The Leap Stories #10: Rebecca Mutch

She has created my dream workspace. The Cowork Collective in East Brunswick is warmly welcoming, little quirky, full of light and generosity, dressed with artistic savvy and the working home for independent creatives. And it’s pretty much a physical embodiment of its creator, Rebecca (Bec) Mutch.

Bec came to our #ContentKin workshop in late 2014 when she was in the midst of painting walls and sealing floors for the new co-working space she was creating in Melbourne’s inner north. Tall, gracious and gently curious Bec has a way of making you feel a bit special, which is exactly what you need when you’re training the next generation of luxury retail staff – the career Bec had before making her leap to co-working entrepreneur. Now she’s used those skills to enable likeminded business types to come together and make stuff happen.

As common in most leap stories on this blog, Bec’s leap has not only been about what she’s created for her own life, but the ripple effect it’s had for people like me. In solving her own problem, she’s created beautiful space solutions for my workshops and events. And she’s collected a killer selection of Seth Godin publications in the onsite library, where I could easily (and maybe already have) spend an entire afternoon.

I hope you enjoy this story and if you’re ever in the neighbourhood, be sure to pop into 421 Lygon St, East Brunswick for a cup of tea with one of the coolest women I know.

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Rebecca Mutch at The CoWork Collective, photographed by

Rebecca Mutch at The Cowork Collective, photographed by Breeana Dunbar

What did you want to be when you grew up and why?

I never really had an answer for this question when I was little. All I did know was that I wanted to do my own thing, whatever that meant. I was desperate to get out from under my parents influence and explore the world.

What did/do you study?

Formally I did a bachelor of business and a master of professional education and training. Informally though, I’m a bit of a sponge about life in general. I’m super interested in how people navigate and bring meaning, enrichment and fulfillment to their lives. The world has always felt a little bit of a mystery to me, being a shy and introverted kid I was always happiest in my own company and in awe of people that seemed relaxed in their skins when around others.

I’ve spent a long time looking for any experience (travel, relationships, jobs, creative expression, workshops, events etc.) that would help me unhook from the need for external validation and approval and allow me to be me. Even now I’m happiest when I’m learning and exploring new ideas and ways of living a fulfilling life.

What has been your most scary/courageous leap you’ve ever made (preferably in your business/career/life direction)?

It might look like starting The Cowork Collective was the big leap for me but it’s really the second iteration of a leap that took place a few years earlier.

Leaving my corporate career and going out on my own as a consultant was the most significant shift I’ve ever made and it opened the door to everything that has unfolded since.

BEC_QUOTE1

What were you doing before you made your leap?

I was training manager for Australia and New Zealand for an international luxury retailer. I lived in Sydney, did a lot of travel, had the most divine colleagues, apartment, clothes, handbags etc. and really felt as though I was living the dream.

Who have been the biggest 3 – 5 influences in your life, in terms of your career and doing work?

For some reason I’m drawing a real blank here, this is what’s coming up though:

My mother – super creative but doesn’t believe that creative pursuits can lead to a financial viable existence;

My father – successful but convinced that wealth only comes by working hard;

My first mentor at Louis Vuitton – everything I ever wanted, generous, inspired, charismatic, influential, connected, interested, supportive, encouraging, collaborative, and empowering;

My second – everything I didn’t want, clinical, disconnected, inconsistent, contrary, manipulative and dominant
(Both equally impactful I now realise).

What did you have in place before you made the leap?

Not much really! Just a very clear intention that I would leverage my experience, no real option of going back and a couple of connections that ultimately proved extremely valuable to the success of my fledgling business.

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What was your defining ‘I can’t do this anymore’ moment that led you to the leap?

Returning to work after maternity leave with my daughter Freya who is now five. My glorious mentor had left for a European posting and I was left with a woman I could not connect with, a gaping hole of doubt about my value to the organisation now that I was a mother and a changing role that left me bereft. It took me a year of conversations with myself and a gift from the universe in the form of another pregnancy to give myself permission to leave.

How did/do you overcome/work with the fear that comes with leaping? How do you decide to choose courage?

Sometimes I’m great with initiating change and other times I’m an ostrich. This was one of those times and I tried really hard not to listen to my inner voice demanding that I change. I’d had fantasies about doing something amazing and entrepreneurial for years but self-doubt always stopped me dead. Having children ended up being a double edged sword, it felt like the most natural and logical time to create a new lifestyle around flexible self employment, but instantly added the complexity of no longer only thinking of myself, of having a family to consider and provide for. I felt like I was bursting with ideas and opportunity while being weighed down with a new obsession around risk aversion.

The big turning point was getting pregnant the second time.

My inner urgings to jump ship were by then so persistent that I unconsciously began to sabotage my career. I began to feel like a huge imposter, that my priorities had already changed so much since becoming a mother the first time, that a second child would make my career as it was, untenable.

It’s interesting that you ask how did you decide to choose courage, because I never thought I was being courageous. Maybe courage came with the second iteration of going it alone, after I’d set up my consultancy first working from home, then from a creative studio, and deciding that I, with no experience and a boatload of naivety could set up my own coworking space.

All I can say is that I was just filled up with the idea, and rather than being in denial and fearful like I was when I traded in my corporate career for the freedom and unpredictability of what was essentially freelancing, I was brimming with excitement at the notion of starting a coworking space.

This eagerness and enthusiasm propelled me forward through a bunch of crazy detours and still does, it’s probably the most enjoyable part of the shift my life has undergone in the past couple of years, I really feel like anything is possible.

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Rebecca Mutch at The Cowork Collective, photographed by Breeana Dunbar.

