In the most difficult of years, the incredible Galway business community grew, learned and adapted in spectacular fashion. We want to shine a light on their outstanding efforts and give you a little dose of inspiration during these tough times.
The past year has been like nothing we've ever experienced, but these unprecedented times have allowed our best qualities to shine through! In the first instalment of 'When The Going Gets Tough' we speak to a well known face, Gill Carroll, about the lessons she learned and the stand out moments. Having a better routine at home and the time to focus on upskilling outside of her everyday job has set Gill on the right track to get through all the madness with a smile on her face. Her positivity is infectious so have a read of what she had to say and you'll be feeling better in no time...
Tell us a bit about your usual role?
I am the business owner of 56 Central Restaurant in Galway and a Business Coach with my online coaching business, Strive For It. My duties vary from day to day, which I love. Some days I am working in the office in 56 Central and other days I am on the shop floor working with the crew and engaging with customers. Then I spend days coaching business owners and carrying out my Business Mastermind groups with Strive For It. I have a white board and block out my time a month in advance to keep some order in my life. If it's not on the whiteboard in my kitchen - it's not happening!
How has that changed throughout 2020?
In the past 12 months, my restaurant has been closed for a total of five and half months (and counting!). That side of life has changed dramatically. I have spent all my free time working on my coaching business, studying and creating online programs.
I now have a great routine at home too; for the past nine years I have had a busy life being self-employed and made many sacrifices, so it was good having control over my day to day life, knowing the phone would not ring from the restaurant! I joined the TrainStation online gym class, Love Yoga's classes, and many more, and I enjoyed the time! Sure look, during lockdown 1.0 the weather was magical so bike rides, sea swims and white wine on the deck made it easy to forget the hustle and bustle... Lockdown 3.0 is slightly harder with cold sea swims and red wine by the fire!
What have you learned in that time?
I have learnt the importance of feeling safe, having a purpose, creating discipline around this purpose and then having a routine. All these steps saved me during the three lockdowns. I learnt that despite the loss of control due to lockdowns and being forced to close my business, I still have all the control of my life. I need to nurture my mind and body first and then I will have full control of what is going on around me.
I also learnt about becoming adaptable - my team and I have had to adapt fast when we re-opened. We did this our way, we educated ourselves and then our customers and took control to ensure the safety of everyone. In business, you must call the shots and run the business your way, on your terms. The changes we made this year will see us running a better business in the future.
What would you have done differently?
Nothing! It was a very uncertain year and we all did what we could to get through it. We need to be gentle with ourselves as we navigate through this.
Tell us about your standout memory of 2020?
I was very lucky to have been able to travel just before the lockdown. I visited Thailand and Japan with my Mom and a few friends. I remember arriving at the airport and getting a text from my Dad to say "put a mask on when on the plane" - I had no clue what he was on about! In no time after my arrival home I was in standing in the restaurant with all my staff full of fear after a meeting with business owners, the mayor and city manager and telling them the symptoms of Covid, telling them to buy paracetamol, a thermometer to have at home, fill out the Covid payment form and then get home and stay there! I will never forget the fear and quietness in the room.
What was your proudest moment of the last year?
In January, when I looked back at 2020 and made some notes about what had happened, I was shocked that despite the lockdown I had a very fulfilling year. I guess the proudest was completing three certifications for my coaching business and getting distinctions. I was never great in school and repeated my Leaving Cert, so this was a great moment to see that if you do something you really love you will hit the top marks! Another proud moment was the last day of the Francis Thornton Memorial Swim which I did over the month of August with a few friends. It was a magical month spent with friends outside on the bikes, swimming in the sea and sipping coffee - all before 9am!