What I need in my day to be the best version of myself

I have been travelling now for the last 4+ months and it has surprised me in this time the things I have missed and craved from my previous life routine. I think travelling gives you so much opportunity to learn more about yourself and this is one of those moments of reflection that has taught me about what I need in my own life. So here are some of the key things I need in each of my days to feel at my best:

PURPOSE

I think it’s really important to have a purpose for each day or week or if it’s a big goal, month. Especially when you are travelling you can feel like days go by and you don’t really achieve anything or your days lack purpose and this can be a little disheartening at times. I applied this same practice to every day life and it was really beneficial to my mental health and I think the same applies to travelling. When I was at work I would set a purpose for the day to achieve certain goals, whether big or small, and that can really boost your mood and sense of worth and success. This doesn’t have to be work related though. For me on this trip it can be as simple as “today I am going to visit a new place, go on a small adventure, write a blog post for my website, do a yoga class” or something even less tangible than that, “no negative self talk all day, take a day without my phone, smile at every person I pass, start a conversation with a stranger”. Starting your day with purpose is so positive and often it all links back into your big picture WHY. Or if I am focusing on some self development, I can set a purpose for the day that is going to directly help that goal.

STRUCTURE

This is a big one for me. I realise I enjoy having a bit of structure to my day, and I don’t mean having every second and minute planned out. Having literally zero plans and no structure doesn’t make me happy in the long run and can make my day feel a bit empty and I think this can be applied to work life and travel life. I love starting the day with exercise as it sets me up in a good mental space and I have already achieved something before my day has truly begun. With work, I like having a bit of a plan in place. A few hours of business development, then an hour of social media work, go for a long walk/run, see friends. I realised with travelling this is important to. Obviously sometimes it comes down to having limited time in one spot and wanting to make the most of it but also it’s just nice knowing you have things to look forward to that day. I have been lucky that I haven’t had to rush anything as I have had time on my hands given the length of this trip but in the next few weeks here on the Philippines there is a lot to see, so having a bit of a plan in place each day as to where I want to go, booking certain accomodation or tours ahead of schedule just so prices don’t soar, or things get booked up, is really helpful. It also feeds into purpose really nicely as well. It gives my day meaning and a great feeling at the end of it of having accomplished something. I think also it can be really easy for whole days to slip by and you haven’t done much and for me, that isn’t great for my mental health.

MOVEMENT

I have to move each day. It’s something I have worked out about myself having noticed my moods and feelings on the days that I am really sedentary and it’s why I am really passionate about helping companies incorporate movement into their employees daily lives as it definitely improves productivity. For me, starting my day with movement is key. Then by 8am you have already accomplished something positive and it puts you into a great mood, it gets the blood pumping round the body, endorphins kicking and metabolism moving and then you feel much more ready to tackle the tasks ahead of you. I also think in a working day, breaking up your time in the office with movement is extremely important. I have talked endlessly about how many of us sit at our desks and work through lunch or just sit for our lunch break and don’t move. If you incorporate even just half an hour of movement into your lunch time, you will notice a difference, I PROMISE. It makes coming back to work so much easier as you are invigorated, refreshed and your mind has had the chance to switch off from whatever it is you were doing and rest before you jump back into it. It can give you a new perspective and ability to tackle any difficult tasks you may have had and it makes the afternoon zoom by. I was really into either a long walk, a run, or a gym session in my lunch break and I recommend you do the same. Another clever way of incorporating movement into a working day is walking meetings. They are great and actually I find them more effective as you’re more at ease and open to have honest and valuable conversations. Whilst travelling it can be hard to find a gym but there are so many other ways to do it. Surfing, walks, running, hikes, expeditions, kayaking, paddle boarding, cycle tours, the list is endless and you are killing a million birds with one stone. Movement is a great way to explore more when you travel but also to get to know where you live better too. Why not google a new coffee shop or cafe and see if it’s walking distance from your office and go check it out! Ditch the electric scooters and walk 🙂

NOURISHMENT

Anyone that knows me knows how much I love food. I have my parents to thank for that and being vegan is no different. I LOVE food. But most importantly I love nourishing food. I have been so lucky on this trip to go to destinations that really allow you to eat healthy and nutritious food, whilst still being on a budget. Eating abroad can be daunting for some but it’s so easy to be healthy if you put a little time into researching places to go and/or cooking for yourself. I learnt early on even picking hotels/hostels that have a fridge helps enormously as you can then make things like overnight oats for breakfast, or buy some fruit to have as snacks, or get some yoghurt and store it. But also, eating out is great and once you know where to go It’s a piece of cake. I am vegan so people assume it’s tougher and sometimes it definitely takes a little more thought but I have found it really easy as more and more people around the world are aware of what it means and are happy to cater for it. Again, eating nutritiously improves my moods, my energy levels for the day and is how I do a lot of my socialising.

