James Warner

james warner

It was an absolute pleasure speaking with you James Warner. Following 12 years working together at UrbanLeaf we are so pleased you are continuing in your career as a fundraiser at the Royal British Legion. Uber-positive with a can-do attitude you have always brought the best out of people as an exceptionally talented leader. You do so by listening first and then giving people clear direction and building their confidence on the details that will help them improve. 


What are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters. It’s useful in all areas of life and is a practical methodology to separate yourself from your reaction. 

Leading by Sir Alex Ferguson, breaking down how he was so successful at Manchester United.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It’s a classic, actually 1936, but the core message is timeless.


What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?

I bought a new waterproof backpack which keeps my laptop dry when I’m cycling to work. It’s a Chrome, roll top backpack £100. 

I cycle 10 miles to work and back twice a week and use it as an exercise class, together with another two cycles after working from home so I can get into the hills.


How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?

When I was applying for jobs in different sectors, trying to be persistent and resilient and maintaining my positivity. Eventually I ran out of time, so I tweaked my CV to be more charity focused, where my experience is, and within a week I had a few interviews. I now have a fantastic job in the charity sector.


If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it —metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why?

“Don’t worry. Be happy”  – Bob Marley.

We need to be reminded of this as we can all take life too seriously sometimes. 


What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)

My road bike. It cost a lot of money and it still costs money because I have to repair and replace parts, but it’s worth every penny. I see it as an investment in my health, both physically and mentally, and that’s worth a lot to me.


In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?

Before kids, I was grumpy and moody if I didn’t get eight hours of sleep a night. Since then I’ve inevitably lost control of my sleep pattern and that has given me the realisation that my belief system was wrong. Actually, you can get on and be successful without that much sleep on occasions. It’s mind over matter. 


What advice would you give to a smart, driven student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?”

It’s important to focus on your own goals. If you really focus and dedicate yourself, you can probably achieve it. Avoid people who might tell you you’re wasting your time or that you can’t do it.


When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?

Change my environment. Getting on the bike allows me the time to think through any problem and work out the best solution.


What does leadership mean to you?

People need to be able to trust leaders so setting the right example. Taking charge and making decisions is important. Supporting people to be the best they can be is also key. Learning from mistakes, acknowledging you’re not always going to get it right is healthy.

To donate to the Royal British Legion click here.

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