“If you can’t find your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right to your purpose.”Bishop T.D. Jakes
Three years ago My life was only divided into two parts.
Motherhood and work.
This was certainly not in equal measures.
At home, I was the main care giver on the weekends while their dad did most of the care in the week. On weekdays, I dressed my son and took him to nursery while my partner dressed our daughter before she was picked up by family.
I then travelled two hours by train to work where I muddled through before getting home just in time to kiss them both goodnight.
On weekends I did the majority of the childcare. I also did most of the cooking, housework and laundry. I didn’t feel burnout as I was permanently burnt out.
After the birth of my son, I struggled with PND and although unlike most media suggests, I had a brilliant relationship with my son. My PND affected my relationship with his dad.
As things were not great at home, after getting back to work, I threw myself back into my job and was promoted to direct and lead the entire team.
I thought things were starting to pick up again and then I became pregnant with my daughter.
Mat leave with both kids was tiring but I didn’t miss work in the slightest. I got to spend all day with both children and I threw myself back into motherhood.
During this time, we had moved out of London and into the centre of Kent.
Finding friends in a new place is tough. Finding friends on mat leave is almost impossible.
Therefore, I didn’t do anything for myself in this time. I can count on one hand the amount of times I asked family to babysit and as I had no friends local to me, I didn’t really need to.
It was a lonely time. But I ignored it. I just focussed on the children and didn’t even notice how much of myself I was losing.
Because of this guilt I didn’t really push myself at work. I felt as though I didn’t deserve a promotion and told myself I’m at the highest level I need to get to as anything more would result in more time away from my family, and the guilt I felt wouldn’t allow for that.
When I went back to work, the PND crept back in. This time I felt guilty. Guilty for being at work and two hours away from my children but I also felt guilt when I left the office on time to ensure I got home in time to relive the family who were watching my children while I worked.
I did feel moments of joy through my children but I found very little joy for myself.
Realising my purpose
However, then I trained as a mental health first aider. This training changed me. I wanted to learn more about mental health and illness and started to research it.
Lockdown enabled me to put my training into practice – supporting the wellbeing of my colleagues through the pandemic.
I realised I could learn so much more about mental health and illness and create more support at work. So, in the day, I did what I was essentially paid for, marketing the agency and helping to run the new business pitches.
In the evenings however, once I’d spent time with my children and put them to bed, I started writing well-being material to share with and support my colleagues.
I lead my agency’s mental health team and encouraged more to train as first aiders. I created a community of passionate people who could find purpose in their roles and become better colleagues, line managers and leaders.
I found my true passion.
After lockdown ended and my content was shared across our parent company and sister agencies I realised I was pretty good at it and it felt good.
I became the mental health lead for the group and have just been promoted to marketing, wellbeing and DEI Partner. Essentially the only member in my agency to be paid to protect the culture and health of my colleagues.
After an incredible experience training with TMA last week, I learned that in order to find my true purpose, I need to do something that sets my soul on fire and, if can get paid for it, even better.
Helping people sets my soul on fire.
I’m now training for a level three diploma in health and wellness consultancy with a plan to do a intro to psychotherapy in the new year.
I would do it all right now but I’m aware of my own constraints and the potential of burn out. I can’t afford to quit my day job and my new role proves that this newfound skillset has a need.
Thanks to finding my own purpose, I now have a board level position in my company. This confidence enabled me to become one of 30 marketing professionals selected for a once in a lifetime training and mentoring opportunity with TMA. And to top it off, I am studying to be a consultant in an area I love.
On the side, I am also still working pro bono for a mental health charity, writing this blog to encourage people that it is ok to talk about mental illness, and finally and, in no means least, I am also a mother, and a bloody good one at that, to my two beautiful children.
Three years ago I would have never congratulated myself. I wouldn’t praise my achievements or celebrate my own success.
However, it’s perfectly ok to back yourself. We can be our own worst enemies at times. Finding our purpose and doing things that make us happy can create a huge ripple effect with those around us.
If you can, find something that sets your soul on fire. It may just save you from yourself.