I’ve been speaking to Germans

On the 1st July I took the first available ferry to Europe at 2.00am.  That evening I was in Koldenkirchen on the far side of Hamburg having a hamburger – well it was actually something else I couldn’t pronounce – at a small-town wine festival, and as I don’t speak German and was the only Englishman for miles I could sit alone or chat to people.  I decided on the latter, and inevitably Brexit came up.

I was so touched by the genuine conversations I had.

The world is full of lovely people. These talked about how important the UK has been in balancing the overwhelming power of Germany.  They were quick to say how determined they are to keep the UK as ‘friends’, and a group of young people (ie, under 30) said they were shocked that only 30% of young people in the UK voted in the referendum.  Needless to say, they were disappointed that we had made an ‘out’ decision as a nation.

One, a newspaper photographer, voiced how he had spent a year in London and loved the free, globally multicultural atmosphere, commenting that he knew of no city in Germany that was like that. “Paris, maybe?” he said.

Another talked of the need for the EU to change, to be more flexible, though neither of us had the faith to believe that would happen. Another comment was that they were not surprised, as we had never given the Project our all, and were geographically an island off the coast. “You are a smaller island now.”  We’ll need to wait and see about that, to see what ‘size’ island we intend to be and what we can and will achieve.

From my little bit of subjective research then, the voice of the German ‘proletariat’, the working people, is of sadness, of being left. All said how this was about governments, and not about the everyday relationships we have as people together, and how important it is that we continue to grow those relationships. Me too – and I’m keen to be an ambassador for ‘communities loving communities’, without all the political machinations getting in the way.


I’ve got five more European countries to visit on this trip in the next two or three weeks as I head first to the Swedish Arctic Circle then into Estonia, etc. (The plan is to circumnavigate the Baltic Sea including the Gulf of Bothnia, though I’m missing out Russia) I’ll not ask everyone I meet about Britain and the EU, but if the subject comes up, maybe I’ll let you know.  Right now I’m in a beautiful Spanish restaurant in Frederikshavn on the north east of Denmark – deserted on Saturday afternoons – ready for a crossing to Gothenburg at 3.00am, just finishing the first Fischsuppe (guess) of many on this adventure.

(Want an adventure and think it’s out of reach?  http://powerchange.com/adventure/)

Courage Always Triumphs.

David Cameron reads the Gospel at the Queen’s 90th Birthday Thanksgiving Service.

So here we are in a post-referendum world. Of the 7000 million people on the planet, just a comparative handful of ‘little people’ on a little island off the coast of Europe have spoken with their hearts, and made a difference. Little people, each with just one vote. It’s called democracy.  Their courage changed the course of history. Things will never be the same again.

Courage always triumphs.

People who choose a life filled with courage will always win in the end. Over these last weeks, onslaught after onslaught of terrifying predictions were thrown at these courageous ones, and they STILL voted “No” to fear. The direst consequences, financial ruin, the inability to feed your kids, poverty in old age, the elites of pretty much anywhere did their very best to intimidate, rubbish, persuade and bully, but in those few quiet safe and sacred moments in the sanctity of a polling booth in our little Sussex village I ticked the Leave box, joined my heart with the risk-takers, and voted for a better – and quite possibly a more prosperous world.

Of course, we’ll never know what might have been, because no one can predict the future. Every decision you and I make is irreversible, so alternatives at that time and place no longer exist. There is only one life, and we are all living it.

Big Mistake. Huge.
Julia Roberts' famous Big Mistake Moment in the classic film "Pretty Woman"
Julia Roberts’ famous Big Mistake Moment in the classic film “Pretty Woman”

Just two weeks before the Brexit vote David Cameron publicly read these words of Jesus to a fearful world. “If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after.”  He listened to another David, David Attenborough, read the words of poet Minnie Louise Haskins reminding him that going out into the darkness with his hand in God’s hand is “better than a light and safer than a known way.” In the vote of his and our lifetime, he chose away from a life of faith to lead us with a message of fear.  As Julia Roberts famously said in Pretty Woman when she had been treated as ‘trash off the street’ by an elite clothing store, “Big mistake. Huge.”

