"My journey to fulfilment and happiness" by Lauren
"My journey to fulfilment and happiness"
By Lauren Lane, Commercial Audit Manager
“I’m bright, positive and very socialable with high energy levels. I realised in 2018 that I needed to start making some tough decisions about a career path that I was following blindly. I signed up for yoga teacher training as it was a life goal I had always wanted to achieve. I had to face some big demons, though, about turning away from the traditional pre-set career paths and stopping worrying about whether people would judge me. I would like to show people that what really matters is being happy and that if you just get up and start doing something it will lead to good things.”
Chapter 1: The start of my journey
I live in a very green part of Bolton with my husband and adorable puppy Holly. I’m in my 30s, I’m bright, positive and very sociable with high energy levels. I’m always the one organising things and I am really energised by others. I grew up in a dance school (my mum is a dance teacher) and was very close to my mum and grandparents. I had lots of ‘aunties and uncles’ because of my mum working a full time job. At the school I was always dancing, helping out in the tuck shop, teaching the tots to dance and making up games with the other kids. I did well at school and enjoyed it mostly. My favourite subjects were Geography, Art and Maths (the latter because I was good at it and it just made sense to my very logical brain). Later on at college I added Sociology to the list of interests. I went to Manchester University to study maths, given that I got strong grades and I thought it would give me good prospects for the future.
Someone said to me during my first week of university that not many people get firsts - about 5% I think he said. After that I was determined to get a first. I don’t really like being told I can’t do something. I met my hubby at university while I was the Maths social society president and he wanted to know more about an upcoming social. We’ve been best friends since then.
I learnt at my previous employer just how important a good culture is. I have had various jobs in industry since then. In each role, though, I would be happy for a time and then I would either get bored or disillusioned with the culture or resent the lack of balance I felt I had to do the things I enjoy in life. It made me feel negative, unsupported and very unhappy.
'I spent so long focusing on a specific career path that I was supposed to follow, I love that I am now carving out something completely unique and I don’t know where I will end up.'
Chapter 2: Creating my own path
I realised in 2018 that I needed to start making some tough decisions and that my life was too much about a career path that I was following blindly. I signed up to yoga teacher training as it was a life goal I had always wanted to achieve and it gave me something outside of work that was just for me. I also spent six months working with career coaches and life coaches to try and figure out what I wanted to do. I spoke to so many people about their jobs and industries, ranging from event management to F1 mechanics, yoga teachers to coaches, project managers to purchasers - a real variety. And I realised that I didn’t want to retrain and leave accountancy but what I needed was a great company culture, a large company with stability. I needed to work with people and be able to build good working relationships. I wanted to organise and manage things, I wanted to develop people and work in a nice office near Manchester (but not every day because of the commute). I also knew I needed flexibility to allow me to teach yoga and so I could get a dog (another life goal!).
I got in touch with a friend who had moved to Grant Thornton, as I knew she worked part time. From my first conversation with her, it all just sounded too good to be true. Grant Thornton audit offered me what I wanted and the support I received through the interview process demonstrated the flexible culture. Within a month I had signed my contract and I qualified as a yoga teacher in December 2018. I started four days a week across five in Grant Thornton audit in Manchester. I feel so positive and empowered and its going really well; even better than I hoped.
The key thing to take from all this and the message I want to share is that I kind of just fell into accountancy due to my natural talents. It wasn’t until I started asking myself what I really wanted and talking to others that I learnt a lot about myself. I finally made some active career decisions based on what I wanted to do. The sense of freedom, relief and empowerment gained by doing this is nearly limitless. I had to face some big demons, though, about turning away from the traditional pre-set career paths, getting another job(!), trusting that there is something out there for me to enjoy and just generally stopping worrying about whether people would judge me. It really was and continues to be a challenging process with many ups and downs and I've had to be patient (which was hard when I had to keep doing something that I really didn’t enjoy) to allow myself to do the necessary research so my next decisions could be empowered and well informed.
At first I felt so light that I could fly and it’s just transferred into the rest of my life. It's still early days and I am still trying to figure out how my decisions work in practice but I do feel much more whole, complete and fulfilled as a person and Grant Thornton really is a big part of that, as it offered something that just wasn’t readily available in the workplace at all.
Chapter 3: All or nothing
I either do something 100% or I don’t bother. I have a lot of get up and go and I get stuff done. I also believe life is too short, so I look for the silver linings to maximise my opportunities. For example, in my last job I had to travel regularly, so I would make sure I got out a few days early to see and do things. I would search for the best restaurants and wouldn’t be put off if I was on my own. I always look for the thing that will make something enjoyable even if its small things like getting a Starbucks at the airport before the flight.
Being happy and making the most of everything motivates me. I also really like helping others. My ambition is just to enjoy life. I spent so long focusing on a specific career path that I was supposed to follow, I love that I am now carving out something completely unique and I don’t know where I will end up. It’s good and exciting because in the past 18 months I’ve realised that by being open many more exciting opportunities have come my way. I don’t want to have a work and a home life, I just want to be me all the time and to have one happy life.
I would like to leave an example of being a good person, helping others, showing people that what really matters is being happy and that if you just get up and start doing something it will lead to good things. I’d also really like to help others find more balance and mental wellness, be that through yoga or helping others travel a similar path to me. I want to share my experiences to help others really question their decisions and feel more informed and empowered.