John O’Brien MBE

There is something about this edition of ONE magazine, which will be clear to all our readers. The fact is that certainly not by design, but neither perhaps by accident, a mutually connected set of three themes runs through all the articles. These are Humanity, our Behaviours and our Impact. In this extraordinary of times, we are seeing the very best of us come to the fore, with people who care deeply about others, their communities, their institutions and the world at large. The link between caring and how we respond to the issues, whether Covid related or not, is directly shaped by our sense of purpose in life and our leadership qualities. These two influence our behaviours and ultimately our impact on the world. It is by sharing such thinking with our own community of readers and followers, that we hope we can inspire your own positive sense of purpose and impact.

Purpose Lost

However, this is not without challenge. A couple of weeks into lockdown, I personally sensed what I can only describe as a deep rumbling of discontent and potentially depressing thoughts at risk of overwhelming me. I freely acknowledge that for someone who normally has a strong sense of what I am trying to contribute to the world, this was disconcerting to say the least and was not helped by learning of the deaths of a former business connection and separately a friend. I shared these feelings with my wife who, as a university scientist, quickly diagnosed the issue saying “what you are experiencing is the fact that for the first time, you aren’t able to interfere with people’s lives”.

Now I know she said it jokingly but what she went on to explain was that for the last twenty years (ignoring my previous ten years in the Army), when I had seen an issue in society, I had, either personally or through my work, been able to create an intervention, initiative or campaign which could positively effect a change – or as she put it; “interfere with people’s lives”. Countering the Foot & Mouth Crisis in 2001, supporting northeast fishing communities in 2004, creating mentoring for children in deprived cities from 2007, building relief funds for the Pakistan flood in 2010, addressing the UK STEM agenda in schools in 2002 and creating national volunteer schemes in 2012 and 2014, were all things which for set periods gave me purpose. In short making things like this happen, as result of seeing the need for something to improve is an inherent part of me, it is my purpose.

However, now, in this crisis, sitting in my comfortable country home, relatively well-off but seeing my country ravaged, people suffering loss, of loved ones businesses and more, I am devoid of purpose, incapable of action, without positive impact, except perhaps when making the occasional local food parcel delivery to elderly isolating people in our parish.

I share this, not for sympathy, that would be ridiculously self-obsessed, but do so, because it has illustrated to me most clearly the deep routed human desire to have purpose in life and I know everyone reading this magazine will feel the same.

That is where ONE comes in because every contribution is here from a person of purpose, from an organization of purpose, all dedicated to sharing with you to inspire your own, just as they have for me. I thank all our contributors and hope you will enjoy this edition. Do feel free to contact me if you have any comments or suggestions for future contributions.

John O’Brien MBE
Editor
John.obrien@onehundredagency.com
Twitter: @johnwritlarge

Next article

John O’Brien MBE

There is something about this edition of ONE magazine, which will be clear to all our readers. The fact is that certainly not by design, but neither perhaps by accident, a mutually connected set of three themes runs through all the articles. These are Humanity, our Behaviours and our Impact. In this extraordinary of times, we are seeing the very best of us come to the fore, with people who care deeply about others, their communities, their institutions and the world at large. The link between caring and how we respond to the issues, whether Covid related or not, is directly shaped by our sense of purpose in life and our leadership qualities. These two influence our behaviours and ultimately our impact on the world. It is by sharing such thinking with our own community of readers and followers, that we hope we can inspire your own positive sense of purpose and impact.

Purpose Lost

However, this is not without challenge. A couple of weeks into lockdown, I personally sensed what I can only describe as a deep rumbling of discontent and potentially depressing thoughts at risk of overwhelming me. I freely acknowledge that for someone who normally has a strong sense of what I am trying to contribute to the world, this was disconcerting to say the least and was not helped by learning of the deaths of a former business connection and separately a friend. I shared these feelings with my wife who, as a university scientist, quickly diagnosed the issue saying “what you are experiencing is the fact that for the first time, you aren’t able to interfere with people’s lives”.

Now I know she said it jokingly but what she went on to explain was that for the last twenty years (ignoring my previous ten years in the Army), when I had seen an issue in society, I had, either personally or through my work, been able to create an intervention, initiative or campaign which could positively effect a change – or as she put it; “interfere with people’s lives”. Countering the Foot & Mouth Crisis in 2001, supporting northeast fishing communities in 2004, creating mentoring for children in deprived cities from 2007, building relief funds for the Pakistan flood in 2010, addressing the UK STEM agenda in schools in 2002 and creating national volunteer schemes in 2012 and 2014, were all things which for set periods gave me purpose. In short making things like this happen, as result of seeing the need for something to improve is an inherent part of me, it is my purpose.

However, now, in this crisis, sitting in my comfortable country home, relatively well-off but seeing my country ravaged, people suffering loss, of loved ones businesses and more, I am devoid of purpose, incapable of action, without positive impact, except perhaps when making the occasional local food parcel delivery to elderly isolating people in our parish.

I share this, not for sympathy, that would be ridiculously self-obsessed, but do so, because it has illustrated to me most clearly the deep routed human desire to have purpose in life and I know everyone reading this magazine will feel the same.

That is where ONE comes in because every contribution is here from a person of purpose, from an organization of purpose, all dedicated to sharing with you to inspire your own, just as they have for me. I thank all our contributors and hope you will enjoy this edition. Do feel free to contact me if you have any comments or suggestions for future contributions.

John O’Brien MBE
Editor
John.obrien@onehundredagency.com
Twitter: @johnwritlarge

Next article