Joy. An emotion that hasn’t exactly been in large supply over the past eighteen months but one I’ve been on an absolute mission to find. I thought I had it last year when I changed from being a general VA to focusing my attentions on mental health and wellbeing (right at the beginning of the pandemic because I’m oh so clever…….meaning a complete idiot) but apparently, I really didn’t.
It’s an elusive little bugger, that pesky emotion. If you’ve ever experienced it, even a little bit, you’ll find that every day you don’t have it becomes almost dull. You find yourself searching out that spark in any way possible and when it’s nowhere to be found it’s quite depressing. I thought I’d found it when I changed my focus but it was all an illusion because I wanted so badly for it to be real. Alas, not so much.
I spent most of last year just surviving (thanks ever so much Covid, I still can’t breathe properly) and I was absolutely determined that this year was not going to be the same. I’ve spent too many years sitting in the slow lane watching life go by and I simply refused to do it anymore. I was so desperate to believe that my joy was real that I held on to it for far too long, which only held me back even longer. I spent so much time worrying about the things that I could do, that I completely forgot to think about the things that I wanted to do.
Some may argue that sometimes you don’t have the option to simply do whatever you want, the Rolling Stones even have a whole song about it. It may even be true. But I decided that I just don’t care. I think that if you truly love what you do then you will do it better. You’ll give more time and attention to it and make it the best it can be. That’s before we even get on to the fact that doing something you enjoy is immeasurably better for your mental health. Less pressure, less stress = more happiness. What’s not to love!
With that in mind, I started looking at the services I was offering but I was completely lost and rudderless without a direction, which is when I went to the lovely Karen Goldfinch. Her new business, Your Business Pilot, is all about helping people find their way and she absolutely kickstarted me into finding the right one! Before that I hadn’t even realised that joy was what I was looking for. She was the first one to really ask, “Where’s the Joy?” and honestly, it was a revelation.
Once that question was out there, everything else fell into place. I started looking at the services I was offering and if they didn’t bring me joy then they were out! Karen helped me look at what else I was capable of and when all of the options came up, the question asked was, “Will it bring me Joy?” and if the answer was no, that was it. It was never mentioned again.
What’s just as important as doing things that bring joy, is finding the right people who want the same things you want. Finding people who believe just as much as you do, that having joy in your work and your vocation is better than anything which is why I’m so glad I found the fabulous Samantha Dawkins of Koala VA.
Samantha’s passion for mental health clearly matches my own and her work as a social media expert working with therapists and mental health professionals is second-to-none. Her knowledge of both the mental health sector and the different social media platforms is extensive and there is no one else I would recommend when it comes to getting your socials in order! Her enthusiasm shines through in everything she does and really, you couldn’t ask for more.
“As a fierce mental health advocate, I’m also someone who speaks openly about my own mental health challenges and experiences. When I started my own business towards the beginning of 2019, I knew I wanted to use my skills to help make a difference in this area and specialising in social media for therapists seemed a great way to do this; not only do I get to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness through content creation but I also get to help those on the front line of mental health support do more of what they are called to do – helping others.
That being said, running a business on your own presents its own wellbeing challenges, such as stress and the risk of burnout, maintaining healthy boundaries, and loneliness. I can’t claim to have found a perfect balance but I do have self-awareness on my side. Some of the things I do to combat these challenges are honouring two full days off a week, getting out in the fresh air and nature, having a good support network around me, and taking time to self-reflect regularly.”
I have wondered if finding joy really is something we should be worrying about right now. We’re still on the Covid rollercoaster not knowing where the highs and lows are going to come, praying to anyone who will listen that the seatbelts still work. The safety bars broke somewhere around December but the belts are still hanging in there. For now anyway.
But really, this is the exact time to be looking for joy. We need it more than ever. So start looking! You never know where it might be and you have no idea how much it could change your life. What’s life without a little joy!