I used to be a Social Worker. I don’t usually tell people that. A Social Worker doesn’t have a “nice” sounding job title, like a Puppy-Cuddler or Cupcake Maker, and it’s not a role that I comfortably talk about. At dinners, or on play dates, I never wanted to invite questions about the countless abused or neglected children I had encountered, nor did I want to receive anyone’s fleeting concern about how I managed such a Tough Job. Telling someone that you are a Social Worker can be a bit of a conversation killer.
Now, when people ask what I do, my reply is “it’s complicated”; they are intrigued by the twinkle in my eyes and passion in my expression. There isn’t one word or term to describe what I do. Apart from being a wife, a mummy, a daughter, sister and friend, I am a Doula, a Baby wearing Consultant and Sling Librarian, a Baby Massage and Baby Yoga Instructor. I am a Family First Aid instructor. And, more recently, I have started a holistic group for new parents, a Bub Hub, offering a range of vital postnatal supports. So, what do I do? I am a “Baby Person”, I actively lead a very baby-led life, and I love it all.
Sometimes it feels a bit of a sham calling this “work” because it is my passion, it feels like a hobby, and the core values of the interactions I have with new parents and their babies all come from the heart. While making money is important and necessary, profit is not the only motivation for doing the work. The ethos behind the work I do is that it really makes a difference, it adds value to people’s lives, it is work that I love, it is heart-centred. I heard a motivational speaker, a long time ago talking about “heart-centred work”, and her summary included that “heart-centred work adds light to the world”; a shining beacon of light, work, yes, I love that! (See Catherine Watkin, creator of Selling from the Heart).
Running a heart-centred business means that the work we do is passionate and value-adding work, but it is a business, it is a profit-making venture. It isn’t a hobby, it isn’t charitable work that we carry out in our spare time. Running a heart-centred business is thought of as being a very female approach to work, which is often entrepreneurial in nature, and usually with a central mission of doing good. Our heart-centred work includes aspects of work which are more typically considered to be more masculine, such as self-promotion, making a profit, being assertive (without being aggressive) and striving to achieve goals. It is a business, we do need to market ourselves and our products, we need to tell people clearly about the work we do, we want to achieve our goals; there are business plans, strategies, meetings, accounts. While it is heart-thinking, it involves a lot of head-thinking too! It is undeniably a business!
Business is often thought of as being aggressive, pushy and downright dirty, but, it is completely possible to do business in a utterly positive and thoughtfully authentic way. Sometimes it can be daunting, but if you really want to make a difference, and if you are passionate, then you need to stand up, be heard and make it all count. Maintain your confidence, stay true to your vision, and try to keep your passion and direction in sight. I firmly believe that if your ideals are genuine, and you work with integrity, then you will reap the benefits, your heart and your purse will swell.
Working from the heart enables you to fulfil a purpose and a mission, it proves to yourself that you are valuable in many ways, and shows your family and friends all that lies beneath. Working from the head and the heart combined allows you to be helpful, loving and supportive, while maintaining business ethics and turning a healthy profit.
Reach into your heart and find what truly matters, let’s take a leaf out of Kevin Costner’s book “if you build it, (they) will come”.
This piece is by Caroline Barber. Caroline runs West London Babies and is a mummy, Certified Infant Massage Instructor, Baby Yoga Instructor, Recognised Postnatal Doula, Trageschule Baby wearing Consultant and First Aid Instructor. See www.westlondonbabies.com