Finding Happiness At Work With Samantha Clarke

WHY IS HAPPINESS AT WORK IMPORTANT AND HOW CAN WE BUILD BETTER RELATIONSHIPS AT WORK AND IN LIFE?

Earlier in the year I attended a Guardian Masterclass that saw a day full of inspiring speakers take to the stage and share with us thoughts on how to live a healthier and happier life. It was a day full of thoughtful ideas and wisdom that left many of us in the room motivated to go forth and put some of the positive tips and advice into action both at work and in our daily lives. One of the speakers was Samantha Clarke who spoke on the subject of building better relationships in work and life. Her ethos for finding happiness at work through aligning with your values, communicating better with those around you and working out what motivates and challenges you rang some definite bells with me so when she agreed to an interview for this blog I was really excited to have her pass on some of her ideas and work wise wisdom. 

Photograph: Chiron Cole www.chironcole.com

Photograph: Chiron Cole www.chironcole.com

Samantha runs her own company Samantha & where she works as a 'Happiness Consultant' guiding companies and individuals toward happier working lives. Today she shares a little about herself as well as some tips for happier work and healthier relationships ...

Hi Samantha. Please could you tell us a little about your own career to date as well as what your current role involves?

In my lifetime I've worked as a brand and strategy consultant, trend and innovation researcher, emerging markets connector, style and personal brand educator and lecturer on personal and work development. My journey has finally led me to a happy place and I want to help others be the founder of their own lives, dreams and work happiness. Samantha & was born as a result of my fascinations with travel, people, culture, relationships, the joys of flexible and remote working, crafting your own path and what it means to be ‘happy @ work’.

Through my quirky coaching, workshops and retreats I help to:

  • join the dots

  • be a catalyst for great ideas

  • support and inspire change

I can also be found delivering talks and workshops for The Guardian and Soho House as well as being a faculty lecturer at The School of Life. There I inspire changes in diverse areas like; authentic leadership, realising your potential, enhancing communication at work, building a portfolio career, presentation psychology, happiness, increasing emotional intelligence and confidence building.

Photograph: Samantha &

Photograph: Samantha &

What led you to this kind of work and why is what you do so important to you?

I’ve always found peace and felt in flow when I can see transformations take place. My natural default is to want to help people, to spread information and to springboard people into new areas or ideas.

I also know exactly what it’s like to be:

  • pulled in different directions in work

  • be held to external expectations of what my life and work should be, look and feel like

  • be plagued by self-doubt, analysis paralysis, lack of confidence, imposter syndrome

  • multi-passionate with multiple potentials and no real guidance on how to embrace it all

  • constantly trying to fit in before a time when it was cool to embrace difference and less rigid work lifestyles

  • to be disillusioned with what ‘work success’ means…. is it innovating a new product, finding that ‘one’ idea, getting millions of pounds of funding for a business and cashing out at 40, climbing the corporate ladder....

So for me it was important to meet companies and people where they are, with a level of understanding and help them sculpt the bridge that is needed to take them to where they want to go.

Photographs: Samantha & and Chiron Cole

Photographs: Samantha & and Chiron Cole

What is it that you love most about the work you do and what motivates you on a daily basis?

Helping navigate the tricky minefield that is either creating an environment that people want to work in and that company owners feel capable of delivering, to helping an individual identify what’s really right for them and making sure they feel authentic in their work.

Are there any key points that people reading this right now can consider to help them find more happiness in their own working environment?

To find more happiness in your working environment: 

  • Identify what’s authentic - take time to distil what really matters, what you need. Educate yourself or your team on your core values to make sure you are consistently embodying and aligning yourself accordingly. When things feel out of sync pay attention to it, interrogate it and hold yourself accountable to the changes that you need to make to put things right.

  • Build the right support framework around you - once you have clarity on your goals, there is no shame in reaching out and connecting to get help to take you closer to where you want to be. Either by getting a consultant into your business or investing in your creative learning or growth, perhaps on a retreat or workshop. Also look to see how you can help others, it’s a two way street.

  • Don’t be scared to challenge the status quo - without innovation your work life will become stagnant and not a true representation of the evolving individual or your company. Embrace change head on and any challenges to seek new opportunities.

  • Know your goals - map out the vision you have for your work/life. Is this path you are on taking you closer to, or away from these goals? How much progress are you making? Focus on noting down your wins and successes towards this goal as well as identifying where you might need to pivot, readdress, get creative and move through the friction and resistance that comes with change and action.
Photographs: Samantha &

Photographs: Samantha &

I suppose it might seem like an obvious question but in your opinion why is happiness at work so important for us?

We spend so much of our lives at work and it’s a shame that for many of us, it’s not a happy experience. So I feel it’s my duty to change this to help companies make sure their staff are nurtured, productive and happy and to help individuals navigate their own version of work happiness that's right for them and their lives even when it seems like an insurmountable task.

