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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Great blog and great lunch project

the good stuff

I write “I love lunch” optimistically, full of faith and hope because if I’m honest lunch is usually the weakest contender in ‘meal of the day’. (It’s normal to review the day’s meals and compile a leaders board, right?)

Too often I’m out of the house, unprepared, grabbing something on the fly, pacing the streets of Teddington in search of anything that isn’t an overpriced panini.

But I am hopeful, because I have just invested some birthday money in an exciting book: River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whatsisface.  Part of my journey on living within limits brings me to the question of food.  Is meat-eating basically a terrible environmental catastrophe in the making?  (Pretty much, at current levels anyway). I posted on Facebook, asking for recommendations of books that might convert me to the green side, and received all kinds of responses.  These ranged from “Don’t do it!” to…

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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Journey 8 Day 19: Leaders as Hosts

There is a brilliant article on the idea of leadership being about hosting rather than being a hero.

Its brilliant, not because its a radical power to the people rage against the corporate machine type approach but because it seems so attractive, empowering and just makes sense.

Leaders who journey from hero to host have seen past the negative dynamics of politics and opposition that hierarchy breeds, they’ve ignored the organizational charts and role descriptions that confine people’s potential. Instead, they’ve become curious. Who’s in this organization or community? What skills and capacities might they offer if they were invited into the work as full contributors? What do they know, what insights do they have that might lead to a solution to this problem?

Leaders-as-hosts know that people willingly support those things they’ve played a part in creating—that you can’t expect people to ‘buy-in’ to plans and projects developed elsewhere. Leaders-as-hosts invest in meaningful conversations among people from many parts of the system as the most productive way to engender new insights and possibilities for action. They trust that people are willing to contribute, and that most people yearn to find meaning and possibility in their lives and work. And these leaders know that hosting others is the only way to get complex, intractable problems solved.

I absolutely love it when I host or am hosted. It just enables me to feel alive, more fully human, freeing and just great. My best moments, memories, experiences and times in life are when this happens. Can it not happen more in the work place, at church and in places or situations that seem to get a bit stuck into a rigid way of thinking?

I am aware how I have sometimes lost my ability to host and be hosted in some contexts.

That’s why I love good conferences, working and being over meals, talking, sharing, doing life and why when I lose site of that and shut that off I am a poorer friend, colleague and person.

I want to rediscover what it means to host and be hosted, to do it better and to live and work more fully as a result.

 

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Generosity, Journey 8

 

2012: Challenge, Opportunity and Growth

I was sent a very encouraging card today by a friend and colleague with this very image/quote on it. It came as a huge encouragement as I feel that I am facing quite a number of challenges as well as opportunities. 2012 has been a year of significant challenge but also significant growth in my life. After a season of comfort and convenience this year has not been that. Although tough and at times (many times) I have felt utterly out of my comfort Zone, I have also been really grateful to learn lots and grow lots as a person.

I am going to be speaking on this theme tomorrow (only briefly for 6-8 mins) and if honest am feeling daunted at the prospect. But its also a great challenge and a great opportunity.

From beginning the year doing the Rice and Beans challenge and realising just how utterly little I really know and understand about what it truly means to be hungry, to right now where I am nearer the end of my journey and feeling very daunted and challenged, Its been a significant journey.

I have been really struck by the challenge of Poverty in the UK and the amazing initiatives that are seeking to address these needs. I was humbled and inspired by being at the Tearfund UK conference last month and to interact with great initiatives captured so well in these brilliant films.

I have been really challenged by my children. There zeal and energy, their lack of inhibition and fear, their profound and hungry questions! And also by the incredible responsibility and privilege it is to be their Dad and be entrusted with this joy and this role.

So here is to a life that is full of challenge, adventure, opportunity and learning, which leads to growth and transformation, even when that feels slow or really tough!

I did a great course this year which kick started all this for me in this season called Growing Leaders. One of the things we explored in the course was the importance of living life more and more in the learning zone! The comfort and terror zones are ok in small doses, but if we really want to flourish and be fully human then learning is where its at!

 

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Passion, Rice and Beans Challenge

 

Great blog about Cornwall

the good stuff

I decided not to come back to London (despite all my protestations in favour city living).  Well, not for a few more days.

In fact, after leaving Devon, I moved further west and was ensconced for 48 hours in luscious Cornwall.

Cornwall, to me, is clotted cream and ice-cream and the Eden Project and the beach.  It’s best known and loved for holidays.  One of my friends and colleagues grew up by the beautiful beaches of Hayle (we actually holidayed at her family home last year which was idyllic) and she would love to live there still.  Only there is hardly any work.  Cornwall is one of the most deprived regions in Europe.  It even qualifies for poverty-related grants from the EU.

I went to hear stories from two great groups of people running projects in the region that are trying to push against the tide of increasing deprivation.  It’s…

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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Journey 8 Day 13: Hospitality: Cornish Style

I have just returned to London having spent time in Cornwall. I was with colleagues visiting 2 of Tearfund’s UK Partner organisations DISC in Camborne and Greenbank Care in Liskeard with the aim of filming case studies of their amazing work and to contribute to a project called 10 Keys for Impact.

Its fair to say that it has been an inspiring, humbling and incredible few days. We have had the privilege of hearing some great stories of impact and transformation and of being in the company of great and inspiring people.

Earlier today I reblogged a post on receiving generosity and the importance of being able to receive from others, listen to others and celebrate others as well as being able to do this for others. For me, the trip to Cornwall really made this a reality. Spending time with people, in churches and in people’s homes we were offered so much hospitality and genuine warmth and care. It made me realise afresh how good it is to receive as well as to give. That both are important. Both are legitimate. Both are vital for a truly good and full life. We need to use both to enable us to both give and receive.

Cornwall (with good reason) is often know as a great place to go on Holiday. This is indeed true. It is perhaps less well known for its poverty, inequality and the challenges it faces in regard to this. This trip provided some real insights into this reality. However I will remember it most and be most inspired by the incredible generosity and hospitality we were shown by some incredible people. For the amazing stories of transformation that have and are taking place in people through great hospitality and genuine care.

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Food, Generosity, Journey 8

 

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Really helpful thoughts on being able to receive as as well as give. So Key to be able to do both well!

Matthew's Journal

Maybe one of the best ways to cultivate generosity towards my neighbour is to be the recipient of generosity from others.

On Saturday Kate, I and the children benefitted from the great generosity of friends. We were gifted tickets to see Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. And these were not ordinary tickets. On the grand tier, between the royal box and the stage is one further private box with its own staircase, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. It was from here that we gazed down on to the stage into the faces of the performers, glued to the brilliant and beautiful choreography and music of Swan Lake.

We had a fantastic time. And, as you can imagine, the children loved every moment. Memories, sights, sounds that will endure. Simply soaking up the incredible atmosphere and watching the 2,256 people gathered together in the auditorium.

When…

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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Uncategorized