REFLECTION

Some time to reflect on how I’m feeling, what I need moving forward to make the day improve if things aren’t going my way and also just to take some time to feel gratitude and think about the positives is extremely beneficial. I think we can get a little caught up in the small things and forget all the good when we are stressed out or things are seemingly not going the way we might want them to. Too often we don’t actually give ourselves the time to realise all of that positive stuff. Adding in some time into each day to reflect has been incredibly valuable to me and I recommend you to do the same. It can be a five minute ‘meditation’ or just writing down 3 things you’re grateful for, or removing yourself from your current environment and taking a walk to think things through, or even talking to a friend and both reflecting on the good in your lives. I think you can also use that time to reflect on what you can do differently, or if there are things you want to improve, how can you actually do something about it to change your situation. Often we can fall into the trap of feeling sorry for ourselves and our situation but not actually look to solve the issue. If you keep doing things the same how can you expect a different result?

RELAXATION

This is a big one for me and something I didn’t do enough of when I was working full time. Taking some designated time to relax. Relaxation can mean something different for different people so it doesn’t necessarily mean lying or sitting down doing nothing. It can be reading a book or watching a movie but it could be a fun activity that personally relaxes you like surfing or climbing. For me cooking is a hugely relaxing activity. I get completely absorbed into what I am doing and so it doesn’t allow myself to get caught up in other thoughts. It helps clear my mind and switch off which is great. Also for me, getting outside and fully immersed in nature is huge. Going for a beach walk or swim, or just sitting and watching the waves soothes me. When travelling there is a lot of relaxation time in comparison to usual daily life so it’s taught me how invaluable that can be. I do recommend trying to make most of your relaxation time away from a screen though. It can only be a positive thing for your mental and physical health as we tend to be a little too attached to these devices of ours.

I hope some of these things resonate with you or maybe make you rethink how to shape your own day to get the most out of it and feel mentally and physically stronger. I know for me, having worked out what I need has made such a difference to how I feel when I come to the end of my day each evening.

Ciao

x

Easy changes you can make to reduce your environmental impact:

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed on this topic and then do nothing, but I truly believe small changes lead to big changes and any improvement is a positive one. I put together a list of some key things we can do as individuals to help the larger collective. Hopefully it can inspire you to become a little more aware of your environmental footprint:

  • Eat sustainability

WWF said it well “ Farming animals for meat and dairy requires space and huge inputs of water and feed. Today, one of the biggest causes of forest loss is the expansion of agricultural land for animal feed production, such as soy. And producing meat creates vastly more carbon dioxide than plants such as vegetables, grains and legumes. 

Moving away from a meat-dominated diet towards a more plant-based diet can lower your impact on the environment. Vegetarian and vegan foods are massively on the rise and becoming far more common in restaurants, cafes and supermarkets, so you’ll rarely struggle. Not only that, but cutting down on meat and dairy products can reduce your weekly food bills.” Read their article on ways to eat more sustainably for more ideas.

  • Buy a keep cup

This is an easy one folks – if you have a caffeine/tea habit, just think of the difference you can make by buying a reusable cup (Joco , Sol). Plenty of cafes even sell them themselves now, so it’s super easy, but here are a few options if you can’t find any. Think of how many plastic lids, and paper cups you save in the process. Yes a lot of them are recyclable but the point is trying to reduce our consumption, with recycling as the next best option. Think of the factory’s used to create those paper cups and lids and the transport needed to get it to the cafes – it’s all having an impact on our environment. Plus there are plenty of cafes that will discount your drink if you bring your own keep cup, like these.

  • Get reusable beeswax wrap instead of glad wrap, cling film or tin foil

This is another simple and effective swap out from your shop that will not only save you money but save the planet. Think of the plastic consumption from all that glad wrap and how much you tend to over use it as well in the process. A simple solution is beeswax wrap which is reusable, easy to wipe down and does the job amazingly well. Here are a few places you can find them: Honeywrap, Lilybee Wrap, Kiwi Wraps, and Bee Green Wraps.

