“You have to earn the right to have an easier life.”
The former Chief Entrepreneur Mark Sowerby coined this phrase to me during a car ride to the Kenmore Rotary Club. It’s a phrase that has changed my perspective on what I now think the business founder journey is all about. For me, an easier life would involve the financial security to take care of friends and loved ones in need. The right would be the culmination of your efforts that you have earned. To earn the right, would require an infinite supply of resilience. I believe the key to founding a successful business and thus, earning the right to an easier life is resilience.
In my opinion, resilience is the ability to continually overcome obstacles by boxing yourself in and giving yourself no other option but to succeed. This exploration of resilience prompted me to question myself about how I can become more resilient. It has led me on a journey to architect resilience-building opportunities in the hope that I can earn my right to my version of an easier life. This journey began passively a long time ago and I won’t bore you with the details. But actively, it began with the Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur (OQCE) Venturer Mission 2 (V2) to Tasmania.
Fortunately, the School of Management at QUT sponsored me to partake in V2. This sponsorship was a testament to Professor Rowena Barrett’s relentless commitment to student entrepreneurship and the development of resilient learners. The V2 program taught me that resilience is built upon a foundation of people. People that will support and value-add throughout your business journey. I learnt that resilience is not only an internal trait but can also be developed externally. I learnt that an external source of resilience can be built by nurturing a proven, tested and like-minded resilient network. My personal resilience paradigm has now shifted because of this program.
In my view, an internal source of resilience is the personal ability to effectively overcome obstacles and challenges faced in life. The days on V2 consisted of physical challenges such as hiking, mountain bike riding, rafting and kayaking. These challenges focused on building the internal source of resilience required to travel from Hartz summit to the Tasmanian sea. To the “un-ventured” eye, V2 focuses specifically on developing your internal source of resilience. However, Venturer alumni know that there is more to the program than meets the eye.
The true value of the program cultivates from undistracted, genuine and meaningful conversations. The value created from this environment is fast-tracked, long-lasting and deep personal connections. In my view, this environment cannot be artificially recreated in civilisation and only exists in the great outdoors. The ability to disconnect in the great outdoors allows you to be present and re-connect with the people around you. This results in the opportunity to build your resilience in a way that I previously didn’t contemplate.
To answer my question about how I can become more resilient: the V2 program has taught me that I can build internal resilience by architecting physical and intellectual challenges that will test my inner fortitude. For me, I intend to architect my intellectual challenge in Thailand on my New Colombo Plan Scholarship by interning in operations at Pomelo Fashion. The factors that will test me intellectually are that Pomelo has a high-growth agenda, the team is incredibly smart and experienced and the business focuses on a market that is completely foreign to me. I’m confident that if I can overcome this intellectual challenge and contribute value to the team, then I would have built significant internal resilience.
As for the physical challenge, I’m still deciding on what that will be and it could involve something that I wouldn’t have previously deemed possible for me to physically do anymore. Watch this space. However, this program has taught me that I can also build my external resilience by developing a resilient network. Therefore, I have challenged myself to connect with as many start-up founders as I can during my time in South-East Asia, because I now know that you’re only as resilient as the average resilience level of the people you surround yourself with.
I feel very fortunate and grateful for QUT, The School of Management, Professor Rowena Barrett, OQCE, Best Life Adventures and Ben Southall for providing me with what was a once in a lifetime opportunity.