Author Archives: Femflection

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 87. Funding 

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds

It’s the end of 2019 I’m feeling set up for 2020.  This is what we developed this year:

  • A comprehensive new reporting tool
  • A showcase of sample reports and a workshop demo
  • Evolution of the brand, messages and imagery
  • A new website and updated materials
  • 15 accredited Mirror Mirror practitioners and 40 more set up for training next month
  • A few new and repeat client engagements
  • Initial work to set up a new organization-wide alignment diagnostic product (underway)
  • A drumbeat of articles, conferences and social posts
  • A bigger and stronger team.

I’m proud of these achievements and acknowledge my extended team of their fantastic support.  There are 10 people helping to put this Mirror Mirror together, piece by piece.

My wish for 2020?  We start making a real impact in the market: trainings, case studies, evidence of value, credibility; training, case studies, evidence of value, credibility ….

That’s great, you might be thinking, but there hasn’t been much income so far.

How is it all being funded?

To cut a long story short, it’s been a mix of a few lucky breaks that I’m very grateful for:

  • Some redundancy cash
  • A ’loan’ from my mum and dad
  • My husband moving into consultancy instead of a salaried role
  • But above all, we’ve been able to syphon off funds from our rental apartment instead of using the money to pay off the mortgage.

And that property has been amazing.  It’s right in the centre of Delft and we’ve let it on short term via Airbnb for the past 8 years.  Tourists, visitors to the University here, people on business at for the European Patent Office and Shell, and other travellers whose relatives are marrying at the beautiful Town Hall have all stayed there.  The occupancy rates have been going up and up as Airbnb has become so popular.  It’s really helped us stay afloat – providing the equivalent of a whole salary to keep the family going.

I was looking ahead to 2020, thinking that if we have this rental income plus the same consultancy money from my husband, I don’t need to draw a salary.  I don’t see the possibility of a salary for me next year anyway.  We are still in the mode of low expenditures and zero investment in pensions or mortgage reductions, which is always a nag in the back of my mind. I still need to re-invest all revenues from sales so my horizon right now is a salary in 2021.

But then last week, we got a note from the local Government.  It said that short term holiday rentals are now considered illegal and we have 10 days to respond to the letter, and then later if we do let out the property on a short-term basis, we’ll be fined 10,000 Euro!  This already happened in Amsterdam but we didn’t think it would come to little old Delft.

My husband’s consultancy contract expires at the end of the year and he doesn’t yet have his next position lined up.  That doesn’t worry me too much but I’m wondering how long we can delay proceedings on the rental house for…

Nevertheless, I think we’ll be ok.  I don’t have a debt that needs paying soon, I feel confident about the business – the worst thing that happens is, we have to sell the house.  I’m just grateful that we are able to juggle things to stay in the game.

Mirror Mirror – a team alignment diagnostic tool and process in one, helping people align to the strategy, as well as each other.

 

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 86. Building Capability

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

We have 3 jobs in progress and almost all 40 places for January’s training are booked up!  The pressure is on to get the best Mirror Mirror training programme finished before Xmas. Meantime, it’s 22.00 and I’m typing in pyjamas. I want to get this written before tomorrow.

My youngest daughter was off school sick today – that hardly ever happens. She lay on the sofa looking cute interrupting my work every 5 minutes with attention-seeking comments. She’s such a sweetie but the experience for me was a mixed back: a test of infuriation, caring, patience and acceptance all at the same time.  By about 14.00 I had given up on my well-intentioned plans to spend the whole working on the training course and succumbed to distraction.

Actually, I have 6 days over next two weeks blocked to prepare the training delivery.  And what a crucial task.  Getting this right means growth. The trainings are one day virtual Mirror Mirror courses scheduled with 10 participants per time.  From the pilot training course I delivered over the summer, this one will be a major improvement.  You could say I’ve been preparing for it for months.  The content brings together the new sample reports, the new messaging, the new processes, the new concepts and new commercial parts of the business.