  • If you really need a straw, buy a reusable one and take it with you

Let’s be honest, straws are a bit of a weird one. When did we start getting so fussy that we can’t just sip out of the glass? But ok, I get sometimes you don’t want your lipstick to smudge, or you don’t trust the cleanliness of the glass. So if you are concerned enough to need a straw, just get your own and reuse it. Just picture those turtles with straws stuck up their noses and other horrifying images that should make you think twice about your luxury item. Make a change! Buy them at Shut The Front Door and Moana Road and Caliwoods.

  • Buy local produce and avoid online and overseas shipping and transport

This is something I never even thought about for ages, it just didn’t cross my mind. Of course there are lots of reasons why it’s great to buy local, but a big one is the environmental impact of not. Think airplanes to ship stuff over, then stuff getting taken to a depot, then a distribution centre, then finally out to the shops/markets. Let’s nip it in the bud and go down to our local farmers markets for fresh produce, or try buy kiwi made brands rather than imported, local fish rather than shipped in, the list goes on and I’m sure you get my drift. Of course the added bonus is that we LOVE to support our local kiwi company’s so it is a win win situation. And we make the best stuff obvvvvvviously.

  • Recycle effectively

We all know we can be a bit rushed for time and sometimes throw stuff into the bin without being entirely sure we are doing it correctly, or what’s what. Furthermore we don’t sometimes realise with recycling things need to be rinsed out to be effective. I know it’s a great step separating your rubbish for recycling, but all of that is in vain if it can’t actually be recycled due to a small mistake. Here is a guide from Aukland Council to how to separate your rubbish for recycling and remember some Countdown’s in Auckland offer to recycle your soft plastics so you can take it to the next level and separate those. It is super satisfying when you realise your landfill rubbish is minimal, once you combine recycling, soft plastic recycling and point number 6 up next!

  • Compost

Come onnnnnn you can do it 🙂 I know it might seem daunting but it is such an easy process to include in your routine that has a huge impact, so why not give it a go. You can go into a Bunnings and/or Mitre 10 and pick up a composting bin, or there’s ones like Bokashi that also make your life easier. I have a small and cute composting bin in my kitchen, then a larger composting bin in the garden, or just out the back if you don’t have a garden. It’s great and over time you will be able to produce fertiliser either for you or someone you knows garden and they will love you for it. You can even go one step further and create a worm farm if you’re super keen. These are great initiatives you and your family can get set up over a weekend and make it a team effort.

  • Buy clothes you REALLY need, but spend more for higher quality, so longer lasting

Throwaway fashion is deadly. It’s impact on the planet is huge from production and the whole supply chain. If it’s that cheap you should be asking yourself some serious moral questions about what it has taken to achieve that. Nothing comes for free my friends and anyway – who wants to buy something that gets holes in it within weeks or months and has to be thrown away. Invest in less but make it count. Lululemon is expensive but the quality is incredible, plus they have some serious replacement guarantees. Same with Patagonia. But there are also loads of great sustainable fashion brands out there of a high quality that you will love. Do a bit of research – it could even be fun 🙂

  • Minimise buying into trends

I know for some people this is tricky because fashion is a passion of theirs, but I would ask you to at least have a think about this one and not rule it out. Fashion trends are often fleeting and it’s those things you wear once, never again, and then throw out a year later. Bright colours and crazy patterns that seemed cool at the time, often don’t seem so cool later on and are hard to work with the rest of your wardrobe. I’m not saying just wear black, but if you invest in a base wardrobe of a simple palette like black, white, grey, green, brown etc. you can re-wear those pieces for ever and it never goes out of style; it’s easy to create loads of different outfits AND those tend to be the pieces you come back to as a fail safe, time and time again. Think about the little black dress, a blue denim and white t shirt combo, a crisp white shirt with pretty much anything, a (faux) black leather jacket, or a classic blazer.

