Amy Huggins is a naturopathic nutritionist who left a 13 year corporate career to study nutrition at the Nutritional Healing Foundation. She subsequently set up Health and Happiness, a health and wellbeing company whose goal is to empower people to be the best versions of themselves through nutrition. Health and Happiness specialise in bespoke cleanses and detox programmes which promote optimal wellbeing and prevent disease. Amy is passionate about educating people on the link between nutrition and wellbeing.
HOW TO FOLLOW YOUR HEART & CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Just two months ago, I was embarking on my fourteenth year in a once beloved career which I had steadily grown to despise. Like a once cherished item of clothing which suddenly seems ill fitting and outdated, my fantastic job with a brilliant company and awesome prospects simply wasn’t me anymore.
I felt as if I was living someone else’s life. To my family and friends, it seemed that my life was sweet. By anyone’s standards, I was deemed a ‘success’. This somehow made this big fat feeling of dissatisfaction even harder to bear, and even more confusing.
Slowly but surely, I had checked all the boxes I had believed would guarantee me happiness and fulfillment- the big salary, big bonuses, expensive car, yet all I felt was an overwhelming sense of emptiness. These so called ‘achievements’ meant nothing. Every time I reached the summit of my previous goals, I simply set myself new more extravagant ones, never stopping to admire the view.
All the material trappings that had once thrilled me during my twenties left me feeling achingly empty. Even the novelty of spending my fat paycheck every month on luxuries brought little joy.
As I entered my third decade on the planet, my core values had shifted dramatically and this jarred dramatically with my lifestyle.
I had previously defined myself, and my life, by reaching pre- defined goals and milestones (goals set by society and perhaps my family) but I had come to realize they were meaningless.
Coming from a poor working class background, my ambitions had been largely defined by material wealth and status. Having been brought up wearing charity shop clothes, I felt validated when filling my wardrobe with designer items.
It comes as a huge shock when you achieve all you ever wanted, and more, and feel no more fulfilled, no happier. There is a sense of unbridled confusion and despair. If this isn’t the meaning of life, then what is?!
My life journey set me on a path of discovery. My own health challenges spurred me to take stock of my party girl lifestyle and I began to focus on my wellbeing, especially my nutrition. A love affair was born and soon I
was dreaming of setting up my own health-focused business. But fear was holding me back. It was paralyzing. It would be stupid to leave this great job, with a great company, a great salary and pension, I told myself on a daily basis. And yet if my situation was so great, why was my inner voice, not to mention every cell in my body, telling me otherwise?
Like a petulant child, I continued to ignore my inner voice, sticking my fingers in my ears. But the signs were unavoidable. In the end I was broken. I had no choice. Anxious, chronically stressed and suffering from severe insomnia, my breaking point came after a particularly stressful week which resulted in me crying hysterically in an airport in front of bemused travellers. I heard a voice say ‘ there must be more to life than this.’ The following Monday, I resigned.
This isn’t eat pray, love. I am an average person with an average life. I don’t consider myself to be particularly brave of fearless.
However, I have learnt that unless you are nourishing your soul and fulfilling your heart’s desire, you will always be left wanting, no matter what earthly riches you achieve.
So how do you align with your truth?
Follow my 5 steps to shifting your life in a ridiculously short space of time.
Do what you love.
Discover what you love and make that your job. This might sound simple enough, but most of us simply do not do that. Most of us struggle with this very concept, drifting through life from job to job. Our heads are turned by money and power or a sense of what society or our parents expect us to do. So gradually, we forget what we love and do what we ‘should’. Ultimately, we compromise on what we really want to fit the expectations of others.
Alan Watts’ “If Money Was No Object” lecture shook me to the core. It was so simple yet so profound. At some stage, we all inherently know what makes our heart sing, what we were put on earth to do.
Ask yourself ‘what would you do every day if money was no object?’ and then set about making that your career. Take an evening class, work weekends, volunteer. When you are doing what you love it doesn’t feel like work.
It’s never too late to start living.
Find your truth
Ask yourself a simple question. ‘If you had six months to live, how would you live you life?’. Answering this question can give a telling insight into where you wish you were. Note how different your ideals are from your current situation. If your dream life involves exploring the world and you are stuck in a desk job, you should start to re-evaluate your life goals.
Ask yourself honestly, ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’
We live our life mainly paralyzed by the fear of what might happen. More often than not, our worst fears never actually materialize. Just as you wouldn’t go into a restaurant and order your least favourite dish on the menu, so you should refrain from investing your time and energy in fear of the worst-case scenario. How about focusing on the best possible outcome?
As the saying goes, ‘life happens just outside your comfort zone.’ This is very true. Ask yourself, what is really the worst that can happen if you follow your heart. I told myself that if my business didn’t work I would simply go and get another job. I knew I had loving family and friends around me who would never see me on the streets-therefore, my fear of the worst was totally irrational. If things didn’t work out as planned, I would simple execute plan B. Because the ‘risk’ was worth taking.
Consider your legacy
Imagine you are lying on your death bed, having reached a grand old age, considering the major events of your life. Which moments do you think you will call to mind? What will you be proud of? Do you think for a second that you will wish you had spent more time in the office? Or that you will reflect with pride on the bonus you received aged 35? Of course not. No doubt you will cherish time spent with loved ones, friends and family, and those life-affirming moments which normally don’t cost a penny. This exercise is great for enabling you to clearly see what really matters in life and what only seems important at the time.
Take the leap of faith
At some point, you just have to take a leap of faith and trust that you will survive-just like parachuting out of an airplane. Your conscience wants to keep you safe at all times and may employ scare tactics to prevent you from living your dream. Ask yourself ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ and go for it. You won’t look back. That’s a promise.