A squeaky bum year…

I remember writing something last year on Facebook that outlined how ridiculous that year had been… To be honest I need to top what I said then because this year has been off the scale. I don’t even know where to start really. To say that there have been highs and lows is way too much of a cliché and in any case just doesn’t go far enough… 

I came into 2018 with great ideas, after spending an amazing time in Okinawa in early January I had kind of… course corrected. I wrote loads in Okinawa and pretty much had a year planned out to include things like help deliver the European Gasshuku and my own training plan. Then the bottom fell out of my world. It’s rare for people to gush about their job, but I did most of the time. Sure it was stressful but I loved the company and the challenge and I worked with amazing people. 

Now I’ve been teaching a lot of leadership development recently and one thing that we have been looking at is the whole idea of a “gut instinct”… this is an area that I’ve been researching in my own time and a theory that I am more and more convinced is something that can bring an interesting angle when choosing company leaders. I digress but personally, I have realised that the times I have ignored my gut instinct are the times that I’ve been left shaking my head. So when the company I loved working for started to head into a refinancing process and a few people started to treat me differently I knew something was up. In fact I remember seeing a meeting that I just knew was wrong, it turns out it was the person who would take over after I left and from all the meetings that I saw happen in the office, I knew this was odd. No idea why, it could have been anybody but I picked up on something… perhaps when I voiced this to a few trusted colleagues they thought I was crazy but it was enough to start me thinking about how I was going to deal with the situation. 

Whilst all this was going on, I was also part of a team who were hosting the European Gasshuku in London and there was a mountain of work to do. Sundays became planning time and although exciting, it was not without its own stress. 

To add to all of this, we were in the middle of organising our summer awards ceremony for the entire company. We had a great venue booked and this year we were going to use live voting for the first time, I was to MC the event – even more stress. In fact we got to the point where so much was under control I was just waiting for something to break and I was expecting a huge break… 

Sleep became interrupted as everything started to mount up. I knew something was coming and I needed to be in the right place. So I started to look at the market, I didn’t want to… I really didn’t but I needed options… I mean I did… didn’t I..? I only had my gut instincts to go on. I have to be honest, I did think that I was also going crazy. Anyway conversations started and meetings took place. 

As we moved to the second quarter of the year all the timelines started to merge, I had a few irons in the fire but still nothing concrete. We were also getting to the business end of the Gasshuku and everything was starting to become very “real”. Now in the middle of all of this I had a very interesting conversation with a start-up tech company (DueDil) who were looking for a VP of People and wanted me to do all the stuff that I really enjoy. I was enchanted. 

Then the conversation took place… no good conversations start with “this isn’t going to be an easy conversation”… and that was it. All the stuff that I had picked up on from various people fell into place. I had been right.  The following day I went to meet the CEO of DueDil.

We were one week from the Gasshuku and I had so much to do that just computing the conversation was difficult. Registration of participants was crazy, it went very smoothly but it was crazy. Then my phone rang. 

I don’t know if it was fate but in the middle of the gasshuku I signed my settlement agreement, accepted a new role and the week was a huge success! I never MC’d the Instant awards ceremony but I did MC the European Gasshuku Sayonara Party! In my mind, I snached victory from the jaws of defeat. Then I had another phone call. This one was the sort of call that you dream off… then shit yourself thinking about it. I was asked to go and teach in Australia, at their national Gasshuku. 

I also had this done in 2018

My new role is fitting better than any has in a long time, I spend my time developing people and not looking after a crazy amount of payrolls. I still had jet lag on my first few days but what I have seen so far is a group of people who continue to impress me. It’s another cliché to say I’ve been welcomed with open arms but actually that pretty much nails it. 

I more than ever trust my gut instincts, 2018 hasn’t been easy, but on a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give it a solid 7. Personally, I’ve grown massively over the last year, I think I’ve re-found myself to some degree… everyone says that but I really do think I have.  I never thought I could be good enough to teach on a National Gasshuku, but I did… and I think it went OK!  I am enjoying every day and I literally can’t wait to see what next year has to bring. If you’ve been part of my 2018, thank you so much. Now lets raise a glass to the year, pat each other on the back for surviving another rotation of our local star and hopefully have many more!

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