Lauren was the envy of all of her friends. A GenXer, LuluLemon Ambassador and a super passionate physio who had turned entrepreneur creating a booming healthcare business. She came across as super confident, super fit, super energetic and with a zest to take on all that life had to throw at her. Underneath though she was silently crying out for help - burnt out, overwhelmed and falling apart at the seams just trying to navigate the life she’d created.

Lauren was surrounded by glittering Insta successful friends, unparalleled family support, stylish accessories and photobooks of her overseas adventures on the coffee table of her contemporary suburban home. Inside though she felt “suffocated, trapped and, weirdly, lonely.” This “contradicting mess of a human” landed in front of Penny in 2018 at a LuluLemon community event. She was fascinated by the Happiness Hacker and felt compelled to seek her out to explore whether feeling suffocated despite fortunate was normal? Lauren was confused about the excitement her huge ambitions provided and the paralysing overwhelm they were creating. At just 28 she was looking for a pause button she just couldn’t find. She was desperate to unshackle the feeling of being on a never-ending treadmill without throwing away all that she had built.

Lauren arrived at her first session empty-handed but open minded. Penny welcomed her with a hug grabbed a picnic blanket and told her the park on the grass was the best place for the work they were about to do. 

For 30 minutes Penny listened and asked questions about how Lauren was feeling, what was making her feel that way and how long this had been going on. It was so simple but powerful to Lauren to feel truly heard and understood for the first time in a long time.  What she didn’t realise was that this was all part of the process Penny was helping her paint a very clear picture of her reality, the impact it was having on her health, her happiness and her relationships and the fact that it was a house of cards ready to fall apart at any minute.

Once the reality baseline was clear Penny took Lauren through a visualisation. Lauren had become so used to setting big goals and bolting after them that she had forgotten to step back and ask herself what makes me happy and is what I’m doing in alignment with injecting more of that into each day? Penny challenged Lauren to imagine what happiness would look like for her in just the next six months unfiltered. Where would she be, what would she be doing, with whom and how often? What would a regular happy day look like? For Lauren it was simple, time to relax with friends, go on a date and just relax without feeling like she needed to be in the business every minute.

On a notepad Penny had brought along she showed Lauren her reality versus her desired state and asked her what was going on between the two. What was holding her back from moving forward? I’m exhausted, I don’t have the time to make what I want happen. I have a waitlist of clients that I can’t service and I just constantly say yes to more work at the expense of my happiness.

Then that’s where we start said Penny we look at how we create the time for you and recharge your energy. Lauren was also lonely and keen to meet someone to share her life with. In Lauren’s words "Penny called me on my BS and told me a man won’t arrive in a pizza box as that’s the only way with your current schedule you will meet someone new." 

Together they agreed on 3 small simple actions that Lauren could take now to help her move closer to happiness and reduce the overwhelm: 

  1. Set clear boundaries around your work hours. If you have excess work above these hours due to customer demand what a beautiful opportunity to grow your team. So, do that rather than take on more.
  2. Do at least two things for yourself per week (minimum 1 hour each) that are not work or exercise related that make you feel good and recharge your energy.
  3. Go on a date, put yourself out there and see what happens.

And the kicker Lauren had to report back to Penny in two weeks to tell her how she went making her accountable for her happiness.

Lauren now had permission to set boundaries around her time and say no. That week a reception staff member kept reminding Lauren that she had 15 people on her wait list. Lauren shared with the staff member that her hours were now fixed and that if the waitlist could not be addressed within those hours they would recruit a new team member. This provided the catalyst to employ someone new and for Lauren to gain her evenings and lunch breaks back.

She got online and started swiping, went on a couple of dates and now 2 years later is living with and planning her future with what she terms her soul mate.

What worked for Lauren was micro actions that required bravery and enabled her to set hard boundaries around her life. Boundaries that enabled her to enjoy her success, grow her business and still have time for herself and to recharge her batteries. She had spent her life defaulting to saying Yes because it was easy but over 6 months with Penny she learnt the power of no enabling her to slow down the burnout train and create the space for happiness.

“I’ve became a tolerable human again, I’m not sick, exhausted or lonely anymore. I now have a growing team of 14 amazing staff thanks to my role modelling boundaries and saying no. I’m so proud that this transition has enabled me to find love, build a work family and a community that has thrived in amidst the chaos of COVID.”

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Also in Hacking Happiness Case Studies

Ruth’s Hacking Happiness Journey
Ruth’s Hacking Happiness Journey

Ruth was 53, and had spent most of her time consumed by a job that no longer existed. Her self-belief was at an all-time low and she was doubtful of whether she was even worthy of investing in herself to pave a new path.