Sometimes a defining moment, or a series of moments can have far reaching ripple effects for our future direction. This theory is often referred to as the Butterfly Effect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect
My career journey literally was connected to a butterfly… Here’s how it all started.
At 21 I resigned from a secure job as a bank teller, packed up and moved away from my home-town of Shepparton to Thornbury (a Northern suburb of Melbourne) to commence my Health Science Degree in Naturopathy at the Southern School of Natural Therapies in Fitzroy.
In 2004 I graduated & stepped up from a part time role to support my studies into managing a GNC Livewell store. This time afforded me great insight into retail and consumer needs. However after six years the “What am I doing here?” question popped up all too frequently, and I challenged myself more and more to act upon a leap of faith which saw me study Naturopathy in the first place.
These musings coincided with my first pregnancy and being on my feet all day, I found my energy levels starting to fizzle. It was time for a career change!
Stepping into GNC’s head office writing training manuals and conducting staff training sessions, I found that flame! I loved my new direction, it sparked my passion for writing & teaching which I have gone on to evolve. However, I felt confined by corporate restrictions and yearned for something more.
Two children later, with a little boy and a baby girl to complete our family, I was still questioning my career direction and searching for that special sign! On a shopping trip with my Mum in a local baby store I stopped to admire some wall decoration. It was the a simple comment from my mum , “You could make those” which set me on a brand new path.
I began designing butterfly wall art with a sketch book, bits of coloured cardboard and paper, I bought a jigsaw power tool, some sheets of MDF and lots of sandpaper and began making some beautiful presents for friends and family. They were well received and I was encouraged!
Each butterfly took a lot of time and I recognised they weren't a great income earner. I knew that I would have to make HUNDREDS of these, then spend endless hours at markets or door-knocking businesses to sell them, and operating power tools with a toddler and a baby close by wasn’t that appealing! – and the butterflies still needed a lot of work to perfect!
I persevered and acknowledged that this initiative was deepening the ‘do my own thing’ quest, but I was challenged by childcare needs, a limited budget and the need for a platform to feel comfortable to explore ideas and thoughts.
Surely there were many other mums out there with similar desires and challenges? Maybe they didn’t put on a mask and fire up the jigsaw, but they want to go grocery shopping in peace, have their hair cut, chase up some contacts, but are limited by the demands and budget constraints of a young family.
I knew first hand that having limited support means limited opportunity for a little ‘me’ time, let alone spare hours to follow your dreams. So, I created the plan for a local babysitting co-op. I started from the beginning, taught myself how to build a website and www.jellyfishconnection.com was born.
Unfortunately, the babysitting co-op never got off the ground, but Jellyfish Connection fast became a site where local people could connect to build a community willing to help each other. I drew upon my naturopathy and retail background, and included lots of resources for parents, creating a place to source holistic information about pregnancy, parenting, health & wellbeing and through Jellyfish Connection I unearthed my passion for communicating and educating.
It was at the Launch Picnic of the website in November 2010 that a chance conversation sparked another idea. No sooner had the musings “It’s been a great day, I love organising events like this, maybe I’ll do it again next year, maybe something much bigger, maybe something indoors and attracting more people” left my mouth than my butterfly had landed!
And so began the Peninsula Family Health Expo, the inaugural event attracting an enthusiastic crow on Nov 6th 2011 at the Frankston Arts Centre.
With a more all encompassing name; the Peninsula Health & Wellbeing Expo and appropriate venue at the Mornington Racecourse, the Expo is now in its 4th year. As the event grows so does the team of people behind it & I’m excited about what the future holds. I continue to be impressed and inspired by the businesses on the Mornington Peninsula who work to improve the health of those around them.
Whilst building the profile of Peninsula Health and Wellbeing Expo and Jellyfish Connection, I connected with some amazing people via social media & other networking avenues as we explored how we could work together.
One of the bright butterflies to come into my flight path was Renee Williams. A business owner and mum who shared many of my philosophies and was as keen as I to give a voice to her dreams. Together we created a networking group for women entrepreneurs on the Mornington Peninsula.
The Bloom Networking seed was planted!
And we set about attracting some amazing butterflies to our garden!
Over the next 12 months Renee and I developed the plan, the vision and the membership…..all the while juggling the demands of our young children.
Along the way, I felt at peace with letting go of my own business Jellyfish Connection. It had served its purpose and afforded me a fantastic learning experience, networking base and outlet to share my passion for naturopathy, nutrition & sustainability, but I could not sustain is the way it deserved and my passion for Bloom Networking was growing rapidly, turning my attention away from Jellyfish Connection.
Bloom saw some changes as well, as Renee continued to grow her own ventures and focus solely on her Travel business.
I have run Bloom Networking as a solo venture for the last two years & while I enjoyed my journey with a business partner, I find that ‘going it alone’ suits my way of working. Bloom Networking is fun, challenging and incredibly rewarding. I love the direction it's going & I'm proud of the opportunities it gives women on the Mornington Peninsula.
I’m absolutely loving this journey, my goals are clear, my focus is clear & after a few years of searching, I’m now clear about what I do – Connect, Promote & Empower women in business.
I hope that you also are able to find your vision and your very own butterfly effect!
In health, happiness & success