Ordinary or Extraordinary Life Madam?

It’s been a joy this week to find two people at different stages in their careers and both equally passionate – one is 19 and the other 40.

It’s some time since anyone got excited by my hair, myself included.    So it was a real pleasure to have my hair cut by a motivated and passionate 19 year old.   She clearly loves her work, knows not only about customer service but how to make  her clients feel good.  In addition she thought about what would make me look good – and cared.

My hairdresser was chosen as student of the year at her hairdressing college,  and it’s easy to see why.

This week, I also met the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader of the Year 2011.  Diana is 40.  Working since she was 14 as a waitress in Buenos Aires, she has a long CV.

Following a diving trip where she saw the effects of pollution on the coral reef, she returned determined to do something about it.  She didn’t know what, or how, but eventually Clownfish – a global sustainability communications consultancy came into being.  Diana came from nothing and had no family support.

After selling the company, Diana had to find a new role.  After much soul searching she is now the founder and CEO of PositiveLuxury.com; a website that inspires people to make more responsible purchases without compromising their love for well-made, high-quality, stylish luxury goods ‘you can look good and do good.’

“You can live an ordinary life, or you can live an extraordinary one, says Diana.  I don’t want to be part of the 5 billion people who take and consume, I want to be part of the million who give something back.”

It’s so clear that our 19 year old hairdresser gets so much more out of life by providing excellent customer service and enjoying her work.  So much more than the dead eyed 20 something on the till in the House of Fraser or the tetchy 39 year old who cut my hair last time and who looked like she would brain me if forced to have one more conversation about fringes.

Which are you, and which would you rather be –  one of the 5 billion living an ordinary life, or the million living an extraordinary life and give something back?

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4 Responses to Ordinary or Extraordinary Life Madam?

  1. Nora Batty says:

    Both stories, from two different approaches to life and career, give one hope that, yes, we can pay the mortgage, and still have a social conscience and a commitment to one’s life’s work.

    I was wondering if anyone out there has some inspirational (and motivational) advice for those of us approaching retirement (within the next year) who still want to earn some sort of crust, contribute to society and actually make the world a better place before we fall off our twig. I do some voluntary work already (and don’t get me started on how volunteers are often treated – I could go on ad nauseam about that subject), but would love to combine some kind of social contribution with a small wage.

    Any advice from either side of the testosterone coin (qv your latest post) gratefully welcome.

  2. Thank you for your post and what a great question.

    For me, it’s the same if you’re looking for a job at 25,45 or 65. Unearthing a new or old passion is key. And if you’re not sure – hunting out an enthusiasm/passion provides a direction.

    Looking around at friends and family approaching retirement, those with children or those looking for a life work balance – the following are popular – dog walking, child care, IT support, church, volunteering at the library, shifts in their local shops, working at Cook.

    B&Q famously do recruit older people.
    Try these agencies who say they value older people.
    http://www.dinosaur-exchange.com
    http://www.skilledpeople.com

    But this question will be one that occurs increasingly – and therein you’ve found a gap in the market that will need filling.
    As a blogger – perhaps this could be your niche?

  3. Nora Batty says:

    Thank you for the suggestions and websites. Reminds me of an American movie (the name escapes me – shall I put that down to a ‘senior moment’ perhaps?) where the heroine decided to try out her entrepreneurial skills by bottling her own home-made ketchup in her cellar – it sold like hotcakes, she got her man and everyone lived happily ever after – well, wouldn’t you with unlimited supplies of ketchup?!

    Look out Blogosphere – here come the wrinklies…! Now, where did I put that crossword I was working on a minute ago…?

  4. The Adventures of Twins says:

    This is a great story…thank you for sharing! Hearing about other people’s successes and their story of how they came to do what they do and where they’re going next is always a motivation for me. Keep it up!

    -Anika

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