Actually I ‘go’ all the time. I am a never stop person. Sometimes I don’t sit down for fear of falling asleep. I love Go. I find Stop restricting. Occasionally however all this Go sees me wonder how I got here. Go doesn’t allow for Time Well Spent. Occasionally even I recognise that Stop is important.
July 1st was launch day for Kairos Modern Learning, my consultancy to help businesses, trainers and L&D specialists to move away from ‘injection education’ to more sustainable, effective learning solutions. This is a journey I have made myself as a trainer, and have supported corporates to do, hence my desire to share my experiences.
So here we go!!
I imagined our launch to be a fanfare with balloons, music, laughter and bubbles. We did have some of that because it was my youngest’s birthday. But actually it was a more sedate family affair. In truth I was exhausted before I began as all the planning takes it out of you. Working my corporate notice and setting up a business was three months of two full time jobs.
Kairos Modern Learning is now a month old and has been full of Go. Our month anniversary is a good excuse for a little Stop and reflection to help others who may face such challenges.
For many years I have believed that life is all about making a positive difference to the world around you. I genuinely believe in making life better for others. L&D suits me down to the ground for exactly this reason. I came to this profession via Global Mobility, which is another vocation all about making a positive difference. I have nearly 15 years’ experience in Mobility, with half of those operational and half training others how to be operational. It is a long time in the corporate world.
In August 2013 on a whim I made a list of reasons to stay with my corporate and reasons to leave. And so started my journey to become self-employed. I was in no hurry; we were doing great work, I was really enjoying making a difference, we were leading the field in terms of blended learning and use of learning technologies. However long term I simply knew in my heart that corporate life would not sustain me or grow me as I needed to be nourished.
From that initial decision, along the way several people and experiences reinforced my long term plans. In November 2013 I read a blog http://pabial.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/its-time-to-leave-work-is-it/. It was written by an interesting L&D expert, Sukh Pabial who writes great blogs on L&D (and tennis, but we all have our faults!) It really resonated with me, and I realised how one person can really influence another never having even met. I wanted a piece of that action and ramped up my involvement with social media as a starting point.
Success with our corporate learning plans saw me invited to speak at Learning Technologies and by the CIPD L&D Show. I also undertook CIPD Experience Assessment and became part of Jonny Gifford’s excellent CIPD case study, Social Media at Work. Keen not to be caught up in my own zeitgeist, I didn’t let such experiences give me a false panacea post-corporate life. I planned my future with realism rather than emotion. Yet it was all a very emotional time; I worked for a great empowering boss, Katherine Marlow whom I respect and admire, I love the people I worked with as my friends and I believed in the company and the learning journey we had set up. But you know, when it is time, it is time. We all know that “Success is a journey not a destination” (Arthur Ashe).
If you are thinking you need the nourishment of self-employment, unless you are a marketing whizz, do not under estimate how long it will take to organise your new business, the accounting, the planning, your identity, your message, your brand. Some people go with their own name, and that works, however you are your own brand and all you do is your brand. Personally I wanted something that really reflected me and my journey. At a Tweet Up in London talking to Helen Amery of Wild Fig Solutions I saw the passion in her when she explained her company name. It was inspiring to see how she lit up and was animated so I looked for something similar. In conversation with my friend, Rev Will Gibbs, a chance comment stuck with me and inspired my company name, Kairos Modern Learning: Modern Learning is about fast paced point of need in the moment knowledge, whereas Kairos is that moment in time when chronology stops, giving you chance to reflect and move on in a different direction – marrying the two allows more effective, impactful and inspiring learning to take place – it is the ultimate combination of Go and Stop life. Setting up the business along the way I have subconsciously been gathering nuggets of interest and inspiration, allowing them to piece together one by one in Kairos time, Time Well Spent.
When launch day came, following such a bold brave build-up, there was excitement and trepidation in equal measure. I wanted everything to be ready and to launch with a pageant, but just like everything else in our modern lives, I launched on Go, not Stop. During the build-up I had conversations with great people including Perry Timms, Steve Dineen, Boyd Glover, amongst others, so I hit the ground running. I saw my first client in the first week. I billed within the first week. I have worked hours I didn’t even know existed. I still have my bank account to set up. We are a month in before my website is launching. Some may say tardy, I simply say I live on Go, not Stop.
So today, for a short pause, here we Stop for a blog post to name check all those who have inspired and helped me to this moment. To those not mentioned, you know who you are and you know I am truly grateful. Today I am happy to have some Kairos time to digest the past few months, reflect on what I’ve learnt and to plan my next moves. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And that is OK.