Updated: Oct 6, 2019
My name is Lucienne Lavinia and I am a mum, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. I am also a business owner doing something that I LOVE, but it wasn't always that way.
I have always loved people, I am the type of person who will stand and chat with anyone, regardless of where we are or what we are up to. I simply thrive off being around people. It gives me energy and makes me feel alive. Ten and a half years ago when I grew jaded with my job for a big faceless, corporate company. Working only as a cog to make more money for the powers that be, I found myself with the opportunity to try and change direction. I decided to apply for a vacancy with an amazing charity. A role teaching business and engaging with people daily. I jumped at the application! The only problem was I had zero experience, but I could worry about that later.
Cue taking myself off to the seaside where I holed myself up for a week, researching and writing and putting together the BEST application that I possibly could. I was determined to wow the management. I was desperate for an interview. I even set up meetings with bank managers and business experts so that I was fully prepared for anything and everything that could be thrown at me. The hard work paid off and I found myself at the face to face interview stage.
Enthusiasm, passion and a willingness to put myself into an uncomfortable position (group presentations on a topic I didn't then fully understand left me quivering - I even had to turn down a brew as I was shaking so much I would have spilt it!) led me to landing the role. Leading me to the happiest and best job that I ever had - until now.
I proudly became a Programme Executive - Enterprise (the job title didn't mean much to me either!) Basically I was a business guide in the making and I loved every minute. Suddenly I found myself doing a job where the end goal was to help people - not help a company make cold hard cash. Brilliant! I worked with clients to create the business of their dreams, or find other suitable paths if needed. My work had me delivering business workshops. 1-2-1 coaching to help create robust business plans. Planning financials, securing funding. Basically doing all I could to enable my clients to get up and running. All the hard work that was put in on a purely logical and business level, was matched two fold by the work that my clients also had to put into themselves. Making sure they were mentally prepared for taking control and running their own business successfully.
Year after year rolled by, my three babies were welcomed in quick succession. Bringing much joy, stress and anxiety! As a military wife I often found myself alone, and feeling isolated. Between work, three small children, a feral dog and a sometimes absent husband, I would tread water and get through each day. Often overwhelmed and wondering how I could make my life work FOR ME. I loved my job so much, but as my family grew, what was once a perfect fit, was no longer. I felt such guilt about not being around enough for my children, frustration that every penny that I earned was spent on childcare that took me away from them. Underlying fear that I wasn’t living the life that I wanted for myself or my family. Coupled with a dent in confidence and some residual postnatal anxiety, I felt that I wasn't the woman I wanted to be.
I was worried that I was spending so much energy trying to juggle all these balls, and fit into society with its crazy demands (instead of making them fit around me), would make me resentful and bitter. Picture an old lady moaning about the life she could have had. If only there had been more choice, or the planets had aligned a certain way
Something had to give.
It did give and I gave it one mighty kick to make sure that it did!
My husband put in for work overseas, got the job, I gave in my notice at work - and we haven't looked back!
The past 12 months has been a time of serious change. Taking two small children and one little baby and dumping them down in the south of Italy has been the scariest, yet most exhilarating thing that we have done. Italy is to die for. We love being here. I am so grateful that we took the leap. Of course it has been hard at times. There has been many tears shed and many lessons learned. But I (we) am beyond grateful that the decision was made to change path.
Leaving behind the job I loved and the cosy, warm and safe life that I had lived. One filled with wonderful friends and the most supportive family turned out to be the best thing I (we) ever did. It gave us all a new perspective of what we can take from life.
However, the point I am trying to make is that all of these decisions began small. Deciding to just apply for the job, deciding to listen to my internal voice telling me that I wasn't quite on the right path, deciding that I wanted not more, but something different. Then acting on the decision. The magic happens when you view a situation from a different angle, you re-frame your viewpoint and examine with new eyes.
It would have been very easy for me to look at all the wonderful parts to my life, and to tell myself that I had it good (which I did) . I could have passed off the inner questioning as something we all have, that life is supposed to be this way and we're all in it together. I would have lived a satisfied life, but it wouldn't have been the one I wanted, or the example I wanted to set for my children.
This isn't a post lording the big, brave, 'all in' choices that rattle your core and make you spin, it's a post exploring the small changes in mindset, the domino effect.
All those years ago I made small decisions to be my version of brave. I examined the bigger picture, looked at the potential consequences of my (our actions) and made logical choices based on the information gained. I, and then we, didn't 'risk it all for a life of adventure' or 'throw caution to the wind and ride into the sunset, cashing in all that we have to chase our destiny'. Let's be real, life isn't the movies and I am way too pragmatic to risk everything we have. The children's security and happiness are much more important than acting on impulse. Instead a decision was made to actively listen to what we really wanted. If something needed to change, we looked for implementable way to enable us to alter our path. Options that were obtainable, 'safe' and would lead us in the direction we wanted to go. We accepted that we may suffer through periods of transition, then we committed to the choice made.
Small actions add up. In five years from now what could your life look like by making the decision right now to explore the possibilities of actively living your life with intention?
A life well lived is a life built on your own terms. Be your own version of brave #buildyourownfuture