  • Holiday a bit closer to home or at least minimise unnecessary flights

We live in a pretty incredible country that allows us diverse landscapes, a ridiculous number of different activities and lots of amazing weather. We all know deep down how bad flying is for the enibrnment, I mean just look at the size of those engines, and think about where you are putting them and for how long at a time. I know I have been guilty of taking long flights to travel, and of course you’re going to do that, and you should but when we are talking about short holidays, why not be a little more aware and make some choices that at least reduce the impact. Trains around Europe instead of short haul flights. Ferry’s instead of small planes when you can, driving instead of flying – going to the beautiful Cook Islands instead of all the way over to the Maldives. And if you are going to fly, let’s start clicking that offsetting carbon button when we do. Let’s take responsibility for our actions, instead of the classic flexible morality we all are guilty of when it suits. Here is a link to a website where you can calculate your own carbon footprint and offset as you wish.

  • AVOID bottled water

In New Zealand that is. I mean guys, it’s basically the biggest marketing ploy ever that’s gone mad. There is nothing wrong with our tap water, and if you do feel that strongly about it, invest in a water filter at your home. But do not buy water in those plastic bottles, or glass for that matter. It’s estimated that it takes 3 litres of water to produce a 1 litre bottle of water. There are many other environmental impacts from the production of water that all bring us back to the same conclusion – the cheapest and most environmentally responsible water to drink, is the stuff that comes out of our taps. Here is a link to some handy information on the cost of bottled water on the environment.

This article isn’t here to make you feel guilty or shameful if you fall foul of any of the above habits. I am sure we have all at some point in our lives done most if not all of them. It’s about moving forward, and educating ourselves and once we have that information at our finger tips, making a conscious effort to improve. I’m not saying you will go out at change each of these things in your life straight away, and maybe you won’t do any of them. But if you could aim for slowly bringing about 1 each month, imagine the difference you are making. Plus, you might inspire others with or without evening realising it, to also make a change.

#bethechange

BE HERE NOW – 7 TIPS TO KEEP YOU PRESENT

A few years ago I got a tattoo saying ‘be here now’ to act as a reminder for myself as I often fall into the trap of constantly looking ahead rather than being totally present where I am and appreciating what I have right now. I’ve noticed on my travels falling into a similar trap now and again. Having had a shoulder injury preventing me from surfing as I had planned, I started fantasising about the future state when I was healed where I could do everything again that I wanted to do and this led me to getting more and more excited about going home and being somewhere else to where I am right now. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s pretty normal to want your friends and support system around you when you are going through a tough time but I realise I was constantly living in that future state in my mind and suddenly my present didn’t seem so great and then I started feeling depressed.

What I don’t want to do is look back at this time and feel like I wasted the opportunity I had in front of me to make the most of travelling. So how can I stay more present and stop getting lured into my imagination of a future life that doesn’t even exist yet and might not be anything like my creative mind has constructed it to be? Some great tips have really helped me out and I want to share some of them with you:

  • Single task things, and not just your work

When you’re having a chat on the phone, don’t get distracted by your internet browser. Or when you are talking to someone stop what you are doing, focus on them and concentrate your whole attention. I have noticed so often I am doing different things at the same time and this results in me losing focus on one and not doing it to the best of my ability. Try starting the day like this and go from there, just doing one thing at a time!

  • Slow it down

Have you ever noticed that when you’re agitated and are telling yourself to be quick because you’re rushed that you often end up taking longer to complete the task anyway? I have. Instead, if you approach tasks calmly in a relaxed manner you will see focus, decrease your stress and even find more enjoyment in it!

  • Concentrate on your senses

A friend of mine passed on a nugget of advice which I loved. When I realised my mind was running away from me or I had gone into auto drive on a task or activity, take a moment to concentrate on your 5 senses in your current situation. This would be what can you hear, taste, see, touch, smell. By doing this, you can’t help but bring yourself back to where you are now and be more present. We too often get into a mode of familiarity with things around us so you stop paying attention to them and lose awareness. Suddenly you hear the wind, feel the temperature in the air, notice the ambient noises around you, pay attention to those you are passing. It’s all positive.

  • Gratitude journalling

You can’t help but realise what you have now if you practice gratitude. By focusing on the relationships you have right now and what you are grateful for rather than what may or may not lie in the future, you become more present. I write down three things each day I am grateful for, but even if you just take the time to think about them it is super positive. It can be relationships you have but also just about anything you are grateful for. Throughout my injury, I have still come back each day to being grateful for my body and it’s strength, which is surprising sometimes but it’s made me realise how resilient I am, how strong I was and how strong I still am and this is helping my recovery.

  • Change up your routine

Go a different way to work, reverse the order of your morning routine, eat some new and different food. This also ties in with our ability to go into autopilot and not pay attention to our current state because it’s become such a routine. Mix it up and take in your new surroundings, or pay a bit more attention to the taste of your breakfast in the morning, or the beauty around you on your way to work.

