Last week I got engaged to be married to Gemma, the love of my life. I'm not saying this as an invite to an engagement party, nor am I fishing for presents. The reasons I'm mentioning it is because it links to one of the secrets of my success.
A couple of years ago I was, like many people, drifting happily along in my life and career. I was going with the flow and just taking it all as it came. I had no great plan and I'd never really given a lot of thought to my values. I was doing well, earning decent money and was generally pretty happy about it all. I enjoyed my work and I enjoyed my life.
Every now and then I'd have a little flutter to add a bit of excitement. Slowly the little bit of a gamble became more important to me until I found that I had blundered into some major problems. I couldn't stop myself from gambling and I couldn't help myself from losing. Soon, I'd lost more than I owned and I couldn't stop myself from "robbing Peter to pay Paul". Inevitably, I got caught.
I faced up to my weaknesses, did my time and started to try to rebuild my life. One thing that helped more than anything else was sitting down and having a really good think about my values in life and my vision for my life. There is a lot of crap talked about vision and values, but the basic issue is about what guides you to act in a certain way.
I distilled my vision and values down to five statements, each one encapsulates both what I want to achieve and how I want to do it:
• I want to earn a good living and be able to afford the better things in life, but not at the expense of others or a risk to my liberty.
• I want to prove, to myself and others that you can make a right royal cock-up of your life but that doesn't mean that you have to be a serial failure; you can turn it round.
• I want to put my talents to good use for myself, a family and society in general.
• I want to inspire others to learn from the mistakes and the successes I have made and had.
• I want to have a significant other upon whom I can rely totally, and who can rely totally on me as well.
Those may sound like five fluffy, nice-to-have, wishy washy dreams but they have helped me to make decisions and take actions that have put me where I am today. I've formed my own company, I provide employment for a staff, I am a Non Exec of a 'disaster relief' organisation, I get invited to speak at national events and to contribute to the national press and I have a business blog that is read by 1,000's of people each week. Not bad for an ex-bad boy.
Now I've also got a lovely, stable and happy personal life. Take time out this weekend to think about your V2.
Images supplied by Jack Kershaw