The Simple Question That Changed My Work Days
When I got into business for myself, I did so because I was petrified to get back into the corporate culture. I am an “administration / how can I help / not a problem, I can do that” kind of person, and for me in the corporate world, that translated to picking up the dud jobs that no one else wanted to do, but which were essential to keep the place running. Add in the fact that I am a mum of two (and am frequently completing dud jobs that no one else wants to do, but which are essential to keeping the home running) and I started to feel that this was just the way my working life was destined to go.
After having a really hard time on my first return from maternity leave, I decided that it just wasn’t worth the stress to continue through my second pregnancy and I left my job (and the secure income & parental leave benefits that came with it) to prioritise my mental health and happiness. It was a wonderful decision and one that allowed me to set out on the path I am on today. Making great use of a variety of skills and qualifications that I collected over my working life as a copywriter, business supporter and social media strategy planner.
Suddenly I found myself calling my own shots - no overbearing boss passing the dud jobs down to me!
I was working from home - able to pick up the kids/prepare dinner/zip out to grab the groceries or meet a friend for a quick beach walk whenever it suited.
I was working on projects that really interested me because I was meeting and greeting the clients myself and finding out what they needed and what I could offer first hand!
But the best part about leaving the corporate world and doing my own thing was a question that I was asked by new and prospective clients every single time I had a first consultation.
“What are the tasks that really light you up and make you happy to be at work?”
I couldn’t believe that I had never been asked this in a job interview before. I couldn’t believe that I had never actually stopped to ask myself this before! It opened up a whole new way of thinking and allowed me to believe that I could actually work in a way that made my soul truly happy, not just as a means to pay the mortgage. I realised that I really loved writing and bringing other businesses words and visions to life on their behalf. I realised that I truly couldn’t get enough of interacting and engaging with their social media followers and finding ways to create buzz and attention for their growing businesses. I realised that owning my own business didn’t suddenly make me enjoy the finance side of things – but more importantly, there will be someone out there that does love that and who will be so happy for me come to them in a confused mess for help!
Before long, the idea started to creep into my personal life too and I began to think of what parts of my life really light me up and make me happy to be me. I asked myself “do you really love watching Netflix every single night, or are you itching to start reading novels before bed again like you used to?” I encouraged myself to admit that actually, a really loud Enya playlist IS the way I achieve my best copy and it was time to proudly own it! I also asked myself how much joy it brought me to clean up spilled rice from underneath the high chair, but it turns out some dud jobs must still be done!
I am incredibly proud of myself for launching my own business and finding my feet in a new world of clients, meetings, invoicing and budgets. And I am so proud of every single small business owner that I have met along the way for prioritising happiness and intrinsic motivation to do great things as their business model. What a wonderful way to work!