I’m pleased with the format of the training day.  It starts in advance of the training day with pre-read / pre-watch videos.  The day programme consists of three online sessions – each one interactive so the participants can think things through and learn from each other. There’s offline reading and tests in between the sessions. Finally, individual 2-way feedback sessions culminate in a pass or fail situation – although I’m sure most people will pass.

I might have to skulk out to coffee shops over the Xmas break to get everything properly prepared – there’s so much to do.

Sometimes I think I’m neglecting my daughters a bit with the extra hours I’m squeezing in. But then I realise I’m just busy, like any other working mum and there’s no point in feeling guilty about it.  I’m probably more being an example to them – showing them that if you’re the working type, it is possible to find a balance that works for everyone.

And as the girls are 11 and 12, they’re starting to ask questions and listen to my explanations about what I’m doing and why.  Wouldn’t it be great if they could work for Mirror Mirror – or take it over one day?

Anyway – it looks like we already have quite a team.  I have Miss X in Berlin on Product Development (involved from day 1), Miss Y is a contractor based in Maastricht who helps on the IT side, and now I have Miss Z on board with Operations Management. She’s living quite close by, now wanting to get back into the workplace for 20 hours a week or so after her kids have left home.

It takes time to explain what’s needed and set up all the back-office processes with someone new. Miss Z has spent the first two weeks getting set up with software and learning how to use the reporting tool.  We’ve set up a new job process and are using it now.

I’d like her to support on training administration, social media, materials development…  it’ll be great once she’s up to speed.  Finally, I’ll be able to concentrate on growth.

But it’s back to preparing the training for now. Wish me luck!

Mirror Mirror – a team alignment diagnostic tool and process in one, helping people align to the strategy, as well as each other.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 85. Looking at 2020

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfold

It’s Boxing Day and I’m reviewing 5-year financial cashflow projections for Mirror Mirror that were set out carefully just before Christmas.  It’s an important document because it will guide our expectations and targets. On one hand it’s a fictional document. You can put any numbers in you like. On the other hand, the numbers need to be believable.  You want to be conservative, but too conservative and the business doesn’t look viable. We landed on predicting a three-fold annual sales increase, which may or may not happen.

The contents of that document weighed heavily on my mind. Looking at the increasing forecast income and expenditures, and the activities needed to process all of that, felt overwhelming.  Can I manage that?

And my reaction to that is doubly unsettling. How can I believe these predictions while doubting myself as the person who will lead the business there?

My husband reminds me that 2020 is the year for sales, that I need to create 3 or 4 goals and a roadmap of activities that will achieve those goals.  That I can do it. It’s my job. I know he’s right and immediately feel better.  And then I remember. I always feel anxious and blue after drinking even the smallest amount of alcohol – and over Christmas I’ve had a couple of drinks a day.  I’m not in the right frame of mind to assess this and prepare for the year ahead.  Perhaps I should give up drinking altogether.

It’s 2 days later and I’m on the Eurostar from London to Rotterdam, feeling more positive, looking again at the cashflow projections and the 2020 business plan. Here’s what I’m telling myself:

  • Yes, the sales figures are believable – it starts with a total of 30 sales in 2020.We already have 3 in the bag.  A new product like this could skyrocket or take a lot more time to take hold.  We don’t know.  It’s partly luck. We will be spending minimally. That’s the gamble.  Just take it.
  • Don’t look at the whole picture – take it step by step
  • Don’t try too hard – Mirror Mirror is a great product. Do what you’re good at which is rallying support, building the network and getting things organized.You have the team – delegate.
  • You can do this.

Apparently if you expect things, you are basically communicating what you want. But if you have intentions, you INTEND for a certain course, you are seeing what emerges, what unfolders. You are more open, you are asking not telling.  You are open to more courses of action.

In 2020 intend to bring the ready Mirror Mirror offering to market via a growing network of practitioners and see how it goes. I intend to do this in a calm and contented way, steering away from frenzied action and overwork, settling into a sustainable work life balance for the long run.

Mirror Mirror – a team alignment diagnostic tool and process in one, helping people align to the strategy, as well as each other.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

 

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 84. Iterate, iterate 

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds

The copy and materials to sell Mirror Mirror were pushed through to completion just in time for another trip to London. Every time I go through the presentation and talk to people about Mirror Mirror, interest is held, I get feedback, a door opens, people talk about next steps….

