Hi and welcome to resilience unraveled, a podcast about people with remarkable stories of resilience, as well as experts in the field along with myself who share tips, strategies and resources to help you power up your mental well being. You can support our work by leaving a review or donating on our site which is that QED od.com. You can also purchase our resources including the imaginatively titled series of books, resilience unraveled, leadership unraveled, management unraveled and anxiety unraveled at QED od.com forward slash extras, free resources are also available on that page at QED od.com forward slash extras and of chat, let's get started. Hey, all and welcome back to resilience rebels. And in front of me, Julie Perkins, who has resplendent in orange. And I guess there's a reason why you in orange today, Julie, where in the world, are you?
Well, I'm actually doing this from Amsterdam, where I live, and today is King's Day in Amsterdam, where the whole country, or 15 million people dressed in orange and go out to celebrate the day off that they're given. So it's a very festive, jubilant day is today, hence me being in orange, at least for afterwards. Not for this moment, but for afterwards.
And of course, we have great fondness over here for William of Orange and all that sort of stuff. What was orange? I mean, it was was it? What was the derivation of Orange County or something or?
No, I don't think so. I think it's just from the origin of the Netherlands, but it's the William of Orange color. I think it must be back before the the Spanish Absolutely. I have no idea. It's a very good question. I feel that my history is lacking on this one. And I feel as a sort of someone who's lived here for 20 years, I should know the answer to that. Now, if
you see if you'd been doing the British immigration test, you would need to know now what what the orange
was here before the invert has happened. So I was allowed to stay. Oh, my goodness.
That's another story. Well, it's a delight to meet you, Julie. Whether you want to introduce yourself, tell us tell us what it is that you do.
So I support female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in a more seamless way. I started wise mines after a fantastic 20 year career opening up Specsavers in the Netherlands, and in Northern Europe. And along that journey gained with experience and I thought I know what I'm going to do, I'm going to use that experience in order to support female entrepreneurs to grow their business in a more seamless way. Learning what probably took me 10 years to learn in hopefully three months. And so that's a little bit about what I do my company's wise mines.
Fantastic. All right. Okay, so I mean, we've all heard of Specsavers, certainly here in the side of the pond. Should have gone there. I understand. But I you struggling to hear me or are you okay?
I was on that last bit. Oh, sorry.
No worries. Hello, I'm here. That's podcast Gould that bit people pay for bits like that, you know, so that I was saying actually the specs that was things fascinating. Tell us a bit about your career before you got to this point. Then tell us a bit about your story.
Well, I think the first journey of learning I come from a big entrepreneurial family so it's quite fast moving and quite sort of dynamic. And I took Specsavers into the Netherlands, it was the very first country we went to outside the UK. And I think that's probably where the greatest learning in any situation comes, especially from myself because you move from a sort of market leader leadership position and take into a country and it's a real struggle. And your greatest learnings there come from that moment. And for me, we started opening during the Great Recession of 2008 and nine, and everything about Specsavers was in place, but it was chugging. And I remember the sort of story begins at 3am in the morning and I was sat in my garden with my hands in the air as if to say what more can I do? How can something work there and not here and the recession, etcetera was a was a real burden. And to cut long story short, went into the office the next day surrounded by great people. And I had recounted the story of my frustration of why we were chugging and they replied to me was a You're still doing what you love and love what you do. And you know, immediately I thought, very nice question, thank you for the care. But we've got sort of millions here that we're trying to solve. But really the question that was my first big learning that I've taken into what I do today was this importance of in times of turmoil in times of real struggle, the greatest learning was was to go back to yourself, and how you build back yourself in order to be able to face that resilience. And and I think, you know, of course, the story turned out fantastically, Specsavers, you know, continues to grow in Northern Europe. But at that moment in 2008, nine, I think that was one of the pivotal points of my learning about how to grow businesses. And beyond that, how to actually face the challenges of life without doing more, because that's what I was doing. I think that's a natural thing. Do more, do more, do more. And understanding this how, actually by just taking that step back taking that journey, and the thing, that was the pivotal point for me. Okay,
well, let's unpack that person. So it was are you doing what you love and love what you do? Was that it? Was that it?
