Your version of success may very well be different from mine, but if you are anything like me, you are still striving to live a happy life where your business fulfils you and so does your life.
My journey into all of this started when I was really young. I had quite a challenging childhood, brought up in an environment that was affected by alcoholism, domestic violence and mental health challenges.
It caused me to grow up quickly and many times I was told 'you have an old head on young shoulders'. At the time I resented it as I didn't want an old head, I just wanted to be a kid.
But actually as the years have gone by I have realised that in accepting at a young age to see possibilities and not limitations, that that old head could achieve great things if she put her mind to it!
There is a lot about that time that I don’t remember, or seem to have chosen to block out, but what I do remember is a defining moment that happened when I was about 8 years old.
I was watching the Live AID footage and all the media surrounding it on the TV and they showed a small boy in Ethiopia, who was so malnourished and he had flies in his eyes. He looked right at me through the TV screen.
In that moment, through those eyes he was telling me how lucky I was, and that I shouldn’t take my life for granted.
That whilst I had my fair share of challenges, I did have food and shelter. I also had opportunities ahead of me that he would never have.
It was a life changing and extremely profound moment and I grew up a lot that day.
I decided that no matter what curveballs life would throw at me (and boy they threw them!) that I would strive to be the best I could be, and to appreciate the life that I had (no matter how challenging) because there were many who had so much worse.
As I got older, I became more exposed to the fragility of life, seeing those who’s lives had barely started ending.
It reaffirmed in me the need to never take the life I had for granted. That I owed it to those who didn’t have the chance of a fulfilling life, to live my life to the best of my ability, with full appreciation and gratitude.
Knowing how precious and short this life can be, I began creating bucket lists and goals and making sure I was regularly ticking them off!
People were always asking me what I was up to next! It became a bit of a joke that I was always working towards this or that or trying to achieve something new!
It made me feel alive!
I realised I was really good at setting intentions and making them happen! The virgo planner and organiser came into it’s own and I found that setting a goal, planning how I was going to hit it, holding myself accountable and achieving it was easy for me, when many found it hard.
This stuff was totally my jam!
My biggest fear
has always been the fear of regret. Over the years I have spoken with many people in the end time of their lives and watched documentaries and read books about end of life. We can learn so much from those who are reaching the end of their time on this earth.
Nearly all of them share that they wish they had followed their dreams more, not sweated the small stuff, spent more time with their families, had fun, lived a bit more adventurous, worked less, not worried about money so much, built that dream business, went to that country they always wanted to go to!
As I burnt out in my corporate career, I decided that I wanted to work in health and wellness, because impacting people filled my soul and I just knew I couldn't be an employee! I wanted to run my own business and to be in control of my own destiny!
I then set to work trying to build my business and wasted way too many years and money winging it trying to work all the business stuff out on my own! Eventually I had to accept that I needed to actually learn this stuff and connected with business coaches who could help me. The problem was that each of them taught me something but none of them really understood my industry. There was just wasn't a 'go to person' in health, wellness and fitness who could just give me all I needed to know so I had to pick and choose the bits that were relevant.
Once I started implementing all I had learnt my business went through the roof!
BUT as I headed towards my 20 year business anniversary, having now thrown in a couple of kids and a 3rd child (aka my husband!) I started to realise that that the balance of my life was really warped.
I felt like I was on a hamster wheel and life felt like it was all work and not much play!
- I loved my work, but I was working so many hours!
- I wasn’t spending quality time with my family, just the odd campsite weekend 10 mins down the road.
- My life felt like I was on rinse and repeat every single day
- My health felt compromised.
- I just wasn’t happy.
I wanted balance.
I was still hitting some goals here and there, I had run the London Marathon, I had done the 24hr 3 Peaks Challenge, I had done sky dives and parachute jumps and wing walks and firewalks.
But they were all one offs and once they were done I was back to the hamster wheel!
I had had this dream for years and I so desperately wanted to make it a reality. I dreamt of taking my family travelling indefinitely across Europe towing our caravan, whilst running a business on the road.
Having an adventures, feeling free, laughter and fun, meeting new people, introducing my kids to new cultures and languages. Just being with my family so much more than I was.
My life was completely out of balance, way too much work and not enough life and I knew if I could make this big dream happen that I would be so much closer to achieving my ultimate balance and living the life I really wanted to be living!
And so in January 2019, I started making a plan and we set a date in 2021 for the great send off!
Those 2 years were hard, with many a curveball to throw us off course, but we stayed focused on the end goal and working through our plan!
On the 10th September 2021 we said goodbye to our family and friends and hit the road in Vinny my beloved van (and mobile office!) and Suzy our caravan.
I have never felt so liberated in all my life.
Since then we have, and continue to travel across Europe, me working online with the most amazing clients, helping them achieve their own version of success, my kids embracing life on the road, their confidence building every day, whilst rocking out online schooling and my husband building his business online too.
Every day I feel complete gratitude that we were able to pull this off, and equally I am grateful that actually making something happen like this plays completely to my strengths!
I am proud of us! We did it!
I felt like I was a caterpillar ambling through life, and now I feel like a butterfly, so free and alive.
I worked out the way to be able to run a great business that is so fulfilling, impactful AND profitable and to live a great life too!
I am no one special.
What I am though is an action taker!
So if you are wanting success in your business AND your life then I am ALL OVER THIS STUFF!
If you have read this far then you will have seen the pledge I made back up the page, when I was 8 years old, to help children just like that little boy on the Live Aid reports.
Well back in 2007 I travelled around Africa for some time and a little piece of my heart was lost to Uganda. I came home and set up The Africa Children’s Development Trust and our signature project Chrysalis Uganda launched a short while later. Through my organisation we have helped thousands of women and children living in the slums of Uganda through education, microfinancing, malaria prevention and vocational training.
It’s my little bit of good in the world and through my personal experiences both as a child and as an adult and through my work in Uganda, empowering women is a cause that fills my soul.
Some Random Facts About Me:
I love red wine and marmite.
I have appeared on Top Gear
I would love to climb Mount Kilimanjaro
I love going out for early morning stomps.
I have had 3 miscarriages.
My son was the miracle result of fertility treatment.
I have 2 amazing children, Laanii and Raif.
I am a veggie but my family eat meat.
I won some awards!
In 2016 I won National Influential Woman of The Year and the Venus Women In Business Awards for my work in Uganda.
I love to read!
Mainly self-development or biographies, but my favourite book is Wuthering Heights.
My favourite movies are:
Gladiator, Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Café and The Green Mile, plus I do love a bit of Beaches and The Shawshank Redemption!
I have 2 ruptured discs in my back.
When they flare up they mess me up really bad, but I am working really hard to make my back a lot stronger!
I have been cheated on and it sucks big time.
I have always struggled with my weight.
I was once a bank manager.
I was overtaken by a pink lady apple when I ran the London marathon.
My eldest brother was adopted as a baby
but wonderfully found us a few years ago!
I’ve built and set up a bottled water factory
in the Democratic Republic of Congo (I used to live there)
I've had 2 health and wellness clinics
One in the UK and one in Uganda (I used to live there too!)
I competed with horses for many years
but stopped when I had to have my horse Charley put to sleep a few years ago.
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