The Heroine’s Journey of Helen Lawrence

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

It’s hard to single out one thing but there is no greater feeling than being the master of your own destiny, especially when it comes to striving to achieve your full potential and being able to combine something you are good at with your passion. I love the fact that our business has an ambitious and positive mission. If we can help create more happy workplaces around the world – we can really make a difference to people’s lives. That’s more than just a job…

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

I guess ‘perfect happiness’ to me is something deeper and more meaningful than the things that bring me pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, I feel very happy riding the world’s fastest rollercoasters, travelling to new and exotic countries and drinking from my vast collection of gin. But perfect happiness – that’s the feeling I get when I’m achieving my full potential, feeling resilient during the tough times, finding joy in my life and bringing joy to others. I’m lucky to work with happiness on a daily basis – consciously trying to create happiness, rather than just looking for it.

What is my greatest fear?

I think being lonely. I’ve discovered over the years that I’m pretty high on inclusion and I get energy from being around people… or animals… either will do! Left alone for too long – I get moody, restless and bored. I spend too much time alone thinking about the past, rather than being in the moment and dreaming of future possibilities.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

As much as I consider striving for excellence and being uncompromising about the quality of our work to be one of my strengths, I do tend to slip into ‘over perfectionism’ mode sometimes. I spend more time thinking of all the things I’m not doing well, rather than what I am doing well. I worry about making mistakes and start to set incredibly high expectations – which is not much fun for me, my husband or those I work with! (sorry team!).

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?

Without a doubt it would have to be our inspiration for setting up The Happy Learning Company Ltd – Kathryn Temple. She is the epitome of happiness and what it really means to be an inspiring, authentic leader – and a good, kind person always seeking to do ‘the right thing’. Her work through her Happiness Foundation has transformed the lives of so many people, she truly is someone to look up to. She’s also got the most infectious laugh and smile – even writing this – I’m smiling thinking about her!

What is my greatest extravagance?

I would have to say my very high maintenance furry family of 3 dogs and 2 cats. They cost a small fortune… and one of each would have probably been enough. Thanks to having the opportunity to travel with work over the years, I’ve also developed an unhealthy addiction to travelling business class. I use the opportunity to earn extra reward points as an excuse to upgrade but really… it’s just an extravagance!

On what occasion would I lie?

I would love at this point to say that I’m so squeaky clean and self-aware that I would never lie… but I would be lying. Honesty may be the best policy, but unfortunately scheming and dishonesty are part of what makes us human. As with most people, I tend to lie when I feel threatened or fearful of something. I am also very loyal so I think I would lie to protect someone I love dearly.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

I guess the only downside of running a small business is that you aren’t always surrounded by a team of people – and as I mentioned earlier, I’m pretty high on inclusion and do get energy from being around people. If I have to go even a few days without even seeing my business partner for company, I do get a bit grumpy!

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

I was leading a really dynamic team in my last role and remember feeling so inspired by them and proud of what they were achieving in their careers, it was a great place to be and a great role to be in. I loved the balance we found of enjoying amazing relationships whilst pushing hard to achieve great results. We certainly had some fun along the way too!

If I could, what would I change about myself?

Well, I’m not sure you should try to change too much about what makes you uniquely ‘you’, but I am always working on letting go at times of the perfectionist in me. I’ve at least learnt how to recognise when it’s becoming an issue – but at times it feels like an unnecessary burden. I used to want to be taller and thinner – but the older and wiser you get, you soon realise these things aren’t actually that important.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

I guess I’ve had lots of success in my career in terms of achieving goals, helping others develop and grow, helping companies do things differently or better for their people. However, my greatest achievement has to be having the courage and confidence in Andy (my co-founder) and I’s ability to set up The Happy Learning Company and turn it into a thriving, truly authentic and passionfuelled business. We’ve come a long way in 3.5 years and have always stayed true to our values and aspirations.

Where would I most like to live?

Somewhere there is more sunshine more of the time would be good place to start! We aspire to relocate in the not too distant future to America – one of the sunshine states of course. I just need to figure out how to get the furry family there in one piece first!

What is my most treasured possession?

Without a doubt, my gorgeous dogs and cats. They really do bring so much love, happiness and joy to my life that I would be lost without them!

What is my most marked characteristic?