Yes. So what why did that? What was it about the
question, first of all, that's made you think, and then how did you make sense of what you thought? Well,
I think when you're sort of in this sort of sharing moment with your team, and it was yours, it was me a few years ago. I think it's such a question you expect it to be, let's do more marketing. Let's do more, let's sit let's get the let's open up the table and put more strategies onto the table. And I think that's a natural way of reacting. Because, you know, that creates comradeship. You know, that task force, which, actually in adverse situations people love, you know, it's get together on a team, let's do more, let's bring each other and care for each other that way. And I think it was a very challenging question, what I wasn't expecting, you know, do you love what you do? And I was like, I wanted to say, well, of course I do. I'm here, I'm working 18 hours a day to make sure this brand is fantastic. Why would I do that? If I didn't love what I do? So actually, it was a real important question, to poke some assumption that I had made. Because of course, when you think about it, and someone pushes back, and says, I know you're spending 18 hours a day on this, and you're thinking about it. But do you still love it? I think that's a challenging question to ask,
what's the relevance of it?
Well, I think the relevance as it unfolded was that what had happened over the fact that you're working so hard, your blinkers come down. And I think that you are in a situation where you start to build the company around you, you start to hold on to everything that you that you're in to only to yourself, because you're working on it, and you're burying it, and you're slowly building a cave around you. And I think that's was, when I look back on a lot of challenging situations. I think that's a really big thing. And definitely something now when female entrepreneurs come to me, you know, the biggest challenge, or one of the biggest challenges is exactly the same as I was back in 2008. Nine, is that we worked so hard to ensure that what we believe comes true that we forget about ourselves, we forget about the impact that we're having on others or the situation. And we're on a hamster wheel. But that hamster wheel now has no light. So you're just running in the dark. And of course, in hindsight, there's nothing effective about that. Yes. But at the time you think you're doing everything you possibly can in order to achieve what you really believe. And then I think
the question, did the question make you change anything?
Yeah, well, luckily, I'm surrounded by was was surrounded by a great group of people of which it didn't happen instantly. I'm not going to kid myself. I'm not like, Oh, thank you for that. There was a bit of you've got to be kidding. But when you actually look back on it, what I realized I was doing is that the wave of growth that I was on, was really galloping fast and but the new wave of growth what what what the success was there, was trying to overtake me I was galloping alongside it trying to hold on to this wave of growth, holding on to the next. So basically one foot on each slowly sinking in between. And I think once you realized how much I was doing that I didn't need to do that I had this great team was, how do you create the space to let go? And I think a lot of people would say, you know, I'm gonna say you need to delegate more. It's not, that's not the answer was strange, but it's not the course you do. But I wasn't stupid. I knew that was the answer. But, but actually, how do you prepare yourself to create that trust, to let go of what you need to in order to create that space? And in fact, that's what really the answer that I found with asking the people will what is that to asking the team? And what had happened was that rather than working with the company organizational purpose, what you do is you merge into it, and everything becomes you. So the first thing I did was to really create space, who am I? What do I believe? And how can I translate that into the company that I work with, or was growing at the time, and that space allows you to be able to see, and then you can see what you need, where you need to go, how you position yourself. And that leaves the space for obviously, others to rise and achieve and live their best lives as well. Yes, but in times of, you know, where the impact, especially in an entrepreneurial position, where everything's been thrown at you at left, right and center, you need to be able to ground yourself, and know who you are, and how you translate yourself into that situation, rather than be that situation. Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing. It sounds so simple now, but when you're in it, and your passion, and everything is holding on for that, it's it's very easy thing to forget. And you do merge in times of crisis. So or challenge. Sorry. Yeah. So.
So what I'm picking up here is that the question gives you perspective, which is why people use coaches in the first place, that that skilled questioning thing. And that works in large organizations, but there's a lot of people who work in the world who are on their own. And all they're running small charities, or their their, their, their cash poor, and resource poor. Do you think that questions still works? Or is this a different question?
I think it probably works, even to even larger than it did to me. I think when entrepreneurs come to me, either, they're working for charities, social enterprises, and small companies, your passion, and your willingness will get you so far. And I always liken it to sort of Mount Everest. And your passion will get you to, in a business situation, we'll get you to camp for you've gone through everything. But at camp for, you're burdened by, you know, the energy that it's taken for you to actually become a viable proposition, a viable company or charity. And in order to be able to grow, you need to be able to ask yourself that question, because you need space for others, you need to decide what that is. And the starting point, actually costs you no more money, and it will give you something, which is what are your values in your life, what's taken you to this place that you are, and why you taking the choices that you're taking now. And actually, even by doing that, that space becomes priceless. You don't need money for that the space that you create between yourself. And the purpose of your organization, is where the magic happens, really where you can begin to see clearly take better decisions. Not take with you what got you there. Because it's not necessarily what's going to take you up to the next wave. And I think that costs you nothing.
