Back in January, I wrote about why I was ready to be braver this year. That post was me saying ‘this is going to be a big year for me.’ Ten months later, I can confidently say I was right. I transformed my coaching and consulting company, Kickass Enterprises, and it continues to transform my life. I reexamined many of the goals I held at the beginning of the year. Many of these have morphed as I’ve learned more about myself and connected more fully with my passion. I want to update you on that here and share some of what I learned from going all in and changing the way I do business.
My ah-ha moment(s)
My first son prompted me to leave my job as a professor at the London School of Economics and move my family back to California to return to my first love—working with startups (which I surprisingly found to be more friendly to women than academia).
This time motherhood prompted me to hone my focus even more.
As I was holding my three-week-old daughter, Arrow, in my arms in the middle of the night almost a year ago, I had a revelation. I was wrestling with the fact that I was already itching to get back to work, while I was simultaneously aware that every moment of that short newborn period is so precious and delicious that there’s nothing worth doing more than savoring and enjoying it. When you’re priorities are so clear, you achieve a preternatural insight into yourself and your goals. I remember thinking— “Whatever I choose to go back to doing, it better be f**king worth it.”
This post on Medium is written by another women in tech, who during her maternity leave also thought deeply about how she spends her time and how she wants to improve it. Maternity leave is not a ‘break’, but it is a big shift — a change in both your day-to-day and in your lifelong identity which creates a different level of perspective. You are forced by the nature of early motherhood to stay fully present. You must be tuned into your body and the emotions and needs of another in a complete way. This presence creates space to consider things in a new light. It helps you see opportunity, and engage in radical self inquiry. In fact, it forces you to do this.
Leaning into my strength
My mission is to help creative people and entrepreneurs bring their vision and ideas into the world. And, thanks to the perspective I gained during my maternity leave, I was able to realize that 90% of the value I was creating for clients was coming from about 5% of the time I was spending with them. Coaching was actually something I was sneaking in back door of my consulting practice at that point. I was doing growth strategy, and, upon examining my successes with clients, I found that the biggest business growth came when the founder was able to unlock their own potential, to explore their deeper fears, to lean into the most challenges aspects of their humanity and their leadership. It was time for me to take the advice I have given founders so many times and cut out the features that only diluted my offering, and reduce complexity in order to serve more powerfully. So, I decided to pivot towards authenticity: ‘What if I strip away everything non-essential and only do the 5% that creates profound value— the coaching?’
While I still do strategy and organizational design, I now do it through coaching startup execs and founders. Calling myself a “coach” was difficult as first. But that was silly, frightened, ego stuff. Worth feeling, but not being guided by. Because it’s only when the leaders I work with are open to deep personal transformation that any other strategies and tactics would make any difference. For most leaders, unlocking growth and creating an epic company that fulfills their deepest vision is not an A to B process, but rather a personal shift in perspective that allows them to unlock the creativity and courage necessary for them to catalyze business growth. Great work is a spiritual journey.
Find your passion
I am excited to introduce you to this new shift in my business. By deciding to be pure and honest in what I’m offering, I have been able to kickstart growth for my clients. And once I started doing this, growth started happening for me and for my business, too.