Today I am sharing why I have been inspired by Sukh, someone who embodies many of the qualities that I admire both in his business and personally, including gentleness. I don’t think anyone would see me like that! and anyone who has been in the business world for any length of time would agree that gentleness is something that is in very short supply in our often ruthless world. I think that’s why when we met ‘at’ an online business meeting his energy stood out for me. Sukh describes himself as friendly, kind and compassionate, and that’s definitely what I felt.
Even though Sukh was at the meeting talking about his co-working space, which I wasn’t looking for at the time. Even though I didn’t think it would be relevant to me, I couldn’t stop listening to what he said. And remembered him long after the session was over.
As soon as we could, we met (online of course!), and Sukh told me what was behind the business. Although he had always been interested in coworking spaces, what he really saw was the potential to create a community. He said “As a (non-practising) Sikh, community is very important to me. It’s a core part of how I think and operate. We are very community focused in our practise, and I try to honour the practises as best I can. As well as personally having a large extended family and my own three children. Taking that into what I do in business was an easy choice”.
Now, as someone who was housebound for many years due to my health condition, and then chose to work in a solitary profession, this really appealed to me. Whether we like it or not we are social animals, and humans do need each other for their very survival both physically and emotionally.
After coming from a dedicated London life to lovely leafy Epping over a decade ago, Sukh saw that although it was a great place to live, people still needed more opportunities for connection. And at that time there were no co-working spaces in the town… hence he opened his own. This was obviously such a good idea that other co-working spaces popped up soon after. However, there is only one Sukh, and only one TEC. This is not just a place to work away from distractions at home, he has created a place to meet people from a range of other industries. Current visitors include marketing professionals, coaches, a crochet designer, technology professionals, a disability charity and a writer’s mentor. There are also various evening events including games nights, speaking nights, and there has even been a very well attended Christmas craft market. They pay attention to being inclusive and welcoming to all groups (and dogs!) and this is reflected in the activities they offer.
As with all things there are other very important ingredients, and in this case that’s the hosts. Sukh admits that he couldn’t run TEC without Sarah and Jenna (see it’s official ladies). Knowing that they would have to be genuinely warm and welcoming, was an essential part in the community manager role. The relationships that Sarah and Jenna form with visitors and co-workers help them know this isn’t just somewhere to work from, it’s a place we you are genuinely welcomed, and wanted.
I had first hand experience of this one day when I had an intense panic attack, which wasn’t helped by worrying about what other people might be thinking. As horrible as it was, and it was truly awful at the time, the kindness of the hosts not only reassured me on the day. But have made me worry much less about it happening again in the future. As no-one will make a fuss or think negatively about my condition. Acceptance is priceless for me.
Obviously, I asked Sukh for a pearl of wisdom to help me to be more Sukh, and this is it “I learned to get very ok with realising I don’t have to have the answers to everything. Nor do I have to pretend to, it’s really easy to feel that. But there’s just too many things happening in the world to be aware of. So, I choose to pay attention to the things I can influence, and I hope that keeps me on the right side of right”. Wise words I am sure you’ll agree.
One of the things that Sukh has learnt from starting The Epping Connection is that he is more of a dog person that he thought! and has so much fun finding out about visiting doggies personalities that there will often be pictures of him on Instagram playing with dogs rather than getting on with his work!
And what does the future hold? A well deserved ski holiday with the children, after not being able to join them for the last five years is definitely on the agenda. I am sure they will be delighted to have you join them for a family snowball fight.
To speak to Sukh, Sarah or Jenna about a place to work, hold meetings or anything else
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