The Story So Far … Peter Billingham
I recently read Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. A magnificent book that compellingly draws you in till you can’t put it down. Working from the premise that if you understand what makes a story remarkable and then personally apply those principles, it’s possible to write a better story with your life. This blog is about the chapters of my life that have been written so far and the experience, knowledge, successes and failures that fill those pages. It’s about subjects that interest and inspire me like Leadership, Legacy, Happiness, Public Speaking, Travel and Creativity.
I left school and completed an apprenticeship as a master butcher and was promoted to manage a small shop. The retail trade rapidly develops your abilities to communicate, but it doesn’t pay particularly well. Having just got married, I started to work with a local Insurance Broker part-time selling life assurance to supplement my income and found out quickly I could be successful as a salesman. A new chapter beckoned …
In 1981 I joined the direct sales division of Sun Alliance Insurance Company, as a commission only sales associate. Those chapters of the story were filled with risk, terror (cold calling can do that to you) and at the same time excitement and accomplishment. I achieved sales awards regionally and nationally and attended sales conferences across the globe. I was selected to be part of the management development program and became the youngest Senior Branch Manager in the organisations history. Overseeing the Midlands region, I was awarded “Branch of the Year” in 1991. During these years I developed my skill and love of public speaking representing Sun Alliance at overseas conventions and speaking regularly in the Midlands as a local board member of the Life Insurance Association.
Donald Miller says, “A good story has a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.” Although successful, I wanted something different, a new challenge and a fresh adventure; to write a new chapter. In September 1994 I enrolled at Birmingham University as a full time student to undertake a 3-year BA Degree in Theology/History, graduating in 1997 with a First Class Honours Degree.
Leaving University, my wife and I started a community-focused church in Bromsgrove called NewSong Community Church. We built teams with boundless energy that created a vibrant and celebrative church for people who didn’t normally go to church. Each Sunday was filled with creativity and relevancy; lives were eternally impacted with faith that positively changed how they lived each day. The church still reaches out and feeds the hungry, loves the unlovable and cares for those in need. After 10 years (and 1 week) it was time to turn the page and pen another chapter …
In July 2007 I arrived in Kiev, Ukraine for the first time not knowing anybody and not speaking Russian or Ukrainian. As Executive Director CIS for
In July 2007 I arrived in Kiev, Ukraine for the first time not knowing anybody and not speaking Russian or Ukrainian. As Executive Director CIS forChristian Vision, my role was to establish a regional office, recruit staff and launch online projects that reach out across the former Soviet Union to young people with positive messages of hope, love and faith. Now working alongside an amazingly creative team of people, we have seen zazazu.tv, ProActive.FM and YesHEis.com impact many lives with over 20 million video views in the first 2 years of broadcasting. In addition, we launched One Hope, which recruits and trains people to be a significant person of influence to a child in a state orphanage.
I live in The Midlands, UK and still work in Kiev, Ukraine, which makes for an interesting commute! I have been married to Noreen for 30 years and our two children Laura and Sam have inherited my love of travel and are writing exciting stories of their own across the Globe. I dream one day of walking “The Way,” The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, also known in English as The Way of St James and I have recently joined Toastmasters International and am enjoying developing my skills further in public speaking.
There are many new chapters to be written and I am excited to turn the pages ahead. I hope that you enjoy reading my blog and it would be great to hear from you. You can contact me by email or at Twitter
This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my employer Christian Vision. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.