“I don't know if we'd be doing what we're doing now, had I not been able to make that mindset shift.”
What was your work situation before the Launch Pad?
I worked for an online price comparison site for fifteen years, as a senior leader.
I'd left my university degree after my first year, because I was quite unwell from a mental health situation, and it was a job that I'd fallen into.
The feeling of ‘I never made a really conscious choice’ was always with me.
After fifteen years in the same business, I knew I was going to have to get off the bus or properly recommit to that role which I knew inside out, and, frankly, was coasting in.
How were you feeling about your work?
I really felt quite trapped, like a one-trick pony.
I felt like I only knew how to do this one fluky thing.
Then of course the first thing I did was I started to apply for jobs that were exactly the same as the job that I already had, so I got offered jobs that were exactly the same as the job that I already had.
And it just depressed me…euchh!
Not more of this.
Why did you decide to join the Launch Pad?
I went to a Careershifters informational evening, had a conversation with my husband and he said “what have you got to lose?”
I had a coffee conversation with a very good friend of mine who's an amazing leadership expert.
He asked me ‘Well, what DO you want?’
And it was almost like it was the first time somebody had really asked me that particular question.
I'd been floundering in what I thought I could have as opposed to getting clear on what I actually wanted.
That was the trigger.
What had you tried previously to do to make progress on your career change?
Careershifters and the Launch Pad were on my radar, but still I was treating everything as a ‘thinking it out’ thing, like ‘I've got to figure this out, I've got to solve this problem, me and my brain.’
I was just focused on getting to an answer and the obvious one seemed to be, ‘Well, I just need a different job!’
What were your reservations or scepticism about the Launch Pad?
Maybe the investment, but I knew something needed to change and this looked like it would help me make that change.
What didn’t you realise at the time that you know now?
What I got out of the course was something very different that I have called on over a much longer period.
It took me a while after the course had finished (I did mine in 2017) that I realised what I'd fully absorbed were skills that I could utilise along the journey, and that the end of the course was really just the start.
What were the highlights?
The idea of asking for what you want, and to be bold.
I think of that really often, I practice it in my business now and share it a lot with other people too.
It was just a fundamental mindset shift for me.
It's a big claim to make, but I don't know if we would be doing quite what we're doing now, or have made the departure that we've made, had I not been able to make that mindset shift: ask for what we want.
What were the toughest moments?
Just the wanting to get to an answer quickly, from A to B.
I needed instead to sort of just ease into the process – to ‘exhale’!
What was the impact on you?
It’s led directly on to things like, how do I set really clear boundaries?
That’s become fundamental, one of my cornerstones.
What on the course led to that impact?
It’s not necessarily that the asking for what you want, or being bold, gets easier the more you do it – but you are confident.
Most importantly (and healthily), I still get to keep an ‘ease’ about myself.
Where are you now in your career?
So right now, it’s like ‘woah…here we go!’
In 2020 we bought a Welsh farm with five holiday homes on 22 acres of land on a hillside and it's absolutely glorious, sort of ‘Escape to the Chateau’ but on a farm in mid-Wales!
But just five weeks after the purchase went through, the whole of the UK went into lockdown.
I recently finished my final contract of ‘old’ financial services work and we are now able to go ahead and re-open after lockdown.
What’s been the impact of your shift on your wider life?
I’m adopting the ‘shifting principle’ to just trying new things, and, importantly, to holding those shifts quite lightly.
That’s good for me personally
I joined a local trail-running group which led to volunteering for big trail-running events as one of my Launch Pad projects and discovered the people that I wanted to be around.
Doing that led to us having a VW camper van that we started to hire out, and testing and learning so much around bookings and renting.
It was a really practical and informative ‘test balloon’ – how to do bookings well, what people really want, how much time things take, cleaning – everything.
The campervan idea morphed into cottages and farmstay and activities in Snowdonia!
How do you feel about your work?
Both nervous and excited!
The people who come to stay with us tend to be outdoorsy – the sort of like-minded people I met through my trail-running ‘shift’.
I really can’t wait to get back open again and this time to be full-time in our business.
What would you recommend to anyone considering the Launch Pad?
What I’d say is that when you're still in that period of uncertainty, sticking to the process that the Launch Pad sets out is huge.
Then you learn ‘ooh, actually this is a deeper process…’.
When that settles, THEN tie the threads.
I made a point after the Launch Pad of ensuring that everyone I met, I followed up with, especially through and on LinkedIn.
Not necessarily for business even, just as an easy way to reach out that I might not have bothered with before.
Those are the people now encouraging us on, and they’re actually booking.
So just laying those little seeds was hugely important, even though I still didn't know back then what my big shift would be.
And maybe this isn't the last one!
Anything else you’d like to add?
I've developed a deep sense of how valuable it is to me personally – for my life, not just my career – to bring together the people that you really want to spend time with, doing the things that really give you joy.
That’s where it all started – a need for greater wellbeing, to belong and get paid for being around ‘my tribe’.
I feel like I've found my path now and I have all the skills to keep evolving it.
Photo © Simon Ranshaw
You can find full details about the course on our dedicated Launch Pad page.