The number of toes on a foot and fingers on a hand, the number of senses (excluding intuition) that a human has. Five days in a working week, five rings of the Olympic circles. Five babies are born every second. A devout follower of Islam worships five times a day facing the holy city of Mecca. Five is a prime number. V is five in roman numerals. Five was Coco channels lucky number, there are five books in the Torah. Flowers of the wild rose have five petals. Five is the smallest number of queens needed to attack every square on a standard chess board, and THE CHANGE LAB IS 5 YEARS OLD.
So she (yes, this company is a girl) is just out of the toddler stage, fully functioning as a human, can say many words and can argue a little and is out of that too needy stage. This one is about my girl. THE CHANGE LAB so instead of going on about the metaphor of a human child I thought I would write about the 5 biggest lessons I have learnt over the years and please for the sake of disclaimer- I am still a baby company, we are still growing and learning and these lessons are by far not in isolation and nor are they complete.
I spent what felt like eons and lifetimes talking and analysing and going around and around in my head about weather or not I should even take the leap from employment to this massive step. I was uncertain but I closed my eyes and took the leap, now you should know that The Change Lab was born out of wedlock so to speak, she was conceived out of necessity as a side hustle in 2015. I gave birth to her just as a recruitment agency and worked alone and it was a nice cushion.
The jump with no safety net happened last year when I looked at my life and the shortness of it through a tragedy of a friend and decided that if not now when? So I closed my eyes, resigned from employment, and jumped. There was and still is no parachute, I hit the side of the cliff many times and have bled hard, I have found myself in financial strain no understanding of marketing, no business dealing with conversions and leads and plans but jump I did. I have never looked back; I will never go back. I still make small jumps often when I make decisions and go into things with my gut and faith, but if I had to give you advice from anything, I have learned it would be to JUMP.
2. Mentor up – and quick
Find a mentor, do it quickly and make it stick, I have one who was my mentor before he knew it. We talk about what I should and should not be doing, he has given me the most interesting pay-off lines like “when in doubt, pull out” and “keep the Sh*t behind you at all times and keep moving forward” he knows he is my mentor, I am not sure he likes it sometimes but there he is. He is one of my favourite humans. I chose him for the dung beetle on my desk and the laughs but mostly because he has walked this path and I can only aspire to those footsteps
I have another less formal mentor in the form of my best friend’s life partner boyfriend and person, you know what, he is my friend. He keeps a distant eye out for me out of love and care and quietly cheers me on from the side-lines, he is always available and ready to listen and offer sage advice and call me out on my stuff. When I get too emotional and I do get emotional he tells me to “take a teaspoon of cement and harden up”, I hate this saying, but I appreciate the sentiment behind it. Kevin is telling me to choose my battles and cry only when it is necessary, He has bailed me out in more ways than one and has always listened. I never admit it to him, but I appreciate him more than he will know for more than the business assistance
My Kerryn, she is a powerhouse who just seems to get it right. I wish I could be more like her, she just has a wisdom beyond her years and although she does not know it I secretly take from her life and achievements and aspire to have them be my own, I love this human with my soul. She does not tell me what I want to hear, she gives it to me straight as well as the two guys above and she keeps it real.
I look up to other people who have walked barefoot on this rocky path and they have taught me so much, I have paid tribute to them in other articles but there are also those in my field who I think are owed some mention to say the least: Brene Brown, Arianna Huffington, Mel Robbins, Michelle Obama, Serena Williams, Gary Vee, Napoleon Hill and of course Viktor Frankl, the list keeps growing and changing but to the ones I have in my life – real life I am thankful.
Network network network and then network some more and when you are done go out and network then network and did, I mention network? Get yourself out of your self and network, network so hard that you become a net work. Get your credibility out there, talk about your business to people who will listen, join groups, get on social media, make yourself relevant and network, keep those business cards, keep those contacts, shake hands, eye contact, be visible all of it just network network network.
4. You are not an expert at everything
So you have a business? Great you are a CEO a director, a hot shot you drive a nice car and you can say you are your own boss. Well honey, it aint that simple, be humble enough to know that you are not an expert at everything, find people who are – start with point 3 above and get them to help you, be open to advice and give what you cannot do to the experts, in my case its bookkeeping and diary management. Know your weaker areas and get help. No business is an island
5. Celebrate the wins and win with a winning team
I have an amazing team – we are 3 dynamic women I love them dearly and yes we are like and we are actual family, they are the veins of this 5 yr. old girl, they keep me sane and are more appreciated than I let on. Whenever we get a new client, job spec, training gig, coaching client, consulting gig or retainer – we celebrate, we don’t do it enough but I would give you that advice, because this road is hard and tougher than I ever thought, so I take the wins and celebrate them whenever I can in the smallest of ways.
I have learned to come out of my comfort zone, shut my mouth when I have to, sacrifice time with family and friends, make mistakes and fail and then get back up, I have learned to be patient when teaching and when to go in and attack like a shark when I need to, I have learned that I will always hustle and grind even when I am told its stupid, I have learned that people are amazing and complicated and supportive and ugly and hurt and bruised and broken and jealous and critical and amazing and strong and present and its all just a beautiful mess and long may The Change Lab play a part in their lives. Our values stick our clients grow, our star rises and may it continue to do so and outlive me and be a legacy unto her own. To my clients who have supported us thank you and to the family of friends I have I cannot express how much gratitude I have
HAPPY BIRTHDAY THE CHANGE LAB