Why I started Make Do Co.

I hope Make Do Co. will bring about more unique businesses with character and heart, more connected people with empathy and purpose, and more meaningful innovation, as a result of people listening and working to their values.

Night Sky

After 10 years working in communications for various startups, agencies and businesses – and through my own lived experience – I became convinced of the strong correlation between wholeheartedness and happiness.

I saw wholehearted leaders guiding their teams with integrity and authenticity. I saw teams responding by doing great work and leading richer lives. I saw customers and the world at large return this energy with gusto. Working for these businesses was easy. An invisible but palpable momentum made getting press coverage simple, producing meaningful work fundamental, and happy customers inevitable.

I also witnessed the opposite: Ugly leadership and tight control in place of conviction and integrity. These people were hell to work with and tended to have a band of employees with one foot out the door at any given time.

Seems obvious no?

And yet time after time I found myself frustrated, miserable in my job but unsure what else I could do. I felt drained by a life tipped in the balance towards too much work and sad that many of the interests I’d had as a kid had fallen away because of busy-ness.

I had passion and fire, I had skills and curiosity, and I had causes I cared about, but felt helpless to make any change.

I never had to look far to find these feelings echoed in others. And I still don’t.

City View

Finding what’s right

Gradually, I began to remove my barriers to living, stepping out on my own as a freelancer to gain some much needed freedom and autonomy. I quickly learned that outside of rigid workplace rules, I had the opportunity to live differently. I moved around more as an antidote to sedentary desk-bound habits, I allowed time everyday for swims and walks on the beach, I got to cook the majority of the food I ate and I got to spend time with the people I cared about. I spent my money on learning and was flying with this newfound knowledge in design, yoga and permaculture.

But my biggest lesson in those two years was free: the barriers I’d felt so bound to, were not really barriers at all, but choices I’d made out of an infinite number of choices available to me.

Wholehearted living for me meant reconnecting. I wanted to remember the things that made me feel alive. I wanted to be more connected to people around me. I wanted to be in the real world – not a synthetic office with fluorescent lights – and I wanted to fill my days with purpose. I wanted to make things, not just consume things and I wanted to build on the knowledge of others, not struggle on my own.


Making and doing

Writing content and conducting interviews for Make Do Co. is part of my own wholehearted process, gathering knowledge around the topics I care about and sharing it with others. If we see and hear enough stories about people living with purpose, I hope it will give more of us the ideas and courage to do the same.

Along with the free content presented on the site and in the Make Do Co. newsletters, I work with businesses on higher purpose, employee culture and storytelling; as well as hosting events, courses and retreats for individuals. The best way to keep in touch with announcements and news is to sign up to the mailing list.


What happens next?

This is not about finding work / life balance, but making a life.

Holistic skills like self-awareness, empathy, calm, resilience and eloquence are often overlooked in the workplace, yet this kind of emotional intelligence is not only integral to the makings of the very best leaders, it makes each day much more fulfilling and enjoyable too. These skills are relevant to every single person – no matter who you are or what you do.

If this sounds like the kind of world you want to operate in, I hope you’ll join me on this journey – you can sign up to a program to gain these skills now, or follow along (by signing up to my newsletters) to get a better idea of what we do.

I hope to see you in the classroom one day, Jo.

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