I believe that inspirational leadership is a collaborative activity, full of opportunities to work alongside others rather than try to compete with and beat them. True leadership creates abundance and a bigger cake for us all to have a slice of rather fighting over limitations. We can all share so much and give each other a lot of help.
But when I was growing up, I believed that not needing help was a virtue, that I shouldn’t ask for help, I should be able to do it all myself. In my early days of running my own business, I was what I would now call unhealthily independent, and considered myself a failure if I had to ask for much help. So I soldiered along on my own as best as I could. Increasingly, I have more invested in creating partnerships, collaborations and friendships. I have got very good at asking for and giving help and support; I have become a better receiver. My life is a lot more rich and enjoyable, and a lot more successful. These friendships and collaborations make it all so much more meaningful and possible. I now gauge my success partly by how much support I ask for an allow myself.
Today, I truly believe that leadership is a collaborative activity – is about creating and sustaining collaborative relationships around your higher purpose. I always knew that isolation is a great dream killer, and I also always loved the African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and I believe it takes “a village” to raise a spiritually hearted leader and entrepreneur.
What you are up to in the world is incredibly important, and who you are to it with is vital.
I have spent time travelling around the world doing presenting and business in very impersonal and have often got lonely and disconnected. I now love the fact that I largely only do business with people I like and even love. I get work with people I get to see consistently and build relationships with.
So, here are some of the key people in my village, my soul group of friends, family and collaborators.
My mum, Pam, worked before she married, and indeed met my Dad Harold, at their workplace, Norman Frizzell, an insurance company, in 1947. Although he worked for 47 years at the insurance company, he was also a lay Methodist preacher, and was a conscious objector during the war.
While I didn’t always agree with his religious views, but there was something about his sense of calling to preach that inspired me. He was spiritual rather than religious. He died of kidney failure in 2005 and the age of 85. Mum was always his loyal supporter and was there for my sister Amanda and I.
Being the youngest of eight children, mum has had to witness her whole family pass away and is now the only one left. I have been inspired by the way she keeps going and has recently moved into a care home in Old Windsor at the age of 83.
Helen has been my life partner of seventeen years now. She has loved and encouraged me, been my Muse at times, put up with me working from home. She has witnessed the insecurities, struggles and challenges I go through behind the scenes so that I can do what I do publicly. She has always believed in me and supported me and has been a loving presence in life. We have lots of fun and silliness together. Helen used to be a professional dancer and danced on Top of The Pops for several years in the mid 80’s and has been an actress, jewellery maker, psychotherapist and has most recently trained as an integral yoga teacher in San Francisco.
Niki came in to my life eleven years ago after reading The Work We Were Born To Do when he got involved in the team at Alternatives that I used to co-run. He is a software engineer by training and immersed himself deeply in the world of the Internet and digital marketing. We have been friends and business partners for ten years now and he has been an incredibly loyal supporter of me ad my work. His presence in my life has caused me to become more digital savvy, engage with the Internet and create a more substantial business model than I had before I knew him. His thinking and enormous investment of time and skill in our businesses has been invaluable to me.
In 1998, while I was still working at my day job selling computers in the City of London, I went along to talks at a programme called Turning Points, and then became a team member when Turning Points became the newly launched Alternatives at St James’s Church in Piccadilly. I worked alongside the founders, Malcolm Stern, Sabrina Dearborn and William Bloom. I eventually joined the management team and then became a co-Director and ended up co-running the programme for several years with Jane Turney. After resigning from being director, I served on the Board of Trustees for ten years and only left in 2009. I still attend some talks and workshops run by Alternatives, as I am now a “Lifelong Friend.”
I also met Ben around twenty years ago through Alternatives. We created and ran several projects together, including Power Breakfast and The Joy Club. I have seen him grow and evolve from a one-man show to partnering with Robert Holden to set up the Happiness Project and Success Intelligence. In his own right he has become a world leader in coaching and mentoring leaders in many of the worlds top companies and has eight books, become a husband and father to three children. We regularly support each other, chew the cud, moan and complain, and give each other a loving kick up the bum and remind each other to be grateful for the fabulous lives we both have.
