‘The crazier the world gets, the more Ampleforth makes sense.’
Ironically, it was only when I returned to Ampleforth as a parent in 2003 that I began to appreciate how much sense Ampleforth does make. At a time when my old weltanschauung was being challenged by other influential people such as George Kinder, I found in Ampleforth and its compassionate catholicism a reflection of my changing attitude to money and life and, ultimately, how to develop a financial planning practice that hit at some of the craziness in the world.
I found it remarkable that I would often hear in a Sunday Mass homily the very same sentiments that I was discussing with clients, albeit in layman’s language.
Ampleforth have developed a set of core Benedictine values that are used as guidelines for running the Abbey and the College, and form a thoroughly useful framework for personal, family and professional values.
Listening deeply to others – rather than talking for the sake of talking – is crucial. The first word of the Rule of St Benedict is ‘Listen’. In professional terms, I learnt to listen first, speak after, thus giving clients an opportunity not normally available to them to articulate issues that would otherwise have been kept hidden
Hospitality is more than just giving visitors a warm welcome. It is really about being of service to others, and in the most profound sense. In professional terms, this means that one does not design a product or service and sell it; it means listening to your target market, understanding their deepest hopes and fears, and finding a way to help them deal with them
Respect comes from empathy. Respect means listening to others, accepting that their view of the world may be very different from ours and is still a valid world view, exercising patience and developing an understanding, irrespective of their background. I’ve found that respecting others builds strong professional relationships and helps my own personal development through broader horizons.
As St Benedict writes in his Rule’ ‘If he teaches his disciples that something should not be done, then neither must do it.’ As a professional, one needs personal integrity in order to recognise integrity conflicts in other, and help them to deal with them. In personal finance, money is leads to integrity stresses and anxiety, shame and fear.
1,500 years after St Benedict made stewardship an important community value, the rest of the world has begun to catch on. Stewardship is now a fundamental tenet of many modern businesses. Stewardship and sustainability go hand in hand, and its important to use assets to make a positive impact on the world.
Often thought of a simply getting the right balance between work, play and family, Equilibrium is as much about the balance between ideology and reality. Unfortunately, many religions seem to get this wrong, moving out of balance and into fundamentalism that leads to violence and the suspension of compassion. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of ‘either / or’. For instance, its not about passive or active funds; for me both have their uses and when used together can provide the best results.