Year one, complete!
A year ago we made our first hire. On his More Human-niversary Andy Punter looks back on what he's learned and what he would tell himself if he could go back in time.
This time last year I said goodbye to the charity sector after 12+ years. I was ready to try something new and broaden my horizons so I made the scary but exhilarating choice to wave goodbye to my charity friends and become the first hire at More Human.
Making the leap has turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have made. I have learned so much about so much, and have got to do it alongside people I admire and have come to adore.
Perhaps most valuable has been the insights I've gathered about myself and what makes me tick. This is an attempt to summarise and document some of them, mostly as a reminder to myself, but hopefully, there is something here for anyone else on the fringes of making a leap into the unknown this year (do it!).
Focus your energy on projects you care deeply about and give it everything you have
Getting to work on things that really align with your values, that you are both excited about and a little scared of don't come around often. Choose your opportunities carefully and then, when the right one presents itself throw everything you have into making it a success. Don’t think of it as a job, think of it as a vocation. You don't know how long this moment will last so make sure you leave it all out on the field.
The job you want to be doing in 5 years doesn’t exist yet
The things that excite you are the things shrouded in ambiguity; the opportunity to be working on new and creative ways to improve people’s lives is what you love to do. This means things change quickly. A traditional, linear and predictable career path will frustrate you. Focus less on the next rung on the ladder and more on the next skill you are excited to learn. You will be happier for it and much more well-rounded as a result.
The people you work with are even more important than what you work on
Surround yourself with people you admire, study them, and absorb as much as you can. You won't be able to replicate what makes someone else special, but you can use that understanding to better understand what makes you special.
Ideally, the people you spend most of your time with will be cleverer and more accomplished than you consider yourself to be. Being required to raise yourself to their standard will bring you more rewards than you can imagine. You become the average of the 5 people with whom you spend the most time, so choose wisely.
Real growth usually starts with vulnerability
You get what you give. Don’t be afraid to share more of yourself than you are naturally comfortable with, share the things that make you proud and more importantly, the things that don’t. Real collaboration and growth come from working with people you trust absolutely and that starts with trusting them with all the parts of yourself. If you are lucky, you will come to count those people among your friends and they will open you up to new possibilities, that is where the magic really happens.
I am so grateful that I get to start 2022 full of excitement, energy, and optimism about the year ahead. I’m looking forward to finding out what year 2 at More Human has in store and what else I can learn along the way!