It was the pursuit of freedom that drove me into entrepreneurship. Pretty quickly however, I found myself working longer hours than ever before, taking less vacation, and generally feeling trapped by the weight of my business.
It was 2014, five years into my business journey and my lifelong goal of visiting every country in the world was slowing down. I wanted to move to the US, but my business, office and team were all in Melbourne, Australia.
The pursuit of freedom had led me down a very different path.
Thankfully, that desire within me had not died down. It was more alive than ever, I just needed to figure out how to attain it. Endlessly curious, and a pioneer by nature (I’m life path 1 in numerology!) the idea of turning my companies remote took hold.
This way I could keep doing what I was doing, and who I was doing it with, but I could get back to creating the lifestyle of my dreams. I had a lot of hesitation. All of the questions and conditioning everyone faced last year were very real for me at the time:
– How would I know what people are doing?
– Would they perform, or slack off?
– How would we maintain our culture?
– Would we be able to communicate effectively?
– Could I still scale a company, and have our clients and community take us seriously?
In the end, as many of us have now discovered, by embracing the freedom of remote work people actually performed at a higher level, our culture began to thrive and we got better at communication than we previously ever had been. I was also able to scale (and successfully exit) 3 companies, so yeah… it was working. And while it certainly wasn’t normal back then, and many people didn’t take us seriously, those who got it did, and together we thrived.
When the pandemic hit early last year, I quickly realized (despite the obvious downsides) this global situation was presenting one of the greatest moments of positive transformational change for humankind. The redefining and restructuring of our relationship with work.
Almost everyone would get to experience what my team and I had been benefiting from for years. Freedom. Empowerment to shape one’s day in a way that’s most productive and expansive for them. Growth through the experience of letting go of the old, and only then discovering how positive the alternative could be.
It has been an exciting time for us, and as we now find ourselves in what the press has labelled ‘The Great Resignation’ it’s my strong hypothesis that a desire for personal sovereignty is what’s driving this mass exodus. And it’s the companies forcing their teams back to the office who’re largely the ones suffering.
When we face great change, it’s natural to want to hold on. The unknown is scary, and while I have compassion for those in leadership the world over who are stuck on the fears, questions and conditions I bullet-pointed above, it’s my hope that through being an example we can help them to metaphorically ‘take their hands off the wheel’ and let the road lead them into the inevitable future that’s now upon us.
As I opened my laptop to write this, I saw a social media post written the very same day by one of our Recruiters, Jess Rowe, and it couldn’t have been more timely…
The freedom of working remotely:
Recently I have closed the chapter on my Canadian journey and once again, packed my suitcases and jumped on a plane.
In my short life, I’ve moved all around the world. I’ve lived in 6 different countries (and counting) and this is my first international move that I did not have the stress of finding a job on the other end. All I needed was my laptop and a WIFI connection.
Having the flexibility to literally go anywhere in the world and create my own schedule, is so freeing.
– I don’t need to be worried about taking time off and how much that would hinder my finances for that month.
– I don’t have to ask for permission to take a day off if I have an event on or if i’m not feeling well.
– I’m no longer tied down to one place because I have to ‘go into work’ tomorrow.
– I can sleep in and complete my work later on in the day, and heck, I can complete my work from bed if I really want to!
– I can literally pack my bags and go anywhere I want, live anywhere I want and not only create a schedule that I desire, but a life I desire.
– I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be able to have this freedom. AND even better, being a part of the recruitment team with Growmotely means everyday I’m helping others gain remote work for incredible companies too.
Knowing that through my own courage back in 2014, I’m now able to provide this kind of lifestyle of freedom and empowerment for my team has to be the most rewarding thing I experience as a leader.
Written with expansive energy and wishing you too the courage to choose potentiality and possibility, over fear, every time.
Sarah Hawley, CEO & Founder.