You are also an advocate of better relationship building within the work environment, and in everyday life too, can you offer any simple advice for dealing with conflict with others and how to build the foundations for a better relationship in that kind of situation?

It’s important to remember you are the constant in all your relationships. Do the work within yourself first to identify your blind spots, weaknesses and where you might be negatively affecting a relationship if you want the relationships around you to change.            

We are all trying to connect with each other for attention, affection, help in some form or another. It’s important to be mindful and notice an individual’s call for help and respond to them in the right way. Conflict and disagreements arise when we choose to reject or ignore a call for connection. It makes people feel unwanted, hurt, offended and less likely to look to you for support in the future. It’s important to see the whole person, be consistently present in the moment and appreciate each other even when we are rushed for time, caught up on our phones or deadlines. It’s also important to build emotional currency in your work and personal relationships to provide you with insights on how to respond better to others. Consciously look for opportunities to connect, actively seek the adventure of building a relationship - when we get lazy with this we don’t build great foundations for strong relationships.

Educate yourself on your own emotional health and make-up to identify how to better regulate conflict with others. Behind every complaint, disagreement or conflict is a disappointed idealised dream, vision or hope. We need to be authentic with our needs and wants and communicate this with others so that we can compromise, meet each other halfway and be respectful of other people's needs and wants too.

Finally if readers are keen to learn more about the work that you do how can they get involved?

Whether you are a business owner, an entrepreneur or an individual seeking a career transition head over to my website www.samanthaand.co for information about all things ‘happiness @ work’ related. Plus you can find out details on my latest Founder In You creative workshop to be held on October 22-23rd for 12 lucky professional or entrepreneurial individuals.

 

Thank you so much to Samantha for sharing her wisdom when it comes to uncovering more happiness at work, better relationship building and ways to really improve work and life wellbeing more effectively. If you would like to catch Samantha in action make sure you check out her speaking page which is updated regularly with upcoming talks and events or check out what she's up to over on Twitter or Instagram.

Thanks for tuning in everyone, have a great end to your week and hope to see you here again very soon!

Louise

 


Seeing The Colour When It All Feels Very Grey

"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness." Desmond Tutu

The world can certainly seem like a very unfriendly and unhappy place to be. In this post I don't want to dwell on the unsettling events and uncertainty that we all feel especially at the present moment. Neither do I wish to brush all that under the carpet in a frivolous way. However I have been thinking about how to face the world with a little more brightness and colour when it all feels a little too dark. Finding colour and positivity can be done - plus it even seems as if the sunshine is also on my side today as I get my thoughts together and start to write this!

Image Source: Pexels

Image Source: Pexels

Here are some thoughts for staying on the brighter side of life despite what may be happening around you. I'd love to hear any further tips you have for staying positive and motivated even during difficult times.

 

1. Focus On Positive News Stories.

I'm not saying we should bury our heads in the sand and not take notice of world issues and events, but the truth is that we just weren't designed to be able to cope with all of our own ups and downs in life as well as those from each and every corner of the planet. There comes a time when enough is enough. You have to switch off the negative replays and focus on something more positive. If you need a daily dose of news in your inbox then why not seek out positive news stories to help you see more of the good in the world. Don't dwell too deeply on the sadness that inevitably grabs our attention on a daily basis. Why not try taking a look at these for something a little more constructive: Good News SharedHuffington Post Good NewsPositive News.

2. Reconnect With The Special People In Your Life.

We all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and no doubt have many a friend or family member that we haven't caught up with for weeks, months or perhaps even years. Making an effort to reconnect with someone that you care about can be so uplifting and incredibly important. Maybe you've been meaning to head out with one of your dearest friends for a glass of wine and a catch up and you keep putting it off because you're feeling bogged down with other commitments. Get that date in the diary and spend some simple but rewarding time with those that know you best. The feeling of being truly known and connecting with people that mean the world to you can really help put the rest of the world into much better perspective. Don't be tempted to switch off from others and run and hide, make that all important connection.

3. Help Others And Give Them Something Positive To Believe In.

Helping others to learn and grow is not only helpful to that person but has a knock on effect for you too. You may not be able to solve all of the worlds problems but perhaps you can do smaller things either at work, home or within your community to bring a little colour and brightness into someone else's life - give someone else a reason to feel positive in this world. Perhaps you can help out a new colleague at work by offering them your time, training, support or advice without actually having to be asked or prompted. Maybe you can be a positive influence to a family member or friend, or could you do something useful within your community? Perhaps you have some items you no longer need that you can donate, or some time to offer on a voluntary basis. Or perhaps, just simply, you can remember to offer up a smile to a fellow human being as you walk home from work today. Even the smallest of things can have the brightest of impacts.

