The long road to a little wisdom – a lifetime spent learning…
“A man’s errors are his portals of discovery” ~ James Joyce
I was brought up in a dysfunctional, cosmopolitan, upper-middle class family as a highly strung dyslexic surrounded by eccentric relatives. However the result of having to cope with dyslexia and a logic disfunction had an unexpected but ultimately life-saving side-effect… as I grew older I discovered I had the proverbial ‘gift of the gab’ and so by default I became a storyteller and raconteur in order to communicate and survive when and where logic or argument failed me!
Having been dissuaded from my heart’s desire to be an actor by my father (at that stage I hadn’t learned to stick to my guns!), I was sent abroad to learn languages, grow up and do some living. Returning to London at 21 with four languages, a penchant for good food, drink, cigarettes and just enough false-confidence to make a fool of myself with girls. I found a métier in advertising, marketing and PR as an international ‘outreach-man’ – where my fluency with metaphor, story and anecdote helped me promote ideas, concepts, brands and influence employers and clients to buy me and whatever I was selling! An aptitude to please, coupled with a disarming charm, became an acquired if somewhat flamboyant performance art packaged with lashings of boundary-breaking charisma and buckets of bravado. A ‘trying-too-hard’ persona was projected with well-chosen words and carefully orchestrated public performance. This carefully fabricated man-of-the-world image was protected by the polished armour of false-confidence that hid a painfully embarrassing lack of self worth and esteem!
A colourful cavalcade of über-hectic jobs, travel, spare-time soldiering/ceremonial duties in the Territorial Army, theatrical acting & producing, and other on-the-spur-of-the-moment decisions propelled me through a bevy of international executive rôles in FMCG & institutional, luxury brand advertising, press & public relations, trade and economic development, multi-market coordination as well as international visual arts expert, event promoter, entrepreneur and strategic consultant.
Concentration on work, play, travel, and an acquired affectation as a hard drinking, hard smoking, hard living rake, then dutiful husband, then ‘duty-free’ divorced bachelor, plus a consuming out-of-hours hobby as a non-professional actor/producer resulted in a seriously unsustainable roller-coaster life. Not surprisingly around the mid ’80’s my business and personal life collided spectacularly, painfully piling up at a ‘Mid-Life Crossroads’ – resulting in emotional and physical burn-out! But with the grace of Gods, Goddesses and angels and some serendipitous encounters – I moved from crash and crisis, via a bevy of personal development courses, to becoming a healer and, finally, to embarking on a path of self-healing and personal and spiritual growth.
My decision to radically review my attitudes, behaviour and negative habits/patterns has been an eventful, surprising, embarrassing (painfully even!) but always worthwhile journey. Lessons learned along the way were frequently challenging, occasionally discomforting, often hilarious and ultimately life-changing and fulfilling.
Following much personal journeying, self-enquiry, self-development and spiritual learning and soul growth, I decided – not before time – to finally focus on those innate gifts as well as learned talents and skills I’d acquired as an executive, entrepreneur, promoter, husband, lover, divorcee, student of life, wordsmith, communicator, speaker, social host, healer, therapist, coach and mentor – not to mention very fallible human being!
Now, in my capacity as an experienced communicator, speaker, presenter and storyteller, I’m enjoying offering original, personalised seminars, workshops and courses that help people be the confident, compelling communicators, speakers, presenters and performers they’d always wished they could be. Via fun, experiential workshops, I help people from all walks of life to communicate faster, easier and more authentically with the world around them.
After lengthy bouts of procrastination I’ve finally got down to researching & writing the colourful and bizarre history of my Anglo/German/Dutch/Italian family through WWI and WWII. And in addition to this also a historical novel/screenplay (which has all the ingredients of a ‘Downton Abbey’ mini-series!) about a golden age of speed before the advent of Steam.
Having recovered from a couple of interesting health incidents over the past couple of years, I’m more than ever grateful for the little wisdoms I’ve acquired along the way from a multitude of lessons – thanks to the love and patience of the good friends/angels in my life. Especially those who took the time (much was needed as I was an excruciatingly slow learner!) to help me glean something useful and/or enlightening from the many mistakes that I’ve experienced; not too mention the twists, turns, dead-ends and occasional upsets along the – always amazing, eventful and fascinatingly colourful path – that’s been my privilege to walk thus far in this lifetime. I’m now in the privileged position – thanks to the help of dear friends – to be able to focus on creative writing and my exploration of ideas for possible film/TV series plots and scenarios.
Michael A Vanderosen
P.S. I do offer occasional mentoring support to help/counsel/guide others – whose paths happen to cross mine – in the hope that they too may discover and benefit from their own talents and gifts eventually to find fulfilment in their lives – as I’ve been blessed in doing during mine.
“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes” ~ Oscar Wilde