How can I live a life that Sparks Joy?

Once your home is completely in order and you can identify what ‘sparks joy’ for you, you will then have the capacity to start looking into other areas of your life and see whether they’re sparking joy for you as well.  If they’re not, now is the perfect time to make a positive life change.

I recently made the huge, life changing decision to go self-employed, in a career that literally could not be more different to what I had been doing so far in my life.  How did I make the decision to completely change my career?  More importantly, how did I choose what I wanted to do?  Trust me, I get asked that a lot!

The ‘Ah-ha’ moment

The moment I realised I needed to change my focus was when I fully grasped that I needed to work my entire life again until I could officially retire, ouch!  That’s pretty scary!  I then started really questioning if I was enjoying myself in my current career and whether or not I could carry on doing it for all those years to come.  Turns out that so many people I speak to in their early to mid-30s are thinking about some sort of big life change (new house, new career, new country…).  I was so glad I wasn’t alone with this feeling!

So after A LOT of self-reflection I decided to do something about it.  Scary though, right?  Making the leap from a regular pay check and security to complete uncertainty and not having a clue whether it as going to work or not.  Damn right it’s scary!

Picking a career is hard!

It is so hard picking what you want to do with your life.  You have to make all these big decisions when you are far too young to have a clue what you really want to do.  You have to choose which GCSEs you want to do at the age of 13, your A-Levels the age of 15 and then your degree, which basically dictates your career path, at the age of 17, tough decisions for anyone, let alone a teenager!  That’s even if you do decide to go down the higher education route, if not the decision has to be made even earlier!

Sure, they have guidance counsellors to help along the way, but they were no help to me whatsoever (ideal career as a fishmonger apparently, which could not be a worse match, I am not a fan of fish)!  Also, it was based on my (very childish!) questionnaire input, which was anything that sounded like fun or my friends were doing, rather than anything actually useful to me (and my skills do not match anything I thought would be fun!).

Following your perfect career…

I chose my path, one way or another, and once I had finished my degree I went on and studied for my accountancy exams and (unquestioningly) collected my relevant experience by working for several large corporations.  This was great, it was everything I had ever dreamed of, and it was exactly where I saw myself being at that stage of my life.  Perfect, right?

Wrong.  I was literally dragging myself out of bed in the morning, I was suffering from stress, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled, I was getting angry at the littlest things, basically I was becoming a person I was not.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a fantastic time along the way, it just wasn’t fulfilling my creative side anymore (I realised I actually had a creative side during all of my self-reflection!).

I wanted to make a change, but as anyone who has ever tried to make a change knows, it is HARD!  So what do you do?  Keep doing what you are doing and hope that something changes for you?  Or do you go out and make something happen for yourself?

So how do you choose a good path?

I met up with my friend from Ilona design for dinner.  She advised me that a good way to pick what you would like to do is to think about what you enjoyed doing as a child and go from there.

Remember the good old days when you were a child?  When you had no responsibilities apart from maybe a little bit of homework and the odd chore?  Think of all of that free time you had, time that you could do whatever took your fancy.  For one reason or another as you get older these interests fall by the wayside as you get more and more busy and gather more and more obligations.  As a child there are no barriers, you play and experiment, you try out new things, you are not afraid to fail, all which one seems to lose on the way into adulthood.  Children are curious and insightful, thinking and asking questions that adults are too scared to ask, or just don’t think of.

So I thought hard (it was a long time ago that I was a child!) about those things that interested me when I was young.  I listed them out all out, silly things as well as big things (no one will judge you!).  Did I enjoy writing and drawing?  Did I like making things?  Did I like doing puzzles and solving things?  What kind of TV shows and films did I watch (albeit we were much more limited in choice in those days!)?  Did I like sports? Which books did I read?  What were my favourite subjects in school, did I like maths, science, English?  Did I like helping people?  Did I like spending time with my friends and family or prefer being on my own?  Was my room messy or tidy?  Did I like animals?  Did I like sewing or mechanics?  The list of questions you ask are completely individual (and endless!), you just need to be honest with yourself.  REALLY think about the answers, don’t think about the things you like doing now, or the things you think are socially acceptable, you might have something completely crazy on the list that you would never dream of doing now, but you will never know if you don’t identify it and write it down.

Now comes the hard bit, you review them all and see if you can somehow make a living out of your interests!  This is when you would feel true passion, when you have a career doing what you love.

So, what did I learn?

Turns out if there was a career as a professional napper that would be my perfect choice!

As I don’t think there is (feel free to tell me otherwise!), I went with my second choice.  I was always writing stories as a child and creating something (something I haven’t done for YEARS as there just isn’t time – read, I deprioritise it).  I was always organising things/events/people and loved tidying (my parents would ask me to quickly clean the kitchen, 3 hours later I had rearranged and cleaned every square inch), I was very social and loved helping people.   I was entrepreneurial, I braided people’s hair and sold sweets in the school playground (until I got busted).  When there were no jobs in the tiny village I grew up in I created them, I would put fliers up for babysitting/cleaning/gardening/fruit picking (at 5am!!) – You name it and I would try it.

So once I reviewed the list and thought long and hard I came up with the idea of becoming a professional organiser and declutterer, it covers nearly all of my interests (and I get to fulfil my love of Trampolining as a hobby on the side)!  I truly love helping people and am so passionate about organising!

So there you have it..

If you feel like you need a change (even if it not in your career, it might just be that you need a new interest/hobby in your life) review what you enjoyed doing as a child and see how you can incorporate it into adulthood and see if you too can live your best life!