Living the Good Life Light by Goodwin & Goodwin

Achieving work-life balance? Here's how I found my 'Good Life'

Feeling uninspired
By Holly Tucker


With work-life balance, it's time to redefine the language we use because when we prioritise 'living the good life' and focus on setting joyful goals instead, I truly believe we're on the path to a brighter, happier future. Read on to see why I’m so passionate about this.

Wooden hand sign by Kristen Ramsey.

What exactly is the '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.

Why the term ‘work-life balance’ needed an upgrade

Believing that we should never resort to the outdated notion of scales, it was time to create a new business phrase: ‘Living The Good Life’. The trouble is, this is far easier to type than it is to do. I know first hand how difficult it is to rewire the mind, especially mine. When you’re trying to be all things to all people and to run a successful business that you’ve poured so much into already, and also to look after not just your children if you have them (read my article on running a business while raising the future for tips on this), but your parents, siblings, friends and even the planet too… You yearn for a good life where everything has a time and a place and these things somehow manage to live in harmony.

How do you know when you're working too much?

Just before the point where I realised you should blend your work and home life and just live ‘one life’, I was doing quite the opposite. Running notonthehighstreet was a 24-hour-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 myself. 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. 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.

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.

How to take a long, hard look at yourself

When life exploded and in turn imploded for me back in 2014 and I left notonthehighstreet, I had to take the hardest look at myself; something I’d never done or wanted to do. I had to try to connect with the real Holly, which wasn’t easy when I’d ignored her for the past, well, forever! Replaced with a CEO, Chairwoman, Partner, Mother and Friend, the colourful Holly seemed so grownup and was now defined by her titles.

Rediscovering your purpose in life

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 again 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 myself and go back to what made me happy.

What did you like to do when you were a child?

I went back to when I was a child, and what made me happy, and it’s there that I realised (remembered!) I am a creative soul. It’s why I could come up with business ideas, why I could inject creativity into any plan, but ultimately, what had been lost along my business journey. I asked myself…

  • What would I 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 shared an extract with me that changed my life forever. It read, “If you live each day as if it was your last, some day you’ll most certainly be right.”

Bobbi Brown also talked about this brilliantly on her Conversations of Inspiration podcast episode, and shares the superb piece of advice her mother gave her, too.

Holly & Carrie smiling at the camera
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.
Holly & Frank smiling at the camera

If you had one day left to live, what would you do?

Steve Jobs’ quote made an impression on me, and since then, for many years now, 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 were. And so I created a mood board of everything I wanted my ‘Happy Business’ to be, and I called it my ‘Good Life Business’.

I was passionate to show not only myself but others too, 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’.

How to create ‘Good Life Goals’

I realised that setting goals is another important step when creating any business, that’s often overlooked but is actually very important business advice. My goals had all but disintegrated as my first business baby grew and I’d seen what that resulted in. I was determined not to let that happen again. Mine were:

  • No 9 to 5s (flexible working only)
  • Being able to walk to work
  • Being able to be creative every day (and not end up just ‘being boss’ and working on the spreadsheets!)
  • Working in a creative and beautiful environment
  • Working with best friends and a ‘work family’
  • Meeting other people from the community and travelling outside the office
  • Doing truly interesting things and pushing myself out of my comfort zone
  • Changing the world
  • HAVING 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?

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 were. And so I created a mood board of everything I wanted my ‘Happy Business’ to be, and I called it my ‘Good Life Business’.

From work-life balance to your Good Life

Imagine the best ‘Good Life’ you can. For me, 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 through finding my ‘Good Life Business’. And I wish the same for you.

Finding your 'Good Life': key takeaways…

Forget the old idea of work-life balance. The future is all about reflecting on your passions, embracing happiness as a driving force and setting 'Good Life Goals’ to build a business and life you truly love.

1. To get your ‘Good Life’, make time to reflect and reconnect:

Take a long, hard look at yourself to understand your passions, interests and talents. Revisit your childhood joys and envision a life with no limitations — what would you do if money were no issue?

2. Embrace the power of happiness to find work-life balance:

Success isn’t solely measured by wealth and power in the business world. Happiness can be the ultimate metric for success in your entrepreneurial journey.

3. Create 'Good Life Goals’:

These are the personal values and aspirations that will help you build a life AND business you love.

Holly's signature
Hands stamped with the phrase 'Your life is in your hands to make of it what you choose'

Images: 'Living the Good Life’ neon sign — by Goodwin & Goodwin, 'Love Wins' hand sign — by Kristen Ramsey.

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