On 20th September 2018 I will be holding a 'launch and learn' event to mark the next chapter on my Opus 29 adventure. An event that I hope will be both engaging and exciting, and that will bring together a range of people who have all either played a part, or will play a part, in helping me as I continue to chase my dreams - both personally and professionally.
The venue for the event holds a special place in my heart as it is where my husband and I were fortunate enough to have our wedding reception back in 2006. Highnam Court is a truly stunning place, with beautiful gardens and amazing history...as well as a place that comes with a real-life story of how it is more than possible to dream it and achieve it. (You'll just have to come along on 20th September if you want to learn more about that story!)
And so to the question of 'why now?' Why now celebrate this step along the Opus 29 adventure?
The simple answer is because it feels like the right time. The right time to be drawing a line in the snow and looking forward to wherever these next footsteps will lead.
In April 2016, I left the safety and security of a full-time, well-paid, long-term job as Head of Coaching Systems with The Professional Golfers' Association to pursue my own path in the big, wide world. At the time I didn't particularly have a strong desire to work for myself and be a consultant, but I knew it was time to move on - and yet I couldn't find any employed roles that really lit my spark and ignited my passion. I just knew the time had come to spread my wings and take flight to new destinations.
And so I revisited Opus 29. A brand I originally established by in 2004 when I left my then role at sports coach UK to pursue my dreams of being a rock star (yes you did read correctly, and a whole other story in there somewhere)! Working as a consultant was a great way to continue to pay the bills and give me the time I wanted to create music with my awesome band mates (The Poet Dogs - in case anyone is interested). The word 'opus' means 'a great and creative piece of work' and is usually associated with musical compositions, that are then numbered to designate the order of composers' works. Hence, for me Opus is followed by the number 29, which has two meanings - first in that it is my date of birth (29th July) and second that I was 29 when I first set up Opus 29. As creativity is one of my core guiding principles, and music is a huge part of my life, the word 'opus' seems somehow very apt for my own (ad)ventures.
This time around, the first 12 months of my new, lone adventure were great! Being a consultant felt very easy for someone who hadn't really had any plans to become one...my phone rang, my inbox pinged with messages, and I ended up with several interesting pieces of work with a wide variety of organisations. From some ongoing work with The PGA, to new work within a golfing context with Scottish Golf, to new sports including Scottish Curling, to old connections with sports coach UK. Also a few new connections along the way - all appearing through my personal networks and news that I was 'on the market' for some consultancy. Life was great.
Year 2 proved a little more challenging. Still some great connections, motivating conversations and pieces of work, but perhaps fewer phone calls and not such a busy inbox. As ever, much learning happened during this time; including some extremely valuable lessons on integrity and trust, as well as the importance of genuine and true friendship. My journey as Jane, the leader, change agent and chaser of dreams began to feel a little rocky, fairly lonely and filled with a good deal of fear and uncertainty. It was like somewhere along the way I had mislaid my own sense of purpose; it had somehow been overtaken by other people's dreams and visions, whilst I had left mine behind at some railway station or airport during my frequent travels. I had forgotten who I was and why I wanted to do what I do in the first place.
So what changed?
Everything. Yet nothing.
A little cryptic, I know! What I mean is that fundamentally I am the same person I have always been, with the same hopes and the same dreams - I have just shifted my perspective and now think about things in a different way. A way that will enable me to keep chasing those dreams as I dream it; believe it; achieve it.
The root of this change has largely come from working with a fabulous coach (Springboard Wellbeing Coaching) who has really challenged me to take time to reflect upon and think about my values, my beliefs and all the things that are important to me. To properly think about all my strengths and all the reasons why I am able to succeed if I fully commit myself to taking this journey. To also remind me that it is OK to be me and to have dreams, but that even dreams need some sort of plan to bring them that little bit closer.
The value of having someone else to pose the questions, listen, gently nudge me along, hold me to account, challenge me and provide a 'safe' space in which to be brave, has been immense. Deep down I think I probably knew most of the answers I was searching for, and like I said above, fundamentally I haven't changed as a person, I have just uncovered new ways of telling my story and a renewed sense of confidence to go out there and be the person, and business, that I want to be. I am still Jane, the leader, change agent, chaser of dreams, but I am also Opus 29, the business; and every business needs a strategy and a plan to translate vision in to action. Which is where I am now, and why I will be celebrating my 'launch and learn' next month.
After all...if I really am a chaser of dreams, then I have to 'walk my own talk'. Even when it feels daunting, scary and more than a little terrifying at times!
And so here I am. One month away (on the day I write this) from officially celebrating the next chapter of my Opus 29 adventure. The 'official' invite is available on the link below, with an RSVP button included in the main text. I would love to see you there if you can make it...otherwise, drop me an email (or contact me via the 'CONTACT' page on my website) to arrange to meet up for coffee and conversation.
Go chase those dreams!