  • Have a chat with yourself and BREATH

When you notice your mind wandering too much into the future or past, take a deep breath and say something to yourself to bring you out of it. For me, it’s as simple as saying ‘stop’ in my head, taking a big deep breath and then drawing myself back into the present moment.

  • Meditation

This is also a great way to create some stillness and being present. Calm and Headspace are two great apps if you need some guided meditation, but even if its as simple as taking 5 minutes to breath in for 4 and out for 8 and regulate your breathing, you will feel the difference.

How do I decide what I should be offering as a salary?

I know a lot of my clients have found this a tricky question at various times so I wanted to share some thoughts on it. There are different factors that influence this and you need to be aware of them to begin with:

  1. What can you afford as a business?
  2. What is that prospective employee worth to your business?
  3. What does the market say they are worth?
  4. What are they are asking for/want?

Once you have decided you are going to need to hire someone, the best starting point is the job description – this allows you to map out and realise what your expectations are of this role and what the responsibilities are. It will allow you to paint a picture as to what sort of calibre of individual you are going to need, and also give a sense of how tricky the role is, how hard or easy it is to find people that are capable, and who would want to do the job. Don’t just rely on generic and used job descriptions if the reality is this role requires something slightly different. Not only does it not help you deciding the salary but also can be off-putting to a candidate when they read an ad then they get into the interview and it seems to be something entirely different. Or worse, they go through the process, get to offer stage, ask to look at the JD in the offer and it’s also entirely different.

What does the market say they are worth?

Having a look at the market in NZ is going to help. To do this you need some accurate and reliable data. Now, from my experience – not every recruitment company that offers a salary survey is giving you access to reliable data. I believe Potentia’s renumeration report is one of the best in market if you are going to use a recruitment agencies, as they actually use not only their own reliable data from the thousands of placements they have made, but also send out surveys and use data from Trademe to create a detailed vision of the market, as well as learning candidates drivers for a new job in the current climate. This was impressive given I had previously noticed companies that don’t use any real data and just ask their employees to venture what they think the salaries should be. So please tread with caution around those!

Other reliable sources of data would be Payscale, Careers, and Trademe.

Furthermore, talk to others in your industry – ask around! Speaking to others directly is a great way of hearing first hand market rates.

And lastly on this point – CHECK WHAT’S LEGAL. There are legal requirements around pay for both permanent and contract resources, so make sure you understand what those obligations are!

What is the candidate asking for/want?

Ok so this part of the conversation is largely where we come in as recruiters and make life a bit easier. Some of these are tough/awkward questions to ask and so we do it for you and can communicate what the candidate’s expectations are and why.

In essence what you want to know is:

  1. What they have been on AND/OR what they want to be earning in their next role.
  2. What benefits do they get within their package – i.e. flexibility, perks, working from home etc.
  3. Why do they want to work for you – is it purely financially driven, is it about gaining more responsibility, a more senior title, or is it your companies brand that they are excited about?

THEN…What can you actually afford?

All the previous information is great but can you afford it as a business/team? Questions you can ask yourself are – how much will this person save you in time each year, how much will they generate in revenue (ROI), where does this role sit in relation to others in the business and how might this affect the offer you can make (sensitivity to how this might affect others expectations if they were to know), where can you go from there? – what if they want a salary review after a year – could you afford it? It’s also helpful to contemplate how much money you might want to reinvest into your business that year and whether or not this will eat into it.

NOW YOU SHOULD FEEL READY TO MAKE AN OFFER

Just remember what this candidates drivers were and reflect this in the offer. If they are motivated by reward and goal setting it might be a more affordable option to offer a whole package that includes a bonus linked to performance targets as well as a straight salary. Or if they are looking for a senior role where they can truly buy into the company, offering them the ability to literally buy in (shares) as a part of the package, could be more alluring than just a higher salary. Maybe they are also interested in the attention given to employee wellbeing – more and more companies are offering attention to wellbeing for their employees. Look at our service, Hvnter Wellbeing – a service that brings physical and mental wellbeing into the office so that it’s one less thing for your employees to think about themselves. Plus Hvnter Wellbeing can bring in value workshops and talks that educate to make life a bit easier for them!

