Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Throughout my life I have experienced many times over, where I have felt something so clear and so absolutely throughout my whole body that there was nothing that would make me question it. I just knew precisely what I was feeling with every cell of my being. I have never looked back or questioned the decisions that I made at those times - instead there has been a clear feeling of 'thank God I listened to what I felt'.
Aged 15 and on my first work experience, I knew from the moment I walked in the door of a hair and beauty salon in Wimbledon that this was it for me: this was the field of work I was going to focus my entire career on, and so ‘lo and behold’, I did. By the time I was 21 years old I had my own business and I have continued to run my own business all this time, now aged 39.
I had a strong knowing from my early years of hairdressing and that I would run my own business. At the age of 17 I was asked by a regular client ‘Do you think you would like to have your own salon one day?’. My immediate reply with absolutely no hesitation was ‘Yes, the question is when’. In shock, they replied ‘Wow, you really know this will happen’ and my reply was ‘I have no doubt whatsoever’. Call it a knowing, and looking back it was: all I knew at the time was that it would happen and all I had to do was to remain very focused, present and respond to what was needed and let it all unfold. This has become a teaching that I am now learning to live in all areas of my life. After many years of experience now in dealing with employees and life in general I can clearly see that this is not the norm. It is not so usual to have a 17-year-old girl be so clear and so self-assured about her career and therefore how her life will unfold. On reflection it is quite incredible to see that I was so clear and strong in my knowing and lived it out with no reservation.
While the ‘bigger picture’ knowing was something that I felt very clearly, it took me a while to learn to trust what I was feeling all of the time, and to not override it. It is quite something to know where you are at all of the time. When you feel things so immediately, it can be easy to question, as we are not always on point with discerning the difference between feeling something and/or judging or reacting to something. But the more I study this the more I see that there really is a clear difference: the feeling that comes so immediately comes with a knowing - a clear yes or no, so to speak, to what is presented in front of you, which is in contrast to the reaction or judgement which has an emotion attached to it, or a hardness or harshness either towards myself or to another. Although I cannot say that I have mastered this to date, what I can say, is that without question I have a clearer knowing in me when I am in one space or the other.
The main reason why it has become so very important to really trust what I feel in as many moments as possible, is because when I do not, I end up in so much complication and unnecessary turmoil which really can have a long term detrimental impact on my life, relationships, work or many other situations.
For example, there have been many occasions where I was interviewing for new staff members and just seeing the person in the waiting area, I could feel they would not be the right candidate for my salon. Yet, when you are in need of staff and really struggling to find someone, or you have sympathy for people, if you do not hold steady with your values you end up coming up with stories in your head to make that person into someone you can work on or develop in some way. You start lying to yourself and telling yourself things that are not true, just to fill the space and fix the issue at hand. But there really is no fixing when you have overridden a simple knowing. Without question, every time I did this - and it was quite a few because I really got desperate at times for help (or I thought I was desperate) - I would end up with either someone who was not actually capable of doing the job properly so I ended up losing clients because the client was just so unhappy that they would not come back, or they caused so many issues in the team that I ended up with other complications along the way.
It surprised me that there are many people who do not want to work in this world and who want to receive a wage but not actually work for the money they receive. I found this very hard to be around because I love working, regardless of whether I am getting paid for it or not. I always have and from a very young age I cleaned my home and kept it tidy. As soon as I turned 15 and got my first hairdressing job I would give money to my Mum every month to support her with the bills. I have also been very committed to supporting others and most importantly paying my way. Seeing and supporting others around me to feel inspired to increase their willingness to contribute and participate in this way has been a very beautiful thing.
As I have grown older, I have seen how some qualities are innate in us: when you meet another and you see them sharing and living those same qualities, you feel a real connection with them. For example, I am a real lover of team work and working together and I love finding others who are also like this: I can always spot hard workers and can really relate and work very well with them. I find myself come even more alive with these like minders and we inspire one another to take things to the next level.
And so, amongst so many learnings along the way, the most valuable one for me has been to really learn to trust what I feel. I have learned and felt that by doing so you get to know yourself in ways you otherwise would be missing out on, and this supports you to build upon something that in truth cannot be ignored and the most precious relationship of all: your relationship with you.