Spring is as hopeful, optimistic and vibrant a time as the calendar affords. The past few days put the best of what makes Spring such an incredible time of year forward, especially here in the Northeastern US.
Spring is about revival, growth, vibrancy; an emergence from what was … well, winter.
Spring is a celebration which explains why it’s greeted with festivals. In Thailand, it’s Songkran, a multi-day water festival, whose name originates in Sanskrit meaning “to move forward”. In Mexico, there’s the celebration of the Spring Equinox at the Teotihuacan Pyramid, where people wear white to soak up the energy of the sun while climbing the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon.
In India there’s Holi, which at its most fundamental spirit, celebrates the arrival of Spring and all the beauty and color it brings.
We celebrate Holi by stuffing ourselves with indulgent treats and showering everyone with a wild assortment of colored powders. Think of the world’s largest pillow fight where everyone is armed with a stunning array of colored baby powders with a shared purpose: to cover as many people and as much earth with that powder as possible.
Photo by Neeraj kumar from Pexels
To participate or observe is to feel the best one can feel. True happiness, hope, optimism. It’s the food. It’s the color. It’s the energy. And it’s the bright smiles peeking through those powder dusted faces of all ages.
Walking away from Holi feeling hopeful for what follows is a promise. (It’s also an amazing life lesson: no matter what the world throws at you, throw color back.)
Which is why I’m choosing this moment, at the seasonal, philosophical and physical start of Spring, to share that I’m leaving my “partnership” at Boldr, and am hopeful and optimistic for what’s next.
Boldr is the Best Work I’ve Ever Been a Part of
I joined Boldr when I met the company’s founder 5 years ago at a conference. His mission and goal of building a world-class, purpose-driven outsourcing company was hard not to love. David’s story was wonderful, and love it I did.
I joined his Board immediately. And over the course of the next 5 years I worked as a coach, as an advisor, and slowly found myself unable to resist doing more and more to support the mission, to support the people, and to support the companies and organizations who chose to invest in Boldr.
As the company worked through some trying times, many of which many small or emerging businesses would understand (losing its largest client, struggling to balance cash flows, balancing employee health with client need), I was invited and I agreed to join full-time as President and Board Chair. The timing was fascinating as it coincided with the emergence of COVID-19 which we started feeling first-hand in the Philippines in late 2019, and which nearly leveled the business (the world?) in 2020.
We found our way through it together by prioritizing our team members and our clients. We proved that by doing the right thing, over and over again, you’d ultimately get to the right outcomes. When a crisis hits you don’t start from the outcomes you desire and work back – you don’t have that luxury – you start from the moment you’re in, respond like hell, and work forward.
I’m proud of what Boldr has become during my time there, especially the last two years.
There’s tremendous responsiveness (our response to COVID-19 is a case study in crisis response).
Tremendous growth (our bootstrapped growth of 5x across revenue, team, and geographic locations is a case study in how to build a conscious business).
Tremendous impact (we transformed and we grew, while taking better care and paying more attention to our people, which should be a case study in employee success).
And tremendous achievements (a few months ago, Boldr became the largest B-Corp certified outsourcing company in the world, which is a case study for how to turn your purpose from words on pages to evidence in practice).
The company has been celebrated and rewarded with a strong pipeline and clarity for what’s ahead. More importantly, we built the next generation of leaders for Boldr and they have the brains, the shoulders, and the hearts (compassion, empathy, love for themselves and one another) to carry Boldr forward.
To the Team who Made me Feel Like I was at my Best
The thing about teams is that you can fail as a leader all by yourself; but you can only succeed as a leader with your team. I’ve done both. This was the latter. The team I inherited, collected, built and worked with directly at Boldr (that’s every single one of the 1,050+ of you on the commercial side of the business at our peak in December) took me from Winter to Spring. You delivered Boldr and me your competence, your confidence, your capabilities, and in so many ways, your trust and friendship – and I indulged, like the greatest desserts Holi has to offer.
You are why I felt full and fully capable while at Boldr and did my best work there.
Anyone reading this can now understand why the hardest part for me of resigning in January was knowing that I would no longer meet with these Team Members with any consistency anymore. The last two months have both been and felt like winter.
To our team, thank you. I love you. And in such a short time, I already miss you.
The Worst Goodbye is the One That’s Never Said
My time at Boldr helped me get closer to working on the areas where I’ve received my best feedback: working with people and setting them up for their success. Sometimes that means they stay on the team, sometimes that means they pursue a new role, and sometimes that means I encourage them to say goodbye.
See, I’ve never felt hurt by the people who want to say goodbye and do.
I’ve been hurt most by the people who want to say goodbye – and don’t.
For the past few months I struggled about my place at Boldr. As we looked at the best way forward for Boldr, I realized that there was no better time for me to say goodbye.
2021 was an exceptional growth year. Our next generation of leaders were primed and ready for what was next. The pipeline we’d built for 2022 was delivering even better than our historical growth rates would have assumed. And after the company’s incredible growth of the past few years, Boldr was embarking upon another cycle and iteration (sparked also by that B-Corp certification!)
Looking Forward and Building on What Spring Brings
I ran through my personal favorite exercise on agile self-reflection, “Happy, Proud, and Not Yet Satisfied”, and found myself with an abundance of things I want to do next (if you have 20 minutes, I encourage you to do this exercise yourself).
I’ve got a lot of things on my mind and much still to reconcile, but professionally, I’m leaning into three projects all at varying levels of success and maturity.
My Authentic Story
People have consistently turned to me when there’s something they want to synthesize and articulate. I also love hearing people’s stories and helping them find the passion, truth, and confidence to tell that story with greater power and conviction. On my birthday in 2021, I launched My Authentic Story, a unique approach to helping people and organizations unearth, frame and share their authentic stories. I have 6 clients right now and I love every moment of every one of those interactions.
If you or your business have a story you want to tell, let’s talk.
The Employee Success Network
If you’ve heard me talk or read something I’ve written in the past few years, you’ll know I believe that the organizations that succeed over the next decade and beyond will be those who put their full energy toward supporting, equipping and unleashing the talent and potential of their people. I have two consulting projects with incredible organizations allowing me to explore whether I enter via the People organization or as a leader and partner on the Executive side who operates as a strong ally to the People organization. My talk and my experiences at HR Transform last week still have me spinning in the best of ways.
If your organization is looking to explore bringing an employee success strategy to life in a way that transforms your culture while sparking commercial success, let’s talk.
Dream Village, Where Kids Build Better Tomorrows
I’ve published three kids books on social issues over the past 12 years and I’m incredibly proud of each. I’ve had a fourth in the queue for the past year and let it stagnate; I’m eager to pick that story up and bring it to life while hopefully creating ongoing momentum for the premise itself. It’s amazing what a kids book can capture and convey (global water crisis, sustainability, interdependence, bullying, childhood cancer). I’m excited to write more.
If you’re interested in exploring the three titles I’ve written thus far, visit the Dream Village website or Amazon, where all three titles are available.
Throwing Color Back
To Spring, and to the friends and family who joined us in that small Holi celebration in our yard yesterday, thank you for bringing it all back, full circle. You helped inspire this post and how I wanted to handle sharing this message.
This past weekend, this past week, felt like Spring again for me personally and professionally. I needed it. It was a perfect transition of seasons.
Winter cast its shade. I’m throwing color back.
Farewell, Boldr. I’ll be rooting for you.
Hello, Spring. I’m ready for you.