Ed runs Ballonview publishing and someone suggested I speak to him when The Work We Were Born To Do went out of print in 2009 after ten years in print. To cut a long story short, Ed had it reprinted for me, and also reprinted How To Be Inspired and also published The Business You Were Born To Create and Resisting Your Soul. We have become friends and Ed has presented at Inspired Entrepreneur Community Events on books publishing and product creation. Several friends have had Ed publish their books for them and have been happy. Ed helped me rekindle my love of writing and publishing and with his help I now use my books as calling cards.
I love it when someone new comes into my life and makes a big impact and Art Giser has certainly done that. We only met in May 2011 but we both felt like we were old friends meeting up again in this life-time to carry on the conversation, to have fun and grow together. I have attended all of Art’s ENLP programmes and found them incredibly helpful, we have given talks and workshops together and I am supporting him in writing his first book.
I supported Liz in around 2007 when she was going through a challenging time in her career, then lost touch until the beginning of 2013. We reconnected when I was recovering from hepatitis and I discovered that Liz is now the Executive Producer of Downton Abbey. She kindly invited me on set a couple of times to watch the filming of series four. We’ve now become mates and love having conversations about authenticity, leadership and personal and spiritual growth, often over lunch in Ealing where the studios are. I find her a very inspiring woman because she is so real and authentic.
I first attended a sacred chanting class run by Nikki Slade held in someone’s home opposite Brixton prison around 1990. We were both rookies then, just getting going with our callings. Our paths have kept crossing ever since, and in the last five years we have worked together, co-run workshops and each year I have asked Nikki to run an evening with our community to launch the years programme. I can often be found at Nikki’s Kirtan chanting classes on Saturday night at Tri-yoga in Primrose Hill. Our favourite place to meet is for lunch at Govindas restaurant in Soho, London.
Ian founded and runs the Miracle Network in the UK, supporting students of A Course in Miracles and we have been friends for close on twenty years. We hang out at events together, Helen and I have often had dinner together at our local Turkish restaurant, Divans in Ballards Lane in Finchley. I have presented several times at the Miracle café in London and at several Miracle Network conferences.
Sarah contacted me for some coaching several years ago but we didn’t meet until an anniversary event for the radio station, Passion for the Planet. We then became friends and have presented many talks and workshops together on Spiritual Intelligence in Coaching. We share a great passion for helping inspire more spiritually intelligent business and leadership.
After a recommendation, I bought Stevens book The War of Art from Amazon. I knew within three pages that this was a book that was going to change my life. And it did. I help me name and illuminate the power of resistance in a whole new way. I was blessed that I got to meet him at his home above Malibu in February 2005, and I interviewed him. He was lovely man and we stay in touch. The morning I spent at his home overlooking the Pacific above Malibu beach and our conversation was a high-point of my life. The War of Art was the inspiration for my book, Resisting the Soul. For me, Steven is one of those people who I am just happy is in the world.
I first met Chuck when my friend Romy Shovelton invited me to come along to a talk Chuck was giving held at the Royal Zoological Society meeting rooms in London around 1994. Within minutes I had made copious notes because he was explaining relationships in a way that I had never really understood until then. I had to borrow more paper to make more notes. I invited him to come to speak at Alternatives and I started going to Psychology of Vision workshops and have been going ever since. Without Chuck’s insights and deep understanding of the human mind and A Course in Miracles I am not sure I would be doing many of the things I am doing today. He helped me really start to get that I was not useless and insignificant and inspired me to start to get my significance and see that I was valuable and that I mattered. I am forever grateful to Chuck for that.
