#PhoenixNationBlog: Insight and Personal Growth (15/5/2014)

#PhoenixNation Blog: Closure (15/5/2014)

Aloha Nation and welcome to this ‘special edition’ of the Phoenix Nation Blog, I know I’ve already posted to this blog twice this Week , you can read these HERE and HERE, but I received a message on Facebook from a former-friend and I was compelled to blog a third time.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in the interests of privacy I have changed the names of my former friend and his wife

So first a little background; I first met this friend back in 2000 when we both worked for a large telecoms business in the UK. I was the Editor of the Newsletter and he was assigned as one of my correspondents to represent the Leeds Office, given we were of similar ages and interests we became fast friends. Through various happenings and challenges, basically life, we remained friends and he was even best man at my Wedding.  I thought our friendship was solid. He was there for me when I was assaulted in 2003 and subsequently lost my role, I stood by him when he lost his position through a stupid mistake shortly afterwards, gave him a reference for a civilian position he applied for with an important municipal function and stood by him when he messed that up too.

As we were friends I overlooked certain things he did, even though I didn’t agree with them for an instant, right up until our friendship derailed in 2010/2011. This came about when his wife decided to publically support my estranged then-wife. The comment was made in response to a post on Facebook and went something along the lines of “you have nothing to worry about from either of us, there are two sides to every story”.  I was furious. I had expected support from my friend, which to be honest I had, and his wife so for her to publically come out and support Lisa was too much for me to tolerate. Back then I wasn’t as enlightened as I am now and I took it out on my friend at what would be our last meeting, in retrospect the person I should’ve taken to task was Wilma not Fred but as I say I wasn’t as enlightened as I am these Days so that is entirely on me.

Unfortunately around this time Fred’s step-father T became very ill and passed on very suddenly. At what I am confident in saying was a very difficult time for him and his family I was too preoccupied with my own issues, specifically a very nasty separation which would soon turn into a very messy Divorce, to be there for him and I wish this had not been the case but such is life. We stopped communicating entirely around this time and, like many other friends I shared with Lisa, I removed him from my social circle.

Since the last time I saw him there has been a lot of water under the proverbial bridge, I was finally made redundant from the Halifax and Bank of Scotland Group in the wake of the Lloyds takeover that formed Lloyds Banking Group (even thought it didn’t feel it at the time this was the best thing that could ever have happened to me), got Divorced, qualified as a Fitness Instructor / Personal Trainer and retrained as a Coach. Through it all I haven’t thought of Fred or his family for a minute so imagine my surprise when I received a Facebook message from him. It seems that he ended up being made redundant and for some reason he looked at what I had done, retraining as a Coach / Motivational Speaker etc, and followed my example. In his message he said that I inspired him with my bravery and he wanted to reach out and thank me for that.

I have had his message for a few Days, I only happened across it when checking my spam folder, and was thinking about a response which has prompted this blog. I honestly don’t know how I feel about his comments. Looking at everything I did, no matter how hard it was at the time, I did it for me. I found something that brought me completely to life and that I am passionate about, something I would not have been able to do if I had remained where I had been when we were friends.

Now that I think on it this instalment of the Phoenix Nation blog has enabled me to revisit some good memories (amongst others seeing a late showing of Neil Marshall’s DOG SOLDIERS back in 2001 springs to mind), identify why I ended the friendship and be grateful for what the whole experience taught me.

Although I no longer count him as a friend, due to vastly differing lives and more often geography, I sincerely hope Fred has learnt something these last few Years. I hope he has given up the habits that cost him not one but two jobs, I assume he is still married to Wilma (especially as he told me he now has a second child) and would hope given the content of his message that he is truly happy.

Many of my friends know I’m from a military family, and a huge NCIS fan, so it feels appropriate to close out this special blog with one of Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ (played by Mark Harmon) NCIS Rules:

Rule  # 51 – Sometimes you’re wrong

Mahalo (Thank You) once more for not only joining me but for indulging my reminiscence and allowing me to share some personal insights and the corresponding growth with you.

Until next time, and as always, with much Aloha I remain


Jon G. Richelieu-Booth

Founder and Director of Coaching, Phoenix Evolution


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