Susan Hayes “The Positive Economist” Managing Director Hayes Culleton
As I sit in a thoughtful pose, cross-legged in front of my laptop with the aroma of an Americano playing with my senses, I fervently hope that some of the lessons that I have fondly learned on this journey will be of use to you.
My name is Susan Hayes, “The Positive Economist” and I set up Hayes Culleton Ltd, an international financial training and eLearning company in September 2010 with my fiancée (and excitedly soon-to-be husband!). I have co-authored a second level economics textbook called “Positive Economist” and published “The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom” in January.
I did a degree in financial Maths & economics with an enthusiastic view to becoming an actuary. I joined the Business Society in college and a chance meeting with a guest speaker diverted me down the route of stock market training. In September 2010, as Ireland was gripped by a fierce recession, I decided that to make the leap into entrepreneurship
Many things in my life have happened serendipitously. I’m a firm believer that if you just keep trying, karma is counting up lots of your little actions and will deliver a mega one in return. I gave a course on “Exchange Traded Funds” one evening for a client and the MD of Penguin Ireland happened to be sitting in the audience. He told me that he went home that night and said to himself “that woman was in a room full of men, demonstrating competence and authority on a technical area of the stock market and with an ability to make complex topics simple”. Two weeks later, I was invited on national T.V. to explain a complicated financial decision that the UK government was making and analyse if it would be wise for the Irish government to do the same….. in 30 seconds. The same man saw me again, picked up the phone and asked “would you be interested in writing a personal finance book for women?”
My days are packed with activity, variety and excitement. I spend my time seeking opportunities, learning, developing, growing, delivering and thinking. I devote a lot of time to thinking, because that’s where I can add most value to the team that we have built around us. I have chosen to take the reins, spearhead projects and venture into unknown territory. It’s up to me to really think about our best way forward, who is best equipped to do what and how we can build their capacity and competence in the best way for us all. If I didn’t take the time to think, really think, about this, the foundation of our company would be very light.
I absolutely love to come home and spend an hour telling my fiancée the stories of the day. However, there have been many times that I have called him in tears from rejection, frustration and exhaustion. If I’m to be honest, while I wouldn’t have chosen to go through times of failure, lean finances and knockbacks, I learned a lot of lessons through those times and now, my appreciation of better circumstances has skyrocketed.
There are weak moments when I have thought to myself, maybe it would have been easier if…. or perhaps I should have done x…, but in truthful and mature reflection, I wouldn’t change a thing. However, the path forward wasn’t always clear. That was the hard part. I have always felt in control of my own destiny, but often felt unsure as to what I was supposed to do with it! In circumstances like that, I feel the best thing to do is to articulate your uncertainty and ask for help. Go to enterprise agencies, life coaches, role models, career guidance counsellors, networking groups, mentors and anybody else who may be in a position to give you some points to ponder, nuggets of advice, strategic direction – anything! Uncertainty can lead to opportunity if treated proactively, but procrastination is a killer.
There are lots and lots and lots of things that I want to do, see and experience both personally and professionally, but I truly feel like I have my whole life ahead of me to do everything. I get to travel the world, watch my team grow in confidence and help them manifest their own dreams, meet people from all walks of life, make a difference and spend my time doing what I love. It’s even better to think that I can do this for decades and decades to come!
If I had just one message that I would like to convey, it would be to appreciate the journey, because otherwise, what’s the point at all? I often call my fiancée tell him that I’m having a “moment” and he often replies “Another one?!”It’s vital to take that one moment to recognise the deal that has just gone through, that kind compliment from a client or to realise that you have just done something you thought previously impossible. I want to tell you my appreciation secret that has got me through difficult times and delivered me lots of “moments”. Every single day, I take a red pen and write down at the top of my diary what I achieved that day, irrespective of how the size, impact or visibility of the achievement. On my days of feeling down, I read back through my diary, trust that I’m clocking up the actions with karma and think about my overriding objectives. That’s my personal recipe for motivation.
I would love to leave a legacy of company that outlives me, a team of staff that have developed beyond their own perceived potential and a world that is more financially savvy than when I entered it.
As an economist, I’m often asked to predict in the future, but in my opinion, in the words of Peter Drucker, “the best way to predict the future is to create it”.
Susan Hayes “The Positive Economist”