Gethin Jones: Sharing With Authenticity And Honesty On Social Media
Gethin and I met at an Entrepreneurial Spark event in Portsmouth and had a spark, which became a friendship. Every time I talk to Gethin, I find him truly inspirational and uplifting and full of stories ready to be told. We’re chatting to him, because I just want to share his sparkle and inspiration with all of you. He eats marshmallows by the campfire to keep his happiness up. What more could you ask for?
Now, Gethin has had a really interesting life and he's used his experience to become an inspirational speaker, published author and a professional trainer specialising in prisons, charities and local authorities.
The Story Of Gethin
Gethin’s worked in local authority, leading teams of 40 supporting some of the most deprived and difficult people to reach within society for a large proportion of his adult life leading him to become an entrepreneur, who works all across the UK, as an inspiration speaker, but how did he get here?
An incredible story of a journey through the social care system, where Gethin found himself bouncing around foster care from an early age, leading him to develop many negative behaviours resulting in criminal convictions through his teenage years. This was shortly followed by a custodial sentence at 14.
He went in and out of secure units - eventually spending 8 years behind a prison wall. A heroin dependency and time on the streets meant everything that could go wrong, seemed to go wrong for Gethin. However, it’s also meant everything that has happened to him, he’s been able to use to build the path he’s walking on now.
The Story Of An Acorn
A short story someone once told Gethin about an acorn explains in a little more detail about how he sees that his life got turned around for the better:
“I was like an acorn, which fall off their tree, but you don't know where they're going to land. So as a small acorn, I fell off my tree and landed on the grass, but then all of a sudden, a cow dropped its s%*t all over me. My life has been fighting through all of the s%*t dropped on me.
Then one day in 2006, I popped out the top having grown into a mighty oak. That s%*t was also my manure. It gave me resilience, strength, courage. It gave me that ability to just be able to survive. That's what's enabled me to be the person that I am today.”
The Story Of Bamboo
Why was 2006 so special? Gethin talks about this in more detail in his book, Unconscious Incarceration, but essentially it was a long process of learning to trust a system that he fundamentally mistrusted. A system he felt let him down his whole life, but it wasn't the system that rehabilitated him, it was the individuals that worked within it. The people that treated him as a human being, who showed him some kindness, compassion, care in a place where there was no kindness, compassion and care.
Another story explains why this was so important, The Story of Bamboo. When you plant the Bamboo seed, that seed needs to be nurtured and cared for every single day whether that's light, whether that's water, food. It then takes five years before that bamboo shoot comes through. But then it can grow a meter a day.
So the learning is, you never know what intervention or bit of feeding that has been the one that's made the germination start and for it to be able to grow. That's what happened to Gethin, lots of different people showed him kindness, compassion and care and eventually he began to grow.
The Story Of Jo Purdy
Gethin isn’t a religious person, but he sees himself as spiritual. In part of his journey, he recalls an awakening of sorts, which happened via an old friend, Jo Purdy.
Whilst out walking one day, he bumped into her and she looked at him and said. “Gethin, are you okay?” His answer of course, was yes. However, she looked right through him and told him, “Gethin, you need to book yourself in somewhere” and for the first time in his entire life, he felt like he heard what had been said. He trusted in her words, which became the catalyst for the jigsaw puzzle of Gethin’s life, coming together.
Nobody was going to change him; he was going to have to change himself. However, there were people who were rooting for him. And since then he’s grown a meter a day. Not in height, of course, because anyone who knows Gethin, knows he's not the tallest of people.
The Story Of An A Word
Giving so much, however does come with a price. When your life is about leading, it takes so much from you energetically and emotionally. Gethin is a big believer is owning up to the reality of any situation, and when you need a duvet day - then take that duvet day. But how much do you share of this with the wider world? Is it healthy to?
Gethin’s answer is one word; Authentic.
Authenticity has become the word of the moment, but in truth it’s just about being honest. Being honest about who you are and what it is you do, why you do it and everything that counts within it.
On social media, we all want to show the best version of ourselves, which can be said to be authentic, but we're not actually being authentic in relation to it. There’s a balance that needs to be achieved; between promoting what it is that you do, so people can see that you’ve got value and showing people that you’re a human being. In the end, we're not human doings, we are human beings.
And even when you were having a down day, you can still inspire people.
The Story Of Reality
Sharing so much online can go the other way, though and it can be very dangerous. People need to be aware of the unreality that is social media. Another story arises of a fellow business owner blocking him on social media, as they’d found themselves believing Gethin to have abandoned them after initially connecting. Comparing themselves to Gethin and coming to unreal conclusions.
This illusion can be so damaging. Especially if what you perceive is not based on truth. In terms of business, you can’t compare your chapter one to somebody else's chapter 15. Get to know the full picture, not just the snapshot you’ve seen online or speak to the person to get the true picture.
The Story Of T-I-S-I-D-I
If we truly want to be the most successful version of ourselves, whether that's personally, professionally, voluntarily, whatever kind it is. First, think about what it is that you want to do. Begin by thinking and saying it. Next, it’s about sharing. Sharing it with the right people that believe in your vision of what it is that you think you can do. While sharing it with people, they'll give you some suggestions of what you may need to do. Lastly, all you need to do is do it.
And that’s all there is to it: Think It, Say It, Do It.
Outline of This Episode:[00:58] Meet Gethin Jones
[03:59] The Story of an Acorn
[05:58] The Story of Bamboo
[06:52] The Story of Jo Purdy
[08:17] The Story of an A Word
[10:51] The Story of Reality
[13:40] The Story of T-I-S-I-D-I
Gethin Jones on LinkedIn
Gethin Jones on Twitter