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Shift Spotlight
January 1, 2019
Our Honest Review Of 2018

Jordan Axani

Inside view of Shift's practice with a sign that says "You got this".

A Year In Reflection

On December 19, we had an inflection point that was — like any point of reflection — kind of confusing.

We brought together some of our closest colleagues and partners for a dinner at Alma, one of our favourite restaurants, to celebrate 2018 as Shift Collab.

Only a year earlier, our holiday “party” was a small gathering of a couple people in our condo. This year it was a buy-out of a whole restaurant. Naturally, this caused us to feel like total imposters. “How did we even do this?” we wondered.

Looking back, 2018 was the year was the year of Shift Collab began to live up to its name and becoming much more integrated, intentional, and, yes, collaborative. In short, it was because of our team, clients, partners, and friends thinking creatively, sharing a vision, and taking leaps together.

But look, anyone can write a post that talks about the wins of the year. Let’s get real.

We want to share some of the struggles we experienced in 2018 — and then some of the good stuff, too. As a team, we admire openness and honesty. But as entrepreneurs, it can be pretty hard to share what didn’t work so well. Like anyone else, we have that fear of being judged if “they knew the truth.”

Here are some of the major things we struggled with in 2018:

  • We struggled with our growth as a company. In particular, we struggled with managing change internally, finding great people to join our team, restructuring the company to support our growth, and wow-ing our clients all the same.
  • We struggled to know whether or not we should prioritize growing our business, and to what extent.
  • We struggled with prioritizing ourselves, our families, and our friends. We both feel out of shape and like we’ve been more socially isolated than in recent memory.
  • We struggled with focusing on the things that work and saying no to the things that don’t work. We are both pleasers and want to make everyone happy and every project a success, but that’s just not possible.
  • We struggled to truly celebrate and be proud of the collective wins across the entire business.
  • We struggled to get our whole team on the same page, especially when it came to new projects in addition to improving older initiatives.
  • We struggled with how to present ourselves to the outside world. A therapy-meets-education practice can be hard to describe.
  • We struggled to slow down and practice gratitude for what was being created right before our eyes.

We have a magnet on our fridge at home that says, “A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.” And this year, we began to internalize that philosophy. None of our struggles will define us, but rather they will get us ready for what’s ahead.

Plus, a lot of really amazing things happened in 2018. These included:

  • We went from about 10 therapists to nearly 50, including our video therapists located throughout Canada.  
  • Our operations team went from 4 to 8 people.
  • We built a community of 1000 therapists in private practice across Canada.
  • We launched North America’s first on-demand therapy program with our friends at Maple.
  • We worked with our partners at We Speak Student to launch Canada’s largest Student Assistance Program, Real Campus, which is already smashing traditional levels of engagement and usage.
  • We began to work with extremely high-profile corporate partners who can basically afford to hire anyone, but saw immense value in our vision and our work. (Cue imposter feelings).
  • We got much better at finding amazing people who share our vision.
  • We did all of this without external investment or loans, which is no small feat at all.
  • We got excited about 2019 and what the hard lessons of 2018 can teach us.

Sure, each new year is an opportunity to set new goals and visions. But it’s also a chance to get honest with ourselves. The beauty is that balancing both is the only way forward.

So what’s in store for 2019? We’ll leave that for another post.

Suffice to say, we are wide-eyed and ready for another remarkable year with our wonderful team, our brave clients and partners, and our patient and giving friends and family.

Happy New Year!

Jor & Meg
Co-Founders, Shift Collab

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