The tears that fell last night whilst I journaled were unexpected.
I was asking, "why?"
Why this business? Why does it matter so much? Why this and not another of all the crazy ideas I've had over the years?
I come back to these questions periodically, at times when I'm making changes, going deeper or feeling disconnected. But last night, as I wrote, the stories and words that came out weren't quite what I was expecting. They had a fire to them I hadn't felt in a while. A depth that touched that sensitive place inside my heart.
I wanted to share with you (some of) what I wrote, but please know I wrote this just for me so it's not pretty or crafted or perfect, it's just the words that were there last night:
"At some point, I figured I should move back to the UK to get a "proper" job and make use of my degree and fell into a series of office jobs working in admin as an assistant and later in HR. I worked in successful companies and earned really good money. The companies I worked for provided free breakfast and lunch, gave fancy parties at Christmas and flew their employees to nice hotels abroad for team building exercises. And whilst it was always exciting for a while, I quickly became bored and felt hemmed in and out of place. I just never felt comfortable. I never felt like I fit and was constantly waiting for someone to call me out for the fraud I was - I never felt like I knew what I was doing. I'd wake up with a horrible sinking feeling every day, Sunday nights were the worst and I constantly feared what I'd find in my emails.
There's one day I remember really enjoying at the last job I had. I organised a company bake off where people would enter a baking competition and bring cakes that we split into different categories. We set them all out in the dining room and people came and paid to try them and judge which was the best in each category.
I remember we bought wooden spoons for the winners of each category and bought one of those wood engraving tools and wrote "Bake Off Winner 2012" on them.
We donated all the money we made to a charity called Food Cycle in London who work to 'reduce food poverty and social isolation by cooking and serving tasty, nutritious meals to vulnerable people.'
When I think about it now, I understand why this story makes me so emotional - it was everything I was looking for: It allowed me to work autonomously (I just proposed the idea and then got on with it with a couple of other girls in the office. There wasn't anyone managing me); I got to be creative - from designing posters, to sending out emails, to making the spoons; I got to be my quirky self - dressing up in a chef's hat and apron. I love dressing up; I got to do something meaningful - donating the money we made to a cause I cared about.
And that's why my job was so difficult for me the rest of the time. My quirks didn't fit into those companies, I was constantly having to be something I wasn't or at least watering down who I was for the sake of presenting the face of the company.
I had no freedom or autonomy - constantly being micromanaged and having to ask for permission every step of the way for everything from dentist appointments to holidays to telling someone I was going to the bathroom. There was virtually no scope for being creative. The work wasn't meaningful to me. There was no bigger purpose behind it and that just killed me. I just had this very real sense that I had more to offer the world and that I had to do something I cared about.
And that's why I do what I do. That's why I'm so passionate about helping creative, purpose-driven entrepreneurs succeed with their businesses. Because I know what it's like to go to a job day after day where you feel so far away from who you really are, where you desperately crave the freedom to do what you want, how you want, with who you want.
I want us all to be fully self expressed and to know that when we don't fit in a mould, it's because we were born to create our own. I know without a shadow of a doubt that when we're doing work we love in a way that feels good to us and are allowed to express ourselves completely and build a life and business around all of who we are, we do so, so much more good for the world.
True entrepreneurship is always driven by a desire to change the world for the better, not just by the need to secure the next pay-check. We need more entrepreneurs to succeed and I want to be that person who constantly lets them know that they not only can do this, but that they have to.
What I so very much wanted to share with you today is this:
You don't fit in. You won't ever fit in. And you're not meant to.
The reason you reject(ed) so strongly the 9-5 and the reason you fight so hard for your freedom and dreams is because there's a place inside you that knows...
You weren't born to fit the mould, you were born to create your own.
I spent most of my life feeling like I didn't quite fit in. I still now feel simultaneously like I could fit in everywhere and that I actually fit in nowhere.
I didn't quite fit in at school amongst all my straight-A student friends. I didn't quite fit in at university where I hated the drinking and clubbing scene that everyone else seemed to be so into. And I didn't quite fit in at my corporate jobs because I wasn't interested in the money, the parties or the clothes.
And the best thing I ever learned was that I could be an entrepreneur and stop feeling like there was something wrong with me for not being able to find my place. I could create my own place. I could create a community where I would speak my mind and be who I am and hang out with people who, just like me, never quite found their people out there, in the other parts of their lives.
And you know what? The world is better off that I never fit in. The world is better off that I'm here, being myself and speaking my truth and doing what I love and what matters to me.
You're not fitting in is what's so brilliant about you. It's where your creative force and unbelievable beauty come from. It's what gives your words and your work so much life and passion.
You are quirky and different and unique and if ever the world needed something it's more people who are willing to stand up, stand out and say hey, maybe we don't need to do it that way.
So you know what? For every single time in your life you felt like you didn't fit in and for every single time you still feel that way - thank goodness! Because where on earth would we be if we all just fit right in and toed the line?
Love and courage,