Finding Life’s Purpose in Hindsight
As the Chinese proverb goes, “fall down 8 times, stand up 9”. So I did after the biggest fall of my life…
When I was 15 years old, I asked my parents for my first mobile phone. They were happy for me to have one, but I had to get a job to buy and pay for it myself. Here lay my first real lesson on money: appreciating the value of a pound, having to work for what you want and appreciate what you have. At 16, my first job as a waitress also taught me a very valuable lesson. Even though I achieved my goal to buy my first mobile and had some money in my pocket, I didn’t overly enjoy working for other people.
A couple of years and a few different jobs later (some at the same time), I was in Leeds studying Musical Theatre at dance college. My sole purpose in life from when I started, was to be a dancer. By the time I reached my teens, I wanted my career to start off on a cruise ship, so I could travel the world and get paid for doing something I loved. Even if it meant working for someone else, it felt more like it was for me as it was what I loved doing.
“Shouldn’t we all be doing something we love? Isn’t this how it’s meant to be?”
I always expected to earn my living as a dancer, why wouldn’t it happen? I was never emotionally attached to the fill-in jobs, they were purely steppingstones to my dance career.
No one tells you when you leave dance college that you won’t be dancing 24/7 like you were during training. It might be obvious to some, but after dancing most days of my life since I was two, it wasn’t to me at the time. I got a “normal” job so I could pay to keep dancing and attend auditions.
During the audition process, I injured my lower back and my career was over before it had even started. Over-night my whole life changed. I went from being certain of what I wanted to do, to not a clue. I didn’t have a backup plan. When I went for interviews for more “normal” jobs they didn’t hire me based on a piece of paper that said I studied dance, and I didn’t have relevant experience. Barf. Cue loads of random jobs in random industries to learn what else (other than dancing) I was good at and felt as fulfilled doing. I was trying to fill a huge void. I didn’t see the point in spending my life doing something I didn’t love.
The closest I came to fill the void was teaching dance to children. I blooming loved working with kids. However, I wanted more, and I got itchy feet particularly to travel.
In 2011 I was offered a job in Dubai. At the time I was happy and settled into my life in the UK, new job, new boyfriend. I wasn’t ready to leave. Two years later, the same opportunity arose, and I knew I wouldn’t get it a third time. I accepted the role. Five months later I was in the 40-degree desert heat living the ex-pat lifestyle and loving it.
It wasn’t long before I spotted a gap in the UAE market…
for a product and service exactly like a company I used to frequent in the UK (this is all I can tell you about the brand, sorry not sorry for the tease). Alongside working my sometimes 14-hour day corporate job, I started the process to be the first-ever franchisee of this long-standing brand.
Fast forward through two years of very exciting progression with investors, lawyers, accountants, landlords, contractors etc; qualifying as a sound healer; quitting my corporate job and not having regular income whilst living in one of the most expensive places on the planet…new potential investors went behind my back to the brand and told them I’d stolen their business plan. They were celebrities who had money and status, and the brand believed them. Luckily, I’m good with paperwork and proved they were lying. I saved the day but lost respect and trust for the brand during the process. Did I really want to get into bed with a brand with no integrity for at least the next 5 years? My answer was no. It was the hardest break up of my life.
Broken but not defeated, I headed back to the UK, moved into my parents’ house and got to work creating my life. Living with my parents gave me the space, time and love I needed to nurture the foundations to becoming my own boss for good.
“I may not have had the career I thought I was going to have when I was young but looking back, in many ways I believe I got what I wanted and much, much more.”
No university or college education can teach what I’ve learnt. A well-trodden path rich with travel; living and working in and with different cultures; incredible teachers and mentors, (even if they didn’t know they were teaching me something at the time); intense psychological tests and challenges; learning to create opportunities when the opportunities didn’t vibe; priceless people skills beyond networking and socialising; moments of self-sabotage greeted with resilience, perseverance and most importantly being my own cheerleader, believing in myself and listening to my intuition. There is so much to list and that list continues to grow as I travel on. Grateful it all happened the way it did, I have zero regrets.
Each experience, a golden seed of life contributing to where I am today. I’m where I belong, no longer a void to fill. A purpose that has been with me all along. Passed on through generations of a family of divinely guided healers. Nothing happens by chance. I made an appointment to go through everything this far, I made an appointment to be here.
This isn’t a career, it’s way more than that. This is my life. My way of being. My true essence and purpose that has been given to me to fulfil. It has been told to me.
Originally published on 23rd May 2020.