Here’s how these kind of trips go… all scheduled in advance…

Straight out of Heathrow late afternoon to visit a top contact in the City – a high-level strategy implementation consultancy.  By chance a client of his had been on the phone this morning with an issue that apparently Mirror Mirror would be perfect for.  By the end of the meeting he’d agreed to add it in to the proposal he’s sending out the next day.

Noticed the wording on the price list wasn’t very clear. Adjusted and sent it to follow up the meeting immediately.  Iterate, iterate.

NEXT DAY

Meet with an expert level practitioner who has been referred to Mirror Mirror to do our training course, but he is sceptical.  I’m with my fantastic associates Steve and Judy, who made the introduction to start with. We all talk. I get to understand his views. He asks some great questions. I learn that the competitor slide I was thinking about how to put together is more like a ‘choice’ slide for practitioners – when to use Mirror Mirror, when to use a different tool.  EXCELLENT inputs there.  Very thought provoking.  Make a note to create that slide and add it to the next practitioner training. Iterate, Iterate. By the end, he’s sold and happy to introduce us to a colleague…

Run on to a meeting with a well-connected, old contact of mine at the Royal Society of Arts. I thought was going to be critical about Mirror Mirror. Let’s face it, up to now there’s been little progress from an external perspective.  He spent a lot of time describing his successes and learnings, asking very little about what was going on, but seemed supportive.  It was nice to see him again. Good to have him on side.  He gave me a name for low cost social media support.

Ran up to the Ivy Club on Leicester Square to meet an agent of mine (someone who wants to sell Mirror Mirror on commission but doesn’t want to get involved in delivery).  Always great conversations with this contact – by the end he’d agreed to connect me with a Danish company that needs alignment help.  Realised our new business model would impact the agreement we have.  Made a note to adjust it.  Iterate, iterate.

And back down to Charing Cross to meet the guy who was going to join the business last year but never came through with anything.  I’m thinking he’d be interested in a selling tool that has been created at a nearby University. It diagnoses teams that need alignment across whole organizations – fascinating stuff.  He is interested.  To be continued.

NEXT DAY

It’s 8.30am and I’m at Vauxhall where the Oil and Gas consultancy I’m working with are based.  We have a call with a company in Aberdeen – referred from the client who so badly let us down earlier this year (at least something came from it!)  The new contact there is interested, wants more info and gives us three more contacts.

Get a space at Starbucks to update my pipeline spreadsheet, process everything and follow up with stuff I promised to send.  The messages that practitioners need to see are becoming clearer…. Iterating, iterating.

Over to Victoria for lunch and an expert practitioner contact I’ve known for a number of years is now working with a new client, who he thinks would be interested…

Up to a quiet space in the lobby of my next appointment for a call with a small consultancy I’ve been referred to – a new contact.  I’m waiting on the zoom call but she doesn’t show up OR let me know she can’t join. I take the time to go through my emails.  Processing training registrations, feeding back on draft materials from the designer.

This next appointment is with a large consultancy and I’m a bit worried they’re just interested in stealing my ideas – people have said that they’re not so trustworthy.  This is my third meeting and the lady I’m in contact with there has brought along a new director to find out more about Mirror Mirror.  He asks great questions but strangely, is worried that their revenues will drop if they use Mirror Mirror.  Hmm.  But his questions give me food for thought.  He wants me to send a copy of the presentation and takes a hard copy of our new sample report.  I’m a bit worried about whether sharing these materials is the right thing to do.

Back to the same café at Charing Cross but this time to see an informal coach / Mirror Mirror facilitator – yet to become active but fully supportive.  We discuss trust and how to deal with the likes of the large consultancy.  We agree we have to give them the benefit of the doubt as his questions were all about doability. And I realise how tired I am, atill waking up at around 4.00am every morning.

On the 45 min flight back to Amsterdam the next morning, I write a short ‘brochure’ to attract practitioners to train up to be Mirror Mirror facilitators – with no hesitation.  I connect to my mobile hotspot on the train and ping it over to my super new great value designer, feeling altogether smug with how it’s all going.  Iterate, iterate. Within 2 days it’s back and I’m sending it out.

Say the right words, make a million, apparently.

Just today, the pipeline is getting more active.  Each call I have with potential trainees or clients has positive next steps and new ideas to incorporate. I wish I could take a photo of my inbox (maybe I should do that right now as a screenshot).  Every mail looks something like this:

“Do you have a video I can circulate to my network?”

“I just registered for your training.”

“Yes, I definitely want to run Mirror Mirror with my team in the New Year.”

I can’t tell you how much deep-seated excitement there is in my belly!! After all this time, after all these trips, the networking, the iterations, Mirror Mirror is really coming out of incubation. The iterations will never stop but the outcome, at last is traction. 2020 is going to be big.

Mirror Mirror – a comprehensive team alignment diagnostic tool and process in one, helping people align to strategy, as well as with each other.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 83. Finding my Voice 

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

It’s still too hectic. I’m getting caught up in too many things and am starting to resent people who don’t seem to understand that ignoring the pressure to keep the momentum going, the relationships, the confidence, and the SALES is counterintuitive.

Of course, when people say

“You need to stick to your prices”

“Just go at your own pace”

I don’t think they get it – AND they’re damn well right.

What I learned just a couple of days ago is that if you have too many things on your active To Do list, then you will get overrun (especially if you’re the kind of person to just carry on ploughing through everything, as I am).

The secret is to have a Planning list, a Backlog list and a To Do list.  Move things aside.  Some stuff can wait until next week.  See www.trello.com – super-easy online board for this very process.

My active projects list went down from 8 to 4.  I felt relieved.

Then I’m thinking, for Christs sake, this is just prioritisation – why don’t I DO this already?!

ANYWAY

My story this time is about a presentation I did in Berlin last week.   It was to an Internal Communications audience – and with that profession as a 15-year background, I’ve been mulling over why this profession is ailing.  It’s pathetic, actually, to keep hearing:

“Why don’t we have more budgets?”

“Why don’t we have a seat at the C-Suite?”

“How can we move our profession forward?”

It is my personal opinion that the role of internal communication professionals should be to support managers and leaders as communicators, in a facilitation capacity. That by ‘owning’ communication it’s just wrong – and serves to DISENGAGE employees.

I presented on this by ‘holding up the mirror’ at traditional employee communications.  I did that confrontationally and with some humour.  I said it like I see it – dead straight.

The reactions were weird.  Some very depressed looking faces and some compliments from the more senior people in the room.

But I was authentic and I believe the content.  Later, I posted a summary of that talk on LinkedIn and got TONS of positive attention for it: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/lindsay-uittenbogaard-1a653b_icc19-redesign-hr-activity-6595191772706557952-4SHB

And afterwards I imagined more content I could share like that.  I was in my own role – the Cheeky, Challenging Corporate Rebel that I am.

And what allowed me to go there?  Since we changed our business model, I’m not expecting people to hire me direct.  I don’t need to fit in anymore – I’m running a company that sells licenses to a tool and a process for practitioners to use with their clients.

People laughed at my jokes.

I could be expressive!

I enjoyed it : )

I found my voice!

Mirror Mirror – a comprehensive team alignment diagnostic tool and process in one, helping people align to strategy, as well as with each other.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 82.  Frantic exciting times

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

Hi again – can’t write for long.  Am on a train to Berlin – will be presenting at an Internal Comms conference tomorrow and I’ve got tons of work to do en route.  Everything is getting really hectic!

I can’t remember a more frantic time – I’m really having to get back to the old self-management techniques to moderate myself.

Don’t know where to begin – except that finally, I really know that Mirror Mirror will make it.  Every time I get the opportunity to present to someone with the new messages and business model, they love it!!!

“This is awesome, I can see so many places to use this.”

“Wow this is great – I know a few more people who’d like to see this.”

“Sign me up to the training – I’d love to learn more.”

