So I feel like I’ve never been 100% honest with you about my work. And that needs to change. Because I want this blog to be more about work and health together going forward and that means telling you my story and how I got to where I am today.
I haven’t been honest because I’ve been confused about who I am in the world of work for the last year. I’ve had trouble describing what I do, what my skill set is and that’s come in large part because I’ve been trying to change industry.
For the first 10 years of my working life I dedicated my career to the arts. Classical music to be precise.
It’s all I’ve ever known. My parents are both musicians, I played the viola in youth orchestra and university orchestras. I’ve worked for small orchestras and big ones and then I worked for an agency, setting up international tours for ensembles all around the world.
It’s been a fantastic career. I have met some truly incredible, talented, dedicated people and seen amazing places. I’ve travelled the length and breadth of the UK, been to India three times, China more times than I can count and other countries I never thought I’d reach in a lifetime: Colombia, Chile, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
“What an amazing career!” I hear you all saying. “Why would you want to leave?”
The final role I was in was relatively ‘commercial.’ As commercial as the arts gets anyway. I was negotiating fees for orchestras and setting up deals with festivals and promoters. I was hustling for a commission for my work and prove mine and my team’s worth. I had a target to reach and forecasting to do.
In the end working at the agency wore me down. I loved the music but I didn’t want the pressure of financial targets. Everyone was having funding cuts and fighting to exist. I didn’t want to view an orchestra in terms of potential revenue, I wanted to see its artistic possibilities.
So gradually I fell out of love with the job. And fell in love with a man. Who lived in Ireland. That wasn’t planned, it was meant to just be something fun. But it grew and eventually we knew we wanted to be together.
That’s why I moved to Dublin in May 2017, a year almost to the day I’m posting this. The move meant resigning from my agency job. I ended up serving a 6 month notice period, part of which was seen out remotely working from Dublin. By the end of July I was on my own.
I had assumed in a lazy, “I guess this is my life” kind of way that I would continue working in the arts after I moved to Ireland. But it hasn’t really worked out like that. Whilst I’ve been lucky to have a few freelance jobs come my way, nothing full-time has transpired. And in hindsight I think it was the best thing the universe could have done for me.
The freelance jobs I’ve done have involved building websites for arts organisations, helping them with sales and taking care of logistics. Think booking hotels, coaches, flights, sorting visas, putting schedules together and you’ve got me in a nut shell.
But on the side, something was growing.
I had been building my blog The Flourishing Pantry since 2016 and it had become more than just a hobby for me. I had thrown myself into the whole blogging community: learning, sharing, talking, contributing, getting it wrong, getting it right, meeting people and immersing myself in a new world far removed from my day job.
I started to get recognition – a Health Bloggers Award in September 2017 made me realise this might just be the start of something bigger. Two more awards later and a move to Dublin with no full-time job made me really consider how I could make this a ‘business.’ Trust me, that’s a scary word and one I’ve been grappling with for a whole year!
So I’ve been transitioning. Slowly. Painfully slowly sometimes. I’ve been doing online courses, having coaching calls, talking to friends and family, doing some work for the Health Bloggers Community (acting as Editor for their online magazine and running events in Dublin) while I got it all straight in my head.
Now it’s time to step out into the world and be just me.
I want the blog to become a power-house for inspiring women to live healthier lives while they set up businesses in the same way I’ve been doing. I want to create blog posts, videos, downloadable content and (eek!) maybe even a course to help you live as healthy as possible while you plough love and energy into your business.
I’m also working on The Reset, a series of retreats for women looking for time and space to reconnect with what they want to achieve, providing the tools and support to help them get there. You can find out more about The Reset here.
There are so many exciting opportunities in the future and I want to embrace them all and give them my best shot.
It’s scary I won’t lie. I struggle still to tell myself every day I’m doing the right thing. Walking away from a career with a decade of experience might sound foolish to some. But it’s now or never and I’ve decided I’m going for it. What’s the worst that could happen?
By the way I still do some of the orchestral touring work to pay the bills. I have a wealth of experience and expertise and I’m happy to help out when the project is right. So when you see me whizzing around on social media and popping up in different cities and countries chances are I’m on a tour with an orchestra. One day it will be because I’m off to talk about The Flourishing Pantry or The Reset instead.