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The startup grind

Three months in, 2018 has become one of the most transformative years of my life. As a human and as a designer.  

At the beginning of the year I felt a shift. I felt stuck. After freelancing for four years I returned to a large organisation – it made sense to me at the time. I would have stability. That’s what I thought I needed at the time.

Quickly I realised that it was a veiled dinosaur. Under resourced projects meant I had to give three weeks notice to go to a doctor’s appointment so that meetings could be organised around my two hour absence. It didn’t work out. 

I started my career eight years ago at Deloitte Digital. Three years in I quit because was I was emotionally burnt out. I needed to move on for my own growth (and sanity). 

The most exciting time of my life was three weeks later when I moved to Nashville, bootstrapping and learning. I knew I wanted become a part of something different. I didn’t know what that meant at the time.

I did the beautiful dance with my basecamp in Melbourne, flying out to Boulder and Las Vegas for months at a time for small projects. I also experienced the rollercoaster of co-founding and failure of a start up…it never felt quite right.

Then something collided. I was seeing a developer, I had known him for a few years but not very well. It wasn’t serious. He was constantly moving, traveling with his laptop, shipping code and working anywhere in this world on a product he believed in. He developed his own rules to prevent burnout – leaving his laptop at his office at night. The separation of church and state.

After parting ways with the dinosaur in February, I had to find out what was next. I was in a rush to return to the grind. As expected, the first week all I could think about was saving for my dream house that is currently being built (apparently I am the only one in my circle not renting).

I felt stuck. I sat down with Simon for a beer (turns out we just sat down) and talked about what I wanted to do. After two hours, he game me a framework and a kick up the ass.

I wrote down my strengths, my areas for growth and my career goals. Five days later I had a call with Duncan and a week later I was sitting in front of Adrian at Sun Month talking about Kinlab, a young startup focused on working in the high performance sport sector. I was impressed.

We are forging a new path.

There was no way that I could turn the opportunity down. A week later I was flying to Canberra working with high performance athletes and data scientists for two days to support some workshops. The direction pivoted unexpectedly and ten minutes later I had been pulled on a second project.

Who cares? I am working in an awesome team and getting shit done.

This weekend I set up my office in Melbourne but I’m not sure what the next three weeks look like geographically.

Truth be told, it’s going to be fucking hard. I find the autonomy both confronting and awesome. I’m beginning to believe that weekends are for the weak, but most importantly I feel like we are achieving something everyday.

Ain’t that the best?

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