Your dream job does not exist; you must create it…
By Louise Ballantyne // On September 11, 2017
It’s been a while since I updated this and as I sit on my first proper day off in what feels like forever and reflect on what has been a crazy, busy, hectic but more importantly, absolutely freaking awesome few months, I felt the need to write again. I suppose when I first started this section of the page I was racing a lot and could use the blog as a way of reviewing events I had taken part in and formed the main ‘theme’ of my page. Now, the main subject I feel I want to write about is work, which seems ridiculously dull and made me wonder if anyone would actually read it?! However, even on the hardest of work days, I pinch myself and think just how lucky I am that it never actually feels like work. I am so lucky to be in this position and am writing about it regardless of whether anyone wants to read about it or not…
I’ve always been a great believer of that saying, “To do great work is to love what you do,” and now I can honestly say that I love what I do. I really believe that I have created my dream job and as I dream bigger, the opportunities too will grow.
I’ve said it before but leaving a secure job with the local authority was a big risk. Even now during the tough times (delays in invoices being paid and bills coming in and knowing we don’t have enough to cover them as a result, contracts, accounts and the general stresses of being self employed; if you’re self employed- you know!) I sometimes think that if I hadn’t given it up things would be easier. These thoughts are gone as quickly as they enter my head. Taking that risk has led to so many opportunities and experiences and I am now a director of a limited company I share with my partner Mat. Wow! Writing that felt grown up!
Mat and I moved in together at the beginning of the year; a move that others questioned at the time. We hadn’t been together long and friends and family thought it a bit risky to be taking such a big step so quickly. What people didn’t realise, in fact, most people never will, is that working together at Spartan Race is like a super charged, accelerated and intensive dating site without the dating. I think it was 3 or 4 months in before we had our first date but in that time we were lucky enough to see each other at our worst and not hate each other. Working 15 hour days in pouring rain, very little sleep, running up and down hills all day, eating out of a plastic box in the back of a lorry and then sharing living spaces with each other for two weeks can take its toll. If you can get through that and still want to spend time together, it must be a positive thing. We got through a season of that and then flew to China together for the Agoge… another move that some frowned upon (we still hadn’t had our first date!) Again, we saw each other at our worst; sleep deprived for over 60 hours and without a shower for 4 days should’ve been enough to put anyone off, never mind the physical and mental challenges that went with it! Anyway, I’m swaying off subject slightly and this ain’t turning into a soppy story about us; but instead to highlight how this adversity lead to our goal to never have to ‘work’ another day in our lives.
When we set up our company; it was the coming together of our existing businesses; Life Health and Fitness and Roots Adventure Training along with the introduction of The Uprising. All three have a very similar ethos; to encourage people to improve their health by becoming more active, experiencing challenge and overcoming obstacles. We now have the best of both worlds. We can pick and choose what we do and who our customers are, we can choose when we want to have a day off, we can choose when we will work for 36 hours straight, we can travel to cool new places, we can still contract out to Spartan Race, we can finish early and have a spontaneous trip away in Kiki (Mat’s pride and joy and my new found love), we can go climbing or running or for a walk in the woods whenever we like, we can choose to sleep under the stars or cook outdoors and we can choose what setting we want to work in each day. Basically our ‘work’ is an ongoing adventure.
Over the past few months we’ve been as far South as London and as far North as the Isle of Skye. These places and everywhere in between have allowed me to see beautiful locations, make lasting memories and meet so many inspiring people. I’ve worked in schools, colleges, sofas, offices, fields, mountains, beaches, lochs, coffee shops, farms, shops, vans, minibuses, planes, trains, restaurants, even bars! Every day is different and most of the time, Mat and I get to be colleagues. Being paid to have fun is such a fortunate position to be in!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not glamorous and it’s certainly not a lifestyle everyone would want; there is no such thing as routine; sleep patterns vary, training is inconsistent, planning ahead is almost impossible, a suitcase becomes your wardrobe, a spork, foldable bowl and camping stove become your kitchen, service station fast food chains become date nights and any form of social life becomes a full on night out because it’s so rare. However, it works for us and just makes us appreciate the simple things in life.
I’m not saying this is the lifestyle that everyone should choose but what I hope you take from this (if anyone actually reads it!) is the motivation to create your dream job and to always keep dreaming! You are the only one in control of your future…