Let’s talk about work. And life. And learning.

I love to work. I love my work. I love being an entrepreneur – building and creating NEW things. Well, I’ve been away from it for nearly three years. And now I’m back!

What took me away was a leave of absence resulting from the experience of building a successful business and selling it, and then agreeing not to compete for a prescribed period of time. So, I traveled. From the Antipodes to Singapore, South Africa and Peru to Italy and the Galapagos Islands, and most of the world in between! I traveled with my husband, Ken, and our two children; and I blogged about it. IndiaThere was so much to see… and so much to say. A big part of traveling is the learning that comes from seeing how other people do things in other cultures, and how differently they think. Time spent in India was perhaps the reason I adopted a saying of Gandhi’s as the mantra for our travels: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Living and learning. Is there really anything else to life?

Well, yes, as a matter of fact there is. Work.

Everywhere I went, I noticed that working is pretty much the only way to make a living in the world. However, I also learned that there are many different ways of working, and that workstyle and worklifecan be (and should be) whatever works best for you.

And that got me thinking. Hmm… entrepreneur that I am, there’s a business opportunity in my area of expertise (PR and Corporate Communications) for a service that promotes the value of flexible worklife/style to both organizations andindividuals. Well, today I’m announcing a new business venture. I’ve partnered with my longtime client and colleague, Genevieve Brown, to launch beSPEAK.

While I was in the U.K. on my travels, I heard a word used more frequently (and differently) than it is here in North America. Brits call something ‘bespoke’ when it is custom-tailored for a particular need. Literally, the tailors in Savile Row are makers of ‘bespoke’ suits, and that has filtered into the language as a description of anything that is custom-designed, instead of ready-made. A beautiful garden can be bespoke. An exclusive hotel. A piece of hand-made furniture. Well, our company, beSPEAK, is in the business of custom-tailored work arrangements. We believe in work that’s handcrafted for people, instead of the one-size-fits-all 9-to-5, five-days a week, 48 weeks of the year (excluding vacation entitlement and statutory holidays), which works fine for many people (and organizations), but not all.

In this 21st century we’re all looking for new and different ways of thriving and surviving. There’s a lot of learning about new ways of doing things. Innovation is change, and change is the new normal. Flexibility is a necessity. And technology is the enabler.

Ergo… beSPEAK.

Genevieve and I are passionate about new ways of working – something that is of potential benefit to both the client and the supplier. In many cases it can deliver greater return on investment than traditional ways of working. Outsourcing, flex-time, home office, distance-working, time-shifting, full time part-time, part-time full time, results-oriented work – there’s a virtually unlimited range of ways of working today, allowing both companies and suppliers to consider opportunities that just plain… work. Like crazy.

And, the empowering aspect of this that really gets me pumped is that there’s an untapped market of experienced talent that is sometimes missed when put through the filter of current, constricted practices and processes. That is possibly the greatest missed opportunity in the working world today. At beSPEAK, we’d like to play a part in changing it.

And so, here on this weblog, let’s talk about work. And life. And learning. And… see you back here soon!