Feeling the fear and doing it anyway

Tom Fisher, Advisor

I worked in Financial Services in Dublin for seven years. For the most part, I enjoyed the experience. I certainly learnt a lot. I learnt a lot about the myriad moving parts of the corporate world. I learnt a lot about working with people from different backgrounds and at different stages in their careers. I met some great people and made some good friends. Most importantly though, I learnt a lot about myself.



Prior to this, my main vocation was cricket. I was always good at cricket, but living in Ireland, it was never going to be a lucrative pastime (I should mention that I was never good enough  to make it in my home country of New Zealand either!). While I enjoyed playing and performing well, I also enjoyed working alongside young people and helping them develop both as cricketers and as young adults. But I never really felt comfortable being known solely as someone that played cricket. It bugged me. Sure, I knew a lot about cricket and enjoyed a relatively successful amateur career, I didn’t want my professional life to be defined solely as a cricketer.



So I threw myself into a career in the corporate maze of a multi-national financial services organisation. I worked hard. I worked innumerous hours overtime - to the detriment of both my personal life, and (arguably) my career. I battled fickle managers, archaic technology, under-resourced departments and office politics to, after five years, a quite tenuous position in lower, middle management. There were a couple of times during the five years that I was seriously considering a move.



Now that I have left the corporate world, I often wonder why I didn't take the leap earlier. Not having the security of a monthly salary hitting your bank account, as well as the various benefits on offer was definitely at the top of the list, but other reasons (or excuses - take your pick) included fear, ambition, competitiveness, pride, stubbornness, ego. It was a long list.



To be sure, it is mildly terrifying, but it is also incredibly exciting.



So why The Collective? Really for me, it was simple. I had left a culture of blame -  where real innovation, collaboration and empowerment were, at best, hindered. Why not try to create something the exact opposite? A place where people can come together in an environment of shared experience, knowledge and advice. A place where collaboration is not only encouraged but assumed.



So that’s my inspiration, but what is my Why? I guess I just like working with people, I like solving problems and getting positive results for people. I find it very rewarding to see projects, business ideas or events come off. And I get a real kick from receiving positive feedback from Clients and colleagues. Together with Jette and Anique, who come from very different backgrounds to me, I want to create an experience that will change people's lives. It sounds a bit gimmicky, but we want to make it easier for small business to grow, to trade and promote themselves across the world. I’m really excited to be working on this project with Jette and Anique (their positivity is infectious!), and can’t wait to meet all the interesting, different people at The Collective in October.