Some Say I’m Geneva, But I’m Not The Only One.
No Office Required.
‘Maybe short notice but we are running the alpselerator next week. Starts Sunday 20th finished Friday 25th. 6 early stage startups stay in a big chalet, do meditation, take walks, share meals and accelerate their businesses. – That message popped up on my Facebook on the 10th November.
Exactly two weeks later, I am four days into that trip, and I’m sat on a bench, in a chalet in the French Alps. I’m surrounded by snow-capped mountains and waterfalls reflecting on how my business ideas have changed, in such a dramatic way, in such a short period.
I’d heard stories from other people that had visited here in the past and that a certain strange voodoo exists. Like the time the two founders of a design agency went up a mountain and came down with the idea to close down their successful business and build a community of ‘Happy Start-Ups’. It is partly due to that very decision that I am sat here now.
After a short flight from Gatwick to Geneva, I was sat in a minibus, hurtling up the road with six strangers, staring out of the window, as we climbed higher and higher into the mountains, I didn’t really know what to expect.
I came with one idea, well not one as such but a mix of several all combined in as one. Unfortunately, these ideas didn’t have a clear ‘next steps’. I was busy trying to do too much and getting distracted by the unimportant things, the minor details rather than being able to see the bigger picture.
In the last few days, those ideas have been thrown up in the snow in the clear French mountain air and have come down like jigsaw pieces but now formed to create a completely different picture.
Before I arrived, I was caught up in where exactly my business was going to go. I was caught up, rather than being able to step away and look at it without distraction and more importantly look at myself and what I wanted in the long-term.
This story began fifteen months ago when I quit my job. A job that I hated, a job where my job was to make money for brands that had too much money and didn’t do very good things with that money- I wasn’t proud of what I was doing.
When I quit my job – my revolution started. I became aware that the world turns up the volume on some amazing opportunities. But usually, you spend your life buried in, laptops, phones and bills, rather than looking up and at what’s around you.
These opportunities had come from conversations with random strangers and through my writing, when the stories I was telling, found their hands in people that ‘got’ it.
In a few short months from leaving a life that made me unhappy, stressed and unfulfilled, I had found my tribe, and I thrived.
Back in June I went away to the amazing, Happy Start-Up Summer Camp, and met people from all over the world that all thought the same as me.
Even though for most of my life, I have felt like an outsider, I was now I welcomed with a smile, a hug, as an ‘insider’ by people who had nothing to gain from giving me their time and help. People’s whose stories, in small ways, changed the world and makes it a better place to part of.
When I try to explain this to friends and family, they call me a hippy or ask me if I am part of a cult. Well, if I am, I heartily recommend it, because it is a cult that encourages you to want to do more, be more and see more of the world around you.
This week in the snow, the people surrounding me are some of those people, and some that I had never met. They come from vastly different backgrounds to my own.
However, the differences seem to gently compliment each other as we naturally start working on not only our own but each other projects. Books get written, twelve-month plans get sorted, newsletters get designed; podcasts get recorded, and films get story-boarded shot and edited. Not while we are changed to a desk, sweating over spreadsheets but as we sit around tables or on armchairs while change-makers, change things.
This attitude doesn’t don’t the fit in ‘normal’ world. But in the words of Jimmy in Quadrophenia. ‘Who wants to be normal eh?’
The last few days have been filled with pockets of time. Time to breathe, time to think, time to create, time to walk, time to work and time to visit the GP to pay him 3o euros to get tissue paper removed from my ear-hole (but that’s another story) and most importantly, time to talk.
- Conversations of how demography can and should be squared.
- How the Ladybugs are going to create period dramas in Ireland and beyond
- How ex-military minds moved from Moscow into mindfulness in the mountains.
- How the Dutch do Start-Ups
- And how a straightforward idea to send crates of craft beer to people’s door, isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.
Well, nothing is straightforward when the ideas come from the Willy Wonka-esque warped mind of Jack Hubbard.
Jack lives in the mountains with his young family, in a place called‘Dream Valley’. A place where people come in one way and leave another.
No Office Required Philosophy
The philosophy of ‘No office required‘ means you can be more productive and effective by taking time away from the desk and the laptop.
Rather than spreadsheets, ideas spread. The enthusiasm becomes infectious and the road less travelled is the one signposted ‘Strap on tight baby it’s gonna be one hella ride.
By taking a few days away I now clearly see what I want to do with my life. I can now see what makes me happy, curious, challenged, puts fire in my belly and what will pay the bills and feeds my family doesn’t have to be a different thing. They can be one and the same.
While I was away, I was introduced to the concept of writing a ‘Business Bucket list’. We’ve probably all got personal bucket lists, but have you ever considered doing one for your business?, I hadn’t but I do have one now, and I’ve already started working on it.
The idea I had one night last Christmas of – ‘What would happen if I put on an event in the afternoon, to allow mums and dads to have a dance while the kids were utterly entertained besides them?– will on the 31st of December, see a 1,000 people of varying ages come together to rave and see in the new year in at 6 pm.
That means in twelve months I’ve gone from 0 to a 1,000 people on the dance-floor. Now, just imagine where I am going to take that 1,000 in the next twelve months. That is the power of revolution.