As it’s International Day of Happiness, I’ve been thinking about what happiness means to me. It’s simple really. Happiness is spending time with my family, friends and fell running. Nothing makes me grin more quite like running up (and down!) muddy hills with my wife Claire and Ted the Superdog. The sense of freedom that comes from running in the fells through snow, mud, rain, cloud or sun must be the simplest of all pleasures, and I just can’t get enough of it.
Five years ago it was a different story. Back then I was working myself into a frenzy of stress and depression and continuing regardless. Burning out. Putting on a front. Because that’s what we do. Until the day my body broke and I couldn’t do it anymore.
Do you live to work? Or work to live?
It’s fair to say I went through some pretty dark and difficult times. But underlying all of that was a sense of relief. A gigantic weight had been lifted from my shoulders. For the first time since probably forever, I began to question what I was doing. Yes I’d made it to the dizzy heights of the board room, but at what cost? I’d earned a lot of money but was too busy working to take any time out to enjoy the stuff that really made me happy.
Yeah, but are you happy?
When you’re forced to take time out, your sense of perspective changes. Massively. I knew I wanted to defect and join the ‘work to live’ camp, and to do that I needed to make some bold decisions. After much thought I decided to leave it all behind and set up my own company. I created Found Us and we’re now in our fourth year of business.
Lose yourself in what you love
Fell running is a massive part of my life and social circle. Managing my own business means I choose when I work. If I want to go running (which happens to be my default!) then I do. Being outdoors is a great stress reliever for me. When I run I feel happier. I get the head space I need to be able to think clearly and I’m more productive when I return to the office.
When body and mind are balanced it’s a beautiful thing
There really is no going back for me. These last four years have been tough – it’s hard starting up without a big brand name behind you, but I wouldn’t change a thing. If you want some friendly advice about going it alone and starting your own business, give me a shout. Or if you want to chat about finding a new job, I can help with that too.