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"Finding my purpose has been one of the most difficult yet rewarding things I have ever done in my life," says international motivational speaker Rob Hosking. "But there was a time in my life when I had anything but purpose … that is where my story begins.

Aged 22 years old, I joined the Police Force, bright eyed and a little naïve to what the world had in store for me. It was never a dream job, but a job where I felt a pressure to join. Now, I’m not meaning someone forced me to join, far from it. But when your family have a police background or a military background, you see that those careers are deemed ‘successful.' So when I had the opportunity to join, I thought I was doing the right thing and I put an application in - as where is the harm in that? One thing led to another and before I knew it, it was my first day on the job.

The 5 years I was a Police Officer changed me in so many ways. During those years I witnessed examples of poor workplace culture. It was a culture where people didn’t look after their mental health, a culture where the employer didn’t look after the wellbeing of their staff, a culture where people didn’t thrive. I started to become the culture that I was in, and my mental health deteriorated as a result. I would put that down to 3 things;

• Stress - chronic and excessive.

• Negativity - two-fold. From the culture itself and seeing the worst in people daily.

• Trauma - witnessing the daily traumas of the job.

These experiences led me to wanting to take my own life, a story which I have only, in the last year, opened up about more. I would describe myself as a functioning depressive during my time in the Police force but that all changed with my last shift where I witnessed a young male take his own life, and my colleague have a heart attack on shift and die. This shift changed my life. It changed me. It was a massive wake-up call, and it led me to take a hard look at myself and where I was headed. That's when I knew something had to give, that I needed to find a new direction, something that would let me heal and make a difference in a new way. I had to face down the demons I'd been dodging for years, had to learn to sit with my own thoughts and feelings. It taught me a lot about self-care, about giving yourself the space to heal. And the biggest thing? Realising that all the pain and struggle could actually be used to help others. That's where I found my new purpose.

I started asking myself questions about who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do in my life. My experiences in the Police had given me so many skills and stories.

My experiences also awoke a passion inside me to make a difference in the workplace. Being in a toxic culture, I saw the impacts on productivity and morale. I knew that it was something I felt like I could help organisations with and help individuals understand that to be able to thrive in their professional lives, they must thrive in their personal ones too.

But before I got to the point of giving motivational talks to businesses, I had to unpick and understand my own trauma. I asked myself a series of questions which allowed me to get clear on my purpose as it allowed me to move through the trauma and become the person I truly was. These questions now form what I call the 7 Steps to a Happier Life.

There are two that had the biggest impact on me finding my purpose:

1. Understand your core values.

Understanding one’s core values is an integral part of finding our purpose in life. We must get clear with what makes us who we are as people. Who are we really beyond our name. Once I did the work and understood who made me Rob, it became so clear as to where my purpose may be. Without understanding our core values then how can we make aligned decisions? How can we ensure that we are living a happy life when we don’t know if things are aligned to the core values of who we are? Understanding our core values also goes further than just on a personal level. Businesses must understand their core values and ensure they meet them with the decisions they make and the behaviour that staff exhibit. By doing this, the business can create a thriving workforce.

2. Be an optimist.

Understanding the importance of being an optimist had a significant impact on my journey to purpose. Now, I know we can’t be an optimist every single day, but I found the power in finding the positive in things rather than just focusing on the negatives. It not only helps your mental health, but research has shown that it reduces your risk of heart attack, stroke and death. Mindset is so important and having an optimistic mindset is key to living a happier life.

I found my purpose giving motivational talks to businesses and conferences. I found my purpose speaking about stress, resilience, mental health and workplace wellbeing. I have found myself again and this was all down to the journey along the way."

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