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Successful working mothers > Work Life Imbalance > What Do You Want Out Of Life, Really?

What Do You Want Out Of Life, Really?

By Emma Kelly

A typical working mum, I was organised within an inch of my life and my close friends were amused by my stock rotation system in our pantry and freezer and holidays booked a year in advance. Unfortunately, this was in stark contrast to the 5,432 (no exaggeration here) emails that were sitting in my inbox.

I was vigilant about getting out the office door at the end of the day so that we could sit down as a family most nights to have dinner and time before bed with our junior school kids. Often, my partner and I would spend the rest of our evening tapping away on our laptops to make up for lost time in the final stages of our day. It worked, most of the time, but it came at a cost, for me. My wellbeing was starting to suffer. I was so focused on getting stuff done, achieving and, if I’m honest with myself, pleasing everyone around me that somewhere along the line I forgot about me.

Hunting for Wellbeing

A girls’ trip with my high school friends for our 40th and I was determined to get it back, or at least that feeling of freedom and joy that was at my core a little lacking, even though my life was actually pretty great. Despite giving myself a few upper cuts regarding my first world problems, I just felt too busy to really relax, live in the moment on a regular basis and feel unencumbered by responsibilities. Part of me also thought ‘simply being’ or doing nothing was a bit of a waste of time. There was always so much to do…

So began a process of soul searching where I really forced myself to answer that key question: what do you want out of life?

My Values

A great friend of mine helped me build a picture of what was important to me and some things I was really clear on, my values being one. These have guided me through life and helped me make decisions in the past so I knew whatever decisions or radical changes I would make I needed to ensure my values were aligned. Some were easy, for example ‘making a difference’, ‘having fun’, ‘integrity’ but some were conflicting when I was really honest with myself. How do you marry up freedom and security when both have equal weight? For me, my family and my friends will never be a trade-off decision I am prepared to make and this is an area I am also really clear on.

I started with lists of the things I was good at, the things I enjoyed, plans for the future, goals and opportunities. Interestingly enough my ‘crazy desires’ list started to get the most entries…write a book, explore healing and alternative health, study, run my own business… I worked four days in a role that really, genuinely was a dream job so these things couldn’t have been further from my current reality.

Health Issues

Following a few health issues which would rear their head in times of stress I discovered craniosacral therapy. Craniosacral therapy is a whole systems approach to engaging with health. It releases points of tension in the body in the fluids, tissues, organs or wherever tension exists and restores balance and flow through light touch.

Following a couple of treatments I felt centred in a way that I couldn’t remember feeling and yet I knew this was a natural state of being for me. Decisions felt easier, time didn’t feel as erratic and I felt happier and more balanced. I don’t want to sound like I’d found the holy-grail but for me it was, at its core, a huge relief! I became curious, signed up for a weekend workshop and before I could say ‘relax’ had signed up to study for the diploma.

So, not only was I now working and juggling childcare I was also studying and working in a practice clinic. Way to unburden myself. However, while this might have previously (just quietly) tipped me over the edge I was able to balance all of these demands pretty well. The treatments had both a calming and energising effect, I loved how I felt and I loved helping others feel great too.

Gut Feel

I planned to continue to work four days and work a day in a clinic but then in preparation for a development programme I was to be a participant in that question I’d asked myself all those months birthdays reminded me of my forgotten youth ago ‘what do you want out of life and what are you here for?’ came back to find me.

My gut was pulling me in a different direction. It seemed absurd to be taking a leap of faith into starting a new career/ business / lifestyle when the control, success and predictability were anchors that had served me well. But (and this was the clincher) I’d changed irrespective of what I did. I had focused on me, I’d found the thing that was missing was there all along and I’d just been too busy to see it.

The Leap

So, I decided to resign from my job and focus on craniosacral therapy. This involves treating people, which I love, writing about it, which I love, marketing and setting up a business which is learning curve but one which I am motivated for. In finding health and a sense of wellbeing I also feel a strong desire to support other people, to thrive and to connect with health. The joy I get from seeing someone pain free for the first time in years or not feel depressed or anxious, to get a good night’s sleep and to move comfortably is immense. The impact this has for my clients and those around them is profound and I feel extremely privileged to play a small part in supporting their journey.

Let Your Dreams Lead the Way

I read a while ago,

May for your dreams be bigger than your fears.

Nothing like a major career transition to bring out all your fears – everything from fear of failure to identity and security fears. While it might be an ongoing process, I really want my dreams to guide me rather than have my fears overtake me and so far my dreams are leading the way. A few things I’ve learned along the journey:

  • Worrying about the future will sap your energy and create tension and can lead to illness – live in the moment as often as you can. Now is nearly always great.
  • You are the only person responsible for your happiness, don’t ignore your mental or physical health concerns. Treat yourself like those you love most in the world.
  • Being really honest with yourself and relinquishing control can be very hard but also hugely unburdening. For most of us this will be a work in progress, it’s worth the effort.
  • Your gut is sometimes referred to as your second brain for a reason, listen to it and rely on it. Your intuition can help guide you and it can also help save your life.
  • Ask for help. Most people genuinely want to offer time and knowledge where they can. Don’t be overly concerned with paying people back. Pay it forward, that’s how life works.
  • Have mentors and coaches you trust who help you grow and remember that they aren’t there for your ego but they are definitely good for the soul.

If you don’t know what makes you happy, find out and do it as often as you possibly can!

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