So here we are, in August already and without sounding too cliché but…where is the year going??!! We haven’t written a blog for a very long time and we figured that what better time to do this than to announce the opening of our Happy As Larry Group HQ! Yes HAL fans, we have our very own office! Not only do we have an office to concoct our future dreams but we also have our very own treatment room too which is being used as Lucy’s therapy practice and Alex’s space for coaching clients. It has been a dream of ours since day one to have our own base to plan how we can continue to help change the world one person at a time. Now we have it and we couldn’t be more proud of our achievements to date. But it has most certainly not been plane sailing along the way.
I have been head to paper (or computer…) for a lot of the end of 2018 and the duration of 2019 up until only two weeks ago, finalising my Masters degree in Psychology. Those three years of study have been so tough. I would certainly not recommend being pregnant or giving birth and caring for a baby smack bang in the middle of studying a Masters. This is Lucy, do not do as Lucy does. Despite that, I’ve made it and the feeling of submitting for the final time is such a massive relief.
But let’s go back a little further though say around two or three weeks before my due date. I was…large. And HOT. ALL THE TIME. If anyone can remember much about 2018 is was that we had a summer to remember, the hottest summer on record for well, as long as I can recall anyway. It was baking and never ever ending. I was heavily pregnant during this time and some days all I could do was sit in a cold bath with a packet of frozen peas on my head. My feet were so bloated if Alex pressed them a small round dent would form and not disappear. Sexy. It was during this time we received some news that was not that easy to swallow. Alex had lost his current job. I remember the call and surprisingly I didn’t react how a heavily pregnant woman probably should have done in the circumstance. I guess I’ve had and dealt with much worse situations. With that said the timing wasn’t the best and there was a part of me that was worried. But as we like to practice what we preach, we both tried our best to accept that these things are always part of a bigger plan and that we would be fine no matter what.
Fast forward a few months and Alex was still not working and we now had our new baby to care for. And in all honesty we were on our knees financially. We didn’t know how we were going to pay our bills from one month to the next. We had zero money coming in and bills coming out left right and centre plus an extra hungry mouth to feed. I had experienced an extremely traumatizing birth after going way overdue, with a failed induction ending in an emergency c section that caused me to haemorrhage very heavily. I was in so much pain post birth I could barely walk and leaving the flat was a luxury I could only experience for a short space of time. I had to inject myself daily for two weeks due to the loss of blood during the c section which made my first few weeks of motherhood pretty distressful. Even though I had a beautiful baby it was excruciating to move and with the added stress of not knowing how we would pay our bills, this was a very dark time. With Ruby waking every hour or two in the night some days I would just sit and cry, wondering what the hell I had done and whether there would be an end to this. My dream of breastfeeding had to come to an end only two weeks after she was born because the pain I was in was far too great to able to give this to my daughter. I felt like an utter failure. Plus, not only did we have to adjust to caring for another human but the final year of my Masters degree had started so I had to begin my data collection for my study I was about to conduct based around addiction. I could barely get to the bathroom let alone focus on numbers and data collection. I can categorically say that the first 6 months of Ruby’s life were the toughest few months I have experienced. And seriously, I have gone through some stuff in my time. I was on my knees physically, emotionally and financially.
So the dreams of our business developing had to be put on hold whilst we figured out how we got ourselves back on to our feet again. There was no way I could go to work, physically I was still in a lot of pain but we also had Ruby to think about. So the buck fell with Alex to do his best. And NOTHING came in. No matter how hard Alex tried we were just not given a break. Now I know we talk about how everything happens for a reason and to learn to accept life’s lessons as just that. But this was a very testing time. We had to summon the strength as a newly hitched couple (as we had only tied the knot a few months before Ruby was born) to support each other during these trying days. However, even though we had no money coming in somehow, I don’t know how but somehow, we managed to just about cover our bills month to month. We didn’t ask for any help or hand me outs, we just both scraped what we could as the months went by. But some months the money just appeared. No word of a lie. One month I opened a letter from the HMRC and I had been given a tax rebate for the exact amount we needed to pay our mortgage for that month. Then, finally, the day came that Alex received a job offer. Then he actually had a couple of companies fighting for his services. Oh the irony. Shortly after that he was offered an even better paid position we didn’t even have to worry about me starting back full time, for as long as we needed to anyway.
Now, almost a year down the line since Ruby was born we are comfortable with our abundance. That’s not to say we are rolling in it, far from it. But the lessons we have learnt from this extremely challenging time are so important for both our individual growths and that of our company as well. We truly appreciate what we have. When anyone has experienced being on their knees whether it be emotionally, physically or financially the lessons that can be taken from these experiences are priceless. Because the truth is, once you have been that low the ONLY way to go is up. That rock and a hard place is shit. But there really isn’t anywhere else to go once you have hit that bottom…but up. The pain we both had to go through was indescribable. The battle from one day to the next just to get up and show up, was hard, crap, rubbish, painful, monotonous…but we really had to try and see the positives as much as we could. We had no money but had each other. We had no sleep but we had a new life to enjoy. We had no job but we had quality time together. I could barely move but this meant more cuddles with my daughter. I HAD to learn to stay still, whether I liked it or not. We both HAD to learn to be patient, whether WE liked it or not. And then when the time was right, the universe REALLY rewarded us for these tough times.