See, that's really interesting, because I remember having a conversation with a private equity firm many years ago when he said a lot of human capital audits or looking at the validity of an investment succeed by assessing the management capability, for example. And I remember them saying that there's a type of person that's great, it's business startups, getting them to a certain level, but then they frequently can't get them any further. Some of us have a capacity some of that skill sums opportunity. Most of us just experience and somehow they don't have that. And then you have the people who are next good at the next stage, which is sort of the slightly matured, like managing the teenager, as it were, you know. And then then you have the next phase, which is you're in the sort of big corporate life, and you're, and you're doing that phrase. And next thing is the big buyouts and mergers, acquisitions and sort of truly international thing. And their view is really sorry, I'm oversimplifying that for effect, but their view is that you couldn't transition between one stage and the next. And actually, very few people do this. In fact, it's so few people do that. They're noted because they can't. So you know, there's often reasons for that. But I find it interesting. And I just wondering, in my own mind that it's a fatuous question, but I wonder if there's a different question for each person at their different stage, which is why I asked you about your stage, which is like stage two and a bit or something, because that's what you're sort of using the same question for stage one. And I've always sort of been troubled by this, you know, follow your passions thing, because psychology is a lot about finding meaning this happiness and the passion and where you are, rather than waiting to be waiting to have it visited on you, as if it's just, you know, seep through the steel ceiling and hit you in the head. So I'm just trying to reconcile these different approaches of what you're saying, and this one a different kind of view.
Oh, it's, it's one of my favorite subjects. Because, you know, we we like to understand patterns in life. And I think the way businesses grow, especially in early stages is very, very similar. But the person is unique, but the way businesses grow is not. And the biggest challenge that I tried to face is the ones that have had this, we're going to use the analogy of growing child, you know, have the baby and the baby is growing up as a team, they're still trying to nurture it like a, like a baby. But the question that I think is interesting is what motivates the founder, because of course, they're referring to the founders trap, where the founder, continues to hold the baby whilst it's trying to be a teenager. And I think if you know yourself, it's not about trying to fix yourself on one wave. But if you understand the waves, you can ask yourself the question each one, you've got to keep growing, keep making yourself redundant, keep repositioning yourself. And as long as you feel fulfilled, ie your values are being answered, and you feel motivated, then that wave continues. But also, I've been in situations where supporting entrepreneurs, that are their values, still making them fulfilled is this thought they want to do and sometimes then wait to sell out. But I think as long as you're making and reinventing, so renewing yourself isn't better word, renewing yourself and each wave as long as you're connected, but the problem comes, and they're absolutely right, when the founder itself is stuck between one wave and two, like the example I gave at the beginning. And I think if you can renew yourself, I think there is always the advantage that you can lead into the future. But it depends what you let go of, because of course, you need a different team at each wave. And if it's too much to you, you know that all it's not like it used to be this time to get out. But you can get out with grace. And
I'm just wondering, I'm just wondering whether dodging that bullet is a rather than just allowing something to fail, is actually an opportunity loss, because we learn so much through failure, as well as success, obviously. But yeah. I forget the academic used to talk about these organizational pinpoints, and that growth structure. And actually part of it is the is that there is a failure, which is why sometimes you lose the CEO or someone like that sort of moves on and then you bring another person in. And I just wonder if there's a self awareness that comes from just allowing it to fail, allowing oneself to fail rather than constantly renewing?
Yeah, I mean, but the failure will come naturally. But it comes through the redundancy, it comes through choice, rather than the founder, how can we remove them? How can we get them out? And I think by constantly renewing yourself, you become, and you stay very aware of yourself and your influence on it. So that, you know, founders don't want to be unhappy. But they're sort of saying, I'm not sure this is for me anymore. I don't know whether you want to reinvent yourself on the wave or if it's time to get off. Whereas, of course, with entrepreneurs, I'm looking at their journey, their role, and we put them first. So we like to give them the choices of and we will say in whatever growth is to you. And I think from an early stage, if you get people used to making themselves redundant on a regular basis, then they'll naturally do it when there is time to move on. And it will leave also some very important foundations of the value and the foundation of that company in when they do sell or when they do exit. And I'm not sure that failure in terms of that black white failure is the answer. I think it's there is ways of creating that same evolution. But leaving something very good behind. But I think that's early stage for sure. Yeah.