A big one I see time and time these days is flexibility – people are searching for a work environment that promotes work life balance through flexibility to work some days from home, or maybe have a 4 day week, or be part time, or getting extra holiday instead to enable study or more family time.

MOST IMPORTANTLY – make a serious and competitive offer! I have seen it happen time and time again where we have explained and advised candidates motivations and ambitions, their other interview process and offers on the table and still clients have come back with a below market offer, or something entirely different from what they want and expect, or just too late. We are still in a candidate short market, especially in the technology sector. You don’t want to go through an entire recruitment process only for it to fall over at the last hurdle. Think about how valuable your time is, and let’s work together to get it right first time!

If you’d like to discuss any of the content, or reach out for some assistance in your own recruitment process, just shoot me a message on LinkedIn.

Let’s judge a little less…

“We can never judge the lives of others because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”

Paulo Coelho

I met someone on my travels that I connected with around our journey towards self love and discovery (a journey I am still on). One of the many things I took from her was future self journalling, which I highly recommend to anyone. For a kickstart go to https://yourholisticpsychologist.com/future-self-journaling/ but in short, the basic premise is picking something you want to change about yourself and concentrating on this for a month, writing down the answers to some specific questions that will start to embed in your mind the person you want to become and why and help you become it.

So, my first one was my trait of being too judgemental. It’s a hard one for me I think because in my job I have to make judgements. I have to decide pretty quickly if someone is suitable from a skill and culture fit level for my clients. I also have to make judgements about my clients and the company’s they work in to enable me to find the candidates. I have to judge whether or not I can trust what I am being told. So, day in day out, I am making judgements and of course sometimes I get it wrong but also I have grown to largely trust my instincts and learn how to ask the right questions and do the best I can to get it right and I think I’m pretty good at it.

But, this has crept into my personal life at times and I have noticed my ability to make judgements a little too soon on new people that I meet and found it hard to change my mind after I have made that call. This can be detrimental. Through paying attention to this trait of mine and unpacking it and trying to work out where it’s come from so that I can change it, I have noticed how, naturally, we all make judgements based on our own personal set of morals and values that have been shaped by many things, largely our upbringing and environment earlier on in life and then these have become engrained over time.

I grew up in a pretty standard upper middle class English family, with parents who hadn’t gone to university and so really wanted me to get the best education possible. That meant being privately schooled all the way to 18 and then going to University to give me the best chance of finding a successful career. Its funny looking back on it as none of this stuff was presented as a choice. As a result I always assumed that this was the best way of doing things and subconsciously equated finding this elusive ‘successful’ career as finding happiness. Furthermore, the people that shared those same ideals were the people I surrounded myself by so those ideas and concepts were only reinforced by my environment. Now don’t get me wrong – I am extremely grateful for my education and start in life. It has helped me in many ways, one of which being it has enabled me to be able to communicate effectively. I know how to speak and write well, talk to people, and go after what I want because I was given the confidence to feel empowered enough to chase my dream. This has been at times invaluable, it’s just I realise now that for a while I was chasing someone else’s.

Through travel and living abroad and meeting different types of people from all walks of life, my eyes have been opened to different ways of living and different concepts of success. I started to meet people that I realised I connected with more than the sorts of people I had been surrounded by most of my life.

I have always felt a little nagging at the corners of my world and when I was beginning my career in an office in Perth, dominated largely by men that held little respect or regard for females in the workplace, the nagging grew. Did I want to be a part of this, is this bringing me happiness, do I fit in to this world? I have asked myself those questions so many times over the last 5 years.

At times I could see them struggle with me. I wasn’t a girly girl, I had an opinion, I didn’t want to wear short skirts. I wore trousers and flat shoes, and tried to be barefoot in the office as much as possible (I genuinely hate wearing shoes as my feet feel claustrophobic). I was only complimented on my appearance when I wore more makeup. I didn’t need to make myself the centre of attention whenever I walked into the room like many of them, in fact quite the opposite. They all took great joy in making me feel uncomfortable when they pinpointed my efforts as I was known to go bright red, sweat a lot and be at a loss for words. I think there was some misguided thought that maybe the more they did it, the more I would get used to it but I think in fact it made it worse. I now am riddled with anxiety if I am in a room where I think I might be spoken about and if anyone pays me a personal compliment or draws attention to me I tend to heat up, turn the colour of a beetroot, sweat profusely and just shut down to the point where speaking becomes nearly impossible.

