I got engaged.

At the end of last year (on Boxing Day), I asked Sarah to marry me and got engaged. 

She said yes thankfully :)

It’s hard to say, yet I think if I was still wrapped up in my work and utterly consumed by the company I started. I don’t think I’d have taken the time, energy and thought into getting engaged. 

The two events were really linked. 

I remember after me and Chris had a beer about him becoming CEO, I walked back from the pub smiling about the prospect of bringing in an incredible CEO. 

And then the thought popped into my head; “I’m going to ask Sarah to marry me this year.”

Genuinely, it happened that fast, it’s like I’d created some space and finally something I really wanted was allowed to pop up and breathe. 

I’d been through a period of neglecting my relationship, family and friends when completely consumed by Sanctus. 

I can’t hide from that, it’s true, just ask my mates what time I turn up for a beer. They’ll tell you it’s 2 hours after I say I’ll be there. 

I was choosing to be more focused on Sanctus than anything else. 

Therefore the conscious choice to get engaged was a commitment to the sacredness of my relationship with Sarah and a commitment to myself too. A commitment that work doesn’t always come first. 

There’s been a conscious reorientation of my life where Sanctus and my work isn’t at the centre. There’s me, Sarah, family, friends and then work. That’s where I want to get to. 

I still had this belief that that would mean I won’t be successful, if I don’t give it all to my business then I won’t be as successful as others.

I don’t know if that’s true or not. I know I’m not signed up to that. I’m not signed up to be the Dad that doesn’t know his kids or gets his PA to send his Wife flowers. It’s a stereotype I’m not down for playing out.

The link between my relationship and my work is clear too. 

After being engaged for even a month, I feel almost no different, yet I feel completely different too. 

On a deep level, I feel good, settled and secure. 

Security isn’t something I’ve consciously thought of. Yet, at a basic, almost primal level it feels good to know I’ve committed to being by someone else’s side and having someone by mine too. 

What a great place to be and what a great place to build from. I can’t adequately articulate how not being engaged was holding me back previously, yet I know there’s been an inner liberation within. 

To inquire further, I feel more secure because if I were to lose Sanctus, previously that would have been catatonic. Whereas now, if my business were to fail in some way or other challenges came our way. Me and Sarah would be there, together, and that is all I need. That is enough. 

That word; ”enough” crops up again, because part of the commitment for me is a commitment to what is enough. An acceptance that I already have more than enough. 

Again, a liberating place to build from. 

The counter intuitive part to this is that I’m writing it over a month after being engaged and I’m working harder than I have for a while (I’m finishing this off on a Saturday afternoon). 

I’m loving it. I feel so in flow, the most I have since we first started the business. This hasn’t been about checking out, it’s about checking in, to me. I’m feeling deeply committed to Sarah and excited about getting married and I’m feeling very connected to my work too. The story that “settling down” would stop me is being rewritten, settling down is unlocking me.

I’m sharing this because of the impact I’ve felt from both letting go of my tight relationship with work and consciously committing to my relationship. Both have liberated me in a way I couldn’t have expected and still can’t fully articulate in these words.

This post could have been about buying a house, or getting married, or getting a dog, or committing to a sport or a new hobby. In my life, the conscious move forward was getting engaged, yet I believe the mobilisation could have been anything. 

This might not relate, it might deeply and you could argue this isn’t a post about work or business. I’d venture, it is. 

My lines are blurring and I’m going through a reorientation where my foundation is family first and me first, and I know that’s a good thing. It doesn’t mean business success, growth and impact aren’t important, it means they come next and emerge from that foundation.

This is another part of my story. A chapter about being a human, one who works, one who has a great business, but doesn’t just work and that is not all. 

James x