It was the summer of 2006, I was 25 years old and I didn’t have a clue whose life I was living, but it certainly wasn’t my own.
I’d spent my life up until that point people-pleasing myself into an oblivion, fighting and clawing my way through to meet society’s quota of ‘success’, determined to prove the world, as I saw it, wrong.
Y’see at 10 years old, I failed my 11+ and didn’t get into the grammar school my older sister attended – and it was right then and there that I got my very first taste of the most powerful limiting belief I’d unknowingly then carry into adulthood;
“I’m not good enough to deserve…[pretty much everything I want]”
The ferocity with which I then pushed myself to get to where I thought I wanted to be, to prove the world wrong, to feel a slither of worthiness, was quite alarming in retrospect.
✔️ The high-grade qualifications
✔️ The long-term relationship
✔️ The well-paid career as a designer
✔️ The car
✔️ The mortgage
✔️ The regular holidays
All nicely ticked off by age 25 through fierce, almost stubborn independence; defiant that I didn’t ever need help from anybody either. I naively thought I’d pre-fortified myself for all kinds of challenges, rejections and obstacles in my relentless pursuit of all these things ☝🏻 But nothing could prepare me for what happened next.
= None of it made me happy.
Everything that I thought I wanted, I got. And instead of feeling jubilant or like I’d ‘arrived’; instead of feeling proud of finally achieving everything I’d been striving for, I felt completely empty. I woke up in a life that didn’t feel like my own. I’d merely been trailblazing some blinkered mission to tick off all the things I thought I was supposed to want, and cruelly ended up not having a clue what I wanted.
I was as lost as anyone could be. Nothing around me felt right. I didn’t know who I was. And I had no idea what I was about to endure next, but if I’d had any kind of heads-up about it, boy would I have listened to my intuition much much sooner.
Instead I chose to bury this unease, pretend everything was fine, suppress this deep emptiness and plod along, forcing myself to feel grateful in any way I could (and I reeeeally wanted to feel grateful, because I knew how fortunate I was). So I rationalised it in my mind that I was ‘just being dramatic’ and that ‘it’ll pass’.
EXCEPT IT DIDN’T PASS.
In fact, it came at me so hard, it eventually walloped me around the head in the form of a humdinger of a quarter-life crisis, with a side order of a deep depression, that dragged me under for about two years. It was at that point I then realised…
I couldn’t do this all on my own anymore.
I couldn’t keep up with this relentless pursuit of perfection. So I went to therapy to work through all the stuff I’d buried in the past, and I invested in coaching and courses to work through what I wanted for my future.
I tore up the script of my life, I quit my job, I sold my house, I ended a 12-year relationship and I ran away to the west coast of America all within the space of two months 😳 and while I’m not saying that’s a prescription for everyone’s happiness, it was a necessary prescription for mine, because I’d ignored my gut instincts for so long.
FAST-FORWARD A DECADE OR SO…
And I’m out the other side, at the helm of a brand I couldn’t be more passionate about, living a ridiculously messy life I couldn’t be more in-love with, and helping women I couldn’t be more proud to serve.
After years and years of side-hustling in design, branding and running my own stationery line, The Imperfect Life® blog was born in October 2016, six months into being a new mama, as a way for me to share some of the stuff that I’d learnt on my crazy mental health / quarter-life crisis / personal development / self-employment / parenthood journey so far. I knew I wasn’t alone in all the stuff I struggled through, and I figured, if I’d have had this kind of online resource back in 2006, I know my struggle would’ve been a lot less strugglesome.
And then the emails started coming in. The messages of thanks for the clarity my content gave them. The DMs of gratitude for how much I’d helped change their perspective. The comments of appreciation for their lives finally beginning to change. It was then that I knew this was so much bigger than me and my anecdotes. I’d uncovered my thing and I couldn’t ignore it.
SO I SET ABOUT BUILDING A BUSINESS AND USING MY PAIN FOR purpose™.
Through a year’s worth of 5am, half an hour slots (before my baby daughter woke and before my design-clients’ day started), I spent the next 10 months prototyping, testing and building a Kickstarter campaign to get my flagship dream product off the ground; The Imperfect Life® Planner – combining my design background, my product development knowledge, my manufacturing experience and my personal development strategies into physical form. And on August 1st 2017, I launched it.
Gah. It still gives me chills to think about it.
After the most INSANE 30 days, probably of my life thus far, I somehow managed to raise over £21,000 out of nowhere with little to no press exposure, and my dream, purposeful business officially began. Pride. Overwhelm. Excitement. Terror. I felt every single emotion possible that day.
My Imperfectionistas group began growing and the next 12 months were then all about building my audience, helping as many people as I could to find their thing and create the life they wanted, and taking the necessary steps to grow this business to make it my full-time thang.
And that’s exactly what I did.
Quite poignantly, August 1st 2018 – exactly one year since my Kickstarter campaign, marked day one of The Imperfect Life® being my business.
Since then I’ve released the second edition of The Imperfect Life® Planner, I’ve built a base of gorgeous 1-to-1 coaching clients through my life purpose coaching practice, and I’ve grown a family of beyootiful students on The Imperfect Life® Designer online program (my most cost-effective way of helping women find their thing in a self-study setting or a more accountable group coaching setting).
And the coolest bit is, I KNOW this is just the freaking start 👏🏻
Saying I feel gratitude for the life I’m now in is an understatement, because the me you saw at the top of this page, the me who had no idea who she was let alone what her thing was, the me who didn’t feel worthy of deserving anything, wouldn’t and couldn’t have imagined it for a second.
It’s been (and always will be) exhilarating, squiggly, and imperfect AF! But OMG is it worth it.
So if you only take away one thing from reading this, take this: