Welcome to the first interview in the The Leap Stories. Jane is the reason I started this series. She’s the kinda human dynamo that makes you feel important and worthy, and that anything is possible. She makes you feel that you too could get up at 5.30am everyday and I wanted to know what it took to start your own communications agency at 25.
Fate had me meet Jane at Big Hearted Business in 2013, and fall under her spell pretty quickly. Jane was speaking about getting things done. Jane is one of those fearless human beings with the tenacity and drive to just go for it, and it’s this attitude and passion for life that’s seen her take many leaps and land successfully on her feet. After selling her company, Undertow Media (which she started at age 25), Jane co-founded the mindfulness meditation app Smiling Mind and later founded micro-donation app Shout For Good, both uniquely wholehearted apps that contribute to the world through small positive steps and mindful action. Jane was awarded Young Telstra Businesswoman of the Year in 2005, and sits on the boards of the Australian Women’s Donor Network and the Olivia Newton John Foundation. I’m so excited to feature her as the first ‘leaper’ in the series. Let’s go…
What did you want to be when you grew up and why?
A teacher – I think because I have always quite liked bossing people around and teaching them something new!
What did you study?
Aside from just getting my hands dirty in life and just DOING things, I did a Bachelor of Arts at RMIT majoring in Public Relations and Psychology.
What were you doing before you made your leap?
I was running the PR agency I founded 11 years ago, Undertow Media.
Who have been the biggest 3 – 5 influences in your life, in terms of your career and doing work?
1. My dad – although working in the same Government run organisation for over 35 years, he always urged me to have my own business and be my own boss. This gave me the confidence to think it was always possible.
2. Inspiring women around me – my high school Principal Di Fleming who was awarded Telstra Business Woman of the Year when I was doing VCE, my first boss, Margaret Porritt, Founder of Feathers retail stores, also a past winner of this award, and my mother who was the first person who instilled in me that I was able to do whatever I set my mind to – and the only thing that would ever hold me back would be myself if I was not willing to try my best and take some risks. More recently, Eve Mahlab, Chair of Australian Women Donor’s Network and Linda Dessau, AFL Commissioner. Wow!
3. My husband – an amazing focus on what is truly important and to always pursue what makes you happy not what you (or other people) think you ‘should’ be doing. His independence and ability to always prioritise this has been a ‘rock’ whenever fear creeps in and tries to prevent me from being as daring as I should be. He is honestly the most magnificent human I have ever met.
4. Myself – the minute I realised and actually 100% believed that it was my thoughts, mind, beliefs, inhibitions, fears etc. that stop me being where I truly want to be in life, I had absolutely no one else to blame but me. How confronting but oh so important that is.
What did you have in place before you made the leap?
Not much. It was making the decision itself that allowed us to then get things in place. A large amount of ‘the shift’ in mental state, energy and opportunity will never come while you are ‘getting ready’ for the leap. The whole point of leaping is not to have the safety net.
Many people say to me – but you were lucky to be in the position you were because you sold your business (meaning Undertow Media). Truth is, I only sold it after taking the leap of saying I wanted a change. The leap was made well before the security of a business sale. I believe what made that possible was the leap itself, NOT the other way around.
Security blankets don’t make for very exciting leaps! 😉
[Tweet “Security blankets don’t make for very exciting leaps! – @janemartino #theleapstories”]
What was your defining ‘I can’t do this anymore’ moment that lead you to the leap?
Probably having three children under three at home with a husband who stayed at home with them and did an amazing job (but in all honestly was probably keen on a little more help from me than he was receiving!), working insane hours, managing a growing business and team of 15 women and being back at work 2 weeks after the birth of my third child!
How did you decide to choose courage?
I had a husband that insisted I stopped doing something if it was not making me happy any longer – no matter what the financial repercussions may have been. In his mind, NO money was worth not doing what you love. How cool is that? I could not argue with such divine logic.
[Tweet “‘NO money was worth not doing what you love’ – Jane Martino #theleapstories”]
What other leaps have you made in the past?
Before that? Playing all the sports and extra curricular activities at school even when I was no good. Going job hunting to my ‘top 5’ places I wanted to work with my CV in hand at 14 and 8 months. Getting the grades to do law and doing an arts degree (sorry Dad!). Getting a scholarship to study at the University of Florida and moving there alone at 19 to live and study. Getting married and having children WAY before any of my mates. And continually now doing things that people think may not work, and seeing them succeed regardless.
How would you rate your level of happiness about making your leap?
1 being sad, 10 being rad.
What’s the biggest upside to making the leap?
The exhilarating feeling of actually doing what you please, not what others want or think you should do – and letting go of what is no longer serving you. (I believe it is good to do this in other areas of your life too, not just career ie. friendships, volunteering, health & lifestyle etc.).
What’s the biggest downside to making the leap?
Feeling absolutely terrified, like you might have made a mistake and riding the rollercoaster of uncertainty.
PS. I am still on that rollercoaster by the way!
What might be your next leap?
It will be into physical and retail that combines a number of my passions – tea, health and design.
What are your favourite words to live by?
Pretty much every word Eleanor Roosevelt has ever uttered but below are two of my most favourite:
‘Do what you feel to be right in your heart, for you’ll be criticised anyway.’
‘You must do the things you think you cannot do.’
Who do you admire that also made the leap?
Absolutely EVERYONE who has the courage to. However that looks and in whatever way, I feel totally inspired by people who make big changes in their lives.
A piece of advice for someone with an itch to leap?
You must be busy making a whole lot of excuses at the moment. Well, stop. That is pure fear writing that list. See it for what it is. There is always a way to do what you love, or at least search for it. And you will never find it if you are too busy writing the long list of reasons why you can’t.
Thank you so much Jane for being a part of The Leap Stories. I think those final words of advice are probably some of my favourite…
What was your favourite part? Has it inspired you to consider your leap a little more seriously? What leap is whispering to you? Please leave a comment and let me know.
Our next #ContentKin Content Marketing and Social Media Workshop for Business is Monday 4 May 2015, at Girragirra Retreat in Forbes, Central West NSW – yep, we’re taking it to regional Australia!
This is a creative and interactive workshop for businesses, exploring social media and content planning ideas and challenges. At the end of the day you’ll walk away with a defined social media and content strategy, and an actionable plan. And it will be fun! There will be coloured pens, piles of post it notes, chocolates and a room full of wholehearted biz types like you. Check out a little video of what you can expect here:
Tickets via the link (and being snapped up by regional creatives quickly!): contentkinforbes.eventbrite.com
See you there! x