Anyway, I digress. The point I am trying to make is that I got the job I thought I wanted. I had strived for it to make it happen and I finally did.

Was I happy? No.

I look back at it now and feel like I was somewhat living someone else’s life. I was dreading going to work each day. I found working in a corporate office didn’t suit my personality one bit, I needed fresh air and freedom to move, I needed trust from my employer rather than rules and KPI’s that felt restrictive and unhelpful. I was really self motivated by doing a good job and found it surprising that the company was constructed in a way that seemed to presume no one would do a good job unless they were incentivised by competition with each other or money. I found people loved distracting other people in an office to allow themselves to procrastinate but then they felt a need to work crazy long hours. I was doing it too – I equated doing a good job as being the first one in last one out. I earned ok money and often used this as an inner justification. But I also started to realise living your life aiming towards the ability to afford material things, led to a significant amount of emptiness when you finally purchase whatever it is you thought you couldn’t live without.

So I had this nagging feeling for a while and although things vastly improved in New Zealand it was still there. So I took myself on a little journey of trying to work out what wasn’t right and what I needed to change. This has led me on a hugely different path to what I could have anticipated. I know now I definitely don’t want to be driven by financial gain first. I want that to be a natural byproduct of valuing the work I do and doing a good job but never as my primary driver. I want to work for myself and set my own targets and benchmarks and stop constantly comparing myself to others, which doesn’t help your self esteem one bit. I want to give back in some way to the planet and try to make a difference rather than talking about making a difference. I love health and fitness and want to inspire others to try it and enjoy it rather than see it as a chore.

And, the big one right now, I want to stop judging others for having a different dream to mine. And I really hope that others can do the same. This is my dream and idea of success and it’s ok that its not yours. It’s ok to view living in a van as absolutely awful as long as you don’t try and bring me down in the process. It’s ok that you might enjoy working in an office and get your satisfaction from that. I am not saying it isn’t a worthy life choice, as long as you’re doing it because it really does bring you joy. Don’t be afraid to live your truest life even if it doesn’t fall in to the social norms even if you might lose people in your life as a result. Unfortunately not everyone is going to understand you but you deserve people around you that support and lift you up, not bring you down.

The only person that is going to have regret at the end of your life by not doing it, is going to be you. I think one of the most attractive things in someone is being themselves. I am still working to make that a full reality, I know I have a journey ahead. But I also know it’s going to make me the happiest I have been when I do.

“The self-righteous scream judgments against others to hide the noise of skeletons dancing in their own closets.” 

John Mark Green

4 Reasons why using a recruiter is beneficial:

  • Advocacy

A lot of the benefit of using a recruiter is down to us being in direct contact with the hiring manager that you will be interviewing with. If you decide to make an application online then often you only have your resume to influence HR or a hiring manager considering you. When you use a recruiter, we have built a relationship where we also often act as a trusted advisor to our clients and when we present your resume we are highlighting to our clients our own reasons why we think you’re a great candidate and if there is hesitation at that point we can advocate on your behalf.

  • We know our clients

If you are working with an effective recruiter they have spent the time getting to know their client so understand what they are looking for, what is important to them and that will be why they want to present you because they can see an alignment. Hopefully they have also spent some time getting to know you and your drivers and have seen that potential match up. A recruiter is then able to help you prepare adequately for an interview so that you know what you need to concentrate on showcasing from your experience, keeping it relevant and helping to ease your nerves. Plus, if you have questions in the lead up, or just want someone to debrief with afterwards you have someone on hand that can actually give you the answers. We always try out best to get personalised feedback from our clients after an interview to give you that insight, whether it’s positive or negative which you don’t always get when you have applied directly.

  • Access

The biggest one is just having access where you do not. Often we work with clients that don’t want to directly advertise themselves so if you weren’t working with a recruiter you would never hear about them. Moreover it allows you access to a hiring manager more directly rather than just administrators or HR teams. We work closely with those people too but often in partnership with the managers so this gives us insight not only into the bigger picture of the organisation and its values/culture but then more deeply into the specific team you would be working in and the manager you would be directly reporting into on a daily basis.

  • Saves you time

A lot of candidates are holding down a full time job, juggling family commitments and trying to have a personal life and when you add finding a job into the mix it can be stressful. Our service, which is free for candidates, takes a lot of the difficulty out of it – if you keep to just one or two recruiters (I personally think 3 would be maximum before you just get duplication) then it allows one or two people to organise all your interviews, keep processes running smoothly and know when to advise clients to move things along, if it’s slowing down and other interviews are accelerating. Streamlining that is hugely helpful to you so things don’t get confusing.

