Moving to a Sanctus Board Role

In 2019, I began talking to my Coach about my role within Sanctus.

3 years later, after a £4.25m investment round I've moved to a part-time Board & Brand role and it feels great.

Back in 2019 I was feeling uneasy and I was questioning what I wanted to do with my time.

In 4 years I’d never asked these questions before, I was nervous. At the time, even questioning my commitment to Sanctus felt like a sin. I felt guilty.

Throughout 2020, with lots of letting go and practical changes. I made the decision to step aside as CEO. I’ve written about that before here and here.

In 2021 I explored what it was like being a Founder and working alongside our new CEO Chris. I continued to be the public face of Sanctus, I met lots of investors for our upcoming fundraise and I launched our new journaling community.

ICYMI: we’ve raised £4.25m from ScaleUp Capital
- my write up
- Chris's write up
- Evening Standard

I had a free role. I was in and out of the management team, wider team and the business. The fundraise consumed the majority of my time, alongside publishing my book and nurturing the community. In reality though, I spent a year fundraising. Even if I didn’t spend a year full time actually doing it, I spent a year thinking about it.

When the fundraise neared completion, my book was published and the community was running itself I looked around again and asked myself what do I want to do every day?

The answer became: “I don’t know

I’d made a series of decisions on what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to run a business, be a CEO or run the function of a business. These are all things that founders typically do as their business grows.

Nor did I want to leave Sanctus.

After conversations with Chris, George and our new investors ScaleUp, it emerged that the best next step for me was a Board and Brand Ambassador role.

I have to thank Chris and George in particular for helping me see what I often struggled to see, my right place. I was often clouded with much of my identity tangled within Sanctus, I feel grateful I could let them in.

What I have always done from the inception of Sanctus is share my story and share the Sanctus story. I’ve done this with employees, coaches, customers, investors and on social media. I’ve talked and I’ve written. Truthfully all the other stuff I’ve done down the years I did because I had to and in the early days because I wanted to craft things myself.

As Sanctus has grown those functions of the business or parts of Sanctus that I honed myself have been passed onto other people and I’ve felt the relief of them being in safer hands and the relief of not having to do something I either don’t enjoy that much or know how to do.

The end result is a perfect fit for me, even though it is still tinged with the trepidation of change.

I’ve left the Sanctus Team day-to-day and I’m no longer a full time employee. I’ve moved to a Board role where I remain as a Director and I’ll continue to share my story, our story and promote the Sanctus Brand. I won’t, however, be full time.

This transition is a path well traveled by many founders. I feel lucky to have had a supportive team, Board and new investors to make the transition happen.

I feel some sadness to not be part of the team in the same way and I feel a great deal of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) as I know there are exciting times ahead for the team, with wonderful new people joining.

I mostly feel relief though. Relief because this move gives me the freedom I have long craved and the freedom that my heart desires.

Excitement too, that I can be connected to Sanctus in the way that feels natural to me. Public Speaking, Writing and being in touch with our Vision and Values at a Board level.

I feel complete.

In 2019 I said to myself I’d have done enough to be satisfied if; 1) We had a CEO in place, 2) We were well capitalised with an effective Board, 3) We had a solid team. I feel like we have all of those in place and as a result I feel like I can loosen my grip ever so slightly, I can let go.

I don’t know what I’ll do next or I’ll do for the majority of my time. I have no new business ideas and nothing I am jumping towards. I just followed a longing. I followed my instinct to move, even if it didn’t make rational sense, it was a move I knew I needed to make.

Ironically I feel as connected to Sanctus as ever. I don’t feel as consumed, yet I feel as connected. I feel like I’m standing in the right place with Sanctus by my side.

I’m planning to do nothing outside of my continued engagement with Sanctus. I’m seeing my next 6-12 months as a semi-sabbatical where I hope to rest, do some travelling, read, write and see what life presents me.

Oh, and write my newsletter regularly.

James x

p.s this was originally posted in my newsletter, click the link to subscribe and/or see past issues.