When I first set up ZR Associates back in 2005, it started as something really small and built meaningful momentum quite quickly. Now, having re-launched the business this year after a 10-year stint back in corporate life, it’s happening all over again, and it’s been quite an amazing year for many reasons…
One of the most rewarding things has been reconnecting with former work colleagues, some of whom I hadn’t spoken to for several years. That’s the thing when you get too comfortable, you can also get a little neglectful, it’s not necessarily deliberate, you’re just doing your thing, day in, day out and you lose a bit of consciousness and motivation to keep these things alive. It takes effort and there’s only so much time in a day to squeeze everything in.
The good thing though, in the words of Stephen Covey, is that if you’ve banked a few credits along the way then you can afford to draw down on a few debits. Certain people really went above and beyond in supporting me and ZR Associates this year – you all know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Their kindness has meant the world to me.
2. Building new relationships
My first big client was an absolute delight to work with and we got a lot done in a short time frame. Work just didn’t feel like work when we were together. Our heads were down with me supporting the build of her business. Energy and ideas were flowing daily and within a good few months the business opened and it was time for me to move on as I’d fulfilled my part of the project.
The next client has enabled me to get even closer to Sales, as I’ve been helping set up Lettings without the usual overhead conundrum. I’ve loved coaching the owner in the world of Lettings, in conjunction with support from some of my well-trusted agency specialists to keep client accounts and the legalities neat and tidy. In fact, all my clients have been delightful and I genuinely feel that life and work have merged with each in correct balance of one another.
3. Getting to know a new wave of Agency
As this whole new wave of agency evolves, it’s been great to connect with key agency contacts. It was time for me to tune into a new breed of prop tech contacts and generated some interesting dialogue and observations along the way that has helped me shape my own perspective on agency – past, present and future. It is without doubt influencing how I now support my clients. I also spent some time in the States observing how agency works there – and how the UK is now embracing the US business model.
4. Meeting other inspiring women
I’m a member of a female networking group and I’ve been fortunate to meet some truly inspiring women from all different industry and professional backgrounds. I even got to spend an intense and highly rewarding stay-over with 8 of these formidable ladies tucked away in leafy Berkshire. With some it’s moved from business to more personal friendships, which is lovely too and the support that we offer one another is something I’ve not experienced elsewhere.
There’s something very special about a group of working women in a room together: Without sounding corny, it’s where the magic happens, because I think we all relax and feel safe and remove our work masks. Everything becomes very authentic and we all get how important it is to pass it on and to keep raising the barre in our respective work arenas.
Investing time listening to their work journeys has been invaluable; I’m simply in awe of many of them whom are right at the peak and beyond of their careers and achieving greatness for themselves and those they work with.
5. Mentoring new talent
I must mention my 2017 mentee, who was introduced to me by a former colleague whom I happened to have coffee with one day and said I had time to help someone. I’ve always worked with younger teams, so having this element in my life is important. It keeps me connected and more open-minded; It adds freshness; and as much as I look up to others that have achieved so much more than me, I look sideways and down to see who’s on the climb and how I can support them and learn from them.
When we meet or WhatsApp we get so much covered; life, work, values, purpose. Goodness, after a session, we both feel invigorated and that we can conquer the world. I learn as much from her as she does from me. It’s a very rewarding work-life friendship that is developing.
Well, if I am to choose a few words to represent and summarise this year so far, then here they are (all in equal measure): Refreshing, Liberating, Conscious(ness), Gratitude, Grounding, Challenging, Scary, Thrilling, Life-changing, Enjoyable, Inspiring.
I just wonder what 2018 has in store!