Letting go with love: closing your business (and being ok with it)
Happiness isn’t a final destination
with Fearne Cotton
Do you ever find yourself chasing happiness? Do you feel as though, if you could just get this, that and the other to fall into place, you’d find your happiness ‘sweet spot’? Chasing happiness as a destination is a sure fire way to miss it entirely and, when you’re running a business truly doing what you love, happiness should become a byproduct of your efforts, not the sole focus.
To help us understand it better and find out how to adapt our thinking, we chatted to Fearne Cotton, who is exploring the concept of happiness, and building a business around it, to get her take on it.
Fearne began her broadcasting career at 15 and has worked on shows such as Top of the Pops, Celebrity Juice and Radio 1. In 2017, following a spell of depression, Fearne’s career took on a new direction. Leaving Radio 1 behind, she released her first book, Happy, and founded her wellbeing brand, Happy Place. Now with numerous books, a top 10 Apple podcast and the Happy Place Festival under her belt, we asked her what happiness is and how we should all be approaching it in our lives…
To an outsider, Fearne’s decision to leave behind a top radio show and her spot on Celebrity Juice, meeting A-list celebs and attending glamorous events, might seem odd. But she shared with us that she didn’t leave for any reason other than
‘Whatever happens, happens, and you will either learn from it or enjoy it. So you just have to let go a little bit, which is hard. But it’s so much better to be optimistic and things go wrong, than to be pessimistic and still have things go wrong.’
‘I just felt like jumping. I just thought, well why not see what happens next? And I’m so glad I did.’
Seeking more creativity in her day to day life, the ability to be her own boss and focus on the things she really cared about were somewhat of a healing aspect to her new venture.
‘Focusing on stuff I care about, and that other people react well to, it’s empowering to me. I now feel like, okay, I can do my own thing without having to wait around to feel good enough. If I am not creating, I feel lost. I feel very agitated and I don’t sit well in that space. But I’m never happier than when I’m creating. None of it’s a chore and it feels more natural than anything I’ve ever done.’
At Holly & Co, when you take your passions and you find your purpose, and they become the beating heart of your business, we call it your brand heart. Fearne’s brand heart is built from a strong purpose to spread happiness combined with her passion for creativity and wellness.
As you can imagine, happiness is not an easy thing to commoditise! And with a genuine drive to help others be true to themselves and welcome as much happiness as possible into their lives, how is Fearne weaving this golden thread throughout her books, podcast and events?
Speaking live at The Congregation of Inspiration 2019, Fearne said something so pivotal…
‘Happiness isn’t a final destination, unless you are deeply unhappy all of the time and need to seek help and make some changes, it’s important to accept that “happiness is fleeting for everyone, it comes and goes. It doesn’t matter if you’re Brad Pitt in a mansion or you work in a supermarket. It’s the same.’
This aspect of comparison is a dangerous trap to fall into, especially when you’re running or building a business doing what you love. That old nugget of advice to ‘not compare your beginning to someone else’s middle’ really is so important to remember. So how can we break the pointless comparison cycle, instead focusing on what works for us, our lives and our business?
‘Happiness isn’t a final destination, unless you are deeply unhappy all of the time and need to seek help and make some changes, it’s important to accept that happiness is fleeting for everyone, it comes and goes. It doesn’t matter if you’re Brad Pitt in a mansion or you work in a supermarket. It’s the same.’
Fearne’s advice is that…
‘We’re always comparing ourselves to others, but it has to be a bespoke practice. What works for you is usually the simple stuff. It’s not about money. It’s not about stuff you can get. It’s simple everyday things that just keep you ticking along. Like going for nice walks, texting a mate you love every day, cooking, doodling, whatever works for you! Lovely little things I think give you little moments of contentment or feeling okay, that’s what we should be looking towards.’
Next time you find yourself deep in an Instagram scroll, thinking how easy others are making it look and how successful their business and lives look, stop. Firstly remember social media really does show the highlights, the 1% of everything that’s going on – just think about what you yourself share to realise how true this is! Instead, grab a notebook and make a list of all the things you know make YOU feel good. Pin it up and whenever that comparison creeps in, pick something from the list and do it straight away!
But then, if happiness isn’t a final destination, how do we get as much of it as we can? Where is the ‘sweet spot’?
As Fearne says, ‘It’s a nebulous subject matter and even science doesn’t really understand it! But if you’re going about your everyday life and you have ups and downs, good days and bad days – brilliant. That’s life, you know? As soon as we start thinking that some people out there are the exception to that rule and are just happy all the time and have these beautiful lives where everything pans out, we’re totally ruining our own chances of feeling any happiness because it’s so unattainable.’
If you’re running your own business, chances are you’re doing so because you, like Fearne, are seeking a life where you can be true to yourself and what you really care about. And whilst pursuing your passions will inevitably lead to more ups than downs, and more good days than bad, it definitely isn’t the easiest path! So if you do find yourself in a place where things aren’t quite adding up, the chances are you’ve gone off course and it’s time to revisit WHY you’re doing what you do, and recalibrating to keep leading from your heart. This doesn’t mean you’ve gone wrong, in fact quite the opposite! The beauty of small business is the ability to be agile and adapt to make sure what you’re putting out is always true to you.
A final word of advice from Fearne… ‘whatever happens, happens, and you will either learn from it or enjoy it. So you just have to let go a little bit, which is hard. But it’s so much better to be optimistic and things go wrong, than to be pessimistic and still have things go wrong.’
Denim & Bone ‘Happy Place’ jacket