New directions and fresh challenges
“Don’t just do something, stand there!”
I’ve heard that message three times now.
The first time was shortly after I started my own business almost 20 years ago. I wanted to focus on training and development, with the strap-line of “helping you learn”, and I had quite quickly secured three sources of income. Two of these were related to the school term. One was teaching violin as a peripatetic music teacher, and the other was lecturing in IT. Both were on a contract basis and would mean that I had no income over the summer holiday period.
The decision to start my own business was founded in prayerful consideration, and seemed to be well supported in many ways, including a circular arriving from Joyce Meyer on the day I started entitled “This is the day of your new beginnings”. Now, those who know me will know that I’m not someone who hears from God every other day, and I relate to Paul Scanlon when he said that he’s not one who sees angels river-dancing on his duvet every night, however, I felt certain in my spirit that this move was one that was spiritually inspired.
So, as the summer term started I was praying about finding new contracts and was wondering what I should do next to secure some income. After all, we had two young children to provide for, and we had moved house only 3 years previously from a home where the mortgage had been paid off, and I had now taken on a new 25-year mortgage.
That’s when I felt in my spirit that God was saying to me “Don’t just do something, stand there”. It was as if God was saying He had something prepared ready for me and it was coming my way shortly; however, He wasn’t going to tell me what it was or when it was coming. I had to trust Him.
Well, despite my ‘better judgement’, I followed that prompting and did nothing. Within a month I had been approached by someone I knew to deliver some commission-only sales work for his company. I embarked on a new contract that was to become my main source of income for around the next 15 years, and which provided a better overall income than I had before I was self-employed.
This involved a significant amount of training in a variety of larger charities and councils, and also allowed me some time to pursue my favourite activity of coaching leaders via speaking, one-to-one coaching and group training. During this time I was introduced to the John Maxwell Team via the Million Leaders Mandate and a two-year curriculum of leadership training.
It also introduced me to the Global Leadership Summit: a series of annual events held around the UK using material delivered live, annually, in Chicago by world-class leadership speakers.
That contract was coming towards an end and I could see the market was moving on. I was going to need to do something new. By this time I had become involved with a church called Life.Church, based in Oklahoma, led by Pastor Craig Groeschel, and I was on the leadership team for Church Online, an online church with some 350 volunteers across 40 countries with over 80 services reaching a quarter of a million people every week. One of the events we put on was based on the book called Chazown. This was an event where we are encouraged and equipped to find our personal calling in life, based on our Core Values, our Spiritual Gifts, and our Past Experiences.
Well, in addition to leading one of the sessions I found a new direction emerging, and I found myself again in a position where I wanted to get on with this new calling. However, I heard that message once again. It seemed that God was telling me that he had something new for me that would start in a few months, and again He was not going to tell me what it was. “Don’t just do something, stand there.” I had to trust Him.
The new year found me embarking on a journey to become a Certified Coach with the John Maxwell Team and becoming a Professional Speaker with the Professional Speaking Association. The next season involved formulating the Leadership Model that I had developed over a lifetime of leadership activity, and publishing that as the PRIZE Winning Leadership model. This model became the cornerstone of the contract work, masterclasses and keynotes I undertook, working mainly with CEOs and Senior Management Teams of larger SMEs.
Over the next few years, I attended the John Maxwell Team conference which was held twice a year in Orlando, Florida, and was lucky enough to speak from the main stage at one event, and to share the stage with John Maxwell at another event. These were fabulous experiences with the JumboTron (a large video-wall) behind me and 3,500 of my JMT colleagues seated cabaret-style in front of me in the main ballroom at the World Marriott Hotel in Orlando.
When I was preparing to attend one of these events I was chatting with a JMT colleague, a friend from South Africa who is also a Christian, and we noticed that the Global Leaders Summit in Chicago was planned for the two days immediately following the JMT conference. So, we booked tickets to fly together to Chicago and attend the GLS live. This had been on my bucket list for years and was another really memorable experience. While I was there I also met up with the rest of the leadership team from Life.Church Online at the same event.
I was certain that I was now in the place I wanted to be for the foreseeable future. Engaging with leaders, with difference-makers, and helping them to make a difference. My strap-line for the business was “PRIZE Winning Leadership – Helping Difference Makers make a difference”. That’s what I wanted to do, and that’s what I was doing, and I couldn’t envisage any reason why I would ever do anything different. I was even able to spend some time in a voluntary capacity as Chair of the board of directors of the Global Leadership Network UK and Ireland and to help them navigate the challenge of moving to a digital-first world during COVID. Could my work life get any better than this?
That’s when I heard that message for a third time. It started with a message from Craig Groeschel from a message series entitled “In God We Trust” in October this year, in which the message he shared on two successive weeks seemed to speak directly into my circumstances. Earlier in the year I had been approached on a few occasions to see if I might have been open to the idea of taking on the role of CEO of the GLN, should suitable circumstances arise. My answer was a clear and firm “no”; I know my present calling, and that’s found in PRIZE Winning Leadership.
In the first message, Craig preached on the passage from Luke 5:4-11, which could be summarised as ‘let down your nets’, and then ‘lay down your nets”. Would I be prepared to lay down my nets? Would I be prepared to follow where God was leading? Would I be prepared to trust Him? I remember discussing the idea with Sue (my wife), and if that’s what God was leading me to then maybe I should get on with doing something about it. Only to find that the second message a week later included a verse from 1 Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” and once again I heard “Don’t just do something, stand there”. I felt that nothing I could do would bring this new step on my journey closer, and once again that there was something about to happen.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.~ 1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)
The very next day, out of the blue on 6th November, I was approached by the current CEO and he asked me to become the next CEO of the GLN UKI. The board approved the move and I started my new job on 1st December 2020.
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.
He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.