From the Founders – Nov19

As the end of they year approaches and I look to 2020, I think back to the many choices I’ve had to make along the way in my role as co-founder at Harness Projects.

This got me thinking about choices and how we make them. For me, it started back home, as I began shaping my identity.

People used to always ask me, what’s it like being a twin? I used to answer – I don’t know, what’s it like not being one? Growing up in a large family of 9 children – I was 8th and my twin 7th (by about 30 minutes I’m told) I was always curious about the impact your ‘place’ in the family had on your identity. Does the eldest automatically become the reliable, cautious one. Is the youngest always more sharing, carefree and creative? And what about everyone born in between?

I’ve always had this theory that when we are born we look around at our family of origin to see what roles are available – The rebel? No that’s taken… The warrior? Nope.  Without wanting to insult any of my siblings – for me the role of ‘ the funny, creative one’ seemed right – and so instead of Michael which seemed way to formal, I quickly became …Mike

So I lean more toward backing the nurture vs nature team. Whilst acknowledging the major role nature plays in the human experience, I believe that what makes us…well us, is our own personal experiences and even more importantly how we perceive, react and integrate them.

There is of course the additional impact of time that plays in to the nurture vs nature argument. If you were born in the 70’s, like me, the world really was a different place. The Cold War was a thing – climate change? Not so much. I remember visiting China in the early 90’s when you only drove a car if it was your profession. This is a time when there really were jobs for life.  Not 3 or 6 month stints like today. And when it came to learning and development it all happened on the job, thanks to your employer.  Oh, how times have changed. So, not only do we now live in a ‘time’ with less job security most of us also feel like the pace of change is speeding up and we have even less sense of how things may change in the next 3 to 5 years.

There are those that argue the human being and our consciousness is being forced to evolve faster to adapt to the speed of transformation. So, does that mean that Millennials and Gen Z are more evolved that Gen X or Y? I don’t know but I do get curious from time to time about how the experiences of those born 20/30 years after me, are shaping their identity; their view of the world, of work, of what success looks like. Are they better equipped to handle changing life/work paradigms because they are digital natives born into more ambiguity, or do those of us born before the 90’s, have the benefit of age and experience to lean on?

The good news is that I’ve come to see that it doesn’t have to matter. The more I collaborate successfully across age, experience and industries, the more I witness the unlimited potential our unique experiences and perspectives have in helping carve out new and better ways to do things. It does however rely heavily on our ability to bring well honed human skills to the experience: our curiosity to learn, our vulnerability to make mistakes, our openness to take risks and our ability to, as they say, play nice with others. Ironically, the impact of technology/automation/AI means these skills are now what employers look for and rely on when bringing talent into their ecosystems. This gives all of us hope that we have a role to play – despite our age, or experience as long as we recognise and work towards being the best we can be.

I feel blessed to be sharing the Harness Projects experience with so many inspirational people. Individuals who are willing to experience the full gamut of emotions that can come when learning something new – from vulnerability and fear to confidence and joy. They have been willing to invest in their own happiness, to make change in order to follow their dreams and to be an active participant in the creation of their own future.

Chris and I want to thank every single person who has helped us on our own journey and we hope we are playing a positive role in yours. We look forward to more transformation experiences in 2020 and wish you all a peaceful and relaxing break.

See you in 2020.