12 Nov Joy, Freedom, Mindfulness and Adventure with Christine Langdon
In this episode I talk to Christine Langdon from The Good Registry about how she quit her job to figure out how to get more joy into her life. She helped start an amazing social enterprise that focuses on helping charities and reducing waste by providing an alternative to giving gifts that aren’t wanted or needed. She is also a yoga teacher and writes a blog – My Kinder Life – that focuses on living a life with more mindfulness, more freedom and more adventure.
We talk about how she discovered her truth and joy by creating space through leaving her job and also through meditation and journal writing. We talk about money and consumerism, and how money stops people from following their heart and finding their truth. How we’ve been so conditioned to put our perceived need for money ahead of everything else. How we often buy things we don’t want or need out of expectation, but when we take that expectation away we really don’t need much.
Below are some snippets of what Christine covers in the conversation:
- To me finding your truth is simply knowing what gives you joy and doing that. I have spent a lot of my life doing things that I think I ‘should do’ and doing those things because it what society family and school has conditioned me to do. Looking for validation and looking to support myself financially. But the truth is what do I enjoy and take away all the chatter in the head around what we think we should be doing.
The joy of generosity – there is plenty of scientific evidence on the benefits of giving.
- I got here through personally building that awareness of what brings me joy. I had an absolutely fantastic job – the head of the community investment function at Z Energy. It was a great job to allow me to make a social contribution. They allowed me time to volunteer once a week to go to prisons to teach yoga. That was the part of my week that I enjoyed my most, the volunteering time and I could see the contribution that I was making more directly than I could in my corporate role. So I decided I wanted more of that. I was also really aware as a yoga teacher, that every day was better if I had yoga and meditation in my day. But I was so busy that often the first thing to go was the yoga and meditation practice.
- So I decided to quit my job to create space to figure out just how to make sure I could do those things that I got the most joy from. The biggest risk was leaving paid employment and not making money. The decision I made was that I could last for a year. I was earning enough money at the time, and I should therefore be able to make that money last for at least a year. I have just cut back, and realised that you just don’t have to spend money on what you don’t want or need.
- I had almost turned shopping into a hobby, as something to do in the weekends. I like to test myself sometimes; so I’d given myself a challenge previously to not buy anything new for a whole year. If I don’t need anything, then I wasn’t going to buy anything critical.
Having started The Good Registry it has really heightened my awareness of the fact we often buy things we don’t want or need. We end up buying things out of expectation, but when we take that expectation away we really don’t need much.
- Quitting work created the space (to find my truth) but not the answer. I knew I was quitting my job to create space to figure out what work was going to be really meaningful. I wasn’t sure what territory that would be in, but I knew it would be a social enterprise. I actually felt it would be in the mindfulness space – as I struggled to get space to do this in my job.
- To provide structure to my life when I quit my job was to commit to a blog – My Kinder Life – it is all about mindfulness, and ways to be more present. I was six weeks into the blogging when I came up with the idea for The Good Registry.
- One of my blogs was about ‘what gives me joy’ and I came up with four things; presence, connection to people, contribution to people and creativity.
- It was building on that blog that helped me figure out what my thing was – to inspire generosity. I was thinking of a way for people to be generous and easily contribute. One of the ideas was gift-giving – something we all do regularly. As part of the mindfulness journey I started de-cluttering the house. I found gifts under stairs and in drawers that I never used or needed. I packed them up and gave them to a homeless person on the street. And that triggered in me – if only the money for these things could have gone directly to good causes.
- Social enterprise – is essentially a business, not a charity. The structures can be really different and they can include charities and ours does, but it is a business as it trades, but it trades for a social purpose. That is the core part of it, we don’t exist to make money. We exist for a social purpose. Our social purpose is to reduce waste and to help good causes. To exist we need to trade. There is a growing community for social enterprise in NZ and Wellington. There are a few that I like, for example the social enterprises that are selling great products being created by former refugees.
Our purpose isn’t to make money, it is a way to help people rethink gift giving for good instead of buying things that aren’t wanted or needed.
- Ideas and advice from Christine on how to find your truth. Be really clear about the destination, and then don’t worry too much about getting to the destination. But when things don’t feel like they’re going right, don’t run away back to what you know. It’s not easy, it’s now 12 months since I haven’t had an income, but it is easy because I really believe in what we’ve created.
- Always remember that life is better when you’re out of your comfort zone. It’s really hard to remember. But I don’t want to look back in 20 years from now and say – I’ve been in my comfort zone, but I want to have had experiences, and to get joy from contribution and creativity, I can’t do that staying in my comfort zone. The courage is to know it will work out. You need to have a reason and stay true to doing what you’re doing.
- Meditation and journaling were the things that really helped me, but however you feel comfortable about carving out time to figure out what gives you joy. One of the pivotal moments on this journey was during a holiday in Bali – that’s where I made my decision to leave my job. I sat there and journaled and I asked myself “what do I really really want?” “how was I really really feeling about my job?” “what was I really holding on to?”
- That clarified to me that I was holding onto the job for the security and comfort. I had a really good story. It was a great job, but I wanted freedom, flexibly and creativity that I couldn’t get in the job.
- I came to that by asking myself a lot of really good questions and not thinking too much about what answers came up. Not over thinking it, just letting the subconscious answer. When we try and overthink it, we end up writing the answers that society wants us to write and have taught us are the right answers. But that would allow me to make up lots of great stories like – save money for another year; I can better prepare my direct report, etc. Lots of great stories about staying put, but when it came back to what I really want right now, it was to do something that was more aligned with my heart.
- The hard-times are more in my imagination than are real. Sometimes I fret about things not growing enough, or its time I had an income. But nothing is crashing and burning.
- It is usually money that starts to get me wobbly. What I know is that if I desperately need money I can go and earn money for a while. I have decided that I can do a couple of days work now, so to take away the worry and still have time to do all the fun stuff.
I really think money stops people from following their heart and finding their truth. I think that we’ve been so conditioned to put our perceived need for money ahead of everything else.
- I see people who stay in jobs that they don’t like because they need the money, they have the mortgage they have the children’s education to pay for. I see often in those cases they’d have more to give their family if they found a way to live on a bit less, and may find more joy and energy. I’m not saying that everyone can quit their job. But I am saying that they can bring more joy into their life through changing the way we work, and think about how we contribute.
- My father recently passed away and the thing that I observed around that is how what mattered was the relationships that he had and the contribution that he made. It was nothing to do with what he bought or the money he made.
If every Kiwi replaced one $10 gift with a donation to a good cause, we’d share $47 million of goodness!
You can see more of Christine Langdon and her Social Enterprise here:
The Good Registry – Social Enterprise Website: https://thegoodregistry.com/
Christine’s Blog: http://mykinderlife.org