And I am so pleased to have hit on two essential concept development insights during the whole message development process that will improve the saleability of Mirror Mirror 10 fold:

  • We need to appeal to the ‘top down’ budget holder mentality so they can be assured that what we do supports them.
  • We can talk about aligning people to the strategy AND with each other (rather than just doing the latter) – because we can and do indeed do that.

They do say that going into a creative process like text and imagery upgrades, leads to more questions and answers!

It has been a scramble to rewrite the ‘final’ key message set to incorporate these developments before everything is etched in our new materials – over the coming week – after months of preparation.

Meantime my graphic designer went off brief and missed my deadline so I fired him and I’m starting again. The reporting tool UAT process is being done rigorously but is taking a long time so I set a deadline of 1st November to have it ready to use (secondary issues can be sorted out later).

Am having lots of sleepless nights with a lot going around in my brain.  Need to crunch down and move past this.

At the same time and with absolute confidence in MM going forward, here’s what’s going on:

  • A pitch to an NGO in Nigeria via a delivery partner– they want a proposal to evidence the need for change – sent.
  • A previous client phoning back for another team run in January, then calling again a week later for a different team run under ‘emergency circumstances’ next month – in hand.
  • Twelve experts signing up for the training dates I’ve set up within 3 days of the courses going online because of referrals – confirmed.

A hugely exciting potential extension of our offer is a local university who have an organization-wide strategic alignment measurement tool for research purposes.  This would evidence which teams need Mirror Mirror. I’m talking to them about using it for our clients – just WOW.

I am looking at the year ahead and thinking about how to manage growth in a way that is healthy.

I did a P&L forecast for the next 5 years with best guesses of income and expenditure assumptions. It shows that BOY, if all goes well then we are sailing!

I am looking to recruit an Operations Manager on a profit share basis because when we start delivering we need to be READY but I can’t pay a salary now.

I reflect that possibilities to develop only come up when the opportunities to do so present themselves:

  • I wouldn’t have looked at moving to the business model where we sell MM as a licence to practitioners if it wasn’t for our new reporting tool being so robust and difficult to copy (previously I felt the process was too easy for someone to walk away with)
  • I wouldn’t have considered training up practitioners in every country if it wasn’t for the insight that virtual training and delivery were possible
  • I wouldn’t have thought global rollouts were possible if we hadn’t developed the capability to train and deliver virtually
  • I wouldn’t have thought we could cover a scope to align people to strategy as well as to eachother if this university tool hadn’t come up to raise the right questions….

Sorry – bit disjointed this time!

Mirror Mirror aligns people to the vision and strategy, and with each other.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 81. What a view! 