It cost David Cameron his career, and us a very good Prime Minister.  Let’s not make the same mistake ourselves.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

Minnie Louise Haskins


Another reason for voting Leave: Big isn’t Better.



In today’s world it is not size but flexibility that matters.

Big does not equal better. The greatest success stories in the animal kingdom are not huge elephants and rhinos, but ants. Billions and billions of them, in multiple self-sustaining colonies, underground, chattering away, getting on with the work of looking after each other and forming what is now believed to be a global network.

Today’s most successful wars are not won with nuclear bombs.  They are won with IEDs, Kalashnikovs, an empowering vision, and inspiring words. Small things. Lots and lots of them.

Big things are vulnerable and are easily crippled. “A bee can bite the bottom of the Pope in Rome” (Les Miserables”).  An easy target. Billions of small things are difficult to get rid of, as anyone who has had an infection knows only too well.

So how does this reflect on the Brexit campaign? 

The EU is focused on more and more centralisation and regulation, with fewer and fewer people making the crucial decisions. Common this, and common that. Fewer decision-makers mean slower decisions – and less time to make them so the quality becomes compromised. In today’s world that is bad news. The problem is not size in itself.  It is speed. Big things take a long time to get going, buy-in from all the parties takes close to eternity, and once they are on the move they are very difficult to stop – or even redirect.  And almost impossible to reverse.  Eventually they stop.  (See image above.)

In this world of exploding chaos and complexity, where centralised decision-making cripples progress, the world’s key decision-makers are those at the edge, ‘little people’ facing the immediate local situation who can switch twice in a day, adjusting to what they find.  And the best leaders are those who understand that principle, training those people, educating them, inspiring them … and then giving leadership-power away to them, empowering them to decide ‘there and then’ at the point of need, equipped with the knowledge they need. It is immediate connectivity and flexibility that are key in this context. The delivery driver on his mobile phone in his little white van phoning the customer, the school teacher in the classroom dealing immediately with the behaviour of a student, the bobby on the beat sorting an argument, the child deciding on what to have for breakfast.


Think ant not articulated truck. When faced with a challenge, ants get into a little community group and sort out the problem, attacking, defending, and even dying when necessary. (They are typically called ‘worker’ ants.  I like that!) When the problem is solved, they go back to their work until needed again.  They will go to incredible lengths to support each other, sacrifice, and work.  The one in this pic is carrying a seed many times its weight and size.

And it all happens in seconds and minutes, not months and years. Quick, efficient, local decision-making by those affected by the decision sorting the problem out together. Collaboratively.  Without a formal structure.

So the predictions for the EU are speculated upon for the next 15 years. “It will be like this in 2030.”  One thing is sure.  Every prediction will be wrong, whoever makes it. Remember 15 years ago? It was the everyday people, filled with vision and purpose, who decided that for them there was no box to think out of. Like the bumble bee that is technically unable to fly because of it’s weight and wing area, they just get on and do it.

When I see the EU voting for the development of smaller government, disbanding important parts of itself (especially those that currently meddle uninvited in the detail of human community), distributing decision-making power to the edge, promoting freedom, encouraging diversity and speed by building connectivity (roads, airports, internet access), maybe it will get my vote.

I’m not holding my breath.  Today it seems to me to be more of a big overloaded truck stuck in a narrow lane, shouting at us about how we cannot do without it because it’s going places, yet blocking the way for the farmer, mother and deliveryman queued up behind, trying to get on with real life.

Meanwhile the flexible little ants quietly march past, over, under and round it, vote it off the job and get on with the work of living.

Those who want the EU are welcome to it. I’m voting ‘ant’.


I’m voting LEAVE. Here’s my reason in ONE WORD.



The upcoming referendum on the EU is, I believe, the single most important political decision any of us is likely to make in our lifetime. I’m voting ‘Leave’. Here’s my reasoning in ONE word. Accountability.