Van Life

People that know me know how much natural energy I have. When you add excitement and passion to that I go through the roof. It’s been a somewhat surprising journey so far with travelling and setting up my future business and contemplating returning to New Zealand and really noticing how I feel about each element of it and moreover, how things fall into place as they should.

I have struggled as an immigrant to find a place where I truly feel like I belong. There have been glimpses along the way of greatness but always with something alluding me and not being able to put my finger on it. Being completely truthful I have often at times questioned living in New Zealand, and often my biggest enemy was comparison. I kept comparing things to Australia, or people to those I had met on my travels, or that were back in the UK even. Comparison and the dangers that come with doing it too much could be a whole other post but in short, at the start of this year I stopped comparing. I started taking in the beauty around me, learnt through having my own personal struggles that I actually have an incredible support network around me and that I just needed to be reminded of it. So, New Zealand started to feel more and more like home. Then I decided to have this trip. This trip wasn’t about running away, it was about taking some time to really evaluate my life and where I have got to and start to make some decisions that will set me up for the future I want, whatever that may be. I think removing yourself from the craziness of life can be such an invaluable tool to gain perspective and clarity and even within the first two months I have gained incredible insight.

So the big one was creating my business Hvnter that I approached with a certain amount of trepidation as well as excitement. I have learnt a lot about myself and what motivates me. Being my own boss and setting the standards at which I want to work with and what I need to see myself as successful is extremely liberating. Recruiters and anyone in sales can perhaps empathise with the feeling that sometimes you are left feeling it’s never enough. You hit your targets, your targets go up, you have a great month, then you’re onto the next and that previous month is forgotten. The companies you work within tend to constantly incentivise you through financial gain (as if that’s the only way to get you to do the right thing), and if you are susceptible to influence, all too soon you could see yourself falling into the trap of being driven solely by financial gain and losing sight of your other values and moral judgement. I have been wary of this my entire career, and shied away from it and on the whole feel good about my decisions and way that I have worked with clients and candidates. But, the allure of financial success of course remains there somewhat. By working for myself I can set myself clear parameters on how much I need to be stable and facilitate the lifestyle I want without going above that. As a result, the quality of my service remains high and I am able to pursue projects like Hvnter Wellbeing and Hvnter Environment on top of recruitment to make an impact beyond myself and the individual.

Which leads me to my other passion and excitement. I truly believe in living minimally and simply. Consumerism shoves it down our throat that we need this and we need that and unfortunately most of us fall into that trap, I know I certainly have at different points in my life. This can also create a lifestyle that you need to maintain and can result in your making poor decisions that don’t create happiness but enable you to afford the big house you bought, or the fast car that gets caught up in all that Auckland traffic and you rev loudly now and again to let people know you exist. Part of my dream has been to live in a way where I take as little as possible from the environment, create as little waste as I can, and leave myself open to really enjoying what is around me that’s free and natural and looking after myself in the same way. This ties into my desire to help others mental and physical wellbeing through Hvnter Wellbeing and also the wider community through Hvnter Environment.

So – with tension mounting – yes – I bought a van to live in when I return. Some might be surprised, some might be appalled (I know my mother was) but some, I hope, share the same level of thrill I do. Plus this is no ordinary van – this has been created with love by an incredibly gorgeous instagram couple @mitchcox and @cleocohen. They made it their home and now I am going to be making it mine. It’s self contained, utilises solar and has everything I could need. Plus it’s diesel and a 4WD so I can wake up on the beach in New Zealand, start my day soaked in nature, and work from wherever feels good, coming into the city life whenever I need to.

I know van life isn’t for everyone, and hey, it might not even be for me forever either, but for now it’s the perfect lifestyle for living true to my values and whats important to me at this stage in my life. I want to be able to work with clients and candidates all over New Zealand and not be restricted by location. I want to work with awesome companies making a difference to our social wellbeing and our planet and companies that care about the wellbeing of their employees and practice what I preach. I know that every little helps. Even if it’s one less daily commuter on the roads, or one less household member draining tonnes of water and electricity I think that’s awesome. Plus look at her – she’s beautiful! I am really proud to call New Zealand home – the whole of her and not just one part.