Eighteen months ago, I made a decision that significantly changed my life and that of my family’s. I seemingly had it all – a wonderful wife and two awesome (mostly) kids, a dog and two cats, a great job in the big smoke and a house in the burbs with enough grass that warranted the purchase of a sweet Masport 550 AL lawnmower. This is it, right? The great kiwi dream. Wrong. I started to get the feeling it could be better. I had already worked for the same company for 15 years and simply couldn’t see myself trudging through the traffic every day for the next 30, riding the slow boat to nowhere. It was time for a change.

What does it mean to change?

What had to change? There were a number of things I could have done. I thought about changing roles within the company I was working for but I knew that would be about as good as fixing a wire fence with sticky tape – bound to fail. I could have changed jobs and worked for a different company but the thought of fighting more traffic was too much to bare. Maybe something personal had to change. A new car perhaps? No way – my 1.5 litre Mazda Familia was a finely-tuned machine and certainly did not need an upgrade. Just ask the guys who stole it and used it as their getaway vehicle in an armed robbery. Twice. No, every avenue for change that went under consideration came up well short on the desired outcome.

Then it dawned on me – it wasn’t a change I was looking for but a transformation. A change is simply to do something or become different but a transformation is a significant change in nature. What could be so wildly different than getting up, driving to an office, sitting behind a desk for 9 hours, driving home, having dinner and putting the kids to bed? Growing avocados in the beautiful Bay of Plenty, that’s what. I knew absolutely nothing about growing avocados but the thought of learning something completely new and not being tied to a desk all day was an exciting prospect. Within three months, we had sold our home in the big smoke and moved to a stunning lifestyle block just on the outskirts of Tauranga, fully equipped with 200 avocado trees.

City slicker to avocado farmer.

All of a sudden I was an avocado farmer who knew weird things the average person shouldn’t really know, like the fact the avocado flower opens first as a female, closes, then opens again as the male. My morning commute was no longer spent with thousands of other single-person vehicles but instead with the pet sheep bleating trying to convince me their paddock has no grass to eat. Instead of sitting all the time, I spent my days walking around the two hectares of orchard just doing stuff and subsequently my body decided to throw away 20 kilograms. I felt healthier in the mind and that translated to being happier.

Fast forward 12 months and a networking opportunity has me stumble across SwipedOn, a cool new tech company based in Tauranga. It’s a slick visitor management solution that seamlessly records all of your visitor’s information upon arrival, while reinforcing your company branding and streamlining the registration process. Joining this talented and passionate team was another change for me but again, the prospect of venturing into something new was really exciting. I’m still growing the avocados, although now it’s more of a part-time hobby and way of keeping the team happy with a steady supply of tasty avo goodness.

So here is my challenge to you. Don’t just do something different, do something enterprising and make a significant change.  Throw out that old, tattered, ink-smudged visitor book and transform your front desk into a slick, modern and seamless experience. Your visitors and your brand will thank you for it.

Cheers,
Paul

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