and also started Ampersand Club.
  • April 2016 I resurrected this old blog as a reminder of the lovely community I found here.

Ok, so perhaps it was a little like 28 weeks later… it has been quite a journey. But, I am all the better for it.

Where to begin (again)

So, after pretty much 5 years of not writing on this blog (actually, I deleted it), I have painstakingly resurrected it and am now ready to begin, again.

But where to begin?

Here. This moment. My fingers on the keyboard, putting something out there.

It’s good to be back (again).