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

Previously, I described the experience of setting out in business like climbing a mountain. Just when you get to the top, you see another peak, then another – and it goes on. While mountain climbing is exhilarating, daring and risky, it’s also cold, difficult and hostile. But I just accept that’s the nature of the journey when you are creating a new market for a new idea: discovery, adaption, reorientation, and learning.
But lately, I’ve been stressed, disturbed, finding it difficult to sleep. I recognise this feeling. It’s what happens when several ‘fundamentals’ about the business are being re-thought. A lot has been subject to a much-needed challenge, it’s been thrown up into the air and hasn’t yet landed.
What set this off was a repositioning. Rather than offer Mirror Mirror as an alignment process to clients, we decided to commoditise it. To sell it as a tool that identifies and measures alignment gaps for HR, Learning and Development, Communication and Performance Management practitioners. We would build a network of practitioners who can use this tool to add value for their clients. Although that business model is quite a common one and how Mirror Mirror was envisaged to run from the start, we couldn’t go ahead with it right away because we needed experience, case studies, and credibility. We also needed an advanced – and expensive reporting tool that puts the research concepts and our designs into action to the highest level of professionalism. But above all, we didn’t know for sure, exactly how to articulate Mirror Mirror, how to describe alignment, misalignment, Mirror Mirror – why and for what?
We needed all of those things to attract the confidence of intermediaries, expressed in top class marketing collateral and it’s taken the past three years to put all of that together – experimenting with market reactions on the way.
This new direction sounds straightforward but over the past two weeks, but while creating copy and design briefs to update our customer facing materials, I began seeing more and more subtle implications of this new direction and more clarity about the whole field of alignment itself. I wrote about that here. Even got it a short version of it published in the Drucker Forum blog with a co-writer here. Fascinating stuff!
But behind the scenes, more parts of the business are affected. Terms and conditions, pricing, processes, training materials, the marketing strategy …. and how to relay all these changes to my existing network. Also, the process of finalising our new reporting tool has been going on for MUCH longer than anticipated. Such a cliché. It’s taking a lot of time to test and double test every aspect of its functioning and output. I should have expected that.
In parallel, the money I had to invest in growth is running out and time is getting short. I’m holding off on people I planned to get back to with our new brochure after the summer. Pretty soon, I’ll miss the window of attention before Christmas. I’m getting back to contacting people and while my pipeline isn’t getting signed contracts, it’s starting to fizz with a much stronger level of interest than before.
The detail and time to do this felt overwhelming, and THERE’S STILL JUST ME WORKING ON THIS ALL THE TIME. Sure I have a business partner in Berlin, but that’s just a few hours a week, At times like this, I yearn for someone to support me full-time and take the weight off. I think of ways to enlist more help on other terms…
Luckily, I had a call scheduled with Steve from ReesMcCann – my fantastic new business partners to develop Mirror Mirror for virtual teams. Fabulous guy – solid think partner. He talked me down and advised me simply to list my deadlines (a promised presentation pack, a conference pitch, my target training dates, and update materials and website) and everything that needs to be done to make those happen.
Gradually, the pieces began to fall in place. Pricing – on the ‘back of an envelope’ – the basic idea in an hour. A design company in Argentina, briefed and organized with their own sub-deadlines and details – done in 2 hours. The timetabling of my other actions to meet my deadlines – another hour. More user acceptance testing – this is very detailed stuff that sits well outside of my comfort zone – but I got the issues organised as to which ones relate to which test case and how we will manage this – 4 hours. Feels good to make this kind of progress in a day.
And that’s the antidote. I’m better again. It’s all organised. This can work.
The next morning I’m meditating, and a clear visual emerges in my mind. I’m standing on the top of a snowy mountain looking down on to a circular lake that is surrounded by green. Nobody else is there. I hadn’t seen it before, and I want to be there.
Then I realise.
The goal was never to get to the top of the mountain. The mountain was a vantage point, a way of finding a place to grow and flourish. It’s a great view, but finding somewhere warmer, safer, more productive and sustainable is the purpose of the trip.
Some people start their businesses already where they need to be. Ready market, right network, luck. I didn’t have that. I had to find my way.
I used to feel bewildered just looking at LinkedIn. Should I be building relationships with influencers – which ones? Which webcasts should I sign up to with so many relevant topics? Where do I start with reading up on stuff in my field? Which forum should I best spend time in?
Now I know where to focus.
BANG. Just this afternoon, the Energy company now 11 months into that lush promised multi-team job just today admitted – after 3 emails prior confirming go ahead – that there’s been a change of personnel. The job is off. If the new guy is interested, the work could happen in Q1 … although the door is slightly open, it’s starting from scratch. All those hours of making proposals, all that income, not happening.
I had sensed this was coming. Over the subsequent hours my gut took on its own low pitched, monotone cry. Thanks to it being a Friday and the neighbours hosting an immensely lovely drinks evening, my gut got distracted by salami, cheese and prosecco.
In the back of my mind is the unnerving thought that my gut is wrong, and that Mirror Mirror is just a shiny perspective that doesn’t stick as a product. I’m constantly evaluating that thought against feedback from others – trying to see ‘reality’, because the longer this goes on, the more I have riding on it. Do I really have the right challenge? Have I got a confirmation bias? Trust in my common sense and experience wins. I continue, fuelled as ever, by over-optimism and the love of bringing this concept to life.
Reflecting, I see the false promise of that big Energy company contract had at least given me the faith to scale this last mountain and get to the prepared state we are in now. As I start my way downhill to the lake, I’m ready to do what needs to be done. Maybe I can even win that Energy company back.

Mirror Mirror is a tool that identifies and measures alignment gaps in teams.

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