Accountability keeps us behaving responsibly.

As individuals we are responsible for how we treat each other, responsible for our possessions, and responsible for what we do with what we have. We are responsible for what we ask of others, how our decisions affect them and how we adjust to the effect we have on other’s lives – our response-ABILITY. Responsibility and accountability are linked. We are responsible FOR things and people, and accountable TO those people, obliged to maintain a free flow of transparent communication so that we prove ourselves worthy of trust.

In Britain we have decided that those who are responsible for the direction and management of our country are ultimately accountable to us, the people they lead, whose lives their decisions affect.  Responsible for. Accountable to.

The reason I’m voting Leave is because such accountability is missing in the EU. We have no idea who makes the decisions that affect us. We do not know the person responsible for each of the myriad of choices imposed on the millions of people who must do as they are told. There is no cabinet minister’s name attached to an ‘EU Directive’. Parliament cannot overthrow it. As a result of that ongoing and unstoppable anonymity, power becomes absolute and absolute power corrupts absolutely, regardless of the intentions of those who wield it.

The counterbalance to the abuse of power is democracy, described by Churchill as “the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.” Or as it has been succinctly put, ‘the least worst form of government.’

Every few years in Britain the people have an opportunity to kick out those in power if they don’t lead well, or spend our taxes carelessly, and this makes they much more attentive to the people they, at least in theory, are committed to serve. We wisely wield that power every five years in Britain – about the right time-frame in my view.  But no one can kick out those who wield the power in the EU, so its bureaucrats can – and do – decide as they like.

Worse than that in some ways is that the inertia of this unwieldy autocracy is so great that the EU has proven to be UNABLE to reverse, even though catastrophe lies in such a path. It has become unABLE to respond. It has lost response-ABILITY.

We paid a high price for democracy – many many lives. Let’s not give it away in a single day of apathy.



This issue of power is way more important than any financial implication (or even issues like immigration). Prosperity comes and goes and we’ll love to exercise our creative skills in developing our markets with the rest of the world.  We are certainly mature enough, creative enough and courageous enough as a nation and economy to do so. But democracy, once it has been surrendered, cries out for blood in order to be restored. Germany, Spain, Italy, and indeed ourselves, could well do with remembering the lessons of history.  So let’s not, due to negligence, weakness or ignorance, drift into blind obedience to the relentless autocracy the EU has determined to exercise since its inception.

By the way, I love being with people from other nations. I’ve visited every country in Western Europe (except Iceland and Macedonia).  And I’ve visited many other countries too – from China to Canada. Human beings are amazing.  I’m always impressed. But I’ve also noticed that where accountability and transparency flourish, corruption is minimal. Where it is diminished, abuse of the people, people like you and me, sooner or later becomes normal. Dark deeds are done in secret.

One final thought.
Reformation. Membership of a ‘reformed’ Europe (whatever that might mean) is an option, but to be committed to a vague undefined so-called reformation without knowing what it will be, and knowing that the very people choosing the reforms are the same autocrats committed to the original governmental system – well, that would be foolishness indeed, wouldn’t it?

I personally think that the removal of the U.K. from the EU could be a catalyst for reform. Brexit will be a major upheaval for Europe, perhaps even big enough to force such reformation, so us voting ‘leave’ will serve the EU well, as a child running away from home usually causes the child’s family to ask deep searching essential questions of themselves, their relationships and parenting. What freedom is that person seeking that they could not get here? “How is it that such freedom is SO important that they have left the apparent security of this ‘home’ to seek it?”  Although of course Britain isn’t a child. It is a mature thoughtful adult choosing to leave a business club that is no longer serving its members well.

The British people have given Europe’s leaders a chance to change. They haven’t. They don’t care about the members’ concerns, the sincere concerns of those they rule. Instead some have even threatened us with retaliation and financial ‘punishment’ for making a free legal choice. Some friends!  Do we want to be forced to live the rest of our lives with them, ‘return’ to their walled fold? Not exactly enticing, is it. Bullying tactics are in the DNA of the over-powerful. Do I want to continue living within the doors of such a ‘home’? Certainly not. A bully living next door is one thing. Living with them is something else – as millions of people know only too well.

