At the end of 2015, I joined a running group called London Midnight Runners. We would run 10K each week and do bootcamp exercises every mile. It was KILLER, but awesome and it was the one thing I looked forward to every week!At the time I was working at Pandora. I was getting paid well (which is unheard of in the fashion industry) and the work I was doing was ok. I was responsible for the planning, buying and distribution of all packaging and display materials. I managed a £7 million budget (the amount of packaging they get through is ridiculous) and I was good at it.
After a year I got promoted to doing the same thing but for jewellery as well. So I was forecasting the sales for ALL of the jewellery for the whole of the UK & Ireland.
By myself. Little old me.
If I messed up my forecast even by a little bit, shit could hit the fan and they could lose A LOT of money. Annual sales for the company are just shy of £2 billion so no pressure right?
I was going along to Midnight Runners so much at that point that they made me a crew captain which basically meant I would help lead the runs and help ensure the events would run smoothly. Throughout my work life I was told on numerous occasions that my confidence (or lack of) was an issue.
“You need to be more confident”, “your lack of confidence will hold you back”.
Midnight Runners putting their confidence in me to help leads runs with over a hundred people made me feel awesome!
Work was getting really bad. I was super stressed out and really not enjoying it anymore.
I needed to do something meaningful with my life. I needed to do something day to day that made me happy, and not just in my free time.
I wanted to give back to people rather than fuelling the corporate machine.
After all, we spend most of our waking day at work, what is the point if you are going to be miserable the whole time.
Life is way too short.
One day, on my way to work, I walked past a guy who was cleaning chewing gum off the pavement and I genuinely thought to myself that I would rather have his job.
At this point I knew it was just a matter of time before I left the corporate world. I did loads of research into other careers I could do, whilst really keeping in mind my interests and wanting to do more of what makes me happy rather than just getting out of there as soon as possible.
The one thing that seemed to really fit the bill was personal training.
After much deliberation, I took the plunge. I booked my PT training course and handed in my resignation. From a financial perspective I was quite fortunate as Pandora had given me nice little bonus a few weeks prior which meant I could still pay my mortgage whilst on the course.
A year down the line and I am happier than ever!
I have SO much freedom. I work when I want, as little or as much as I want. I knew from the beginning that I didn’t want to be a PT in a commercial gym so I worked hard and started getting some clients as soon as I qualified and just went from there.
Now I split my time between working at Greenwich Training, leading a charity run club in Greenwich once a week (GoodGym) and then I also have my own 1-1 clients that come to my flat or I go to them. It’s wonderful.
How can I afford it I hear you ask? Well money-wise, I am probably earning maybe half of what I used to earn but it just shows how money really isn’t everything.
I am earning enough to pay my bills whilst still being able to pay for holidays and meals out etc. I have the best work-life balance I could possibly imagine, which means a lot more to me than a few extra pounds in the bank. I can go out running and can spend more time doing the things that I actually want to do. After all we shouldn’t judge our jobs by what it pays, but rather on how much it costs (thanks Ian for that one!).
Now I’m not saying everyone should quit their jobs.
Of course I understand this is quite an extreme case. But just take a second and really think about what is important to you and what truly makes you happy, and just try and do more of it. Work makes us tired so it’s important to recharge the batteries and spend time doing things we want to do.
Here are some little things you can do to make that work life balance tip a little more into your favour. Yes they are easier said than done but even if you do one of them just once this week, that is a start!
- Put that work phone away. Once you’ve left the office, turn it off. Don’t check work emails. Leave work at work. Otherwise chances are you will be stressing out about all the things you will have to do tomorrow. Chill out and enjoy the evening!
- Say “no” more! We’re always told to say yes more and I 100% agree with that when it comes to fun things and it’s great to step out of your comfort zone and do things you wouldn’t normally do. But when it comes down to work, if you find yourself always saying yes when someone asks you to do something, it can all pile up and before you know it, you’re in the office until 10pm tearing your hair out.
- Plan downtime into your schedule. If you make appointments, you are far more likely to stick to them (providing it’s something you want to do of course). So whether it’s date night with your other half, a session at the gym with your trainer or just a chilled evening in with your girlfriends, make fun plans and stick to them and they’ll give you an excuse to get out of work on time. It all comes back to that accountability again. If you don’t have anything else on, you might be tempted to stay at work a little later.
- Set your own rules. We are all different. Pay attention to your own needs. Some of your colleagues may think it’s fine to work their fingers to the bone 18 hours a day but doesn’t mean you have to. I know it all comes down to your company’s culture and it’s difficult to break the mould so to speak but it’s up to you to prioritise and make adjustments. You decide what you are and what you are not prepared to do and don’t think that because your co-worker is doing something that you should be doing it to.
- Ask for help. I was always really bad at this and thought it was almost a sign of weakness, but it is what your manager is there for and is often the quickest way to relieve some of your stress. A problem shared is a problem halved remember!
So there we have it. Think about what makes you happy. And take the necessary steps to achieve more of it!
Who knows what it may lead to 😃