What other leaps have you made in the past?

My life feels like a series of leaps that at the core are all about listening to and honoring myself. Each leap is a refinement on the same theme. Finding ways to do what I want to do, listening less to the can’ts, shoulds, musts and societal expectations around who can do what, when and under what circumstances.

I’d love it if my gender, age, education, income, career, relationship status and the fact that I’m a mother were not the primary things that defined me. Ultimately though, I know I’ve internalized those expectations and that no one has ever stopped me from doing anything.

Every leap is another stage in embracing that knowledge, and living from the amazing sense of freedom and liberation it brings.

How would you rate your level of happiness about making your leap?
1 being sad, 10 being rad.

10

What’s the biggest upside to making the leap?

I get to hang out with super interesting, brave and inspired people. I hope my example is inspiring my children to do what makes their little hearts sing.

BEC_QUOTE4

What’s the biggest downside to making the leap?

Not so much a downside but definitely a challenge for me is being disciplined. I feel like I’m still undoing years of my time and creative output being driven by external project deadlines and without that pressure I can get caught up in all kinds of distraction.

What might be your next leap?

Now that The Cowork Collective is finding it’s feet I’m looking at ways to keep evolving the concept at 421 Lygon St as a platform for our community to grow personally and professionally. We’re in the early stages of developing a series of in person workshops and online courses to help creative entrepreneurs work smarter, happier and build viable businesses with the scope to expand their reach and offer. We all grow together and I get to work on my longer-term goal of greater financial freedom and a location independent lifestyle for my family.

…and there’s another idea that keeps haunting me about helping women reinvent work and lifestyle on their own terms after becoming a mama. Maybe that will pop up somewhere…

What are your favourite words to live by?

I’ve got three at the moment:

• Do your thing
• All is well
• Thank you

Who do you admire who also made the leap?

Iris Apfel – for so wholeheartedly being her glorious self (I think she makes the leap every day).

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A piece of advice for someone with an itch to leap?

The only person’s approval you ever need is your own. Give yourself permission to leap when it feels right then keep listening to your inner muse for the next best step to take, and the next and the next. Making it up as you go along will become your new normal.

Get used to plans going awry. That’s when all the best stuff happens.


We shot our video at Bec’s co-working space! It’s so pretty!

Right now I’m:

Hearing: My children screaming over who’s sleeping on the top bunk tonight
Eating: Pana Chocolate – Nuts
Drinking: Rooibos
Reading: The life changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing’ Marie Kondo
Loving: That my gorgeous man cooks so well, and the sweet anticipation of going to Italy in September

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To me, Bec’s leap is about space – the mental space created through a journey into motherhood to think about possibilities; the space created by freeing our time of what makes us unhappy to make space for what could make us happy; and the physical space to work, play and build communities of interest. Space is a constant creative constraint in my life for better and worse, so I’m exceptionally grateful for Bec’s leap. What resonated with you most about her story? I’d love to know.

Kylie x

p.s. Here’s Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up from Google Talks earlier this year. She’ll help you deal with your ‘space’ issues!


NEW MELBOURNE BUSINESS WORKSHOPS, JUNE 2015

Content Kin and Biz Kin social media and business workshops Melbourne June 2015

Take your seat at our table at one (or both!) of our upcoming Melbourne workshops:

#CONTENTKIN

Tuesday 23 June 2015
9:30am – 4:30pm

The Cowork Collective
421 Lygon St, Brunswick East

Need to get your head around content marketing and social media in more informed and purposeful way? This course is for you.

By the end of the workshop you’ll walk away with a social media and content strategy and an actionable plan. Discover tactics to grow you business with confidence and impact in the digital world.

AGENDA::

The Scene
:: State of digital marketing around the world
:: Latest social media usage statistics

The Who
:: Defining customer personas
:: Defining your business persona and brand voice

The What
:: Defining brand stories
:: Content Audit
:: Content people crave
:: Case studies
:: Content inspiration

The Where
:: Facebook hacks
:: Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn
:: Blogging and email marketing

The How
:: Developing a content calendar
:: The best time to post for maximum engagement
:: Tools for managing & measuring social media
:: Q&A session for specific questions

Numbers are limited to ensure each attendee has their specific needs catered for.

Early bird tickets: SOLD OUT
Regular tickets: $495 + fees

Morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and a generous goodie bag all included.
BOOK NOW

#BIZKIN

Wednesday 24 June 2015
9:30am – 4:30pm

The Cowork Collective
421 Lygon St, Brunswick East

Live your days by design, not default. Create a way of working that brings you happiness and fulfils your version of success.

Beat overwhelm, create calm and make time to focus on the important things in your business (and your life). Ultimately become more productive, proactive, profitable and peaceful.

AGENDA::

The Now
:: Identify where you’re at right now
:: Connecting with your why
:: Defining your desires

The Essential
:: Download the noise in your head
:: Get clear on what is essential for you and your business

The Productive
:: Learn productivity methods to get more your energy
:: Better design your workflow to make the most of your time

The Priorities
:: Set your priorities for the next 90 days
:: Develop a weekly roadmap to program your business GPS

The Plan
:: Walk away with an actionable and realistic plan for the new financial year
:: Learn tips to stay on track

The CarePackage
:: Self care for when the going gets tough
:: Setting boundaries
:: Create a manifesto to live by
:: Build a survival kit to call on in ‘those moments’.

This day is like having a business coach in your corner for a whole day, with treats included.

Regular tickets: $495 + fees

Morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and a generous goodie bag all included.

BOOK NOW

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