 

So please enjoy the rest of your Monday folks and don't give up on the brighter side of life. It's still there, you may just have to look a little harder at times in order to find it.

Louise

 


Summer Season Blog Inspiration: Three Top Picks

I love reading other blogs for ideas and inspiration or just to connect with a voice that is able to motivate or relate to myself, my life, perhaps my fears and my personal aspirations. That's the beauty of blogging, the voices that get heard in a way that they might not previously have done so and the ideas that we can find in an instant and use to explore, learn and excite in our own lives.

Image Source: Pexels

Image Source: Pexels

Whilst I know there's a lot of discussion out there in the blogging world about how much it has changed, the commercialism in some instances and the general number of us all and the wave of content coming our way, I still think that blogging is a wonderful tool both for the reader and the author. Recently I posted about cutting back and being more discerning about what I consume online, but that said (!) today I wanted to share some inspiring blogs that are currently making my personal cut. I hope they also offer something for you to enjoy as well. I've picked three of my current favourites, blogs that are bringing me ideas especially right now during the brighter summer months.

 

SUMMER BLOG INSPIRATION: THREE TOP PICKS

1. For staying stylishly inspired during the summer months (and all year round) I've been loving the blog Fashion Me Now by Lucy Williams. Lucy doesn't just blog about fashion, there's plenty of beauty, travel and lifestyle to feed on as well, but I do so love her style - she is a fashion editor after all. I have to admit I can often be found coveting her Instagram feed for outfit inspiration, especially if I'm about to go away somewhere as she seems to have that effortless beach chic and travel style down to an absolute t!

One of my favourite style posts of late has to be Return of the Noughties sharing some love for this forgotten fashion decade.

2. When my inner explorer is in need of new ideas both at home and away then I love to turn to A Lady In London by Julie Falconer. An award winning blog written by Julie who is originally from San Francisco but now based in London. Julie explores the world as well as her love for her new(ish) home town of London and I always enjoy her posts for the wealth of places to explore and discover. It's usually the London posts that inspire the most for me - top 10 lists of everything from beautiful museum cafes to famous and historic London toilets! 

This summer I'll certainly be looking to explore these 7 Best Summer Gardens to Discover in London.

3. When I'm feeling hungry and in need of incredible edible delights it has to be Eat Like A Girl by Niamh. The food photography on this blog will have you drooling from the outset and will inspire you to get into your kitchen and cook - or to get out and about and sample some of the delectable delights available in her favourite restaurant finds the city and far beyond. Recently Niamh has been sharing some unbelievably tasty looking BBQ recipes ready for the sunshine to make an appearance. The perfect pit stop for foodie inspiration all year round.

One thing I'll be cooking this summer is this Asparagus, Pancetta, Egg and Tomato Summer Tart.

 

Which blogs are you currently craving a daily dose of for finding summer motivation and inspiration? Let me in on your secret picks too and enjoy the sunshine - it's actually out here today so I'm off now to enjoy it!

Louise

 


Practical Festival And Travel Worthy Packing Picks

LIFEVENTURE FESTIVAL SURVIVAL KIT, TRIED, TESTED AND REVIEWED

Having just returned from a wet but wonderful weekend at this years Glastonbury Festival, and with many further festivals that others will be attending over the next few months, today I thought it might be useful to share some useful bits and bobs well worth packing if you too are heading off for festival fun, or indeed packing for any sort of travel worthy adventure over the summer.

Lifeventure Festival Survival Kit

The lovely people over at Lifeventure* very kindly sent over a package of useful festival ready goodies to take to this years Glastonbury. So I thought I would run through some of the bits and pieces that came in most useful. Practical items that really will stand you well wherever you are and whatever the weather. Plus having been on many backpacking adventures in my time, I know for certain these will come in incredibly handy for budding explorers everywhere.

 

MY TOP FIVE FESTIVAL AND TRAVEL WORTHY PACKING PICKS

1. INTENSITY 220 LED HEAD TORCH

A torch is always useful when camping at a festival or indeed on any type of outdoor or backpacking type of travel experience. We always carry a torch of some sort and a head torch is ideal because it leaves you hands free to navigate, carry your baggage or just generally balance yourself in the sticky, slippery mud! You can also use the strap to attach it to the top of your tent once you reach your destination so you can get yourself organised before finally laying down to get some rest. This one was particularly useful because it has a selection of lighting modes based on what you might need, gives incredible bright and clear light, and came with batteries which is always something that I forget to pick up and run around last minute trying to organise!

