On May 16th, T1 has the honour of decorating our company birthday cake with twenty-nine candles.
The flaming passion for this business is even hotter than when I launched it from my home office. But, of course, that was back when nobody worked from home. My reasoning was economic, not pandemic.
I am less interested in looking back at the past twenty-nine years and more looking towards the next twenty-nine. Anniversaries, milestones, and birthdays are significant to celebrate and recognize achievement. Yet they can also be a trap.
The speed at which the world changes. The need for individuals to grow constantly. The shifting desires customers. The headwinds and tailwinds of society all contribute to a need to ensure your compass is pointing North.
I have done a lot of public speaking in the past three years, where I have stated my North Star changed, primarily due to George Floyd's murder. When I first launched my business, I would liken much of my motivation to my need for independence. I wanted to succeed or fail based on my own decisions, not others.
Over time my North Star gravitated to our impact, whether creating great jobs for people, helping our clients succeed, or being part of a great business community.
About a decade ago, when I discovered I had seven half-siblings I didn't know about (part of my adoption backstory), I doubled down on the theme that having my own business was driven by a subconscious need to never rely on others. I say this in concert with the comment that I won the adoption lottery, and Ron & Ann Harrison are two people even a stranger could rely on.
Then came the horrific George Floyd murder, and I deemed that my business became a platform to help those in the Black community I had never adequately supported.
When I was a kid, the Jeffersons were a favourite show. The theme song ran along the lines of « moving on up to the East Side, to a dee-luxe apartment in the sky. ». The pioneering show told the story of a Black man ascending in society. The Jefferson's was laced with stereotypes and bigotry, yet funny and unapologetic, the show broke through the day's programming and set precedents. While the main character, George, could be a bit of an egomaniac and not always empathetic, the most important lesson that has always stuck with me is that you must take control of your future.
Not everybody wants to be an entrepreneur. Nor should they. Not everyone wants to do the same job for twenty-nine years. Nor should they. But everyone should look at the milestones they are fortunate enough to achieve and give thanks to those who have helped them, reflect on what they have learned, and, more importantly, double down on their commitment to themselves to plot their destiny.
In doing so, they will have more reasons to celebrate; they will have more to share with those who have helped them and more to share with those who need help.