I have to admit, this month tested me a little. You see, after four years in our previous office (where we had started with just three of us and then grown to nearly 10 times that number of staff) we finally made the move to a bigger space. But, as happens with these things, our beautiful new space was still being renovated and, well, we were very nearly officeless!
Looking back on 15 years of running my own businesses, there have been countless challenges as big as this one and I’ve worked hard to not be so attached to each one, to ride these waves without getting emotionally wiped out every time. I’ve done this so often that it’s, generally, my default way of thinking. Yet something about moving office – and setting up some of our team in a co-working space while a few of us worked from home – really messed with me for a moment. I felt, well, discombobulated.
At first I thought I was just worried about how our team were doing, if they felt supported enough and how we could maintain our fabulous culture during all this. And though I did care about these things, when I stopped to really take stock of how I felt I realised that as much as I was worried about my team, I was also thrown personally by not having a place to call our office.
And with all my travel, speaking gigs and impromptu meetings across the city, I discovered that I rely on having one thing that is a constant in my life to ground me. Suddenly having no permanent address, no server access and even no stationery made me feel momentarily a little out of control.
And the thing that I’ve learnt to do in those scenarios is flip it – reframe the issues and look for the positives. My internal dialogue went a little something like: ‘How freaking awesome! We have an opportunity to move to the cloud, go paperless, be more efficient and enjoy the benefits of working from a co-working space as well as from home.’
Suddenly something that had held me in fear for a brief moment became a great catalyst for what the universe was trying to teach me; which was about trying to do things better, push our boundaries and truly work together as a team to make it happen. The results were extraordinary (the creation of this issue, for instance
– but more on that in a minute).
This month I also had the absolute privilege of becoming an ambassador for my dear friend Lorna Jane’s Active Nation Day, held on Sept 25th. I’m in a fortunate position whereby I now regularly get approached about various ambassador roles, but I’m always so careful to stay authentic (there’s a real power in saying ‘no’ to things!) and that’s why it was such a beautiful surprise to be asked to be a face of this initiative for a woman and a company I genuinely believe in. (That being said, for the sake of my abs, I wish she had asked sooner! Even Lorna still does things on the fly, locking in the details just three days before the shoot – not nearly enough time to up my gym game!).
But what was most wonderful about this experience was Lorna’s beautiful humility. Even though we’re good friends, she is a global phenomenon. Yet, flying down to be at the shoot, she was not only happy to sit in the backseat to spend some time with my dog, Benny, but during the shoot she was constantly carrying around clothes on hangers and even holding all my things. It was definitely not something she needed to do, but it was a sweet reminder that no matter your success, it’s so important to stay grounded.
The shoot also reinforced to me how we’d come full circle. We shot Lorna for our first ever issue in 2013, which we launched not long after moving into our last office – and here we were just three years on, her shooting me (see page 140, where we’ve also done a gorgeous story with Lorna that explores her beautiful new design studio in LA).
This issue’s beautiful cover with Jess Gomes reflects just as much serendipity.
A few weeks back, Jess asked me for coffee through a mutual friend of ours. We met up and had a marvellous time – she is warm, funny and very down-to-earth. I came back to the office and announced to my team, “We should do a cover with Jess!” Turns out, my incredible team were already on it. They had just put the finishing touches on a wonderful partnership with Lexus to celebrate emerging talent across the globe (check out our Top 25 Emerging Talent list on page 42 – and what a list it is!) and two days later we were on site in the gorgeous Byron Bay Hinterland, NSW, shooting Jess for the cover.
Also in this issue is my dear friend Eva Galambos from Parlour X; Li Cunxin, the author of Mao’s Last Dancer; Franklin Leonard, who is arguably the man responsible for Juno, Argo and countless other movies getting made; and 99designs’ CEO, Patrick Llewellyn, who opens up about what it means to not be the founder of the company you run, plus the talented Dyan Burgess, who shares some amazing illustrations showing her takeaways from our Kick. Start. Smart. event held in Brisbane last month.
Above all though, what I’ve really learnt this last month is to listen to what the universe is telling me. And so as you read these pages, ask yourself: are you listening?