Time for Britain to grow up, believe in itself again, move out, seek our fortune in a less confining environment and move on. These EU walls that are hailed as protecting us have become our prison. We don’t need them thanks. This is our chance to walk out from that prison. Our world is a big place to explore, to play and work in. I believe we are courageous enough to say goodbye to our fears, stand up tall as a nation again, trade with confidence … and show the world how good it is to live with an accountable government and a free press in a democratic society.

That’s the reason I’ll be voting ‘Leave’.

Willing Surrender, Part 1.

What it isn’t, and what it may be for you.

Surrender? For some it is a dirty word, implying weakness, fear, or lack of endurance. However, depending on the context, willing surrender has huge power. I’d like to re-write the word ‘Surrender’ for you. I believe it will profoundly transform your life.

handing over a key

Surrender is not capitulation to fate, chance or luck, but a willing handing over of something to another. For some, that is about re-trusting their inner selves, about allowing that deep sense of intuition, that gut feeling, space to respond. It is a million miles away from throwing your hands in the air and giving up. For others, it is releasing (or re-releasing) your life or a situation to a higher power – God, perhaps.

Surrender isn’t evidence of a lack of resilience but rather the opposite. This sort of surrender is evidence of courage. Deliberately opening your clenched fist and letting go of the rope isn’t anything like the same as giving up. In the process you overcome fear of NOT letting go. The first is characterised by willingly accepting the consequences of making a courageous decision (to deliberately decide not to interfere with the ‘natural’ process of events takes a lot of courage and self control). It is characterised by a ‘faith choice’ that, as you let this dream die, another dream or pathway – a richer fuller better one will be revealed.

One key reason for the absence of depth in the life of many human beings is the absence of surrender. Depth often comes from slowing ‘forward’ progress, so that our energies are refocused in a different direction: Downward.

Like a pebble flung across the surface of the water we can keep afloat by spinning round and round and going ‘fast forward’, skating over the water. Hydroplaning. However this is not the way to discovering depth. Depth is revealed when we stop.

ducks and drakes spinning a pebble

Some of us are terrified at the thought of stopping. We fear we will discover our own shallowness when we commit to testing for depth, that, all too soon, ‘going deeper’ will end in us discovering what we are not. We also suspect that we will find a significant amount of mud, unwanted rubbish (plus a shipwreck or two) below the surface. We become concerned that we will be embarrassed by the rubbish as it is seen for what it is. That may well be true. We may well be. But until we are serious about facing the less obvious realities we will continue to forfeit the sheer joy and relief of deep, secure, and comparatively unassailable lives.

Ready to willingly surrender? Maybe we’ll come back to this in another blog and ask what, how, and to whom. In the meantime, you could record a little of what you know about willing surrender in the comment box below.

Posh or Poor? Reactions please!


I’m writing this in the humble little’ Cafe Roma’, opposite the grand main entrance to The Royal Marsden Hospital in South Kensington, London. (I’m looking after my sister who is recovering across the road from a nasty cancer operation.) ‘South Ken’ one of the poshest areas of London. Two weeks ago I was riding my motorbike in the Balkans, one of the poorest areas of Europe. It’s been a bit of a culture shock.

In Bosnia my three course dinner, coffee, two carafes of wine, ensuite double room, secure parking and breakfast cost £20. Here a carafe of wine will cost that – forget the dinner, the bed and the breakfast. Secure parking? You wish.

In the Balkans I needed a new tyre for my well-worn motorbike. “Follow me!” the man said, and generously led me 30 miles to a different country – literally! – to get me to the right supplier, and gave me an engraved lighter as a goodbye present. That won’t happen here in ‘South Ken’. (Old motorbike? This is stunning sports car and black limo country. Blacked out, exclusive, custom-built £200,000 limos, Range Rovers and Ferraris abound. The main Lamborghini dealership is just up the road.)

