Are you wondering what to do with your life?

Lately I have been delivering a series of talks to local schools and colleges across the Hampshire region. The talks have been aimed at year 9 school students who are in the process of choosing which subjects to study for G.C.S.E level and also at A level students who are trying to make up their minds as to whether university is the right option for them.

I think back to when I was a teen and I have to admit I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life at that stage, however when I look back on what my interests were at that age I can see how they played a very vital part in how my life has mapped out. For example my favourite school subjects were languages and P.E and my out of school hobby was dancing. I was also a rebel who wore far too much makeup which I was constantly reprimanded for.

And what do I do now? I own a beauty business and a fitness franchise which is based on the concept of promoting cultural awareness. So can you see how my interests at the age of 14 certainly laid the foundations for me in my entrepreneurial journey?

I didn’t know straight away that I wanted to run my own business and I wasn’t certain of what career path to choose. I was swayed aged 16 by teenage love and a Spanish boyfriend I had met on holiday the summer that I left school. This gave me the focus I needed to learn to speak Spanish and although I did a year at college I later dropped out and enrolled on a 6 month language course in Spain. I was told by many that this was a huge mistake and that I should have completed my A levels. What I did know at that point though was that university was not for me. I was done with full time education and I wanted to get out into the world and spread my wings so to speak. I returned from Spain 6 months later being able to speak fluent Spanish!

Having a second language took me on a route into the travel and tourism sector and at the age of 18 I started working full time for a UK airline as short haul cabin crew which gave me the opportunity to see a great deal of Europe and spend time in Paris where I learned to speak French. I then went on to work for a long haul Japanese airline which allowed me to learn Japanese.

I was thrown in to the crazy and amazing world that is aviation and although being a member of cabin crew is tough and nothing like the stereotypical ‘trolly dolly’ people may imagine, my interests began to extend further than being at the back of the aircraft. I wanted to know more, I felt I needed a challenge so I set about gaining my pilot’s licence, not an easy thing for someone who failed maths and physics at school but I was focused because I was interested in it and therefore after 3 failed attempts at the final exam I finally passed on the fourth and to date have over 150 flying hours under my belt.

None of the above was easy and just happened, I had to go out and push myself beyond measures to achieve it. I took a lot of knocks, I attended no less than 8 cabin crew interviews for airlines and was rejected from all of them before I landed my job with the Japanese carrier, which so happened to be the best paid! But my perseverance paid off for me and it made me more robust and able to handle the rejections.

Another knock came with the recession in 2010 when I lost my airline job. I had also recently become a mother and had been left by my child’s father. This was a very tough time but was a vital stepping stone for me as it pushed me to achieve more. It was at this point I decided to re train as a beauty therapist and set up my own beauty business. Since school make up had been one of my addictions and my job as cabin crew and time spent in duty free only fuelled the addiction! 6 years on and my beauty business is going from strength to strength…

But it didn’t stop there! During a family holiday I attended a dance fitness class and absolutely fell in love with it. I started to attend the gym more after having my second child and realised I would love to teach classes myself. So there my next challenge was set. I trained as a fitness instructor and began to teach classes in my local community in the evenings. During this time I was introduced to more fitness disciplines such as hula hooping…

The demand for my classes quickly grew and I was starting to burn out. I needed to take on more instructors so I decided to embark on writing my own instructor training programmes and have since licensed and franchised the brand (Globe Fit) out across the UK and Ireland. To date I have trained 50 instructors with the number expected to double for 2017.

Now all of the above happened because I made it happen. I decided full time education wasn’t for me but I have never stopped learning, I just decided to take short courses between working. For me a lot of what I now know has been down to experience. It has been a huge roller-coaster. I am now a mum of 3 children and am juggling motherhood and business but I hope my story can show you that anything is possible if you are determined and willing to learn.

I have summarised some of my advice for any of you trying to figure out what’s next after school/college:

1. Ask yourself what subjects you enjoy, being good at something and enjoying it are two different things, you need to have a passion for what you do and your heart needs to be in it to succeed

2. Don’t be a people pleaser, make your decisions based on yourself and your happiness not what you believe will make others happy

3. Ask yourself which is your favourite day of the school/college week, why is that your favourite day? Which subjects to you look forward to learning more about?

4. Remember you have your whole future ahead of you, the decisions you make now will lay the foundations for you but don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t clear on what you want to do when you leave school/college, go with what you enjoy and the rest will follow

5. Keep a positive outlook, remember positive thinking attracts positive results, I use the law of attraction in my working life

6. Offer to volunteer, find a Saturday job, these ‘jobs’ will be the stepping stones to your success, they will open your mind and eyes to the world around you and may open doors for future opportunities

7. Remember — you can be anything you want to be, nothing is really impossible if you want it enough

Hannah Murphy