Passion, Purpose & People – Seven Personal Reflections at Seven Years in Business


As I reflect on the past seven years of establishing and growing Bright People™, the words PassionPurpose, and People come to mind. At the end of each year, our team creates a visual business timeline of the year, reflecting on and capturing the most salient events and experiences. We use this living timeline with new team members and customers to share our journey and acknowledge key points along the way. Last week we created the seventh instalment of our timeline just prior to our Christmas party and one of the elements of our company turning 7 years old in December. Some of the team asked me about some of my reflections over the last 7 years in business and it really got me reflecting. I was blown away by the feedback about what we have achieved, the difference we make, and the excitement we have about where we are going with our refreshed strategy and plans for 2023+.

The following points summarise my personal reflections on establishing a people advisory business based on relationships and trust that started with Ryan Bright and now is truly by name and nature Bright People:

1. One person can have an idea; however, it is a team of people coming together that supports an idea to become reality.  Seven years ago, when I stepped out of a corporate role, it was simply me, a laptop, and a logo.  I am grateful to lead a small business doing purpose-led work with over 40 practitioners who consult.  With the benefit of hindsight, I realise how blissfully naive I was to start a small business from scratch.  It has been and continues to be an incredible (at times painful) professional and personal growth experience. I am glad I persisted and with the encouragement of others didn’t give up in the earlier years.

“Most people want to live the dream but they can’t live the reality.”- Justin Langer

2. Purpose is powerful.  Being clear on your purpose and your organisation’s purpose helps define the work you do and whom you work with.  Bright People’s purpose: We ignite real energy, creating brighter futures, for people and organisations to thrive.  Learning to say no to opportunities not aligned with our purpose has been liberating.

3. Co-creating a business strategy with the support of trusted experts brings clarity and focus with the right amount of ambiguity.  Delivering the strategy needs a collective mindset and plan that can adapt and navigate the ever-changing landscape.  I am proud of my team for supporting each other as we managed growth through a pandemic, multiple flooding events (including our office thanks to a plastic cup in a drain – don’t ask!), and many other things that impact us as people.

4. Culture is key.  Creating and developing a culture that attracts and engages people who are empowered to do their best work, delighting our customers and creating a high-trust environment where people can bring their authentic selves to work.  Developing and protecting our special culture has required a lot of courageous conversations and changes in individual and collective mindsets.

5. It’s what you give, not what you get that truly matters as you grow.  Our work in the ‘Social and environmental impact’ space makes a meaningful difference in our community and the world at large.  We may be small; however, we like to make a big impact on the causes we support through our Give Back program.   I was once a kid that took extra sandwiches to school to help hungry kids… next year Bright People will help make hundreds of sandwiches to help support hungry kids learn as part of this pillar of our business strategy.  We will also continue to support and be involved in several causes near and dear to our team.

6. Investing in genuinely developing myself and our people.  Continuously learning supports well-being, growth, and being more effective personally and professionally.  You can only ‘hustle and grind’ so much before other parts of your life get out of balance.  I am learning how to be kinder to myself and live in accordance with my own definition of what success means to me and my higher purpose and values.  Surrounding myself with quality leaders, teachers, mentors, and coaches has supported me to be a better human and bring my gifts into the world.

7. Where you spend your time and attention matters. I started my own business to spend more quality time with my family whilst still doing the work I love, not finding myself jetting around the world constantly for work.  My wife and kids call me “Zen Dad” now which I take as a real compliment. Stepping outside of the “known” and getting off the corporate ladder would not have been possible without the support of Brianna, my amazing wife, and mother of our four children whom I cannot thank enough for her unwavering love and support. You can always make a dollar, but you can’t make time and by taking back control of my life and taking what could be perceived as a riskier path, I have found a deeper sense of meaning, purpose, and connection with those I love, which helps me be a better version of myself when it comes to bringing my expertise to help leaders and organisations grow and achieve their unrealised potential.