In Albania ‘poor’ is normal, yet people don’t think of themselves as poor. Just normal. I did see one reference to the poor in South Kensington: “Don’t give them money” the poster warned, “they will use it to kill themselves with drugs and alcohol.” So giving becomes murder. Hmmm.

Clothes? Every possible fashion house is here, from Stella McCartney and Prada to Versace and YSL, with a pair of jeans costing … 550. Pounds, that is. (850€). In Montenegro it is likely to be 550 too. £5.50. 100 times less.

My new friend in Serbia earns in a day about the same as the basic wage in the UK for an hour, yet he STILL gave me a gift to take back to Britain worth a day’s wages for him.

I saw a three bedroom apartment advertised for rental today. £2,800 (4,000€) a week. A WEEK! A year’s wages just 1500 kilometres south of here.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta said “The more you have, the less you can give.”  (Jesus Christ pointed out a little lady who gave a tiny coin. “It is all she has,” he said. When it comes to generosity, it’s what you have left after you’ve given that seems to be the measure.)

How comfortable in your skin are you? What does rich mean? Are you rich?

Brighter … greener … bluer… ??

Ready for take off. There are 12 people in that basket!

Jenny (not her real name) came out of her second session recently describing what she felt like as she came out of her first. “It was as if the whole world was brighter. The colours were brighter, the greens greener, the sky bluer.”   That’s a key motivator in my coaching. I can turn the light on for my clients – and giving others a brighter future is a JOY. 

This week I’ve had several life-brightening comments like that – two from people who I coached over fifteen years ago. Fifteen years!  And they BOTH called this week, with real, deep, kind, oh-so-rewarding things to say. Completely out of the blue.

I stopped to think of how much they would have missed if they had not connected up.  They both have children in their teens and twenties now, whose lives also are brighter (greener, bluer?) because these two men – their dads – chose to take action on the tough challenges they were facing.

Although it is impossible to guarantee results from coaching (no coach can do that) the long-term effect can be massive. The whole world can come alive in a way you have not noticed before. It is like hitting the Enhance button on your photo app, only to realise what you now see is how life actually is, the real deal, not an ‘enhanced’ version at all. It is just that yesterday was duller, a faded (tarnished, darker) version of how life is, and you hadn’t noticed.

Or perhaps you have.  You’ve known a time when you were happier than you are now.  You suspect there are dark shadows in your life that you want to get rid of.

And if I’ve coached you in the past, and you’ve not been in touch for a while, I’d love to know what happened and what you’re doing now.  Sharing your joys with others multiplies them.

Either way, call me on my mobile 07771631945 (or email me a few lines at andrew@powerchange.com) and multiply the benefit for both our lives.  I’m itching to hear what happened to you.

Davey’s Redemption

Davey was frightened. He had made all sorts of mistakes in life, and now it had come to this, he thought to himself as he gazed fixedly into the putrid black water.

IMGA0060Thinking all the usual thoughts  that people think in Davey’s position – he was practiced at them by now – he contemplated the ordinary bleakness of the future and what he might do next. After all the comings and goings of the last few months, he was low. Very low.

One thing was for sure, he had no more ideas.  His energies for life were all used up on the efforts he had made throughout his life’s journey and, here, in this decade of his life, he had finally come to a standstill. He had run out. In more ways than one. 

The black water looked menacing and cold. It flowed slowly and silently round and round, yet if he stopped to listen he could hear it’s siren song calling him towards its clammy waters. It was all he could do to resist the water’s damning message.

Yet the stranger had definitely said that it was possible for good things to come out of bad, or even to actively turn bad things into good. “There is always a way” he had said, if you are patient and reach for it.

In despair and the deepest disappoint in himself he had ever known, Davey had finally given up the fight, declaring himself hopeless and the stranger’s words deceptive rubbish. The guy clearly had no idea of how bad bad can be. Bad things into good things? That could only be a platitude. There was no way forward from here. Yet the stranger had said that one day he would find out for himself.

