My 3 Worst Blunders

My Three Worst Blunders

Andrew Ferguson

I think my worst blunder of all has been to believe that I or any of us have the faintest idea what’s going on!
We can’t see where we’re going – that’s the future and it hasn’t got here yet. We can’t see more than one step ahead of us – probably not even that.
In 1987 I was living at Findhorn in Scotland, and met Pat Rodegast who was presenting at a conference. Pat ‘channelled’ a character who called himself Emmanuel, and as I was agonising over what I should be doing, my future career progression and options, Emmanuel (or Pat – one was never quite clear which it was!) butted in “Andrew, what happens next is none of your business!”
Driving back to London, tired from celebrating the end of my 6 months in Findhorn, I bounced off the central reservation of the A84 and ‘woke up’. I limped back home … walked into Shepherds Bush and put down £100 deposit on The Breakthrough Centre.
It seemed right in that moment. Malcolm Stern looked it over, and it felt right. William Bloom looked it over, and it felt right.
And that’s all we have – a sense of what’s right … now.

My basic blunder has been not to have trusted that enough … not to have embraced the ‘unknowing’.
This brings me to my two other interconnected blunders – the things that interfere with this essential trust – time and money.
The Money Blunder
It is a mistake to confuse your personal identity with money and the stuff it buys – to believe money measures anything.
Buying an unnecessarily large house, as I did in 1983, was an investment in stuff (even if it did appreciate by 50%pa); and when you invest in stuff, it’s your soul that pays for it.
The real trick, which I missed then, is to get a free roof over your head as early as possible – then you only need £600/month and can invest all your time and money in your vision.
It is fiendishly difficult to fund a business, and premises, and an extravagant lifestyle all at the same time. And if you are beholden to money, or dragging shedloads of debt behind you, you make bad decisions. For instance:
I relied on government for 40% of my income – too many eggs in one basket.
I contorted my vision to fit a foreign agenda, in order to pay for the vision.
I’m not in this for the money … which is just as well! It still mystifies the new enthusiasts for Holistic, Social Enterprise that 89% of all entrepreneurs do it for non-financial reasons. You know the difference between an Entrepreneur and a 12” Pizza? Yup, a 12” Pizza can feed a family of 4!
The Timing Blunder
I have kept on with some things too long – anxious not to cut off the money supply, trying to push the river uphill. And I have scrapped other things too SOON, moved on too soon, changed names and identities.
One of the neat ways I found to scrap things was to try to control them – at one point I took fright and got above myself all at the same time, and put a limit on the number of Network members we’d take on – and membership fell away from that point.
This brings me back to the main blunder – I thought I was looking for a life … when I was IN it, right now, and it was, and is, something extraordinary. But I lacked the courage of my convictions, and always held back. Why? Lack of trust, not believing in it enough to take the risk of getting it wrong/looking an idiot; as John Cleese has said ‘The Englishman goes through life, desperately trying to avoid embarrassment’. But I also worried about how I would cope with a huge success!
Fear of Success is even more destructive than Fear of Failure – I had both!!
Why did I sometimes move on too soon? Well, I forgot about the time it can take for a spark to become a flame – typically 20-30 years, during which you face Rejection, Ridicule, Rabid Opposition and then Reluctant (back-handed) acceptance from a cynical, blinkered media.
They rubbished us in 1990, and though I found a publisher as a result, it made me even more wary of breaking ranks and putting my head above the parapet. Trying to control it, holding back, hiding meant not engaging with the media and promoting it aggressively. But at least I prepared the ground for all the later versions of Holistic Enterprise – Authentic Business, Alterpreneur, Work Life Balance (which totally misses the point, but hey, that’s politics); Zenployment.
If you can just hang on long enough, the media eventually promote your idea as if they always knew it was right – usually when it’s reimported from America. 10 years later it’s Labour party policy; 20 years later it’s Tory party policy.
Right now Green is all the rage (even if it means nuclear and wave power, which both have severe environmental implications), and Social Enterprise is seen as the solution to everything from Youth Crime to the crisis in the NHS (even though they’re not putting our money where their mouth is).
Green and Holistic Enterprise are indistinguishable – green, ethical, creative, artistic, spiritually aligned enterprise – and both have come of age … 25 years after we started it.
So trust me – you’re doing something extraordinary too. Don’t be put off by ridicule or cynicism – it’s just fear, envy, shame and mindless prejudice. Instead, listen to your intuition; it will tell you when to shift. And listen to money, because it does talk. Just don’t identify with it.
In short, don’t be bland … blunder!
As Anita Roddick says “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”

© Andrew Ferguson

Andrew Ferguson: Life and Business Relaunch Coach                      t: 020 7473 5544

MA Oxon, Chartered Marketer, FCIM, FIC

SFEDI accredited and award-winning Business Advisor

Breakthrough Centre, 29 Adine Road, London E13 8LL

www.LifeShift.co.uk                                               e: andrew@thewiseoldowl.co.uk  www.TheKitchenTable.CO                                 www.BreakthroughNetwork.Net

 

Andrew Ferguson’s Life Shift Books provide in-depth explanation of the issues each phase of life presents – visit www.LifeShift.co.uk for books and more.  He is also available for 121 Coach/Counselling and small group work round www.TheKitchenTable.CO  

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