7 months ago, we quit our jobs, packed up and moved 3000 miles to a tiny, quaint ocean side town we had never been to before, in a state we had never visited before. We thought we were taking a year off, … but here’s what actually happened…
Month 1 – A strange mix of dread and exhilaration!
Our identities were so intertwined with our work that we felt a sense of loss, a vacuum, and to be honest, a feeling of being less important or valuable without the constant busy-ness, initiatives, actions and outcomes flying out of the door.
On the other hand, the joy of not being held hostage by an alarm clock or calendar, the vanishing Monday Morning Blues, the elation of coming back from a vacation… to a longer vacation; felt incredibly nurturing and liberating.
Month 2- Is there such a thing as too much zen? We have lazed, rested, recouped, …now what?
Despite our best efforts to cling to leisure, the questions on our purpose and how we can bring it to life, just won’t leave us alone. As we looked at the world around us, there is still so much to do to enable people to be the best they can be. And we know we can help. We connected with people from different walks of life through our Listening Labs, spoke to progressive industry leaders, and came away inspired.
We decided to invest in ourselves, take the time to deep dive, experiment, be uncomfortable, be curious, learn a lot, and create the space to innovate.
…and we committed to pursue our Purpose – to make work more meaningful, workplaces more human, and the world more equal.
Month 3 – Being uncomfortable and loving it
We dive in head first, arms flailing, into starting a company; Just Human | Not Resources, with a mission to Eliminate Monday Morning Blues by humanizing work, cultures and leadership.
…and then dive into a collaboration with 2 very talented partners to start the Human Energy Collaborative with a mission to co-create the new world of work.
Month 4 – How can anyone work with their spouse?!!
Working with your spouse is uplifting, inspiring, difficult and annoying…reeeaally annoying. There are moments of brilliance interspersed with an overwhelming desire to scream…often. We are still learning to not kill each other over every minor disagreement.
Month 5-6 – Research, connect dots, connect with people, innovate, rinse, repeat.
We become obsessed with inclusion, and flexibility – the 2 areas plagued with way more talk, than action. As practitioners, we know that Actions Speak Louder Than Platitudes and that, doing something requires actually doing something.
We turn our obsession into research, devouring over 200-250 books, journals, research studies, cases, white papers, reports, articles etc on what are the issues, what is the root cause, what’s working, what’s not working, why aren’t we making more progress, what actually moves the needle, and what are the proof points.
Innovation can be a messy process. It is a roller coaster ride of ideas, and emotions. We love and hate what we are working on, often on the same day, sometimes within an hour of each other! Every cell in our body is frustrated and wants no part of it, but the potential of what could be, kept us going.
Month 6-7 – Eureka! Lightning strikes twice.
We create an innovative solution – Sustainable Inclusion©.
Sustainable Inclusion© is about unlocking the Power of Collective Genius. It is not just about seat at the table, being heard or feeling wanted, it is about having the power to drive change. It is focused on conscious actions, takes an ecosystem approach and is evidence based & customized.
We also create another innovative solution – Flex @ Scale©.
Flex @ Scale© is the ecosystem that empowers teams to decide what, how, where and when work gets done with a laser focus on results. It is focused on the hybrid readiness and effectiveness of teams on a sustainable basis, using an evidence based and ecosystem approach that is team centric.
Here’s what we learned along the way:
Take a chance…on yourself – You’ll find a million reasons not to, and we certainly could’ve written an encyclopedia of excuses. The only reason to take the leap? – If you don’t take a chance on yourself, who will?
Invest in yourself. You are worth it.
Learn, experiment, rinse, repeat – Being a life long learner and experiencing the joy of discovery, is the most uplifting and liberating feeling ever.
Do more of what you love (and less of what you don’t)
Reach out and talk to differently interesting people…be inspired. We connected with people we would’ve never met otherwise, and it broadened our horizons
Pursue your purpose, life is too short not to. We were surprised to see that we had been leaving clues and hints on our Purpose and the difference we wanted to make, over the years, without even knowing it. E.g. I had been writing since 2004, and had a blog that was named uncannily similar to what our company name would turn out to be, over 15 years later! Who knew?!
As we reflect on the year that was, we feel blessed to have had the opportunity, and indebted and incredibly thankful to all those who trusted us, spent time with us, brainstormed and shared their stories with us. You inspire us to keep going.
Taking the year off might not have gone quite as we initially planned, but looking back, it certainly was the best decision ever.
How was 2021 for you? Did you take a chance on yourself? Did someone take a chance on you? Did you try something for the first time? What happened? What did you learn? How do you feel about it?
Share your story with us, and it just might reach someone who’s looking for that dose of inspiration.