Davey reviewed his life for a few moments.  Had he not become a respected scientist? Was he not indeed a competent entrepreneur? So how had it come to this? He had the finest of university educations and been taught by world class professors. He had a caring family, who even now we’re grieving for him in his sadness.

He felt overwhelmed by self pity. As he stared into the black sludgy polluted water he felt hopeless seep through his clothes and into his heart. Good out of bad?  This bad?  It was all a meaningless cruel joke, and now he would indeed take the next step that would… that would … that … would…

He stopped. A flash of moonlight on something in the water caught his attention. Swirling innocently in the incessant gurgling flow was a little glass bottle complete with its stopper.

In some strange way, it floated clean and sparkling on the surface of the blackness.  He felt it was waiting for him, a last chance perhaps, and he knew without doubt he must have it.

It was a long way down to the waters edge, but something in Davey’s heart came alive sufficiently to prompt him to action.  Stepping back for a moment from his precarious position (and his self pity) he climbed down to the bank of the putrid pool and reached out. He would need to reach out much further than what was safe for him to rescue the bottle (and maybe himself) from the fate that called them both, but driven by his sudden inexplicable change of mood, he was determined. That little fragile bottle might change his life he thought irrationally. Perhaps it already had. He must have it at all costs.

He reached out, accepting the risks of his new passion, no longer afraid, no longer obsessing about his failings and fortunes, risking being carried away, or sucked into the sludge.

No, it was beyond him. It was out of reach, but for the first time in his life he threw aside his inhibitions and looked around for help.

That was when he saw the stranger just a few yards away who had been quietly watching his efforts all the while, and seemed to read his mind. Unselfconsciously he asked, “Can you help me please? I need that bottle.” The stranger stepped forward and anchoring himself into the bank, grasped Davey’s outstretched hand. 

Trusting his weight to this Kind Stranger made the difference.  Davey felt the bottle at his finger tips, and with one last stretch, grasped it firmly in his hand. It was his. Looking up he saw, in the moonlight, a glimpse of a smile on the stranger’s shadowed face.

Davey sat for several minutes, still and quiet at the water’s edge, reliving the last few minutes of what had seemed an impossibly challenging day (and the last few years of what felt like an impossibly challenging life.)  He took a deep breath, and as he exhaled said to himself, “This moment is a turning point for me.  I know it. Life will never be the same again.”

For the first time, in a single moment he had reached out for help, and it was as if all the struggles to achieve, all his efforts to be accepted and loved, all the disappointment and inadequacy no longer mattered.

The magic words had been “help me” and he knew it. He had never asked so blatantly for help before. He had always tried to make it on his own, brought up with the expectation that he should be independent, self sufficient, stand on his own two feet and manage his own affairs.

The very walls he had built to keep himself safe had imprisoned him.  He felt a deep sense of love filtering its way into the rocky caverns of his heart; a strange lightness beaming it’s mellow rays into its grey shadows.

And the little glass bottle was here in his hand, rescued from the very waters that he, just a few minutes before … He preferred not to think about that.

It was many years later he told me this story. He was now a wealthy man, with a loving family around him. Things had turned out well.  Reaching into his coat, he drew out the little glass bottle, complete with its stopper…

…and a crumpled, stained, scrap of paper.

“This is what was in the bottle” he said, passing it to me. “I just accepted what it says, and that has made all the difference”.

I smoothed out the paper and felt my own heart leap. There on the paper were the very words I had so longed to hear as a child – and actually through all these demanding and challenging years of life.  As I read them over and over, I could feel them washing me too, cleansing and healing me to the very core.

And I accepted them.

And that has made all the difference.

“I AM HERE” What on earth …

The latest Sercombe motorbike adventure was to the Outer Hebrides.  Just me, my big BMW R1200GS and my red tent.  In case you’ve never been there – and few people round West Sussex have as it’s 730 miles away –  this string of islands is off the northwest coast of Scotland, windy, rainy and cold.

