Why I believe in living a life less ordinary
How I found my Good Life
Isn’t it funny how there’s a lack of ‘good words’ or phrases to summarise how we feel, a situation or a moment? That’s exactly how I felt when we were at the beginning stages of building Holly & Co, where we looked to not only change the business landscape, but also the language we all used as small business owners.
There just wasn’t the vocabulary to pinpoint a life where you tried to maintain a blend of the ambitions, drive and sheer love of your business with the want and need to be ‘present’ at home and with your family.
Believing that we should never resort to the outdated notion of scales, it was time to create a new business phrase – ‘Living The Good Life’. But it’s far easier to type than it is to do. I know first hand how difficult it is to rewire your mind, especially mine. The Holly who wouldn’t even notice there were roses growing, let alone smell them! Life knocked me to the floor and I had to dream up a new way to live my life.
Just before that point in my life, where I realised you should blend work and life and live ‘one life’, I was doing quite the opposite. Running notonthehighstreet was a 24 hours a day job, leaving very little time to even consider I was anything but the CEO of an organisation. I totally loved what I did and there were all the small businesses and what they produced, which became the underbelly of my life – it made any bad day so worth it, but I was turning into 2D Holly.
There came a fateful day, where I had to look at who I’d become and to be honest… I didn’t recognise much about this version of Holly. Sure, I was proud of her and knew she was powerful, but she was running on fumes. Her world only centred around the vibrations of an ever-growing organisation, her relationships suffered and dry white wine became a medication of choice. Busy was all I was and if I wasn’t, I was lost.
I was busy! Surely that meant I was successful which in turn must mean, I was happy? Looking back, I really don’t know if I was. I just didn’t know any different.
When life exploded and in turn imploded for me back in 2014, I had to take the hardest look at myself. Something I’d never done or wanted to do. I had to try and connect with today’s Holly, a very hard thing to do when you’d ignored her for the past, forever! Replaced with a CEO, Chairwoman, Partner, Mother and Friend, the colourful Holly seemed so grownup and was now defined by her titles.
I had to figure out what I could do for a living, what my passions were. I’d forgotten what I loved, what I was good at and, ultimately, what my purpose was in life. As some of you may have experienced, this is quite a scary place to be. Having a lack of purpose has been proven over and over to be a contributing factor leading to depression, and I was definitely heading that way. And so I took some time to think, to look hard within and go back to what made me happy.
‘The Holly who wouldn’t even notice there were roses growing, let alone smell them! Life knocked me to the floor and I had to dream up a new way to live my life.’
I went back to when I was a child, what I loved to do, and it’s there that I realised (remembered!) I am a creative soul. Why I could come up with business ideas, why I could inject creativity into any plan, but ultimately, what had been taken away from me along my business journey.
I asked myself…
- What I would do if money was no issue?
- What subject could I read 500 books about without getting bored?
- What were my hobbies and interests?
- What could I lose time with?
I also asked my surrounding circle what they thought my talents were… they were so kind and so helpful. I asked my father the same question, he had just finished Steve Jobs’ biography and so shared an extract with me that changed my life forever. It read…
When I was 17, I read a quote that said, ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’
It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
I knew that the business world I lived in wasn’t prioritising my happiness, it was all about how rich and powerful you or your business was. And so I created a mood board of everything I wanted my ‘Happy Business’ to be – I called it my ‘Good Life Business’.
I was passionate to show not only myself but others, that there was another way to do business – with happiness as the new metric for success. For me, being so low, I didn’t care about wealth. Happiness was the new rich and I knew I had an opportunity to mould the future. I called it my ‘Good Life Business’ because I wanted to live it. I created goals for my future business, things that I wouldn’t compromise on.
I called these my ‘Good Life’ goals.
From doing this I realised this is another important step when creating any business, that’s often overlooked. It’s what had disintegrated as my first business baby grew and I’d seen what that resulted in. I was determined to not let that happen again.
- No 9 to 5’s (flexible working)
- Being able to walk to work
- Be able to be creative every day (and not end up just ‘being boss’ and working on the spreadsheets!)
- Working in a creative & beautiful environment
- Work with best friends and a ‘work family’
- Meet other people from the community and travel outside the office
- Do truly interesting things, pushing myself out of my comfort zone
- Change the world
- HAVE GOOD COFFEE – on tap!
Other examples of ‘Good Life’ goals… Maybe it’s to live in the countryside? To surf every morning? To take your dog to work? Take a yoga class in the middle of the day – because you can! Take one month off a year and travel with your family?
If this has inspired you – let yourself go and imagine the best ‘Good Life’ you can.
‘I knew that the business world I lived in wasn’t prioritising my happiness, it was all about how rich and powerful you or your business was. And so I created a mood board of everything I wanted my ‘Happy Business’ to be – I called it my ‘Good Life Business’.’
It was so hard to come out of my chrysalis of the 2D Holly who’d lost herself. It took everything to get out of bed some mornings, to believe there was a future. But slowly, through realising the notion of a ‘Good Life Business’, I started to rediscover myself. The colour started to come back into my soul, and over the years, I emerged as the butterfly I’d dreamt up. It wasn’t easy to fly, but fly I did and have done, ever since finding my ‘Good Life Business’.
I wish you the same.