“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” - Steve Jobs
Early this year, a dear professional friend who is a dynamo contacted me to explore writing something together. My co-author is in her coaching start-up which is rapidly scaling. It is a racy ride, and we set fortnightly challenges as we build our content.
A recent challenge was to write our lives in headlines – reflecting on achievements, defining moments and what we have genuinely enjoyed.
It is an exercise we sometimes ask our coachees to consider; the reader (and writer) quickly understands key life events and what is likely to be of importance.
Headlines offer a conversation starting point. Occasionally people will highlight sections, or I will look for themes. The highlights in my headlines are important to me and some key themes are learning and seeking insights. In my headlines the word love also appears twice; likely indicating professional passion areas.
Headlines enable somebody in between roles to acknowledge their achievements, explore what they wish to do next, and maintain some confidence if they were made redundant. Remember this if you find yourself, or a friend, in this situation.
Finally, recent years have got people rethinking what they want from their work, so using this activity to look back, may help someone make a more informed decision for the future.
1977 - Mum passes. I am 6
10 October 1988 - I start work as a bank batch & filing clerk having not completed high school. I attended 8 schools over 10 years
1995 - I commence undergraduate study (2 nights a week) - the bank sponsors this after 5 promotions
1997 - I graduate from my undergraduate course
1998 - I commence post grad study (2 nights a week) & 2 more promotions at the bank
2001 - I resign from the bank & become a full-time student aged 30, completing my MBA in June (scary but brave decision)
2001 - My wife & I backpack Europe for 4 months, arriving in London Sept 24 just after the tragic events in NYC
2001 December - I commence a job at Prudential UK (Pru), after great advice to find a job at a British Blue Chip undergoing change
2002 - I am invited to speak at Pru Uni at Warwick Business School & am a bit of hit
2004 - Join IBM as a management consultant in London
2005 July - Our 1st child arrives. Our new family is strolling in London during my parental leave & there is chaos after bombs go off
2006 - Join Microsoft UK in their International IT Team & fall in love with the tech industry
2007 October - Our 2nd daughter arrives & I am promoted at Microsoft. I am in the office presenting when she is 3 days old
2009 - Become country CIO for UK & Irish Microsoft subsidiaries & meet great clients
2010 - We return to Melbourne & I join KPMG as Director IT & I start to keynote for free at industry events
2011 - Our third child is born & is in critical condition in intensive care. Scariest experience of our lives. He makes it
2013 - CIO John Holland, I fall in love with the construction industry
2014 - Appointment as an Adjunct Professor, Business & Law School board member at Swinburne University
2015 - Recognised as one of Computer World’s Top 100 Technology Leaders globally
2016 - Return to banking, invited to be an EGM within 6 months of joining & commence resolution of many unknown issues after a risk review. I had more fun in my career elsewhere
2018 - Launch my dream start-up advisory business & help multiple clients
2019 - Publish 1st book with an incredible 15 CXOs testimonials. Invited to Chair Swinburne’s Bachelor of Business / Accounting / IT Course Advisory Committee
2020 - Win my 1st international client & I start facilitating workshops for executive groups with cartoon pics I create
2021 - Publish 2nd book & receive very supportive reviews from my female professional network
2022 - Multiple international trips & clients for my trademarked workshops, receiving rave reviews in April. My wife & I become orphans after our last parent passes in January