I was sure I’d do more than this
That was my recurring thought in my 30s as I looked at the way my life was unfolding.
I felt stuck, stifled and oh-so-aware of the passing of time, but I was unsure how to bring about the changes I needed to make to my life. Does that sound familiar?
And I was confused too, because I had done everything “right”. I studied hard, got my degree and a “proper” job, ditching any notions I’d previously had about being a writer or owning my own business. That was something that “other people” did, there’s no way I would be able to do it…
I stuck to the sensible plan, assumed that one day it would all feel right and that everything would fall into place.
But it never really did.
After I had my twin boys, I knew my life wasn’t set up in a way that allowed me to do what mattered to me most - look after my family, build something worthwhile for my children and do something I enjoyed at the same time.
It’s not that becoming a mum changed my priorities, it just gave me a reason to live them.
The penny finally dropped with me that if I wanted to change something, I could learn how change it. I took writing courses and workshops to set me on the path to writing fiction, meanwhile I turned to a blank notebook to write about my real life too. Call it what you will – a notebook, a journal, a diary – it was the place I worked out what I wanted to do and then planned a way to take action. Writing in this way helped me gain clarity and inspiration, and then, more importantly, take positive actions based on what mattered to me most.
It was this work that enabled me to change the path I was on, focus on writing and start my own business.
I developed an ongoing practice of journaling for self-development and now my journal is my lifelong, life-enhancing companion for clarity, creativity, support and success.
As a qualified HR specialist with nearly 20 years’ experience, I know and I’ve seen the benefits when people learn, grow and change, not only for themselves. When we achieve our potential, we can give so much more to our family, our work, our relationships and the wider world.
If you have the feeling that turning the spotlight on yourself for a while is selfish or self-indulgent, please let go of it now. It really is a win-win.
In fact, I’d even go further than that.
I believe that trying to achieve our personal vision of success and be happy is the best way we can demonstrate gratitude for the life we’ve been given.
I’m not going to pretend for a second that it’s easy (I’ve shed lots of tears), nor that I’m exactly where I want to be yet or have it all figured out (nope), but I’ve come a long way. Making these positive changes in my life is definitely up there as one of the better decisions I’ve made and I’ve finally figured out that this is what I’m meant to be doing. Hooray for that!
When I left my day job in 2016, I was ready to take control of my career and build my business round my family but, as so often happens, life had other plans.
Around six months into my business, I lost my wonderful dad. He died one night unexpectedly and his passing left a massive hole in our lives. I thought I was doing OK. My practical side kicked into gear. My dad had always been the capable one and I was determined to pick up the mantle. “I’ll do it, that’s no problem,” became my overused phrase. It took me a year to hit a metaphorical wall. All the time I thought I was doing well but, really, I wasn’t. I was trying to make things better for my mum and my children, trying to work on my business, trying to get back to "normal,” but all the time I felt that I operating from under a pile of bricks. It took me too long, but I finally went to my doctor and got some help by way of anxiety medication. It’s given me the breathing room to start to mainstream healthier practices in my life again, and for me that included a return to writing and journaling.
It’s easy to become jaded and get lost in the day-to-day minutiae, whether it’s work or life in general, but I reckon the only way to extract something positive from a sad life event is not to lose the clarity about what’s important that accompanies it.
To me what’s important is the people around me and how I can positively impact on their lives.
I decided that the best way to show my gratitude for the life I’ve been given is to learn, grow, develop and try to be the best I can be, so that I have the capacity to give more to those around me and, if possible, the wider world.
I’ve always believed “people are the most important thing” (you don’t – or shouldn’t - spend 20 years in HR and not believe that) and I wanted to combine my knowledge, skills, loves and experience to see what I could create that would be useful to the people with whom my story resonates.
And here we are!
Am I going to tell you that journaling solves everything for me? No, of course not. For example, did journaling help me when Dad died? Honestly, no, not immediately. I couldn’t face what was happening nor how I felt about it, so the last thing I wanted to do was write it down. It was about six months before I mentioned Dad in my journal other than obliquely, but this is common. It’s well documented that journaling best helps us process difficult feelings and events once we have some distance from them.
But, here’s the thing. It’s not all about easing the difficult times. Since I started focusing on writing, both fiction and journaling, I’ve experienced so many positive changes that I now take every opportunity to find out more about how these activities can be used to enhance our daily lives.
I started Elle Turner Creative because I’m on a mission to help us create a life round what matters to us most, achieve our own personal vision of success and fulfillment and have a positive impact on our world, all while bringing more fun and creativity into our lives.
I see this as a lifelong practice that should be FUN in its progress. It’s about working to continually achieve a vision of personal success that will likely keep evolving. That we can keep changing, growing and developing is one of the joys in life. And isn’t it even better to know that by doing so, we can spread that joy around? That's what I'm constantly aiming for and it's writing that helps me progress. If this sounds like something you’re aiming for too, then I’m glad we’ve found each other.
I understand that striving for personal growth can be a challenging process which is why much of my Success Journaling practice focuses on internal work - our mindsets, what we want that’s personal to us, where we want to place and preserve our energy and how we can actively support ourselves from the inside out.
If that sounds good to you, get your FREE copy of How to stop feeling guilty for wanting something more from life. This guide and the journaling exercises inside are designed to help you make an important mindset shift that will help you as you embark on your personal development .