2. MULTI POCKET BODY WALLET

Security and ease are always top priority for me on any adventure. I always take a body wallet when embarking on slightly less luxurious travels and have previously used something similar when backpacking around Asia as well as Central America in the past. They're a great way to keep your most important documents and much needed cash safely on your person without advertising to the world that they're even there. Easy to hide discreetly under your clothing and a great way to remain hands free in trickier situations. This multi pocket one is great because, as the name suggests, it has a variety of sections in which to file away and organise your money and valuable documents such as tickets, ID etc. With three sizeable zipped compartments you can keep everything separate for ease of retrieval. It's also made of a much friendlier fabric than some that I've used before. The soft fabric doesn't stick to your skin or make you feel itchy or uncomfortable!

Multi Pocket Body Wallet

3. POCKET FIRST AID KIT

I always put together a first aid kit for trips away, especially ones where you're going to be stuck in the middle of nowhere for a sizeable amount of time. Whilst many festivals do have pharmacies and medical tents onsite, I always find it helpful to have my own basic kit with me. It saves queuing, plus you can never find the resources you need when you need them! So it's usually quicker and easier all round to have access to your own. When travelling overseas, especially to slightly more cut off destinations, having a mini first aid kit in your bag is always a must. This one has everything you need to tackle minor general first aid issues that you may come across. Plus the loop on the back is really useful for attaching it to your belt or backpack.

Pocket First Aid Kit

4. DRISTORE BAG

Now we all know that most festivals (in the UK at least) are synonymous with a form of rainfall at some point in the proceedings. Glastonbury certainly didn't disappoint on that front this year! A DriStore bag comes in very handy for protecting your belongings, keeping them clean and dry amongst festival, trekking or travelling rain and mud. There's nothing worse than all your belongings getting soaked within the first few seconds of your trip. This 5 litre one is quite small but ideal for day bags. I used it to keep my essentials in inside my bag as I wasn't that worried about the bag itself but didn't want the important items inside to get hurt!

5. SOFTFIBRE TREK TOWEL

These handy little things pack away neatly so are really easy to carry with you when space and weight is limited, they're incredibly soft and lightweight - very useful. Although they are supposed to be extremely absorbent I don't find they beat a real towel on that front which can be frustrating. But when you need to take a towel and don't have much space then they are definitely one of the best options. 

Other Useful Festival Picks

OTHER REALLY USEFUL PACKING PICKS WELL WORTH A MENTION

Digital Hardcase: Festival-ing, trekking and outdoor fun can be tough on belongings so alongside a DriStore bag (mentioned above) to protect from the elements, protecting your electronics from a potential hefty battering is also helpful too. This case offered sturdy protection for my smaller Canon camera that I like to carry with me everywhere I go. Also with a handy loop on the back to attach to your belt or clothing for easy, hands free use. 

Duct Tape: Always comes in handy for fixing things, patching things up and sticking things down! This one is a really handy pocket sized amount. Just enough to come in useful, not so much that it's a hassle to lug it around with you. 

Dry Wash: Useful to carry around in your day bag, especially when festival bound. I don't even need to bring up the subject of festival toilets, I'm sure the horror and the legend already precedes them. Although some have taps or hand gel available, the queue for the tap is often longer than the queue for the loo itself and the gel runs out on a regular basis. Carrying your own around is recommended. This bottle was enough to get through the entire weekend. Antibacterial gel with no need for water, it smells lovely and could also be used for a full body wash if those showers either don't exist or you are put off by yet another chance to stand and queue.

Travel Ear Plugs: An essential for festival goers actually wishing to get some sleep, or if you just want to dull the noise a little after partying too hard the night before. Always worth having with you for all sorts of travels and adventures. 

SoftFibre Inflatable Travel Pillow: I didn't use this for Glastonbury but I think it will come in very handy for other travels, especially for long flights to tropical destinations! This one has an easy to inflate valve, a removable, washable cover and looks very useful and easy to use. So whilst I can't fully review this right now I will keep you posted about the handiness of this as I plan to take it with me on some other upcoming adventures later this year.

Glow Sticks: Well you can never have enough colour, fun and glow at a festival can you! We used these on the last night during Coldplay's set. We had already been given the changing coloured wristbands onsite so we attached these to our person for some extra glow and to really get in the spirit of things - why not hey! Lightweight and easy to carry around in your day bag, these were sturdy and easy to use, just snap and go. They last for up to 15 hours so yes they were still glowing at the foot of our tent the following morning! 

All of the above can also be found on the Lifeventure website apart from the glow sticks which you can find here. Check out what else they have to offer that may come in incredibly handy for any upcoming travels.

 

Thank you to Lifeventure for giving me the opportunity to try out some of these useful festival and travel related accessories, and indeed helping me to survive the muddy joy that was this years Glastonbury Festival. If you're looking for inspiration for any future adventures then I hope this run down comes in useful and if you're festival bound this summer have a fantastic time. Live, laugh, love and enjoy!

Louise

 

*I was sent this selection to try out and review. All of the opinions are as always 100% my own and I would not share products or items if I didn't believe they were worthy of doing so.