I got asked this question recently. And I didn’t have a clear, simple answer because I don't feel that there was one trigger. I think there were a number of small - and some pretty big - events that have led me to this point where I have set up my own business.
Also, what was the moment I started my business? There isn’t a clear moment where I didn't have it and the next moment I did. It's been evolving for quite some time. It's still evolving and it's still growing.
So whilst I couldn't give a straight simple answer, the question really made me think about what has brought me to this point.
One trigger was the moment I made the decision to leave teaching. So many events had brought me to that point – I won’t list all of those triggers here now (that could be a blog post in itself). But when I made that decision, it really came down to the fact that I wanted choice. I wanted to make a change for myself, and I wanted to do that by making a choice.
The importance of choice is reflected in the day to day of teaching - I didn't always have a choice about what I did in my role. I was told I had to do things in a certain way and I didn't always agree with that way.
It’s also reflected on a higher level. I wanted to have choice about how I lived my life, how I spent my time and ultimately how I could create an impact in the world. I didn’t feel that I had that choice when I felt stuck, out of control and disempowered in my teaching role.
So choosing to leave teaching was definitely a trigger for me setting up my own business, but I didn't know when I left teaching that’s what I was going to do. In fact, I didn't have a plan at all!
I just knew that I was making a choice to change and that was important to me.
I have also reflected a lot on how choice was a big part of my teaching ethos. I wanted to empower children to have a choice. Whether I was telling the children explicitly or modelling through my actions, I wanted them to believe that they could do whatever they put their minds to.
In the words of Henry Ford: 'Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right.'
I felt for a long time in teaching that I was stuck. That I couldn't really do what I wanted to do and I definitely couldn't leave. What would I do? Teaching is what I do. It’s who I am. I couldn’t see another way.
I wanted to be teaching children that anything is possible but I wasn't truly embodying that. I wasn't the role model I wanted to be for them. I wasn't the role model I wanted to be for the adults in my life either. Importantly, I wasn't the role model I wanted to be for myself.
I made the choice to prove to myself that what I believed was true. You can do what you do put your mind to. So I can do what I put my mind to.
That realisation and the subsequent choice I made to change it were definitely triggers.
I made the decision to leave teaching, because I didn't feel empowered and I felt I didn't have choices. I felt stuck. I felt hopeless at points. I felt disempowered. But I sincerely believe that had I had the help that I provide now when I was teaching, things would be different for me. And not just in the lead up to making the decision to leave, but before I knew I was feeling disempowered, and before I felt stuck. If I had had support I genuinely think things would be different. And I can imagine being in the classroom feeling truly empowered and how much of a better teacher I would be because of it!
So after I made that decision to move away from teaching, the more I reflected on what was important to me, I've found myself coming back to education to now empower teachers. I want to empower teachers, because I know what it's like to be disempowered. And I want to empower teachers because that will empower children. And that's what was most important to me about teaching. Empowerment is not only what education is about for me. It’s life. If I can help others see they have a choice, that’s powerful.
If I can do what I put my mind to, so can you.
And by me doing that, I will help others do it.
The work I now do empowers teachers, it empowers children and it empowers me.
I know it’s not the most succinct answer to the original question, but by summing up the triggers that brought me to start my own business, I’ve told you how I ended up doing what I do now and why it's so important to me.
I'd love to know if my triggers resonate with you - even if your story is very different to mine.
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Emma Cann - find out more about me on the other pages of my website!