But I'm also thinking that actually, I've seen the opposite happen where you have CEOs are all into their passion, passion, passion, passion. But actually, with the fundamentals, that which is the management piece, the leadership piece, the holding people to account piece, and the sort of float in the ether of otherworldly strategic strategizing, I mean, working with organizations had far too much strategy and not enough management. And so this is a delicate balance. And I think sometimes the passion and maybe there's a pendulum here, maybe we'll focus too much on the past and competence. And now, we're focusing a lot on passion. But what I, what I've always said is, show me a leader with competence first, because if you had one with passion and no competence, what you end up with six months time is a lead, there was no passion and no competence. So I'd rather if, if I was ever going to have one, I'd rather have the competence thing. I totally agree. Yeah, and I think it's that challenge, there is this, but there is the sweet spot in terms of how far away from the organization you get. Because you can be you can be brilliant at something and terrible at it. So you can be brilliant at Passion based enterprise, but actually not very good at executing it.
That's right. That's why we work very much on passion to purpose, right in the very first sessions, because I agree, you know, what an entrepreneur comes on. So you're so passionate about, and I was always told, you're so passionate about what you do, and I used to wear it like this badge of honor, until you understand that passion can be overwhelming for people unclear, and actually can really push the confidence away. And, you know, you know, this sort of very enthusiastic, enthusiastic person. So I totally agree with what you're saying. But this passion into purpose is a very important part. And I was surrounded, as I said, right, beginning growing up in our entrepreneurial family, who shared success very early on in partnership, you know, I watched them was a part of, you know, Mary, and Doug, passing on that responsibility to the leadership of every store of, of, of functions very early on. And I think that was probably a lesson I subconsciously learned about the importance of where the founder sits. And I agree, sometimes you don't want to be the founder that still holding on and turning up to meetings, but there's a role of the founder, and if that fulfills you at every single stage, brilliant. And if it doesn't, it also gives you the space so that you're not going, Oh, if I go there, you know, they're gonna miss me, because the infrastructure is there, and your legacy is there. And I think that's sometimes what founders fear, you know, if I go the legacy of what I was really passionate about, will go and all this fall.
And that's fascinating. It's such a spurious view, isn't it? Because the legacy comes five years after you've left, not the minute you leave? And people don't seem to understand that I'm crazy, my legacy, they'll say, Well, no, that's not your job, the next person creates your legacy. And I also believe exactly what you're saying, you know, that Amina had someone very simple. Someone who owns a solar business. And you know, that the wholesaling and retailing and lots of stuff, and I said, So what's your exit strategy? And he looked at me and said, What do you mean, what is an exit strategy said to me, I said, What's the business for? And I've never thought about it, because people don't because actually, they think of a way of making money, and then they go net money, and then suddenly, he's 20 years later, they go, I'm really rich, and, and not that satisfied. And then someone look at them and say, You're really rich, what your satisfaction comes from different places, because business and I think there's obviously, there's a bit of a new age idea. I don't mean new agent, spiritual center, a new idea that your business has to be your entire life. And it's entirely okay to have your business as the place where you go to make money. And then you live your life somewhere else. Because your business is only part of life. I think people they identify so closely with it, they lose that focus, and then you can't do your renewal, and then they make themself indispensable, and they create the fires to make the business fail, don't they?
They do. And I think that's this joy about passion and purpose and the separation from very early stage because especially with many women entrepreneurs that I work with, you know, they're all these traits, the masculine and feminine traits of life and And funnily enough, they're not gender orientated, it just so happens that women have more feminine traits. But a lot of those feminine traits are about the broad view are about the gathering of people, etcetera, and the holding on. And you know, that family orientated traits. And these can really go in your favor as you're leading through challenging situations. But also, by finding out who you are, what it enables you to do is to play the whole keyboard of traits, the masculine ones, but quick decision making direct thinking, and understanding at each stage, what you how you take your choices and your decisions. And I think that is very, very important for understanding how to keep that space and how to invite other people in. And I think that is a very important part as you're growing businesses, is to keep that space between so we're not holding on. And you take then the full view of life, this is my business, I have space, this is my family space and hobbies. A lot of people think I'm being overwhelmed by my business. And I just think well, once you know yourself, you can see the space between everything, as they say, on a spiritual there is any life. There's not a false division, there's not work life, there's only life, and you have all these channels where you can place whoever you are in it and do whatever you wish. That is what we try and achieve by trying to separate them from their business. So they don't become it.
