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Helen sanderson


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Adventures of Helen Sanderson
Founder and Director Ministry of Calm

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Helen sanderson

  1. 1. Adventures of Helen Sanderson Founder and Director Ministry of CalmMy name is Helen Sanderson founder and director of the Ministry of Calm. I am also an Interior designer,personal organiser, author and public speaker.Ministry of Calm diffuses the noise and chaos of modern life, by offering and championing products and servicesthat bring about order, calm and quiet. Calm: we believe passionately that the world needs more of it, so ourmission is to spread calm by whatever means necessary. Whether that’s designing a quiet room for prayer andcontemplation, creating an oasis of peace, sacred spaces, meditation or yoga rooms in someone’s home or helpingthem de-clutter their life.I established Quiet Room Designs in 2005 to address the growing need for non-denominational contemplationspaces in commercial, healthcare and residential environments. In my current role I work with a specialist designteam working with the development of quiet rooms, multi-faith spaces and well-being areas; creating peacefulspaces whilst embracing the diverse needs of people. Quiet Room Designs has worked with the NHS, Marie CurieCancer Care, The Ministry of Justice and Guardian News and Media, Gloucestershire University and SouthTyneside college, to name a few.In 2008 I launched Calm from Clutter, a natural progression from my passion for creating spaces that supportwellbeing and my work as a professional de-clutterer, personal organiser over many years. Observing the positiveand transformative effects that de-cluttering has had on my clients’ lives, I have witnessed that clearing clutter is apowerful tool. De-cluttering not only meets a person’s physical need for order, but also for emotional and spiritualorder as well. I work with great empathy and positive energy to support people to restore their inner calm bymaking sense in their home again.I got into this work from a background in the arts creating conceptual spaces, later followed by training as aninterfaith minister; I started to research the prayer rooms that companies provided for their staff. I found that theywere pretty awful. And in the worst cases, little more than a broom cupboard! As an ambassador for all faiths (thetraining philosophy was “Many ways; One truth”), I was interested in how the major religions could share space.From a design perspective, my question was focused on how we could share space AND keep the essence of the‘sacred’, without it resembling a hospital waiting room - drab dreary and cold. My intuitive relationship withspace, its emotive and healing quality, lead me to design spaces for hospices who needed to offer somewhere forpeople to contemplate life’s profound questions or simply to grieve.I’d had a variety of roles, working in the third sector, retail and business, but I had been looking for a way tocombine my various interests and talents, this is how I came to create my own company, a combination of myvalues and talents. It has offered me the opportunity to self-actualize, be my own boss, and to express my gifts,whilst at the same time offering them back into the world.As the managing and creative director, I have to do everything! This is a stretch and learning to delegate isdifficult when you have built your dream from scratch, with vision. However, every mother will tell you, youhave to nurture and then let your child go as it matures. When you have spent much time and energy building abusiness, it is no wonder people often refer to their business as their baby.There’s no such thing as a typical day for me. Some days I’m scrambling and others are just back to backmeetings. Sometimes, if a client session is cancelled I breathe a sigh of relief as it gives me a few gifted hours tocatch up on email, write some content for the website, or make some decisions about a design project we areworking on!What I would have done differently; I would have sought more business experience before launching in andsetting up on my own. I was so passionate about the idea that the practical aspects don’t filter until you are fullyimmersed! Learning on the job, whilst paying the mortgage can be stressful, and occasionally I feel overwhelmed,but I can’t think of anything else I would rather do.A different career given the choice is difficult to know. I would like to pick up painting again and perhaps mentor
  2. 2. and guide people in the future and give back some of the wonderful gifts I have received to others.One of the biggest challenges for me in business is being a creative! Honestly, we see the world quite differentlysometimes and there can be conflicts between creating something beautiful and making a profit. Creating beautyis what makes my heart sing with joy. The conflict with the business demands and time pressures of the marketplace are a real challenge, but one that I relish. It is a delicate balance and any HR director would understand thatconcept of balance, where they need to tend to compassion for individual against the needs of the business.At the present time I believe I am definitely heading in the right direction. I am supporting myself and notworking for anyone else, which is what I wanted the most. My business has a way to go before I am employing abig team of people and we all get bonuses, but it is growing and I’m focusing on the important ground workbefore getting too big.We all have a unique offering for the world - you have got to believe in that. I’m clear about who I am, my values,what I want to express, and what I have to give to the world. I believe it’s a disservice to life to withhold yourgifts and that they can become burdens on your heart if you don’t share them. You don’t have to be a creativegenius, but if you have a clear way of working with people and communicating your ideas, these will be unique toyou and make your expression a success, your own unique selling point.I think if you ask anyone who is running a small micro business - the business is the number one priority and mostelse comes second. It can be hard on relationships, but I think you need a strategy, schedule in special time withloved ones and take good holidays to support the large amount of work you do and give you brain time out!Women are great networkers, they connect naturally and today business is about making connections and realrelating, something women are naturally good at. Business today is becoming more and more aboutentrepreneurship, it is all changing rapidly due to social media - watch this space! Amanda Palmer and BreneBrown are some example of the inspirational women you can watch on TED, and how the feminine qualities ofrelating and community are becoming more valued.Women can be very shrewd at the same time keeping their heart intact, which is the quality that is needed for realchange to happen in the world. Women are great leaders, wish there were more of them…but there will be…I feelvery sure and positive about that!For me my job is all about being creative. If that is creating a new website, a new product, new quiet rooms,helping someone clear their clutter, and re-order or plan their space - it gives me energy and inspiration. I believeto be inspired is ‘to be in-spirit’.For young women looking to enter the field of design, then try and work with a designer whom you respect. Offerto do their menial jobs and sit in their field – you will absorb what they do, how they do it and learn by sitting inthe same room.Go out and work in as many areas of their interest as possible, whether that be as an intern, or a clerk, get to knowhow it all works and if you have an idea, get a mentor, a sage or a council of elders to help you if you want tocreate something. Don’t try and do it all alone, and don’t let the voices of self doubt in your head talk you out of iteither, we all have those, you will learn to know them and ignore them! Try little low-risk ventures, to get the feelfor sales and profit.I want to leave a legacy where we remember the value of peace, quiet and calm in a chaotic, busy, noisy andoverfull world. My concern is that someday we will pay a premium price for privacy, quiet space and inner calm.I want to protect those things as our birth given right and the importance they play for our wellbeing.I hope you have enjoyed reading my adventures and so now to end my story one of my favorite quotes “You mustgive up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” –” Joseph CampbellHelen SandersonFounder and DirectorMinistry of Calm07989