Advice for life and work: Lucy Forgham - Freelance Interior Designer
For anyone listening who wants to transition into a self employed position, no matter the industry, Lucy’s story will be the inspiration you’re looking for. As a lover of affirmations and positive quotes, just like me, Lucy is proof that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.
Lucy is 26 and lives in Brighton with her dog, Ralph, who joined us for the recording, and kitten, Meeko. She has designed a life that works for her and is at the beginnings of her journey as a freelance interior designer, having recently left an employed role.
I’m extremely grateful for Lucy talking about her experiences with a chronic health condition. Thanks to her openness, this episode seeks to provide whoever needs to hear it with the reassurance that whilst it can make your day to day so much harder, illness doesn’t need to stop people doing what they love to do and success can be defined in so many forms.
Find Lucy's life and career advice below.
Lucy's life advice
01. Your health has to come first
As Lucy puts it, both mental and physical health has to be a priority, no matter who you are or what you do, because if we fail to care for ourselves in the way that we need, it's only going to be a matter of time before we cause harm to ourselves. If you have been diagnosed with a condition then you are probably already aware of the ways in which you need to look after yourself but if you are someone in good health, perhaps focusing on your wellbeing isn't something you do actively. It shouldn't need to take you becoming unwell or feeling exhausted to realise how important it is to put your health first, but often that is the case
We take our mental and physical states for granted when they're not causing us any issues but just like a plant, we need to be cared for in all states to avoid damage. Just because your house plant looks well, you don't stop giving it water until it looks like it's dying (or if you do, you probably didn't do that intentionally). We're living creatures, just like pets and plants that we have in our homes, just like animals and organisms that live amongst us, we need care and love, not just when we're unwell
When we're caring for ourselves deeply, we're checking in with how we feel and responding to ourselves with kindness: we rest before we feel burnt out, we eat foods that our bodies will thank us for and we seek the support from others that we know we need, whether that's psychological advice or medical intervention. Living in such a way, where there is nothing more important than ensuring we are well, will enable us to truly thrive. When we are thriving, we're able to help others. We cannot truly help other people (not to the best of our abilities and not sustainably) if we are not well, ourselves
Take a moment to check in with how you are each and every day, then respond to yourself as you would if you were looking after another living being, with care. If you feel lost with where to start, check out this 6 min video called The Body Keeps The Score which will help!
02. Make your home a space you can relax in
Keeping a serene living space won't just make your backdrop more aesthetically pleasing for any kind of content you want to shoot at home (though that is a handy added benefit). A home you can relax in will do wonders for your mental health and your creativity and your productivity, too
Lucy recommends making sure everything has a place, getting fridge organisers and using a label maker to clearly identify what should go where. She also is a huge believer in upcycling and being thrifty so seeing what is already around you that you can rework with a bit of love and attention - she talks about taking a glass jar from a neighbours recycling and filling it with dried flowers from a local field to make a unique addition to her space for free! Check out her Instagram @solmestudios for more handy tips on making your house (or room) a home that you can be at peace in
03. Make your digital living a calm space, too
We're all so used to spending so much of our day to day lives on screens but have you ever taken a step back to think about how jarring so many of the features we have on our phones and laptops are? The bright red notifications, the vibrations which literally nudge us, the pings and ringing - we're constantly being harassed by our devices
Altering the way you live, digitally, can make you feel so much more in tune with your own mind:
- If you haven't watched The Social Dilemma and want to know more about how tech giants profit from the amount of time we spend on screens then we recommend checking it out
- Favourite Positions Founder, Alex, wrote a post about how she changed her relationship with her digital life with 5 easy steps and felt better in her mind than she can remember, read that here
- Lucy recommends the Pinterest widget to add creative inspiration to your phone's home screen and the app 'Brass' to change the colour of your phone's set up, making it more pleasing to interact with
Lucy's career advice
01. It's never too late to change direction
So often, we’re told to stick at things because of the time already invested but checking in with yourself and your body can lead to you asking yourself whether you’re working towards something just because you feel you should be, or whether it’s actually what you feel is best for you
It is never, ever, too late to change direction and do something that makes you happier. What you've already learnt from traveling the path you have, you will take with you. Seize the day, make the change you want to as soon as you're ready to and don't fear what you're 'leaving behind', because you're not really leaving it behind. You're redirecting and utilising the skillset you've developed in whatever it is you want to do moving forward!
02. Make your work work for you
We are not born just to live to work. If your work is not good for you then you need to change that. Life is short, we have to do what makes us well and happy, we have to make our work work for us. It's so much easier said than done but take inspiration from those who have done that, speak to them and listen to them speak on podcasts or read their articles and books. It's not just 'doable' for you to have a career that works for you but its essential
03. You don't need to be an expert at everything
You definitely don't need to be ashamed of not being skilled in all areas. Focus on what you love to do and develop the knowledge in that area that you need to be able to progress. Be aware of where you may need support - to work out exactly where that could be, have a look at those around you who you see as successful and note what it is that makes them seem a 'success' to you, personally. What do they do, what do they know, who do they have around them, what do those in their team / network do to support them? No one is successful completely on their own. We all need others to help us to be able to be the best that we can be
When you've worked out what you think you need, reach out to those around you (online via Insta or LinkedIn) or in person, to ask for support. Most people will want to help you, we all like to feel useful! Ask for a brief chat to begin with or for them to sign post you to anything you can read or watch to learn more about their area of expertise. Start with a simple request and then see how your relationship develops with them, you never know where a kindly worded question could end up taking you
As Lucy puts it so eloquently, 'it's all about sharing skills'
Hear more! Check out Lucy's Insta: @solmestudios and click the link in her bio there to visit her site
Big love, thank you for your support