Insights – Executive Director, Business Services
“Before working with Laurence and Udell Group, I would have definitely said that I knew exactly who I was and that just by working incredibly hard and being focussed, increased my performance, which in turn gave me a sense of happiness. I now have learned that this was such naïve thinking!
The key for me is knowing who you are. In my early career I had worked for global businesses and had earned a reputation for accepting any task or challenge handed to me and remaining totally focused on achieving the outcomes. I was seen as someone with persistence and an unrelenting attitude, irrespective of who or what was in my way; almost programmed and robotic in getting the job done. I didn’t know how to say “no” as I felt this was seen as failure and instead juggled with decisions in my head, causing myself at times great stress and torment. Did I perform? Yes, however I was not at my best and it came at a price, especially for me and the people close to me.
For me personally, one of the biggest impacts of working with Laurence and Udell Group has been understanding that only I can take ownership and responsibility for my own life; people can help create an environment which provides me with a sense of security, comfort or confidence, or do things that make me happy, however I alone am responsible for my actions, my decisions, my behaviours and my life.
In knowing who I am (and I am still learning this every day through new experiences and challenges) helps me to assess whether something has real meaning and purpose to me. I am able to trust my instincts and feel at a logical and emotional level whether I am doing the right thing – is my head and my gut saying this is right? I have stopped being [so] compliant and I have become more confident in giving my opinion, advice and direction based on more than just logic, and in turn, feel a greater sense of satisfaction and confidence that this will result in better decisions and therefore better performance.
Having a greater awareness of who I am has also given me a better mind-set. I believe I am more open to listen, understand what is important to others, and explore different routes rather than being closed to different personalities and their ideas. I still have to deal with conflict and challenge, however by understanding who I am, what has meaning and purpose to me and the environment that gets the best out of me, enables me to have a different mind-set and be able to deal with this conflict and challenge in a better way. I am also more aware of when my mind is closed. I still do make decisions whilst being in this frame of mind and then generally kick myself with regret and frustration!
One of the biggest decisions I have had to make professionally is whether to invest in a start-up business. This investment was not simply about money; it involved a long-term commitment to investing, not just my time and expertise, but of the shareholders and directors. In considering whether this was the right investment, I had to weigh up many factors; the risk, potential reward and return, market conditions, growth opportunities, competition, management team etc. Just as important was whether this investment would have real meaning and purpose to me; would it provide an environment where I felt I could still live and demonstrate my values and therefore feel a strong sense of authenticity, would it allow me to work collaboratively with a team aligned behind a common vision and goal? Knowing who I am and what makes me feel a sense of satisfaction, happiness, or even greater fulfilment, has certainly helped me to make much better decisions.
And the result is that we did invest in the business and I have helped to steer and guide that business to the success it is today, making better decisions and delivering greater performance. After 3 years, the business was already providing returns and is on track to ultimately achieve its exit strategy.
Knowing myself does not change who I am, and at times I still feel in a state of confusion, stress and frustration which leads to my mind being more closed and feeling uncomfortable with the decisions I am having to make. However overall I feel it has helped me to change my mind-set and my behaviours. It has helped me to clear my mind, feel much calmer, share more freely, have the space to make decisions both collaboratively and as an individual, and this in turn has without doubt enabled me to take greater responsibility for my life, feel a much stronger sense of happiness and fulfilment and in turn improve my performance.”