“No matter what happens in life, you will get barriers coming up. You will have things get in the way. It is how you respond to them that will define you as a person.”
Andrew Paton-Smith is a man who likes to be challenged and chooses to take lessons out of everything in life. Some might say his first challenge was being born almost three months early, back in the 60’s, when most premature babies didn’t survive. One way or another Andrew decided to not let a little thing like death beat him.
Spending his childhood in East London, an area built on tough times due to World War II, introduces the role the environment has in shaping people, as this resilient bunch even had an air raid shelter in the school playground. I guess you can safely say Andrew, along with his relatives and friends, fought through humble beginnings to get where they needed to be!
So, are we born with resilience or is it something that can be learnt?
It was an inner drive which led Andrew straight out of school at the age of 16 and into a sales role for an insurance company. After a negative encounter with his boss, which wouldn’t be allowed in the workforce today, Andrew found himself not only married, with a new baby, but also out of a job! It was one of the biggest pivotal moments in his life where he had to choose whether to crumble in a heap in the corner or, dust himself off, learn from where he had come from and start again.
And start again he did, by enrolling in a Business Degree to prove to the world what he could achieve. The journey was not without more important lessons and an ‘encounter’ with a red pen drove him to graduate with one of the highest first-class degrees ever awarded at the university. He went on to begin a career in the IT sector at Navigant International, where he was a Regional Director based in the UK, before moving to Australia to take up a role as Regional Director for the Asia Pacific.
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During his career Andrew has also held positions as IT Director for Qantas Business Travel, General Manager for Business Solutions for Amadeus IT Group and is currently a Non-Executive Director for Wyong Race Club. However, Andrew’s first experience at University left him with a burning question which was “what are the variables and factors that contribute to business success?” and this has led him to Jazoodle.
Jazoodle is Andrew’s tech start-up which was recently selected as one of Australia’s most promising high growth start-ups as part of the University of New South Wales Founders 10X Accelerator Program. It is a tool designed to help SME businesses understand how the business is performing, what the business is likely to be worth and what needs to be done to avoid social and financial problems that come from small business failures. Sadly, 60% of small businesses do not make their fifth birthday, which costs the Australian economy $61B.
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The Jazoodle vision is to become the world’s foremost resource for organisational success and financial wellbeing. It requires grit, determination and underlying curiosity to build a tool such as Jazoodle and today, Andrew shares his challenging journey with us. It is safe to say it has certainly taught Andrew a thing or two about the building blocks of resilience.
Do you exercise with headphones on and avoid having tough conversations? Click here to find out how changing these habits, as well as supporting West Ham United Football Club, can teach you important life lessons in building resilience and help influence your reaction when you reach an unfortunate ‘fork in the road’…