The same week Alex was being fought over by two companies we received a call from the organisers of iCAAD, one of the largest addiction conferences that run every year in London. They offered us a joint key note speaking position but not only that but also a complimentary area to exhibit our company in the main exhibition hall, which would have cost us in to the 1000’s to pay for ourselves. We were given the opportunity to also broadcast ourselves by doing a live podcast at the event and invited to organise whomever we wanted to be a guest on our show. In the past we had done some volunteer work for the Amy Winehouse foundation and were keen to get Janis, Amy’s mother on, as it just could not have been more fitting for the event. We wanted to show how incredibly strong and brave Janis had been and to help broadcast the altruistic work the foundation was doing worldwide. So I asked Janis, through twitter if she would be interested. And to my absolute delight she accepted! Amy has and will always be one of the most fascinating and interesting people to me, that I never did get the pleasure to meet. So to say I was overwhelmed when Janis accepted is an understatement. As well as Janis we were joint by Richard, Janis’s husband, who bought both an entertaining and knowledgeable edge to the podcast. We were overwhelmed by their willingness to speak about Amy, inspiring so many people at the conference and we are sure for years to come. Within the same month a dream of Alex’s was to come true. Alex is an exceptional motivational speaker and he has always been keen to become a Ted speaker. Having applied a while back he had assumed that his application had gone in to a pile that may never get looked at. But, within this time, he was contacted and asked to join some of the biggest inspirational speakers in the world on the famous red dot and become a Ted X Speaker. I was to also appear on a documentary on channel 5 about my past drug use and another documentary around addiction as a resultant of childhood sexual abuse. It seemed to us that the offers just kept coming and coming and coming. And we both knew for absolute sure that we deserved this bout of abundance, without a shadow of a doubt.
So where are we now? Well we now have our own HQ so our dream of being a real business has come in to fruition. I have my very own space for a therapy practice. This was a dream I had that I didn’t expect to materialise for years. Alex has this space to use for his professional coaching services. Having had to spend the past 6 or so months working on finalising my dissertation I can finally say that I have submitted and I am finished! So what do we do now? Well, we go on holiday that’s what we do! Because we realised that having struggled for so damn long we bloody well deserve it. Self-care is VITAL especially in the industry we now work in. We also realise that time spent with family and people that you love is imperative so with the first lump of money that we could afford to use, we spent it on a holiday for all of us. Me, Alex, Ruby, Madi and Brandon. As we know that when we come back we have plans in place to work hard to continue to change people’s lives as well as our own. We have a lot of people to help out there and we will fight tooth and nail to make sure we help bring others out of the darkness. But first, we chill.
So the moral of this story is? Nothing comes easy in life, especially if it is worth having. I can honestly say hand on heart, that everything I have today is everything I have always dreamt of. But man it has not come easy. Want a baby? Here you go but you must survive being pregnant in the hottest summer EVER. How about a healthy baby? Of course, but YOU must go through a traumatising birth. You want to earn money so you can open your business? Right well, firstly you must survive being financially broken. I reckon you catch my drift. But despite all of this in true survivor fashion, we faced these hard times face on and carried on fighting regardless. One could even suggest that we rose from the ashes like a phoenix from the flames, but we aren’t about ego here. Well not ALL the time anyway.
And even though the lesson that nothing in life comes easy can be hard to swallow at the time, if we had been handed all these opportunities on a plate, would we have even wanted them anyway? If you had not strived through blood sweat and tears to achieve your dreams would you STILL feel just as grateful for them if they had been given to you for no effort at all? If you were given the option to wake up tomorrow and you have the body to die for and millions in the bank but no memory of how you achieved that, would it really honestly be worth it? Because SURELY does it not mean more to us by experiencing these life events head on, that ultimately they will make us better, stronger and more knowledgeable individuals? On our death bed are we going to be damn happy about how much money we have in the bank or how many memorable experiences we have had? Surely the pain, sleepless nights, broken hearts, shattered dreams and hardship makes it all worthwhile if we can change somebody else’s life along the way? Because someday when someone comes to us who is broken and beaten and just cannot see a way out because THEY are on their knees. When that day comes we can take this person by the hand and say look its ok, I’ve been there. You’re going to be ok, I’ve got you. Here’s a torch I will walk beside you until you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. But in the meantime, I’ll tell you a story of my rock bottom and of how I came out of the other side. Surely the short term emotional ruin is worth saving a lost soul? Some food for thought… I’ll to leave you to deliberate.
You can watch Alex’s TEDx Talk just click here
For our live podcast with Janis Winehouse and Richard Collins at iCAAD 2019 click here