Leo Lawrence is a key pioneer at Upswing, he graduated from the University of Cambridge with a degree in Political Science.
1.HOW DID YOU GET STARTED AT UPSWING?
My first job out of university was as a consultant in one Europe’s leading financial PR firms, where I provided strategic communications advice to a range of asset managers, hedge funds, and investment banks.
The turning point in my career came in early 2021, when I decided to leave behind my cushy corporate job take the perilous leap into the world entrepreneurship.
Joining an early stage startup has always appealed to me. The varied nature of the work, dynamism, and unpredictability are all things that drew me in. It was this drive to join a startup that first got me knocking at the door of Upswing.
Having been introduced to the company through a mutual friend to the CEO, I was immediately attracted by it’s youthful team, quality product, and exciting mission. The decision to join full-time was an easy one.
2.WHAT DOES UPSWING MEAN TO YOU?
In my view, Upswing is all about not having to make sacrifices. For many of us, deciding between having a few drinks and working productively the following day is an either or. I am certainly no exception to this.
But with Upswing, we no longer faced with this catch 22. Upswing enables us to live life to the fullest, whether that’s having dinner with friends or being up and fresh for an early morning run. It is this significant benefit – avoiding the trade off of fun for productivity – that, in my opinion, really captures the essence of the company.
3.BIGGEST AHA MOMENT
My biggest aha moment was realising that starting a company is actually possible. When I was younger, the thought of starting a company was as tantalizing as it was out of reach. I was both and amazed and intimidated by the idea of creating a multimillion dollar business out of nothing – no idea, no product, no team, no customers, and no instructions.
Yet, I have since discovered that starting a company is a lot more doable than it first seems. The grand idea of starting a company is far removed from the day-to-day reality. In fact, the daily reality is that same as with any job – people in an office, writing, reading, typing, clicking, and speaking.
“When you perceive the process in these fundamental terms, you realise that starting a company is, while challenging, entirely possible, and isn’t simply reserved for the likes of Elon Musk and Bill Gates, but it can be done by us mere mortals as well!”
4.HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
I define success in two different ways. The first way is with regards to myself. Specifically, to what extent am I living a life that I find fulfilling? This can relate to my career as well as my personal life: I want to be doing things that stretch me, align with my values, and help me become more capable and well-rounded.
The second way I define success is with regards to other people. Specifically, to what extent am I improving the lives of those around me? In this way, I think success is about giving back, helping others, and generally improving the state of the world.
At the ripe age of 25, I don’t know if I can legitimately consider myself successful according to these measures, but I am trying my best! Maybe ask me again in another 25 years’ time.
5.WHAT ROLE DOES FALURE PLAY IN BEING SUCCESSFUL?
I believe that failure is at the absolute core of being successful. I think most people agree with me on this, and recognise that all successful people – whether in business, sport, politics, or the arts – have battled with failure on their path to success.
So, given that the majority of people recognise the centrality of failure to success, it makes all the more surprising that we grow up in such a profoundly anti-failure-oriented society. This, to me, is the real issue.
Throughout our formative years, we are taught that failure is a bad thing. Performing badly in a test is punished, failing at something new is considered embarrassing, and getting rejected for university places or job applications is a mark of shame.
This constant negative reinforcement has meant that many people perceive failure as an inherently adverse – something that should be avoided. But the opposite is true. Failure is necessary to success, and should be celebrated, appreciated, and actively encouraged. I believe the more we recognise this fact, the more successful each of us will be.
6.WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE FOR PEOPLE PURSUING THEIR DREAMS?
Take it one step at a time. Big dreams and grand visions are great, but they are also misleading. If you constantly focus on the grand idea, your dream seems insurmountable, and getting there feels like going from 0 to 100 in a single leap. Instead, try to break down your journey into steps. The smaller the steps, the smoother you will flow from one milestone to the next, slowly realising your dream as you go.
7.HOW DO YOU REACH YOUR FULL POTENTIAL EVERYDAY?
The main way I reach my full potential everyday is by practicing meditation. I have been meditating daily for about seven years. There are numerous benefits to meditation, including improved concentration, mental clarity, and general contentedness, as well as reduced stress and anxiety. Meditation is has allowed me to appreciate life so much more fully, and I would recommend it to anyone – even just 10 minutes a day can make a big difference!