Kate used to work as an art historian. She came to a workshop I ran through Alternatives in around 2008 for about 70 people called How To Get Started in the Personal Development Business. As part of that workshop, I taught a design process that Rick Arrandale taught me, and a few months later Kate invited me to an event she had created using the process I had taught her. I couldn’t go but she kept inviting me to future events, and eventually I want and loved her approach, which was teaching coaches how to build their businesses using her own experience. We became mates, she has presented on my courses, and we now meet a couple of times a year to cheer other on, moan, bitch and challenge each other! Kate has now created a hugely successful training and coaching business, and utterly loves what she is doing.
I was recommended to sign up for Mike’s Notes from the Universe in 2005, and have loved receiving them each week day ever since. I got to meet him through my involvement with Alternatives, and have been to several of Mike’s events when he visits London from his home in Florida. We have often hung out, love hanging fascinating conversations and have recorded several of them that you can eavesdrop on. Most recently I attended his trainers training in London in January 2014 and had dinner with him, his wife Marisol and Nicky Pattinson.
I met Tom and Linda through Robert Holden when I was still running Alternatives and hosted them for several talks. They have been my favourite physical teachers of forgiveness as laid out in A Course In Miracles. At the time, they lived in Kauai in Hawaii and offered Helen and I to go stay with them if we ever found ourselves in Hawaii. So we did. They have been such loving presences in my life and Tom really helped me “give up self-improvement and embrace self-acceptance.”
Peter is a successful lawyer and entrepreneur, and runs his own training, conferencing and publishing companies. He came to a number of my events and we first met for coffee in 2009 when he wanted a few tips for the first book he was writing that wasn’t on his area of legal expertise. We have now become mates and meet every 4-6 weeks to play pool at a Club near Bank in the City of London. I call him my buddy in recovering from my suffering ethic. When we first started playing pool during the day, I felt so guilty! I have been so deeply programmed in believing that I need to suffer, and playing pool with Peter is a perpetual gauge of how well “my recovery” is going. I must say, my recovery is going well and I look forward to our games immensely. In 2012, I invited Peter to come and talk to the Inspired Entrepreneur community about how he has created successful businesses, but needs only to work a relatively small number of hours a week.
Barbara is the best-selling author of Making A Living Without A Job. I received an e-mail when she “stalked me” after reading my first book (her words!) She lived in Minneapolis at the time, and passing through Athens on the way to Skyros to teach I had dinner with her sister Nancy, who reported back to Barbara that I seemed OK! So Barbara came to London and we became mates and ended up running events together in London, Glasgow, Brighton, Colorado, Minneapolis, and several times in Las Vegas. Never as a kid did I believe that I would be able to say that, “I was live in Las Vegas,” but I was and enjoyed the sheer boldness and creativity of the city, although I am not a gambler or a drinker. Barbara and I had a lovely friendship and were work buddies until 2005.
I met Rick when he was leaving his teaching post at a university to do his own thing, and I supported him with coaching in 2002. It wasn’t apparent to me what “Rick’s thing” was, so in one session I said to him, “Do your thing with me.” Within minutes I got it – Rick had an absolute genius for teaching, and helping other people “unpack” what they know, so that they could package and teach it to others. We then became friends and collaborators and co-presenters, and he was a powerful and challenging mentor for me. He helped me become a good teacher of what I knew. Sadly, he died of cancer in 2008, and I still miss him greatly.
I had known of Judy Piatkus for years, because she founded one of the most successful independent publishers in the UK, Piatkus Books, and many of her authors spoke at Alternatives. I only met her one she sold her business, and we have now become friends, along with her husband Cyril. As well as speaking and advocating for women entrepreneurs, she is an angel investor and runs Conscious Café, a monthly gathering enabling conversation around some aspect of consciousness, sometimes run from her beautiful home in Hampstead.
