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Finding Purpose:How I Found My Way to Contentment, Loving Connection and Joyful Celebration.

Updated: Oct 28, 2022


Where It All Began

What do you want to do with your life?

This question (or versions of it), has been present in my life for as long as I can remember. Asked by family, friends, teachers, and even the little voice(s) in my head.


It’s not an unreasonable question. In fact, you could argue that it is one of the most important questions to ask.


For many it’s simple, especially when you’re a kid. “I want to be a vet, a scientist, a police officer, a ballet dancer, a football player, an artist.”


But for the longest time, I didn’t feel I could adequately answer that question. Sure I wanted to be happy, have a job that I loved, maybe get married one day and raise a family. I had the rough sketch but was severely lacking in the detail.


In my youth, I felt that being unable to pinpoint a clear path for myself left me behind my peers and that it would hold me back from living a fulfilling and successful life.

How wrong I was!

It’s not so much that I’ve had a lightbulb moment, but more that the dimmer switch has been slowly turning on and brightening the world with every passing minute, day, month, year and the accompanying experiences I’ve had since I was born.


My struggles in answering this question was never about not having a clear and true pathway. It was that my pathway, my authentic life, didn’t look like the examples I had seen. I wasn’t the career for life sort of girl!


This realisation has been a game changer for me and has enabled me to reach out and grab the life I want with both hands.


Is it scary? Hell yes!


But…My golly, it’s liberating!


The Exploration Phase


Whilst I wrestled with the whole life path journey thing, I received so much advice. Well intentioned as it was, I wasn’t convinced by most of it. I had doubts. I felt conflicted and I put A LOT of pressure on myself to succeed academically, so in the absence of a plan, I would have options.


Finally, the time came to choose a university course. As a teenager from the Channel Islands (it’s tiny - see where it is on the map here), this meant leaving home, moving to mainland UK and living independently for the first time. LOTS of change!!!


It was also THE pathway for most careers outside offshore banking (the island’s main industry). I felt paralysed with indecision. The weight of choosing a degree that would lead to a career path for life was overwhelming.


At this time, one of the best pieces of advice came from my parents. They told me to do something I enjoyed. They rationalised, three or four years is a long time to study something you don’t like, just because you think it’ll lead to a job afterwards. They trusted their parenting and in turn me.


This golden nugget has sat quietly in the back of my mind ever since and has guided most of my decisions since that day, both consciously and unconsciously.

Do something you enjoy!

I deferred university for a year and plunged into the corporate world. I spent what I earned week in, week out, enjoyed the freedoms of being a young adult and was having a great time, but after 6 months, it was clear that this pathway was not the pathway for me.


So, I faced my self doubt and fears head on, I applied and auditioned for places on Performing Arts courses around the country and before I knew it, I was starting a new life in London - focused and ready for the next chapter.


Many scoffed, believing that I was taking a mickey mouse degree, that it wouldn’t serve me at all and unless I ended up on a soap or as the next Kate Winslet, it would NEVER be a valuable use of my time, money or ability.


And for a time, I feared they were right. It also narrowed my thinking and guided me towards a career I was not interested in. I didn’t want to be the star of stage and screen, yet, it seemed to be the trajectory I was on.

Little did I know just how valuable that Arts degree would turn out to be.

I learned (amongst other things):

  • to pour my heart and soul into whatever I was working on

  • to live off a modest budget

  • to balance work, study and fun

  • to take calculated risks

  • to trust my instincts

  • to experience new opportunities when they are offered

  • to manage my time efficiently

  • to develop my initiative

  • to work collaboratively

  • to prioritise

  • to live from the heart

  • to manage conflict

  • to speak honestly and live authentically

  • about failure (real and perceived) and how to bounce back

  • about art, culture, music, history, communication, truth, problem solving, politics, friendship, love, sacrifice, creativity, self, reflection, values, dedication and total commitment to a vision.

Photo by Kyle Head on Unsplash

I was growing and evolving, but I still didn’t know what I was going to do with all of it.

No bother! I took an opportunity in a bank. I was good at my job and was enjoying a full

and vibrant social life and before long I was offered a promotion. It was a big deal. More money, more responsibility - the mysterious career path laid out in front of me for the first time, like the yellow brick road.


It was a crossroads moment for me.


When I thought about it logically, taking the job made a lot of sense - job security and financial independence with the possibility of having enough for a deposit for a property within a few years.


It ticked a lot of boxes.


But when I closed my eyes and pictured myself in the future I felt like I had a stone in the pit of my stomach.

I resigned.


Instead, I took a paycut and went to work for the local television company in an entry level position and quickly moved into the newsroom as a production assistant. I instantly felt at home amongst the hustle and bustle. I was surrounded by creativity, knowledge and the desire to make an impact.


