This is the first post to my personal blog ‘Ura on life and soul’. I have another blog dedicated to my work called ‘Ura on Sacred Governance’ .
My personal blog will be a place of personal reflection about my journey through life and will especially include reflections on heart and soul.
I’ve been asked this week to be a guest of Kerry Chuttur on her internet radio show ‘Create, Inspire, Love 101’ on the Angel Heart Radio Network.
The invitation is to talk about my work, which I can best summarise with the mission I recently wrote for my business Authegrity:
“Creating ‘organisational community’ through authenticity and integrity by training and coaching that honours the power of each individual, creating passion and delivering success through an organisational revolution that enhances team performance and builds trust with the world”.
In preparation for the show Kerry asked me to give her a background on what brought me to the point I have reached of establishing Authegrity taking on the mantle of ‘Organisational Revolutionary’, and picking up the pen to become a writer in the same space. So I figured what better way to fulfil Kerry’s request than to pick up the pen and write a blog on the subject.
Steve Jobs, in his now infamous speech to graduates at Stanford, talked of connecting the dots backwards.
As I look back through my life it is easy to connect the dots backwards and count the blessings that have brought me to where I am with the experience I accumulated that will equip me to do the work I will now do and to write in the space
The first dots to connect are to my spiritual journey. In the middle of 2008 I was the Chief Financial Officer for a company that I had listed on the stock exchange through an Initial Public Offering in October 2007. At that time a friend of my wife Kim suggested she do a weekend workshop on Shamanic Journeying. When Kim called me in the US where I was travelling at the end of the first day she blew my mind with what she told me about her direct experiences of shamanic journeying at the workshop.
Kim’s journey triggered my own journey and I began reading voraciously about shamanic work, energy healing, and the whole metaphysical spectrum. I was staggered by how much had been ‘out there’ on shelves that had never crossed my path. I had read the Celestine Prophecy in 1996 when I felt one of those callings to pick up a book with no conscious understanding of why. It was a book which impacted me profoundly, but it was fiction and my strong interest never lead me to a next step, till 12 years later. Since 2008 I have continued to read everything I can lay my hands on, I have attended a lot of workshops and had my own direct experiences to leave me in no doubt about the complexity of the universe we live in and the interconnectedness of everything, and I have developed a strong community of friends in the shamanic, energy healing, and metaphysical space.
The next dot to connect is forward from 2008 to 2010. I stumbled on a couple in 2009 at a corporate networking event who were spiritual and was given a recommendation to see a lady by the name of Nicole Cody who they told me gives profoundly powerful ‘Life Direction Readings’. I went home excited, but Kim and I decided not to do anything at that time. Then in 2010 Kim got the exact same recommendation from a completely unrelated source. The second time we listened and after a few months on Nicole’s waiting list that is testament to her value and reputation, in October 2010 both of us had our Life Direction readings.
I don’t have the space to go into everything that Nicole covers in a Life Direction reading, just let me say that this 90 minute session and the CD recording of it Nicole provides are the most valuable things I have been given in my life. My life purpose Nicole identified as writing about, speaking on, and training or coaching people in organisations about stewardship and leading organisations to make decisions for the benefit of all and with a view to preserving our world for future generations.
So with this knowledge gained in 2010, I have been able to look back on my life and join more dots backwards.
My career gave me a breadth of experience that given my life purpose has been an incredible blessing.
Funnily enough reading Celestine Prophecy in 1996 gave me some common ground in respect of values with the CEO of the company I joined in 1997 and pushed me over the line versus the other candidate. That organisation become my ‘gold standard’ for a ‘conscious organisation’ and the story of my time there is the subject of a separate blog :
Next the dots go back to 1989. After my Dad died of a heart attack in June 1989 my first wife and the kids and I returned from Sydney and I got a role as Dealer Development Manager for Mazda Australia for it’s northern region. The biggest part of my job was working with the Mazda Dealers helping them analyse their business performance.
Again there was another meaningful book at this juncture. The book was Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Its values base resonated deeply with me.
Another of my gold standard organisation experiences occurred at this juncture when I recognised some of the values in Covey’s work in one of the highest performing Mazda Dealerships in Australia, Wippels Autos. Again I have written a separate blog on my experiences with Frank Wippell and his business:
One more set of dots backwards to 1987. 1987 was when I had graduated with my Bachelor of Business in Accounting and having been tied to Brisbane while studying part time for six years doing my degree decided to move to Sydney to take a more responsible role with Jaguar Rover Australia as a Financial Analyst.
