Yes, after 14 years as Chief Exec of Inspire I’ve decided to call it a day. I don’t think it’s a midlife crisis although I am in my 40th year; I suspect it does have something to do with my regular ‘taking stock’ conversations I have with myself from time to time (these are not out loud in case you’re wondering). Because I really enjoy my work and I truly believe that work-life balance is bollocks*, I was thinking about ‘what next’.
*Why compromise by trying to push and pull between work, family and fun all the time? Why not have it all?
So therefore when I realised that the role of CEO was taking its’ toll on my happiness I started to wonder. What was making me unhappy? Was it the continuous ‘attacks’ from those that fail to understand you cannot run a €3million operation as a volunteer? Was it the continuous battle to make ends meet to ensure that our 200 or so employees could earn a living for themselves and their family? None of these actually. I have a thick skin and I know how to run an organisation sustainably.
I think it was the fact that after 5 years at Inspire, I knew that it was sustainable and could continue to deliver all the support to 1000 families and individuals with disability without me necessarily being there. I felt that I was no longer useful in the day to day.
If I think back at my working life, I have always been a ‘creator’. I set up by clinics fresh out of uni, but as soon as they were functioning, I moved to set up the rehabilitation programmes at the Corinthia Athenaeum. After a few years and reaching the top of the hierarchy there, I moved to ‘create’ the therapeutic service that was the leisure centre of the Razzett tal-Hbiberija. After 6 years taking it from relatively unknown to one of Malta’s leading service providers, I packed up to move to the UK, creating the Aspire Spinal Injury outreach services across England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland with excellent results. After 2 years I was asked by trustees at the Eden Foundation to help them with their problematic leadership situation, and we decided to move back to Malta to ‘create’ Inspire. Even at Inspire, the role continue to create opportunities to develop new programmes and services, but there was a limit to how much money we could raise, and there is a point where you need to consolidate everyone’s energy to do something 100% without always running ahead.
Obviously this approach to my work could not have happened without Deirdre supporting me. Choosing the various management teams I set up in the above organisations was critical and I thank them for believing in my leadership. It is their ability to step up their game that allows me to progress. I do not see myself as a reckless serial entrepreneur, and wouldn’t leave an organisation at will, without ensuring it’s sustainability. The selfish side of me perhaps doesn’t want to let the hard work I’ve put in die out in my absence – but that just me being an egotistical bastard perhaps. I’m not sure.
I sometimes wonder whether this will stop and I’ll be happy where I am, indefinitely. Setting up my own ‘something’ might just be the ticket – my ‘business’ may become the single anchor that allows me to continue this ‘serial creation’ drive into the future. The extreme challenges I’ve undertaken have given me confidence that rarely are things actually ‘impossible’ and that with the right mindfulness and strategic thinking can be achieved with reasonable effort. Mishaps during these challenges have taught me more than the accomplishment of success, and I get better (mentally) every time. My aim is to share these with people interested in taking their business and life performance up to the next level.
I hope that my skills are interesting to a market both locally and internationally. I hope there are enough CEOs and business leaders that would like me to create strategy for them, expand their business or indeed help them develop their own abilities to be creative, perform at the ultimate level and do ‘impossible’ things. I don’t have a very clear idea of what my ‘something’ is yet but it’d better happen soon as there are school fees to pay!