I honed the skills I started to develop at university and added a few more into the mix:


  • Attention to detail

  • Working to a deadline

  • Research

  • Working to a brief

  • Manage a variety of personalities and egos


Despite the creative freedom and variety my job offered, after a few years, I became restless and was ready to experience something new.


For years, I had been eager to travel the world having once in a lifetime experiences, before settling down and being an adult with all that that encompasses. I wanted to embark on an adventure like that with my friends, deepen the bonds of camaraderie through these awesome escapades. But whilst we saved, someone would get a new job opportunity, or find love, or change their mind and so I put it off.


My desire to have a travel buddy or two, had, up until then, outweighed my need to explore the globe. Then, after losing my grandma and a mini heartbreak, the urge to travel began to surpass the need for company on the trip. So, I threw caution into the wind, packed up my life in a 15kg backpack and within a few months, I was on a plane.


Thank the universe for the stubborn, feisty, resilient and curious spirit that I have been blessed with, (my grandma once called it ‘moxie’), because without it, that year would have been far from the exhilarating, eye-opening, challenging, confronting, educational, life altering and life affirming journey I experienced.


At times, I pushed myself to my limits and beyond, gaining strength and confidence with every new discovery.


I changed.


I was still ‘me’, but just a more evolved version. As the months and adventures whizzed by, I inevitably started to think about what would come next for me and that loaded question reared its ugly head again.

What do you want to do with your life?

Arrgggh! This old chestnut again!


However, the unconscious mind is an amazing thing and it had been busy working on this in the background, whilst I enjoyed a more hedonistic approach to my life.


It was ready with a response and before I knew what I was saying, I heard myself speak the words “I think I want to retrain as a teacher.”


Finally An Answer!


By this time, I was already firmly feeling at home in Australia and specifically Perth, so, I set to work, formulating a plan that would enable me to study here and work to support myself.


I felt good with the decision, there was no stone in the pit of my stomach this time and I approached my second degree with gusto.


I graduated with an excellent degree and for the next decade or so revelled in supporting students in the high school classroom, specifically teaching English and Drama.


I had the privilege of teaching across a variety of state and private schools, with students (and families) from all walks of life.


It was challenging yet rewarding and boy did I need to draw upon those skills I had been collecting over the previous years. Every. Single. One!


I LOVED my job.


BUT………..


As the years went on, it was becoming more and more difficult to keep my cup full.


I was working in an elite school. I was married with a young family and we were building a house. I was working LONG hours but most days, I was doing a good job at keeping the train on the tracks.


When I went back to work after my second child was born, things began to go downhill for me.


I still loved my job and was managing the delicate balance of work and home life pretty well, but I found myself a victim to a leader who had something to prove.


She made life extremely difficult and over the next 18 months I was the target of a stealthy intimidation and bullying campaign that pushed me to my very limits, took me away from my family both physically and emotionally and resulted in the decimation of my self confidence and my health in tatters.


I was totally exhausted and for the sake of my own sanity I resigned.



Out Of The Darkness and Into The Light


It was a really hard time.

I felt like a failure.

The last thing I wanted to do was go back into the classroom.


Here I was, after finally finding “a career” I loved, back to square one.


I thought I was a failure for never sticking to anything. I thought I was giving up because things were tough, and I just needed to toughen up and find some resilience and power through. I thought I was letting my family down.


Far out! I was mean to myself. I would never talk to my children the way I was talking to myself.


I took some time off. I was present with my children. I met friends for coffee, I made enhancements around the home, attending to jobs that had “been on the list” for who knows how long!

I started finding joy in the small things again. I saw that ordinary everyday life was offering so many opportunities for fun, laughter and celebration.

I had been missing it all and now that dimmer switch turned up and up and up.


Until it was so bright that the truth was boldly staring me in the face.


Unbeknownst to me, I’ve been on the path to my best life all along! I was just too busy telling myself I was off track, that I couldn’t see the bigger picture.


I have followed my heart, my interests and the experiences that bring me joy my whole life.


I had just assumed that it should be restricted to hobbies, holidays and personal time.


Before that moment, when the lights were turned up to the max, I didn’t realise that it was ok for my career path to be made up of a variety of different industries and job roles.


It was ok for me to pursue my interests and make a salary from them. It was ok that I followed my passions, even if it meant crossing industries and moving in a non linear direction.


What was crucial was that there was a through line. An invisible connecting thread. Every step on the way had led me to this point.


I have always followed my gut, doing things I enjoyed and utilizing the skills I have accumulated along the way.


In those difficult days after leaving teaching, I knew I had to get back to that somehow. I had to do some deep diving to work out who I was and what was important to me.

I had become so caught up in making a living, that I was “too busy” to make a life.

I had kept the train on the tracks for so long, but it was going to a completely different destination to the one I thought I was heading to.