I had a comfortable career working for a leading consultancy, recruiting talent for the major investment banks and financial services houses in London. I worked with great people, I was good at my job and I enjoyed excellent financial compensation. The day I resigned from that job which I loved to go it alone was the Lean In moment that has defined my life ever since.
My boss was shocked and so was my team. ‘Why are you doing this?’ they all said, expecting me to have some all-encompassing answer that would make sense to everyone. But I didn’t. I just felt a powerful need to jump out of my comfort zone and really test myself; to do something different. I didn’t feel unfulfilled. I simply got excited by the idea of big change and wanted to see what the consequences were.
A few weeks earlier I had bumped into an old school friend who, like me, was a successful recruiter. He had recently returned from 5 years in Australia and was seeking a new challenge. We met for a coffee on a Friday afternoon to talk about old times and within 20 minutes we had planned out what our new company was going to look like. I didn’t overthink it, and I have not regretted that decision once in the nine years since we opened our doors.
Sometimes in life you just have to trust what feels right, spot that opportunity when its swings by and grab it with both hands. The downsides are generally far smaller than you first think. We tend to focus our fears on worst-case scenarios that so rarely play out. I also feel that allowing yourself and others the space to make mistakes is really important. ‘Succeed or learn’ is a mantra that has become ingrained in everyone at my company.
Success can take many forms and means different things to different people in my experience, but generally, financial rewards in themselves fade very quickly in importance. For me, success means being able to have time with my wife and children and having new, enriching life experiences.
Ultimately, I’ve learned that our legacy in life should be the positive impact we have on others, and that there is a moral obligation to help those around us when we can. As the great Zig Ziglar once said, ‘you will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want’.