People say that happiness exudes from my every pore and I’m able to light up a room when I walk into it. I do have a fairly positive outlook on life and when I’m around others, like to be energetic and show my passion. I also like to have fun; to laugh and not take life too seriously. I’m pretty resilient too having a focus on creating happiness, so bounce back from challenging times pretty quickly.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

I am actually based in two cities – Chelmsford and (East) London. In Chelmsford I would have to say Hylands Park. It has over 500 acres of beautifully maintained parkland where my husband and I take our dogs for long walks every weekend. In London we’re based out of Shoreditch so we are surrounded by creativity and great vegetarian food. I get to enjoy the best of both worlds!

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

I recently finally got to experience Sushi Samba in Covent Garden and would safely say it’s the best food and cocktails I’ve ever had anywhere in the world. Simply delicious! If I could, I would eat and drink there every day.

What books influenced my life and how?

Reading ‘The Human Element’ by Will Schutz quite literally changed my life. I discovered so many things about myself and developed new levels of self-awareness and emotional intelligence that inspired and gave me the confidence to follow my dreams and be the real me.

Who are my favourite writers?

I would have to say Maya Angelou. She led such an extraordinary life and overcome great hardship in her youth to become this incredibly inspiring, wise and refreshingly frank writer and poet. Her words are so powerful, they stop you in your tracks and make you really think about your life and what you’re doing with it.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

Wow, where do I start? I think I would have to create a ‘soundtrack of my life’ by pulling together all the songs from the decades I’ve lived through that had an impact on me. It would probably end with songs from Emeli Sandè who I find incredibly inspiring and uplifting.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

I think my heroine in fiction would probably be Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. She’s an adventurer and explorer that reminds us all what it’s like to have such an imagination. As a child I always dreamt of exploring and travel the world as we rarely ventured outside of the UK for family holidays.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?

My professional reputation might now go out of the window but I would have to say Pretty Woman, for no other reason other than to see Richard Gere at his very best! I’ve watched the film over 40 times and still find him to be the epitome of ‘charisma’. A more profound choice would be ‘Hidden Figures’. As a woman, I think it’s a reminder of the amazing things you can achieve and how important it is to get out there and be seen.

What role plays art in my life and work?

I’ve always loved drawing since a young child and found it to be a great outlet for expressing creativity. I now get to express my creative side through my work; designing really unique and bespoke learning solutions. I love the creative process of coming up with a theme and visual identity for a programme and then using it to bring the learning to life. I also get inspiration for my work from all different forms of art include dancing, music, literature, acting. I absolutely love going to the theatre to watch musicals.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

I guess I would have to say my husband David as he’s put up with me for over 10 years now so he must be a fan, right? He’s supported me in my journey setting up and working hard to make The Happy Learning Company a business to be proud of, even though it’s meant until now he’s had to put his own entrepreneurial dreams on hold. He’s a great sponsor. My other partner in crime is my work husband Andy – together we make a pretty good team!

Whom would I like to work with in 2019?

Six Flags! Please, please let there be someone from Six Flags reading this! Both Andy and I are insanely passionate about roller coasters – the bigger and faster the better. As the largest regional theme park company in the world and home to some of the world’s biggest and fastest rollercoasters, we think we would be a perfect partner in crime for Six Flags. Imagine our passion for what they do combined with our passion for what we do and the great work that could lead to!

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2019?

My inspiration… Kathryn Temple. Shockingly, despite texting and face-booking, we still haven’t met in person. I feel like I know the bones of her (as she would say). I also know she is a fellow gin-drinker and loves a good laugh… so I know we will have a great time together and will get on like a house on fire!

What project, in 2019, am I looking forward to work on?

We’ve just started an incredibly exciting project with Heathrow Airport. For us as frequent flyers, we see Heathrow as a cultural and quite symbolic gateway in and out of our country, so we feel really proud to be able to work with them to explore ways of improving the passenger experience. We call it our passion project for the 2019!

Where can you see me or my work?

http://www.thehappylearningco.uk

linkedin.com/in/helenjulielawrence

On Facebook: @thehappylearningco

For a copy of our latest case studies people can email gethappy@thehappylearningco.uk

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

I think for me it’s like the saying that ‘learning never ends.’ The word ‘retire’ conjures up thoughts of slowing down, leaving work, reaching a certain age, a feeling of withdrawing from one phase of your life to another. Passion however, is such a strong emotion and powerful feeling, it’s like a fuel for your life that never burns out… of course, unless you let it.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

Kathryn Temple – Founder of The Happiness Foundation http://www.thehappinessfoundation.co.uk/home/

Claire Whitehouse – Founder of MamaClub https://www.mamaclub.co.uk/about-us/

How can you contact me?

helen@thehappylearningco.uk

07875606009

http://www.thehappylearningco.uk

linkedin.com/in/helenjulielawrence

On Facebook: @thehappylearningco

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