The Honour Project was born on the 3rd of January 2017 - the same day that I took a massive leap of faith and submitted my resignation to leave the comfort and stability of the corporate world, a career path that had looked after me financially, but wasn't really me. I had all these ideas that had been bubbling under the surface for years, but they had been bottled up because I wasn't living out my truth. I actually started the project on Facebook back in 2014, but I didn't commit to it for very long because I was so caught up in this other life that I had created for myself. I didn't sit down and plan how I was going to create The Honour Project, and I didn't think about what other people wanted to see or hear or worry about getting followers. The project was just in me, I felt pulled to do it, and I love that about it. It was an idea that never went away. I had all these thoughts I had wanted to share, and I thought I might be able to reach others, even if it was just one person. It's funny, because whilst I had had the idea for the project, I didn't know that I was going to start the page when I woke up that morning on the 3rd of January. And whilst I had been thinking about leaving my job and pursuing my dreams, I also didn't know that I was going to resign. I clearly followed my heart that day! I see The Honour Project as my purpose trying to break free and manifest itself, but I had been operating from a place of fear and had continued to put a lid on my passions in favour of living a "stable" life. There is nothing wrong with creating stability, I still crave that, it's a necessity for all of us to some extent, but I also crave freedom and flexibility, and I don't believe that you have to settle for a life that doesn't fulfil you. I realised that I could create stability and freedom for myself doing what I loved or at least I could try! I knew that it would require me to take a risk, and that I would need to sacrifice a few things in my life for the short-term to get what I wanted in the long-term, but that I could go for it. I realised that I was already safe because I could always go back to the comfort of my previous career if it didn't work out - so really, what did I have to lose? I also decided to put my trust in the universe, something I hadn't been doing prior to that. To me the project was a way to show the world who I really am, and what I intended to become, because I had made a conscious choice on the 3rd of January to align myself to me. Without knowing it at the time, it was a pretty pivotal day for me! I made a choice to stop putting my energy into things that I didn't love, or anything that didn't serve me. I decided to create a world for myself that represented my passions and who I really am.
I had gotten to a place where I was looking at my life and I didn't like what I was seeing - not just in my career, but in other areas of my life too, and I had found the courage to do something about it. I think the new year fuelled me because I didn't want to spend another year going down the same path. It meant that I pretty much had to turn my life upside down throughout 2017 - I let go of a lot, and at points felt like I had very little, but my life had to fall apart so I could create it again. I pretty much decided to start from scratch with a lot of things, and that has been scary but my desire to live the life that I want has outweighed any of the fear that I have. I had some people in my life who didn't understand what I was doing, and I felt like I was being judged at times, but I always came back to the same place - it didn't matter what others thought because every part of me knew I was doing the right thing for me. In saying that, I also had some awesome people who supported me, and thought it was great that I was going for it. I made some drastic changes pretty quickly but I don't think you have to do it that way! For me I had always been sensible and planned things out, but I felt like I had to rip the band-aid off and just trust that I would be okay. I felt like if I didn't do that, I might just stay the same. I also needed to remove myself from the other life I had created, because whilst I was in it, I found it hard to get the clarity I needed. The project is my way of honouring myself and when I started it, I decided to just be me in the hope that I might reach others who could relate to me. I also wanted to create a platform that contributed to normalising mental health issues due to my own experiences with mental health and the experiences of others who I care about. I suffered with my own mental health issues in silence because I felt like I couldn't talk about what I was going through. By doing that I wasn't honouring what I was experiencing and allowing it to be okay. After experiencing that I didn't want anyone else to go through the same thing because I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. The isolation is one of the worst parts of battling a mental health issue and just makes things a thousand times worse. I felt like I wanted to contribute to changing that for others, to break the stigma, because we are in an age where this kind of thing shouldn't be hidden. Mental health is a part of all of us and something that we all need to work on. I felt like I could contribute by being real and starting a conversation.
I am a reserved person by nature and whilst I am friendly and can be bubbly, underneath I can be shy sometimes too. I tend to be really good at allowing others to be vulnerable and listening to their issues, but can find it hard to be vulnerable myself at times. I generally take a while to open myself up to people with the deeper stuff, so the project was big for me when I initially started putting myself out there. It was part of my mission though in honouring myself to start showing my vulnerabilities more because I believe in the power of that, and the connection that you can make with others in giving them permission to be vulnerable too. I also think that part of the anxiety I experienced came from not expressing myself fully and suppressing a lot of the things that I was feeling, including my gifts and truths. Whatever it is you want to achieve for yourself, start putting it out there - show the universe that you are ready. Start taking steps towards what you want like it is already yours. When I started showing myself through the project, other doors started opening up for me. It hasn't all been smooth sailing, and I am still creating the life that I want for myself, but twelve months down the track and I like what I am seeing now, and that just keeps getting better every day. I trust that doors will continue to open for me the more that I align with myself. It is never too late to start anything or change anything in your life. Age is just a biological marker, but the soul doesn't have an age. I don't think so anyway! There aren't any rules that you have to adhere to. You don't have to meet certain requirements or behave or look or feel a certain way at any stage of life. And you definitely don't have to stay stuck in something you don't like. You might have to gradually progress towards what you want, but you can start taking action at any time! Learning to be myself and showing myself (mental health battles and all) has been a huge personal lesson for me and the main mission of The Honour Project is to connect with, and hopefully inspire others to do the same. I've come to realise that what I was once scared to do wasn't really that scary, and I would do it a thousand times over if it means that I get to live the life that I want to live, and to know that at the very least I went for it.
Contributor: Rochelle Smith, founder of The Honour Project