And in the middle of a mile-long deserted pristine beach I saw this:

Version 2

No footprints anywhere near, except mine, and by the time I left my idyllic wild campsite overlooking the sea, the engraving was no more – washed away by the waves.

Of course it was me. In a moment of spontaneous inspiration I carved “I AM HERE” with my foot in the sand – and the thought dominated my week, as I contemplated my life, my business, God, the universe, and my future. Today I’ve been thinking about it again as I camped out last night in the wilds of the South Downs catching up with some reading.  A bit existentialist I know, but the truth is, I am here, and I will be ‘here’ for a while yet.  Wherever I am, I AM.  It’s the inescapable truth, and on the basis that the truth frees us, I’m enjoying the freedom.

Yep, I’m here, and it is up to me to make of it what I will.

I’m not on that beach any more. I am here instead, writing this blog.  I moved on, came back to Sussex, and I’m two weeks older, and although I have a camera full of Hebridean photos – Butt of Lewis lighthouse, the rocky hillsides of Harris, Benbecula, Eriskay, and a welcoming pink roofed cafe in Lochmaddy – I can never, ever, recapture that moment on the beach.

In times of quiet solitude I become particularly aware of the presence of God ‘here’, where I am, with me.  It is as if He has said, not written in sand but whispered as a permanent statement deep within, “Andrew, I am here” – wherever I am, always. Regardless of the ups and downs of my life, I’m never actually alone. The Divine Presence, the Creator, present in the world He created.  With me. Here. Now. For ever.

And today that is sufficient for me.  In fact overwhelmingly more so.  Far more important than success, or money. God is here.

And He is where you are too – such is the omnipresent nature of the Holy Spirit.  Unhampered by the limitations of time and space, God is with you as you read this on your screen – closer, actually.

3000 years ago a gifted young shepherd on the run from his tormentors wrote about it. Stunningly poetic, he wrapped it up in a way I’ll never be able to.  I’ve put a few key bits of his poem for you to read quietly before you move on into the rest of your week. Take a few moments – ten minutes? – to stop and reconnect. And whilst you’ll already know that I am here for you today (yes, me, Andrew. Just a phone or Skype call or email away), far more importantly, He is too.


E:  andrew@powerchange.com   M: 07771631945  Skype: andrewsercombe  Website: www.powerchange.com

Three Courages of a Leader

You’re a leader – every single person in the world has leadership responsibility. Not least, it is up to you to decide how you’re going to live.  And lead.

Courage Card

From earliest childhood we are taught the imperative of self control, the need to have boundaries and live within them. And we also learn that others want power over us, and will do all sorts of things to get it. 

In civil societies we are not so free to do just what we like. We are taught that conforming is the way. We find the desires, boundaries and expectations of others impacting on our own and are expected to make room for them.

We learn about influence and competition, and eventually discover that others want to take control of us – teachers, neighbours, managers, doctors, advertisers, journalists, police, politicians, and all manner of other people. Some have the intention of helping us, others have the intention, not of helping us but of helping themselves to us — to our potential, our time, our love, our money — intent on the control of our resources and the leadership of our life. We lose, they win.  That’s if we let them.


1. Their number one weapon is often fear – what will happen if we don’t surrender our power to them.  They play on our deeply rooted need to be loved and accepted, on our desire to minimise the discomforts of normal life as well as the sometimes excruciating emotional or physical pain that may be just round the corner.  They will even play on the desire to stay alive (and free from coercion) for a full span of life.  They demand submission, or maybe a cross in their box on a ballot paper, or else… They will do whatever they can, say whatever they want,  to MAKE us play life their way.

Just for the record, stress due to coercion – being made to do something you don’t want to do – is the third greatest cause of Chronic Heart Disease (heart attack) in the UK.  Interesting, isn’t it?

Unsatisfied desire.

2. And the number two weapon? Desire, greed even. Your longing for more – bigger, faster, posher, more noticeable, more successful, a millimetre closer to perfection. More power – often a desperate attempt to close the gap on your perceived inadequacies and weaknesses. Or someone else’s.

