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  • Writer's pictureClare Kenny

How did I get here?

It’s been 4 years since I started on my entrepreneurial journey in employee wellbeing.  I actually decided to go freelance right in the middle of the first UK covid lock down, when my daughter was just a few months old.

 

I had a really tough pregnancy, being made redundant 2 days before I found out I was pregnant, 4 months of severe morning sickness, hormones, crippling migraines, joint aches and pains, unbearable itching all over my skin - I felt like I was going mad!  I look back on that time as one of the hardest times of my life. 

 

But once my daughter was born, a lot of the clouds lifted – the sickness and pain I had felt during pregnancy eased, and the first few months of her life were bliss.  Many parents find the early days very challenging – but for me everything seemed to align, and I loved it.  All the new born baby hormones and the hormones from breastfeeding meant for the first time in about 20 years I didn’t have to deal with daily tension headaches and with lock down confirmed when my daughter Lizzie was just 3 weeks old – we were all alone in our house, nowhere to be, nobody expected to visit, just me and my husband and our tiny daughter, and our two dogs and two cats.  It felt like the world stopped and we had time to figure out being a family safely in our own house without any of the additional pressures of visiting relatives, 'mummy and me' classes or baby swim.

 

I am an introvert.  I am not shy, and I don’t lack confidence (often a misinterpretation of introversion) but I get my energy from being alone.  Being constantly with other people, especially in big groups, really drains me.  So, the enforced family solitude really suited me while I was finding my feet as a new mum. Now, I recognise my privilege of living in a nice home, with a garden and having a husband with a job that he could do from home.  And I acknowledge that lock down was really really hard for many people and rightfully so.  But for me personally – it gave me just what I needed, just when I needed it.

 

The fact I dreaded the idea of going back to a post lockdown office, and spending time commuting and working constantly with other people around, made me reflect on what I wanted from my career going forward.  I wanted to work from home, I wanted to work flexibly and be creative.  And most importantly I wanted to do something that mattered to me.

 

I brainstormed with my best friend on ideas for what I could do.  She’s a copywriter so she helped me with branding and honing my niche.  I had extensive experience in learning & development, project management & account management with some wellbeing on the side.  So, I started by pitching myself as a freelance project manager with a wellbeing specialism…but my gut knew it wasn’t what made my heart sing.  So, I took a leap of faith.  I went all in.  I was going to be an employee wellbeing consultant.  I was going to focus on the bits of my previous careers that has really felt meaningful to me.  So that’s where I started.  Building a website, getting on LinkedIn, writing for trade publications and establishing myself in the field.

 

4 years later I have worked with some incredible brands from Burberry and Channel 4 to Warner Bros Discovery and KPMG.  I stand on stages talking to 100s of people about wellbeing and people I consider aspirational role models come to me and ask for my advice!

 

I followed my gut.  I thought about where the joy was and followed it.

And it’s not always easy, there are plenty of challenges along the way.  But I have never looked back. 

 

Are you doing the things that bring you joy?

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