Connor Who?

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I think I am a pretty proud guy. One who, I think has always made it seemed like he has his shit together. And for the most part I have.

It was only yesterday that I could admit it to myself though, I am going through some shit.

I’ve recently come out of a four-year relationship with a girl that was a huge part of my development as a person. No crazy break-up story though I’m afraid. I mean, she had her shit together too, probably still does. Great Job, huge amount of drive and passion, braces had just come off and was definitely going places. Quick.

We had a beautiful apartment in Bondi, the car, the cookbooks, the furniture, the vitamix. Everything except the dog.

Something I am only just coming to grips with now is how much she had become a part of my identity. I shared in her actions and beliefs, in a lot of ways claimed them as my own. My life was paved for me for sure, I knew the next steps in my life and I knew how things would turn out 10 years from now. That’s probably why I was so generous with all my life advice at the time.

You know there’s a huge sense of ease that comes from belonging. When you know that no matter what you’ll always have someone to come home to. And due to the nature of her job, that home would always be a pretty fancy one.

Now I am at this point where I have to build that for myself. From the ground up. I guess I had lost that drive, that fire to work hard because I knew things would work out even if I didn’t.

I still think I have my shit together. There’s not a lot for 24 year olds with the perspective on life or the self awareness I have. However, when I look at my bank account and living situation in comparison it tells a different story.  

It goes to show how fragile it all is. I’ve been left as a collection of values, with a chance to reinvent it all.

Taking the Plunge

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So, I quit my job… Ya. That’s real.

I didn’t realize how fast I’d be ok with taking this leap.

It started for me when I was offered a promotion at my previous job. I wasn’t excited by this opportunity. It was a weird feeling having something that I’ve worked so hard for the past three years right in front of me, right at my fingertips. Having something that I well deserved and, was more than capable of doing right there and feeling nothing. My first reaction to this opportunity was “Oh Shit’. Not really what you want when you’re being offered your next role. Even with this first instinct, I took some time to think about my options. At this point, we had just started our business. I found something that I was stoked about, and the future was bright. I needed to make a decision. On one hand, I had finally been offered something I deserved, something that everyone know was the next step for me. More money, stability, the safe option. Would I have time to put my full self into my business? Could I be 100% invested in my new role when my mind is filled with visions of what I want to do with my own business? Did I even really want to go into a new environment with a new team and build something pretty much from scratch? It became clear to me that the answer to these questions was a hard NO. I declined that role.

For the first time, I took a risk on myself. I mean, I’ve taken risks before… Moving to New York alone, moving to BC, uprooting my life and moving to Australia, but never one that didn’t have a clear outcome or the stability for me to create a life. In that moment, I had no idea if it would reward me in the end but clearly, I’ve never been one to take the safe/comfortable route. I decide things for me and I’ve learned to listen to my gut. Might seem crazy, but it’s worked so far. This could be one of my greatest strengths or one of my biggest downfalls but who the fuck knows! All I knew in that moment was that the not so safe option was worth the risk of failing. Because failing, to me, is much more valuable than regret. This is one thing I didn’t want to look back on and ask myself “what if?”

So now fast forward a few weeks. I was in the same role as before. Happy going into work, doing my job and leaving. Something happened to me when I declined that role. I was no longer invested in what I was doing, and that was very apparent in my performance. I showed up every day for the people, however it was the little things that I let fall. I ended up having a meeting with my store and regional managers, and when they were speaking I found myself feeling disconnected. Did I want to be in this meeting? No. Did I want to be performance managed in a role I was not invested in? No. Did I want to be put on an action plan to gauge my progress by ticking a few boxes? Fuck That. I didn’t know that going into that meeting I would come out giving my 5 weeks notice, but for the first time in a long time I felt a massive weight lift from my shoulders. I no longer had to feel like I was disappointing people. I didn’t have to stress about missing little things, and I no longer was thinking about work when I got home. I could just be. I then focused my energy into enjoying the next 5 weeks with the people who had become a big part of my life for the past year and a half. It was clear that it was my time to move on and even though it happened way quicker than I could have anticipated, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I am so grateful for my time with lululemon and I have learned more than I could have ever imagined. Not only about business and how to build relationships, but I have learned more about myself in the past 3 years than I ever thought possible. I have grown so much as a human, and I owe that to all of the amazing people I have met along the way (you know who you are). The friendships that I have made are forever, and that’s just icing on the cake.

This next step is a game changer and I’m ready to see where we are capable of going. Some people may call me crazy, taking this leap without knowing what the hell is going to happen next, but I’ve never felt so clear in what I want and I am going after it in a big way.           

Business Worry

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So when I first started to think of how to write this first blog I got caught up in the fact that I’m not a writer. How can I write something that even comes close to what bloggers these days do as much as everyday? Are people going to care? Will people even take the time to read this? Then I really got connected to why I want to do this. What do I actually want to get out of writing down what’s going on in my life? Ultimately letting go of the fact that it has to be good, and looking forward to sharing may journey as a new business owner. It might not be pretty, but the best things usually happen from things that aren’t.

I didn’t always want to be a business owner. I was completely happy with the idea of finding a job I loved, in a company I loved, and living out my life heading to work, coming home and being paid. It wasn’t until this year that this completely changed. I started questioning what I was doing, where I would go, and if I was even worthy of my current role.

I then took a step back and asked myself what do I actually want in my life? What is important to me? How do I want to feel in my role? Who do I want to be, and where do I want to be? It then became clear that if all of the things that I want are going to happen like I want, I’m going to have to create something myself.

Connor, my partner here, has such a huge influence on me (little does he know). Always creating space for me to be me, always living into the possibility that life can, and will, be everything that we want it to be while always taking me along for the ride. For this, I am eternally grateful.

Over a few wines one night, Connor and I mapped out what we wanted in a role. What a day would look like for us, and how we want to feel everyday (mostly) going to work. It was clear that we were aligned in pretty well everything that we discussed.

Deciding to register and run with Hone In was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. The voice of doubt reared her ugly voice… Yes, her. What if you’re not good enough? What if no one wants to partner with us? What if this fails? What will people think? I think this is a completely normal reaction when deciding the rest of your life. Taking a few breaths, stepping back from these throughs, and channeling the positive Janice, I sat back and thought, but what if it does work? What if everyone loves it? What have I got to lose? I’m not saying that the other voice doesn't creep in almost everyday, but realising what the cost is of not taking this chance scares me more. (Having a business partner that’s on the same page helps a bit too)

I’m not saying that this is going to be easy. I’m sure there will be times where I want to quit (and that scares the shit out of me), I’m just saying that I would forever be kicking myself in the ass if I didn't take this step.

So here I am, a business owner (holy shit), with a passion for people, authentic connection, and facilitating positive change, jumping into something that I never thought was possible for me, scared shitless about where this all could go (in the best way possible). Sounds a bit cliche, but I figure I’ve come this far, life’s way too good to spend it doing something that you’re not passionate about.

Stay tuned friends, cause now you're here with us too :)

How do you sell your hotdogs?

I was recently in San Francisco on my way home from a Giants Baseball game at AT&T Park.

As I was leaving the stadium I passed two hotdog stands on my way out. The first, a guy who was absolutely loving it. The classic American bellowing at the top of his voice “hotdogs! get your hotdogs!” He was so passionate, so clear and direct it seamed like he had his shit together. His hotdog stand screamed quality.

The other was a more timid man, quietly standing behind the grill muttering “hotdogs, hotdogs, hotdogs” under his breath as if he were trying to do a sneaky drug deal on the side of the street. Although selling them for a whole dollar cheaper, the impression I got was that his dogs were potentially lined with bath salts.

I’m sure now that these two vendors probably were selling a very similar product. And maybe if I had bought my hotdog off the dodgy dealer he would have given me a better deal and an experience that would have made me a regular customer. However, I wasn’t willing to risk it.

First impressions can be everything. We associate quality so much with the image, the line-up of people and the confidence radiating from their bellowing voice that it becomes our only option. In that moment I wanted the best hotdog, even if it cost me a whole extra dollar.

Meet Janice

I’ve always thought of myself as a bit different from who I was meant to be.

My life has consisted of sport, friends, family and lots of love. I had an amazing upbringing with parents that are second to none. I was always told that I could do or be anything in the world, and I had the support of my family 100% of the time, through any crazy decision that I may have made. I was lucky, and am so grateful to everyone who has entered my life.

Coming to Australia wasn’t a hard decision for me. It was a place where I could totally see myself living at some point, and the lifestyle was hard to say no to. I finally found a place where I felt like I belonged, a place where I could show up as the (for lack of a better term) ‘free-spirit’ that everyone labelled me as. A place I could see myself staying for a long time.

Splitting from my Aussie partner was one of the worst/best experiences of my life. In that, I was faced with one of the biggest challenges; finding out who I am, in a foreign country, without him. For so long I identified as his partner. Everyone knew me as his girlfriend from Canada, and for some reason, I fell into that mould, ignoring the things that were actually happening, and ignoring the person who I truly was inside. I lost a bit of myself in that relationship, but like with anything, the things I learned out of that was worth it.

I learned that settling for a mediocre life wasn’t on for me. I learned that I needed someone who supports me 100%, no matter what, and I learned that part of my purpose here is to be a stand for what life can look like, what it should be, and that living a life of unhappiness and stress is soooooo not worth it.

My experience at Lululemon has also had a big influence on who I am today. In particular, one of my closest friends, and my first manager Joanne. She taught me the power of clear communication. She taught me that standing for something you believe in is power. She taught me that knowing, and being a stand for your own worth is one of the most important things, and she steered me in the direction that I am taking today. I’ve never met someone who truly loves people as much as she does. Who is unapologetically themselves 100% of the time, and who will stand by my side no matter what kind of life decision I make for myself. She has impacted my life in a way that she’ll never actually know, and I wouldn’t be the person who sits here today without her.

When I look at myself I see someone who cares about people. Someone who wants to make a difference. Someone who has so much to give when it comes to experience and advice, and someone who just wants to share everything that I have learned, like the leaders I’ve been lucky enough to have in my life. Taking this leap just makes sense to me. It’s not always going to be easy. We’re going to have to work through some shit I'm sure, but the feeling of jumping two feet into something you love makes it all worth it.

I knew I could be the person I always knew I was, it just took a couple things to happen along the way.

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