I first met Mike briefly at my friend Howard’s 50th birthday party, introducing Mike as “A man who helps rich people give their money away,” Mike and I had a quick chat but didn’t really connect. A few years later Howard Carter invited Mike and his wife Shuna, and Helen and I to dinner with him at a Thai restaurant near Wormwood Scrubs in London. This time we hit it off, and I got that Mike is about inspiring a more generous world. He had set up the Whizz Kids Charity, which has raised nearly £70m, and has gone on to create the Rainmaker Foundation which is inspiring a more generous world by bringing good causes together with the people who want to support those good causes. I have become a Rainmaker myself.
I met Charlie when she attended a writing workshop I was co-running with Jackee Holder. At the time, she was working as a presenter on LBC 97.4 talk radio in London on a Sunday afternoon, and Jackee and I became regular guests and loved the experience. Charlie now works mainly enabling community groups to write poetry, as well as some radio presenting in the Midlands. We get together regularly for fascinating conversations about everything, including one of Charlie’s favourite subjects, food. I have her to thank for introducing me to Ottolenghi’s.
Sarah and I’s paths had been crossing for many years, and we really connected at the Aspire Conference for Women in Leadership in November 2011. She coaches inspiring speaking skills and is the author of How to be Brilliant at Public Speaking and she was coaching and supporting any of the 38 presenters at the conference who were feeling a little wobbly. After that I invited her to present to our Community twice and she has invited me to be a judge four times on her six month inspired Public Speaking programme.
I have known Ralph since 1996 as he and his wife Mil were best friends and neighbours to my partner Helen’s parent’s in Finchley, where we still live now. Ralph and I became even closer after my own dad died in 2005, and we share a silly sense of humour and I have done my best to be a good friend and neighbour to him since Mil died in 2012. Ralph loved jazz drumming and inspired me by playing drums at the celebration meal for his 88thbirthday in July 2013. We always laughed but sadly after increasingly ill health, he passed away on June 29th 2014, just a few days before I launched my new site. I was honoured to be with him and his daughters Carolyn and Hilary as he slipped away.
I first came across Malcolm through some men’s work when I was in my late 20’s and I attended a men’s workshop he was running at St James’s Church one Sunday evening around 27 years ago. We became mates and he told me about Turning Points, a mind body spirit lecture series that he had been co-running and that soon to be re-launched as Alternatives. I am grateful for meeting Malcolm, as his encouragement was crucial at a particular point in my life. We served on the board of Alternatives together for eleven years and I still see him at Judy Piatkus’s Conscious Café events.
I met Robert when I invited him to come and speak at Alternatives nearly twenty years ago, and we’ve been mates ever since. With Ben Renshaw and other friends, we went on a spiritual quest to India eighteen years ago, and Robert and I have also got to hang out together while we were working in Northern Ireland and Cape Town. Robert has been one of the most generous and encouraging presences in my life, always inviting me to his seminars, giving me gifts and especially kind and supportive when I have been ill recently. I treasure him.
I met Gina through Alternatives and then at Tony Robbins workshops in London and our friendship has lasted 20 years so far. I hosted Gina for a talk through our community, and we have spoken on the same stage several times. Gina is a fabulous advocate for the power of the feminine in business and leadership. She hosts wonderful evenings at her flat in the west end of London to share food, fabulous conversation and connect people.
I met Howard initially through Psychology of Vision workshops with Chuck Spezzano and we became friends. He used to run the magazine The Hill in London. When he left there, he came on one of my The Work We Were Born To Do seminars and came up with an idea for a business that is now Incognito – an additive free was of being invisible to mosquitos and other bugs. The business is now global and has just raised its first chunk of capital to fund further expansion. Helen and I enjoy hanging out with him and his lovely Irish wife Trish, and their beautiful daughter Jasmine
Lora is the author of The Logo Decoded and I met her through Judy Piatkus’ Conscious Café events and we’ve become friends, and she loves helping people create logos for their businesses that are infused with the spirit and intention of the soul of the business. She designed my logo for me. She is friends with Anita who is a very accomplished photographer and took the photos for this site. Anita is passionate about celebrating the accomplishments of women and has created a project called First Women and she is photographing 100 women who are the first to have achieved something in their particular area.
