Celebrating Our Members - Lewis Thomson from JCI Brighton
Celebrating Our Members - Lewis Thomson from JCI Brighton
JCI UK is the organisation that develops, promotes and celebrates the achievements of young leaders across our nation and in our local communities.
Meet Lewis Thomson from JCI Brighton...
My name is Lewis. I'm a 26 year old IT professional from Aberdeen, currently living in Brighton.
I joined the Brighton chamber of JCI in January 2017 after National President Michael Steel reached out to me through social media. I had been looking for a networking organisation to join for several months since moving to Brighton and after researching JCI, it was a complete no-brainer. Not only is there a focus on personal development and growing self-belief, what better place existed to meet passionate, young and driven individuals? After attending Launchpad in Nottingham in January, I know I've made a great decision and I'm excited to get to work on relaunching the chamber here!
Growing up, I thought I had life pretty well made. I lived in a prosperous area of the UK and had a natural talent for computing. After attaining good grades in the subject at school, I decided on my career path, figuring my life was fairly future-proof.
I went on to further education, choosing a degree in Computer Network Management at a local university. During my studies, I was fortunate to secure a year-long work placement with an Oil and Gas company and following graduation, I went on to accept a Graduate position in the Global IT department of the same company as a Junior Infrastructure Analyst.
Two and a half years in to my career, with great progression offered to me with the company, my time with them was cut short. In 2015, Aberdeen was struck by the worst downturn in Oil and Gas since the 1980s and my role, along with the roles of around 2,500 others, was made redundant, and I found myself out in the real world with a very difficult choice to make.
Although a major shock at the time, this would go on to be one of the best things that has happened in my life to date.
With work scarce in Aberdeen, I took up two part-time jobs in the service sector and treaded water for around 8 months. Shortly before being made redundant, I had started a part-time business with a Network Marketing company; this had introduced me to the concept of personal development. To my parents' disdain, I chose to continue down this path; working in two relatively dead-end jobs, with a degree, working to grow a business in a poor local economy but all-the-while, absorbing all the personal development I could lay my hands on. I read books, listened to audios and attended regular training events - even a fabulous 3-day global training conference with 18,000 others at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
All the while, learning about myself and what I truly valued. My redundancy had helped me come to understand that we truly are the architects of our own success; if we want something, we have to go out there and get it. The reason so few people realise their full potential is not lack of skill, it's lack of belief. I soon came to realise that there is no better way to work than for yourself and in July 2016, exactly one year after being made redundant, I started my own IT consultancy firm. I accepted a 3 month contract with a client in Crawley, packed my life into the back of my car and drove, for over 13 hours, to start a new chapter in the sunny south in Brighton; a place I'd had the ambition of living in for a number of years. I still run my Network Marketing business in my spare time and am currently in the middle of preparing for my second visit to Las Vegas in April!
My mission now is to share the criticality of what I have learned with as many Generation-Ys as possible. It's tough out there, especially for young people, but I truly believe if you can define what success means for you, develop a vision of how that looks which is absolutely crystal clear and combine the understanding of how important it is to develop yourself, as well as the skills required in your chosen field, with hard work, you will succeed.
Looking to the long-term, my vision for my career is to move away from IT; living solely on the income I generate from my Network Marketing business. Of course, to grow a Network Marketing business, you need a network and although I already had a handful of friends in Brighton before I moved, if I wanted my business to be the massive success I dream of every day, it was crucial I found a way of meeting new people in a professional environment. Although the best part of having a Network Marketing business is being able to work with your friends, sometimes you have to step out your social circle to be the proof that it works.
As a member of JCI, not only would I meet young, energetic and professional people, I would be able to grow my skills in business building as I work with Anne-Marie to relaunch the Brighton Chapter, as well as being able to gain contacts both nationally within the UK as well as abroad; allowing me to fulfil my goal of building a global organisation. But it's not all about business and making money... Although I want to personally help as many people as possible achieve the life they truly want, through Network Marketing, I will have a lot of time on my hands when I am able to give up full-time work. I'm daft for houses and I see myself moving into property development, with the intention of improving the living standards of private rental tenants in Brighton. I also want to volunteer, but I wasn't sure exactly what I would do... With an avenue to channel all of my personal development into with JCI, I think I've found it!
I owe everything I have gained in my life since my redundancy to reading books by inspirational people such as Jack Canfield, David Schwartz PhD, Rhonda Byrne and Robert Kayosaki, to name but a few.
If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it.
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