You might be thinking that since it’s the holiday season, I should be talking cider, egg nog, and champagne instead of lemonade. But hear me out!
We all know the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But what if life gives you lemonade instead? That’s exactly what happened with my networking organization, Lean In Canada (you may have noticed that sometimes I refer to it as Lean In Toronto, for that’s where we began). As a project my partners and I begun in our “free” time, when we weren’t at our day jobs, it’s grown much bigger and much faster than we ever dreamed. And as someone who thrives on creating environments that empower others to grow and succeed, I can truly say that it’s one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done in my life.
Every quarter this year we’ve assessed where we are and set targets for the next few months, and every quarter we’ve blown past our targets. In a traditional corporate setting, some might call this “sandbagging” – intentionally setting low targets that we know we can beat soundly. But in the beginning, we truly thought our little group was going to be 20-30 people, so that we could keep it an intimate environment in which everyone got to know each other. And then we thought that if we grew it to 60 we’d have a comfortably-sized group. Today, our events draw anywhere from 70 to 130 people at a time – and we still haven’t lost that intimate, welcoming feel, which is something we’re very proud of.
We’ve talked about the possibility of incorporating and having financial sponsors perhaps a year in the future – and then suddenly, we had a sponsor and had to sort everything out quickly. We never expected to be on television or radio, and those opportunities to speak and be heard have also arisen. While we’ve not felt ready for so many of these opportunities, we’ve not turned them down – they are a testament to the demand for our services and the space we operate in – and they keep us on our toes, learning quickly, and fired up about our future.
What I can say is, whether good or bad, life doesn’t throw any more at you than you can handle. And often, life will balance out the bad it tosses you with equal or greater measures of good. I’m so thankful this year for all the lemonade it’s given me, and I look forward to the opportunities I’m going to say “yes” to in the future.
Happy Holidays, everyone! If you want to know more about what we’ve done at Lean In Canada this year, here’s our Year-In-Review: