By the age of 30 I had obtained a sport science and psychology degree, and been a fitness instructor, a student politician, a sales consultant, a representative rugby player, a zookeeper, a step mum, an ESL teacher, a house owner, a sales training manager, an international tour guide, and a business owner.
And then, at the age of 31, I decided follow my childhood dream of becoming a vet and tried to get into Vet school. I was successful on my first attempt and after 5 years at vet school I moved to Melbourne in 2015 to start my career as a vet. Bright eyed and bushy tailed I launched into my perfect graduate job with positivity and an amazing future ahead, so I thought. Instead I ended up facing some of the most difficult years of my life.
Big cities are some of the loneliest places in the world. We don’t know our neighbours. We don’t know people we see on the street. A lot of the time, we don’t know the name of the person who sells us our coffee each morning.
After a year of my new career in this new country, despite being outgoing, positive and not afraid of connecting with people, I didn’t have many real connections. Although I was incredibly lucky and privileged, I was lonely, almost broken and barely had enough energy to keep my head above water.
Worst of all, it was hard for me to ask for help.
At this time while I was trying really hard to work it all out and find a way to get through, it occurred to me that if this was my experience, with all of the fantastic opportunities and resources I had available to me, then there must be a whole lot of people out there struggling too, not sure how they got there and, like me not sure about how to get themselves out.
I decided that I wanted to try and make a positive difference and help other people have better lives...Even just a little bit…And I wanted to give other people the opportunity to do the same.
So how was I going to do this? Well, I realised that I had some solutions to some people's problems, and other people probably had the solutions to other people’s problems.
Everyone had something to offer that no other person could give, therefore if we worked collaboratively, we all would benefit from each other’s contributions and become greater together than we could ever be on our own.
So in April of 2016 I started the KGKN in order to provide a safe place for people to be able to ask for help, because we are not encouraged or supported to do this in many of the places we operate. I wanted people to share their knowledge, experience, skills and resources to help with finding solutions to each other's problems, because collaborative problem solving is efficient problem solving.
The Kensington Good Karma Network made it easy for people to help each other. And by helping each other, it also meant that they would helping our community.
Read more about the Kensington Good Karma Network in the Sydney Morning Herald here.
And the compassionate interactions of the members of this group started a movement. Early in 2017 people from around the country heard about what was happening in Kensington and got in touch to ask how they could start a Good Karma Network in their suburb. 4 years later the KGKN has inspired the creation of 50 more Good Karma Networks, with a combined total of over 100,000 members. In order to further explore the potential of human connection and harness the power of collaboration, I established the Good Karma Effect, an organisation that connects and supports the volunteer online community managers of these groups to facilitate positive engagement that results in positive outcomes and community resilience in their Good Karma Networks
Everyday thousands of people are asking for help and giving others the opportunity to make a difference with whatever they have to offer. The Good Karma Networks allow us to realise that we can actually make a difference, with what ever we have to offer, by responding to other peoples requests for help.
And they demonstrate the potential of real human connection. The question now is what else might be possible by creating compassionate connections in online communities?
Get in touch if you would like to explore the possibilities with me.