Five years ago, I co-started a startup: Agilesphere. Agilesphere is a consultancy that specialises in digital transformation.
We’ve grown really quickly, have lots of interesting work and now have over a hundred consultants out delivering for our clients. In the early days, we did pretty much everything ourselves in terms of running the business, but now we’ve got a great team in place to help shoulder the weight. We’ve also just moved out of the startup hub that nurtured us into our very own offices.
Right now, everything’s pretty perfect. The long hours and hard work are paying off – what’s not to like?
So you might be surprised to learn that I’m taking a year off.
Why? And why now?
Behind the scenes, I’ve been able to do everything I’ve done because I have an incredibly supportive husband. For the last five years, he’s put his career on hold and instead put me and the kids first.
I’ve had complete flexibility to work whenever I need to, for as long as I need to and wherever I need to – including taking over the family kitchen. Whenever I’ve been at home and not working, my husband has made sure all the household chores are done so I can spend quality time with the children. When I’ve worked too much, he’s told me and I’ve redressed the balance before it’s had an impact on family life. All of this reminds me how lucky I am to have had the support I’ve had.
In the last few months, my husband has qualified as a personal trainer. His first year will be an incredibly important one for him to start building up his clients. And like he did for me, I want to give him the freedom I’ve had. Plus, my children are progressing through primary school at an alarming rate and I’m feeling the parental pull of wanting to spend more time with them – ideally before they go to ‘big school’ and (I assume) would rather spend time with their mates than their mum.
So, I’ve decided to take a year out on sabbatical from when the children go back to school in just over a week’s time.
As you can imagine, I wasn’t sure how this would land when I floated the idea past my co-founders and fellow CxOs, Jeremy and Hugh. Even though at Agilesphere, we’ve always held work/life balance very dear, I was still surprised by the immediacy and supportiveness of their response:
“Of course Davina, you must do it. We’ll miss you but we’re in a good place.”
Now in practice, I’ll be popping into the office for an afternoon every other week to attend our strategy and finance forums. But other than that, I’ll be focusing on my family – something I’m very excited about.
I’d like to say thanks to my co-founders and fellow CxOs, Jeremy and Hugh and to the whole Agilesphere team for all of your support in this endeavour.
I couldn’t do it without you.