Yes, and I think that's very hard when you're when you're doing a small business. Yes, interesting. Fascinating. We could do this all day. So why do you work with trans people as well as female do with trans females as far as gender females only?
I think, really, because a lot people say what do you just work with? With women? And, and I think I work with those people who have got and want to grow and more purpose led, orientated, come company, so that those people who want to be driving purpose into into what they do, and purpose led companies, I think, very much, obviously, they were very alive during COVID, when we were looking towards doing things right for the community and doing things that are right for everybody. But for me, it doesn't matter. I think the the feet, the feminine traits mean that it's more geared towards women owning businesses, but to be quite honest, it's the business that I'm interested in, and the way people wish to grow, it would be the best answer for that one.
Mostly dogs that minefield?
Well, it's difficult, because is it about that? Or is it about the fact that people have got great ideas in the community that are very purpose led, that are very, you know, making something in the community better, whether that community be your town, your village, or your or your country or beyond those borders. And that's really what I'm very passionate about, is how to be growing in a purpose led way, using the whole keyboard of, of traits, feminine and masculine traits, and in terms of how we wish to grow, and you know, and that's more the style in which I open up. But you know, I've helped many businesses and of all of all gender, really intensive opening up, it's more the approach that we did.
And like everything, it's the chemistry you have between the business owner and yourself, isn't it? Oh, yeah. Your organization. Let's see. So that is that thing. So Pete, how can people find out more about you, Julie, and your team and where it is? Well works?
Yeah, well, we've got website wise minds.com. We're also on LinkedIn. And obviously social media. And really, that's it's wiser the why isn't it? Why wouldn't Why is with a why, and a very young person told me that because I was on a course on digital writing, which I was terrible at that they were very good. And I and he said, What's your company? And I said, Oh, it's wise Weinstock calm. And he went that makes you sound really old. Because you look wise. He said, Why don't you change the eye to a why and I went, very good idea. And I love that collaboration between salt spirits in New York. I love it. Why is my stock calm wise with a why? And they you can get involved? There's loads of free stories there. You can find out a little bit about what we do. There is free introductory offers on the course. And you know, there's a growth evaluation that you can fill out that gives you the sort of starting point you get bespoke guide back and everything Look, how ready Am I to grow? And it gives you an indication of where you sit with purpose, how aligned you are, and how strong the core of your businesses to grow. And how ready, which I think is the starting point of any growth journey.
Yeah. Love it. Love it. I'm guessing it's for anyone in any size organization, middle leader, top leaders, boards, whatever you want, really, because actually that purpose based thing is applicable to anybody really, isn't it?
Very much so. And it's open to everybody. It's open to anybody who feels overwhelmed, frustrated, or stuck, or wants to challenge of growth. But quite often people are stuck in a no man's land, where they kind of falling out of love with what they do what they once loved. And they go why don't I love this anymore? Is one of the big questions that people find themselves why? Why does this Phil birdnest? Now?
Yes, yeah. Fascinating. Brilliant. Okay, then there you are, to the Perkins from wise, mind wise with a y.com. And check, check out our site, have a look, have a session. It's all priced in euros on the site. So there's going to be a currency head scratching moment from other parts of the country and other parts of the world. But I remember years, and obviously, I'm on holiday now. So there you go. So Julie, thank you so much for spending time with us today.
Thank you very much for having us. It's been a pleasure.
You too. Hi, thanks for listening. Hopefully, that was a useful and interesting episode. As I said earlier, you can support our work by leaving a review, which does drive enhanced exposure, or you can donate on our site, which is that cue Ed od.com. You can purchase our series of books are all about unraveling resilience, leadership, management and anxiety at QED od.com Ford slash extras along with some other free resources available on the site. We've also got a Patreon page, and you of course can send us questions, ideas, thoughts, conversations and fresh public's at info at QED od.com Hopefully there's something there for you. Catch you next time around