I went to Sydney a shy young man. One of my most profound mentors Jim Stubbs in 1988 sent me to a two day assertiveness course. Something clicked in me and this was a profound experience teaching me the incredible power of experiential learning. This learning resonates deeply with the work I am now doing myself. That course cracked me open in terms of confidence and allowed me to go on to take on a senior executive career.
If we follow the dots forward again to 1994 that was the point where I left Mazda Australia and began an 18 year period where I was blessed with incredible senior executive roles and experience and through which as General Manager, CFO, COO and or Company Secretary I was always in the board or executive team decision making centres, which for my purpose now has given me deep insight into how organisations currently operate and make decisions.
I had 11 years in Chief Financial Officer roles, was twice a Chief Operating Officer, listed two companies on the stock exchange, lead the acquisition of four companies (three offshore in the US), and raised more than $AU 76 Million through VCs, private investors, and public markets. I was also blessed with being sent for a month in 2002 to Columbia University in New York to do what at the time was the number one rated Residential Senior Executive Program in the world.
Values-wise I never really fitted with the archetypal expectations of corporations around a Chief Financial Officer especially. Egalitarianism was more important to me than dollars, and right was more important than profit. I always believed that profit was an important outcome, not the primary focus. Business Planning would steer the organisation where it needed to go to be sustainable, while strategy and integrity were the things that should drive an individual decision with budget or profit being a reference point, not an absolute determinent. The two blogs entries I included above both show that profit can result from a business run tightly, but with a focus on integrity first and with profit being an outcome not primary objective.
Joining the dots backwards it makes so much sense why I had the experiences I had. I performed my roles competently through hard work and long hours, and held them for extended periods meeting the needs of the positions, but I was never there to follow the ‘hard ass CFO’ model, I was there to learn about how the corporate world works, and to seek to learn through applying the ‘values based approach’ that was near and dear to who I am as a soul.
My last executive role in the corporate space was Chief Operating Officer for a not for profit research organisation. After getting my life direction reading in October 2010 it was only a matter of time before I took the courage to step into my own business and into the purpose that all my other experience had been equipping me for. The right juncture to do that came in May 2011 and I resigned giving three months notice. So I started Authegrity in August 2011 and have spent the last few months getting it established and building up my service products while doing some contracting to pay the bills while I was getting established.
There is one more set of dots forward. The Nicole Cody Life Direction Reading also touched on my path being enhanced through working with Men’s Groups. From that suggestion I made a connection with Mens Wellbeing in June 2011 which has brought more good fortune to my world than I can enumerate. I have cleaned up a lot of baggage in my life that was blocking me in my life and in my relationship, I have had a number of important teachers and healers enter my life, I have made deep friendships with a whole bunch of good men, and I have experienced many times the profound power of authentic communication in a circle of courageous people. Those circle experiences have added to a lot of corporate facilitation experience I gained in my career and together equip me well for the training and coaching work I will do through my business. Lastly Mens Well Being brought me a number of wise and honourable people in that community who will make excellent collaborators to bring additional skills to the table with the clients I will work with through Authegrity.
I can’t describe how powerfully the synchronicities have flowed during 2011 as I have done powerful clearing work on issues in my life and as I have stepped into my life purpose. I go into 2012 with my preparation done and ready to seriously begin my work through Authegrity and to step deeply into my writing.
As to my writing I knew from my twenties that I would one day write books, and had a thoroughly enjoyable time as the editor of the weekly newsletter for my rotary club in Lismore in 1995 and 1996 entertaining my rotarian colleagues with my offbeat wit. For now my goal is to finish writing my first book within calendar 2012. I look forward to getting that book published and being able to shift my focus more in the direction of writing over time.
I hope following the dots through my life has not been too taxing on the reader, and especially on poor Kerry Chuttur who will have to piece together an understanding of my life into a few sound-bites for her introduction on Thursday.
As is my style I have openly included topics in this post which I have direct experience of and know to be true, but which are outside the experience of many people, and which may even bring about disbelief in those who have not had the experiences I have had. That is the level of my commitment to authenticity. I would rather be true to myself and tell ‘my truth’ in full than to hide parts of the story because others may not understand. Through my cleansing work in mens group and shamanic circles I have experienced many times the power of standing in my truth. While it might deny me the help or trust of certain people who do not think as freely as I do, my experience is being in truth brings ample help through sychronicity and through those around me who respect courage and an open mind.
Ura P Auckland