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spring forward: renewing your purpose

Blog 15 _ caroline-hernandez-177779

Diana Reaves | Apr 24, 2018 | Photograph by: Caroline Hernandez

Ironically, my path to a new life occurred during early spring of last year.  Yes, it was during the season of rebirth and a literal time change that I sensed a fervent desire and need for a change of my own―a grand shift in my everyday existence and career.


A Life of Wonder

I stood in my mother’s established garden, which had already begun to explode with vibrant colour and sweet scents.  I had grown up in this place and for years, helped Mum carry buckets full of long-stem roses and lilies into her flower shop just one street over.

The dim, cool design room had been a cave of possibility, a place where dying flowers were given purpose and life again.

These were my roots―pun certainly intended.  A strong, inspirational visionary had given birth to me.  She was a successful florist and woke with the sun each week to the work she truly loved.

So, on my holiday back home, it was tough to feel the extreme weight of my career as an educator amid all the delicate, unfurling plants in morning light. “It’s Nature in her most tender form,” Mum always said as she observed the buds and blooms.  I wanted to see my life’s work with wonder the way she did.


From Pedantic to Passionate

I didn’t decide to inherit her flower shop if that’s what you’re thinking.  But I did realise that after a decade of teaching English composition and literature, I was physically, emotionally, and creatively exhausted.  My brain ached from grading endless, struggling papers when what I longed for most was to write myself.

And that’s what it boiled down to really: I was teaching the thing I was actually meant to be doing.  I found I couldn’t manage both.  For this reason, I resigned.  I remember feeling very weak, like I was “giving up” in what I still believe to be one of the―if not the―most important professions.

But I see now that leaving the classroom took great courage.  Despite my unhappiness, there was an odd sort of comfort in strict routine and understanding exactly how to fill my time on the job, at home, on weekends, in seemingly every waking moment, in my sleep.  You get the idea.

Finally, though, after semesters of failing in the areas of balance, inward focus, and passion, I was free.  Like my mother’s freshly cut flowers, I regained purpose.  I could breathe again.


What’s Lost, What’s Gained

When we “spring forward” for Daylight Savings, we lose an hour.  But that’s where my metaphor breaks down a bit.  If I lost an hour, I was never aware of it.  I’m still not.

Following a great deal of perseverance, my new freelance business has taken off.  I feel alive in the moment, and I constantly face exciting, challenging tasks.  I meet with assignments I’m happy to complete.  I’m in my element for the first time in my adult life.

In freelance, I constantly have to make “the pitch.”  I’m responsible for convincing companies they need me in particular, that my skill set will provide the magic they seek.  It was strange at first, boasting about why you’re the best―especially when you’re used to standing in the wings while your students perform, receive awards, and shine.

But here I am.  A year ago, I was lost, suffocating under paperwork and grading with a mind prone to daydreaming, with a heart wishing my own voice and talent might flourish.  Now, like Mum, I’m waking with the sun each week to the work I truly love.


The New You

All this to say, it’s possible to encounter yourself anew, to shake hands with a stranger who happens to be the authentic you and choose to walk onward as that inspired, empowered woman.

You can leave the odd comforts of your life behind; often, they’re only the illusion of contentment anyway.  Indeed, you can discover what it means to be free, what it means to thrive.

Ready to begin living and working more intentionally, with a renewed sense of purpose and vision?  We have a free success guide especially for you, “8 ways to test if you business idea is worth pursuing.” Download it here.




Natalie Hughes founded Miss Independent in 2017, to educate and mentor women and help them make their best career and business decisions. Natalie is an experienced business woman and non-executive company director focused on organisational design, strategy, growth and innovation. Her goal is to help you think differently, work differently and feel in control of your own destiny.

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