As I mentioned in Part 1, in 2014 I had gone through a difficult stage of being forced to think about what it was I needed to change in my life. I wrote down in detail a list of things that make me happy, along with a list of actions I needed to take. In doing so, one of the first things I decided was to move. I love this quote by Alexander Den Heijer:
"When a flower doesn't bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower."
This rang very true for me, I needed out of the gloomy basement suite where I had been living and where my only views were either the back of a dumpster or a concrete wall seen through the bars on my window. Not exactly what you want to come home to after working all day in a windowless, underground mall. To say the least it was a very uninspiring place to be and wasn’t helping my state of mind. I needed to be around nature, I needed sunlight, windows, and plants. Nature is so powerfully healing and I was craving that connection.
Near the end of 2014 after a lot of searching and a bit of luck, my partner and I found the perfect place close to parks and with a long row of big windows that let in an absurd amount of sunlight (almost too much!). I could walk to work, I spent much more time outside, and I instantly felt a shift in attitude. I started to have a more zen-like approach to the things that were previously frustrating me.
After moving, I put more thought into the small things that made me happy and the things that I wanted to change. I made the decision to change my employment hours in order to put more energy into school, creativity and reconnecting with my family.
In 2015 after completing my Business Program, I decided that over the summer I would try to make time to ‘do nothing’ ––to for once relax, to step back from the pressure of goals or expectations. It is surprisingly hard work to make a commitment to doing less, worrying less, and trusting that this is what I needed.
I did as close to nothing as possible and it was EVERYTHING I thought it could be and more. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t literally do nothing… But I gave myself as much ‘no commitment time’ as I could manage.
This allowed me to listen. Listen to my curiosity, my intuition, my inner voice, whatever you want to call it, and see where it would lead me.
Surprisingly, I discovered a sudden passion for plants, trees and gardening (something I had never been interested in before), I spent more time outdoors and seeing Vancouver as a beautiful place (beyond indoor malls and crowded buses), and I took a lot of photos including pictures of our new cat Blue.
(Blue enoying her view in the garden last year)
When it came to work, I was beginning to help others with their businesses and was able to successfully provide a variety of services to them. One day someone said to me “it’s really great that you are helping other people succeed, but what about you? What do YOU want to do for your own career?” I thought about it and replied that this IS what I want to do.
Later that night I pondered that question a little longer and thought how this was the first time I had been working, where it didn’t feel like work. A lightbulb went off and right then and there it hit me.
Success for me was helping other people succeed, who are also passionate about making the world a better place. This meant being creative about designing my own definitions of success and rejecting the status quo.