I had a phone call from someone in Holland in saying that an MBA professor had recommended that he read The Work We Were Born To Do. I asked the professor’s name, Googled him and made contact. His name was Kurt April and he confirmed that he did recommend his students to read The Work We Were Born To Do as part of his leadership elective on the MBA programme at the University of Cape Town. I was blown away. He then invited me to Cape Town to speak on this programme several times and I also hang out with him and his wife Mandy and son Jordan at their beautiful home in Constantia.
I first came across the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University around twenty years ago, but I don’t remember precisely when I met John. About five years ago he taught me the BK meditation and philosophy. I wasn’t a good student, because there are some things about their philosophy that I actively disagreed with, but I liked John. We have become friends, and he has invited me to both present at and attend BK events and I always enjoy my time with them, the atmosphere they create and the great food they serve. I keep nagging him to write his first book.
Michael is from Dublin and I met him in Skyros around 1998, whilst I was teaching there. He had trained to become a priest, but didn’t take his vows, and was working as a Catholic youth worker. After Skyros he made a big decision and left his job to set up as a freelancer and has gone on to get an MA and write his first book. He bought me to Dublin to launch my first book and has been a very loyal friend and supporter of me and my work. I haven’t been to Dublin for two years now, but we still see each other when he comes to London and stay in touch on Skype.
Julia and I have never worked together, but she has had a great impact on me. I loved The Artists Way when I read it about fourteen years ago on a sun-lounger in Lanzarote, but only got to meet her when she was running an event through Alternatives in February 2011. I loved her teaching style and was thrilled when she agreed to do a short interview with me during a lunch break and I felt a bit awe struck. I met her again in October 2012 when I attended another of her workshops in London, and we had another conversation, but I was more grounded this time. I am so grateful for Julia’s presence in the world, and was thrilled to meet her personally
Julia was the MD and commissioning editor for Element Books and in 1998, commissioned me to write my first book The Work We Were Born To Do. I have her to thank for me actually becoming a published author. Sadly, Element went into liquidation in 2000, and I was gutted as I thought my career as an author had come to an abrupt end. But Julia handled a very difficult situation with great integrity and we have gone on to become friends, we served on the board of Alternatives together for several years, and have presented a number of seminars and online programmes together.
Although I haven’t yet worked with Marianne, I did host her for two talks when I was co-running Alternatives. She has been a huge influence on my life and work. Like millions, her book A Return to Love was life changing for me, and made A Course in Miracles understandable and palatable for me. I caught up with her again in London in June 2013 when she was speaking in London and Robert Holden hosted a small gathering for her.
I have known Jeff and Sue for about twenty years as they are trainers with Chuck and Lency Spezzano. We have become friends and we love their annual party and barbeque at their home in Spirthill, just outside Calne in Wiltshire. I have attended many of their workshops and I organised an event for them to launch their first book How Love Works in May 2012. Jeff particularly has been an incredible source of support for me at several very difficult periods of my life.
Jackee and I served as trustees on the Board of Alternatives and have run talks, workshops and a retreat together on creative writing. We have also presented with and for the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. We also used to appear regularly together on Charlie Jordan’s Sunday Supplement show on LBC 97.4.
I first got to know Corrina when I was running Alternatives, and I have spoken to Corrina’s community and she has presented to our community. I love her enthusiasm and having been a teacher in her previous life, she is brilliant at engaging audiences and getting big ideas across. She is passionate about supporting people to be successful and inspired entrepreneurs and loves supporting people at the beginning of their journey.