So what do I need in order to stand strong, to ensure that my life remains in my control? How do I remain the captain of my ship on the sea of life, of my community, of my business, yet still stay connected to those with whom I need to collaborate in order to live with a minimum of discomfort and a maximum of contentment, but may not be as trustworthy as I’d like? Pirates, even.

Just one deep thing – Courage.

Courage to Stand.

What DO I stand for? What brings me to my feet? (Or, like Rosa Parks in 1955, would keep my sitting down on an Alabama bus when those around me conform and stand up?) What would you die for – bearing in mind that in many situations across the world, standing DOES mean dying. In Rosa Parks’ case, staying seated led to prison – before becoming a heroine of the anti segregation movement.  What do YOU stand for?

Courage to Lead.

… to be a leader.  The truth is, you lead people every day.  People are watching you.  You are influencing others in what you say, how you act, what you wear, the attitudes you take. Me too.  

And who? Well, if you want to know how much of a leader you are, look around, check who’s following. Who is in your ‘world’ right now? This isn’t some statistical statement about social media although it may include them – most of those people don’t care that much about you.  But who do you meet every day,  people who are watching your life and deciding they like what they see (or not) and want to imitate it – have some of it even – be like you?   Friends, clients, family, managers, the woman at Sainsburys, the other drivers on the road. 

And where will you lead them TO? On a trip to social conformity? A wild adventure holiday?  Here’s something much more worthwhile and long-lasting:

Show them courage –  the courage to change. Maybe an attitude, or a life-path. Courage to do right.  To stand out. to be different. Ask yourself what attitudes you model for others to see, what life-path you are on. Are those congruent with the deepest roots of your life? What do you REALLY believe is a key, worthwhile horizon to head towards, worth sacrificing to reach? Would you be proud for others to follow you there?  A bigger house?  More money? Probably not. 

Courage to Let go.

Time and again this is the Big One. You may not even be aware of those incredibly strong ‘invisible’ spider’s webs that anchor you to the past, those bungee elastics that tug you back to the status-quo whenever you seek to pull away. They are little undermining beliefs – things you think about the world, about how you’ve supposed the world is all these years, that you’ve ‘proved’ to yourself are true, but actually are not. Those determined little beliefs that keep you anchored to your safe and comfy status quo – even when you secretly want to be somewhere (or someone) else entirely.  Ready to let them go?  Now?

Leadership is ultimately about courage. The courage to walk past your fears into an unknown future – and because it’s unknown there is no guarantee that it will necessarily be better – but a future you have the faith to choose.

The courage to reject rejection and accept acceptance. Or maybe accept rejection and reject acceptance?

The courage to say No, when everyone is pressing you to say Yes, because NO is the Right thing to say right now. To vote differently.

And who will come with you?  I don’t know.  Nor do you.  But you’ll be surprised.

Some will come because you love them.  Others because they love you.  Some will come because they admire you, or you persuaded them. Or none of those reasons. Just make sure they are following for good reasons.  

I love honest humble leaders. True leaders are brave inspiring people. They say the unsayable, live the unliveable and think the unthinkable. They swim across the stream of public opinion. Often inconspicuous, they act on their convictions. I’ve met many as I have been working in leader development over the last 40 years. The best sort are those who are more concerned about influence for good than personal fame or prominence.  They are ‘servant leaders’ who know how to love people, honour those around them, have others stand on their shoulders and reach higher than they themselves will ever be able to reach. Humble caring determined men and women who have chosen to live their lives with courage, and have had the faith to step forward. Men and women of whom the world is not worthy.

My invitation to you today is to invade the impossible. To choose Courage. To influence with a Servant Heart. To go for the higher goals, the greater victory – perhaps a victory you’ll not live to see. Better to lead your life with courage and deep passion, complete with it’s inevitable experiences of failing, falling, and frustration, than live a life of superficial joy and shallow success – a life you are no longer proud to own.

It’s HOW you choose to live this next phase of your life that matters.