Can work make us happy? Happiness expert Samantha Clarke explains how…
Are you excited about your job? Do you feel like you are doing what you were put on earth to do? Ever get the feeling that you should be doing something else, but you don’t know what?
Meet Samantha Clarke – she is a happiness consultant, TedX speaker, a lecturer at The School of Life & Simon Sinek’s Inspire U platform and founder of Love It Leave It (LILI). Her book Love it Or Leave It: How to be Happy at Work helps us explore our true potential so we can either start loving our work as it is – or quit and create new possibilities. (Yup, this is way more than just putting plants on your desk).
Many of us have been forced to rethink work this year, to prioritise our wellbeing and nurture relationships. Samantha’s book could not come at a better time, which is why we are so happy to have her host the 2020 Good Spa Guide Awards.
Samantha talks to us about her own journey to happiness, how she inspired others and how she has found purpose in a pandemic.
As a happiness consultant, how have you found your happy in 2020?
This year I was looking to move to LA, I was planning to launch a book and expand my business. Then COVID hit and we all had to let go of the need for things to look a certain way. Letting go of events and parties enabled me to have richer and deeper conversations online. I am a natural introvert and my work is very heady and intellectual, so I invited the time to chill and learn new body-based modalities – such as breathwork, EFT and quantum healing – which I hope to weave into my work next year.
Work wellbeing is pivotal to many of us functioning during this marathon of COVID; there are so many uncontrollables in our lives. When we are faced with challenges, we have to ask ourselves am I taking action that’s moving me away from what I want or towards it? We are quick to run away from friction and discomfort rather than realise there are always ups and downs – it’s how we steady the boat on the journey, what tools we need and the way we start and end our day.
Tell us more about how you ended up helping people find happiness at work?
In my 20s I had a great job in advertising, but I felt I wanted to work with people on a deeper level. So, I set off on a quest. I set up a shoe design company and enjoyed helping designers achieve their full creative potential. But then in 2008 the financial crisis hit – not a good time to launch a business. I was invited to help someone who had just been made redundant and we had brilliant conversations that enabled me to step out of myself. I started reading more about coaching and realised I could transform people’s lives.
One of your key ideas is The Purpose Umbrella. Can you explain what that is?
We are so much more than our job titles and we are living in a world now where we are being called to re-invent ourselves. I came up with The Purpose Umbrella as a way to expand our potential. It can be a collection of key words or a statement that brings us to life, allows us to be many things instead of just one and helps us step into deeper meaning. It’s how I moved from ‘account director’ into this hybrid of personal branding, coaching and style therapy.
What personal challenges have you faced on your own journey?
When I was five years old, I was diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia, so I was in and out of hospital as a child and felt quite isolated. Now it’s invisible in some sense but when it strikes it’s 0-60mph. In the past I wouldn’t acknowledge I needed time off to heal; now I see it differently. My illness gives me the opportunity to pause and reflect, to step out of my head and into my body. It’s also given me a level of resilience. I’ve handled a lot of pain and this made me realise there are some things that are not worth stressing over. I have this certain level of tenacity that I wouldn’t have without it. My friend calls it my superhero power, the fact I can push through pain and it leaves me strong and ready to help and serve others.
Finally, what does spa and wellness mean to you?
A spa is where I reconnect to my body, to feel what’s working and what isn’t right, to allow somebody to help you work through the knots and the kinks. A spa day has always allowed me to float away with my thoughts and is a great source of inspiration. When I go with a friend or with my mum, it’s opened up the capacity for us to have richer conversations because we don’t have to think about the next thing: we can just go with the flow. All these things – creative flow, connecting with our bodies, connecting with others through conversation are vital to wellbeing and happiness.