Matt, Martin & Adam
I am blessed to have had Adam Stern, Martin Wenner and Matt Ingrams as part of my life for over twenty years now. We were all part of a bigger men’s group that grew out of work with Iron John author Robert Bly in the 1990’s. The group gradually shrank and for over ten years ago it has been the four of us. We don’t get to meet so often now as Martin lives in Manchester and Matt in Brighton, but we get together at Adams flat in Highbury when we can. Martin is currently starring in the travelling production of war Horse, so we met in Manchester last December when he was playing at the Lowry in Salford. We have been friends through so much: births, deaths, marriages, grief, celebrations, laughter and joy. I have a precious bond with these men and treasure them.
Duncan got in touch with me in early 2011 inviting me to meet with Art Giser that he and his business partner Jemma were sponsoring in the UK. I must admit to not being that keen to start with, but when I met the three of them at lunch in the middle of one of Arts workshops, we got on like a house on fire. Duncan and I have now become friends and we meet when we can, as Duncan lives in Spain now. We love talking about consciousness, our own growth journeys, and eating good food.
Beverley came to a number of my events and joined the Inspired Entrepreneur community as soon as we launched the community level in March 2012. A journalist for almost 35 years, she is credited by Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet as the inventor of the term New Romantics. At an event in 2012, I said to Beverley, “You’re a story archaeologist! You help people discover their hidden story.” And that is exactly what Beverley loves doing – helping people find and own the “gold” in their own heroic journey to become fully themselves. She has helped me dig deep and discover the gold in my own story, and I am helping her design her signature material, and then create her business around doing it. Beverley co-presented on my first Miracle Brands weekend workshop in April 2013 and since then we have co-facilitated two one-day “story mining” masterclasses. We have also both been judges at the Gala Finale of Sarah Lloyd-Hughes’s six-month Inspiring Speakers programme.
A Course in Miracles
It might seem strange to see a book as a friend and collaborator, but it has been both to me. The Course is Love coaching us to remember we are love. Sourced from Christ consciousness, the man we would know as the historical Jesus, and he is speaking to us from the place of Love to us who can often feel so deeply lost within this world of fear and guilt. Each time I read it, I feel I being coached to awaken to my true nature. I was an avid seeker of truth for many years and explored many paths, and when I discovered The Course in 1994, despite my initial resistance to it, I knew I had found my true path. I have no doubt that I will be studying and teaching The Course for the rest of my life.
I can’t remember where I first met Steven, probably through Alternatives. He worked in a number of corporate jobs before leaving to follow his own passion of inspiring more authentic leadership. He has participated in many of my programmes, has invited me to present to the companies he worked for, and I invited him to present to our community when his second book Brilliant Networking was published. We often meet for coffee and to put the world to rights. This photo was at the recent launch of his third book Not Knowing.
Like many people who become friends, I started off coaching Leda as she moved out of PR and into her own business supporting first time authors and writing her own book. I now call Leda my developmental editor – when I have an idea for a new book or project, I get Leda to feed back to me what she thinks is the essence of what I am trying to say and do and I find her support incredibly valuable. We all need someone to do for us what we do for others, and Leda does for me what I do for many others.
Kate is South African and we met during one of my eight trips to SA. I now call her my soul sister. We have become mates and I have stayed with her once when she was living in Cape Town and once when she was living in Johannesburg. I encouraged her to write her first book, called Clear Your Clutter, which came out in April 2013, and I wrote the forward for her. She also has an amazing cat called Stripey who seems to me to an enlightened soul in a cat’s body! I hosted her for a community event when she was visiting the UK in London in January 2014.
Jemma co-owns and runs Solar Events who promote my friend and collaborator Art Giser along with other healers and thought leaders. We have worked together on a number of events with Art and she has now moved near to me in North London so we get to hang out support each other.
I wish I could say he was a collaborator, but he is certainly my latest inspiration. I was honoured to meet him at a Rainmaker Foundation event on January 31st 2014. I obviously knew of him but didn’t know just how funny he was, and he could easily have a career as a stand-up comic. I was so inspired by how he has personally experienced and witnessed in the world so much prejudice, hatred and evil and still come out teaching about the goodness of human beings. I know that is because he both practices and teaches forgiveness.