You may know her best from TV favourites such as Celebrity Juice and Love Island, or her BBC Radio 5 Live show, but Laura Whitmore says she’s always been a writer at heart. In the last couple of years, she’s written on subjects from #MeToo to abortion laws, and the impact of social media. Initially though, her degree in Journalism led her to broadcasting. She started out presenting on MTV after entering the music channel’s Pick Me MTV competition – a seemingly lucky break that kick-started her career. And it’s these chance moments that Whitmore is honing in on in her debut book, No One Can Change Your Life Except For You.
Where did she get the inspiration for the book from? “When I was a kid the first album I owned was by Wilson Phillips. I remember the lyric from the song Hold On, 'No one can change your life except for you',” she says, in a statement to Bustle. “It's how I've chosen to live my life.”
In the book, Whitmore writes from her own experience, sharing struggles that many readers will relate to – heartbreak, body-image concerns, self-doubt – and how she has worked through them. With her signature wit and optimism, she’s hoping to inspire readers to accept and believe in themselves, and in turn attract success into their lives.
“There is a freedom when you take back control,” Whitmore says. Her best advice for those wanting to adopt her carpe diem philosophy? “Stop waiting for someone to save you, and do it yourself. I recognise everyone has different levels of struggle, but no one just hands you a chance. We don't have to wait for Prince Charming to rescue us, or wait for the opportunity to come to us. We can be our own heroines. We can create our own dreams.”
Excerpt from No One Can Change Your Life Expect For You, exclusive to Bustle UK
My path is always changing, but my purpose is something I’m constantly striving towards. When reflecting on your purpose, you must justify it to yourself; because by doing so, you make it your own – and, once you make it your own, you ignite an inner drive. A drive that’s immune to the thoughts and opinions of people around you. That nagging feeling of ‘what will other people think?’ quietens, trust me. Approval from others becomes less important.
But what if you haven’t found your purpose? Well make it your purpose to find it! Go on a journey. What are you passionate about? Engage in deep introspection. See where it takes you. Look at where it leads you. Purpose will vary from person to person simply because we were raised in different circumstances, different cultures, and have different beliefs. Your purpose is of your own volition and ONLY your own and therefore it can never be taken from you. It becomes something real, something tangible that you can hold on to for the rest of your life.
One thing I want to point out is that we can never judge another person for the purpose they choose to follow. Some people may choose money. Some fame. Some charity. Some parenthood. Some a life of solitude. That’s fine. That’s their purpose and their purpose alone. Not yours.
When you find your purpose and make it your own, you begin to see exactly what you’re made of, because when purpose is activated it naturally drives success. Life has a habit of working itself out when you know what it is you truly want. When you have purpose, you’ll find yourself spending time pursuing it, discovering and interacting with people of similar mindset and purpose – your community or tribe – and encouraging one another to go for it. The people you hang around with, your choice of books and entertainment, your diet, your lifestyle, all of it will start to revolve around your purpose, feeding it and helping you reach for it.
It may SEEM like a plan is coming into effect but you haven’t actually planned anything. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith in the iconic TV show The A-Team used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together’” but think about it – they never really spent a lot of time planning, did they? Most of the time it didn’t look as though they had a plan at all (the magic of television, maybe). But it does reinforce the power of drive over everything else, and of having goals. Your purpose is not the same as your goal, however. Goals are there to serve your purpose, not to be your purpose. The A-Team had a goal such as ‘to rescue the kidnapped rich girl from the bad guys’, but that’s not the same as purpose. The purpose is to live in a world that is peaceful, safe and not controlled by the bad guys. Oh, and money. They got paid handsomely, let’s not forget.
Purpose is the driving force behind setting the goals you want to achieve. Goals are simply a reflection and minor subset of your overall purpose. When I look at people I admire – Mary Robinson, Brené Brown, Tom Hanks, my parents (now there’s a dinner party I want to be at) – beyond a shadow of a doubt having purpose in their lives played a central role in their success. The one common factor they all had within them is that their purpose was something much greater than themselves and that they genuinely loved pursuing it.
YOU must find out what your purpose is. Only you can figure it out and undertake the journey to find it (and you eventually will find it). My friend Britt, who lives in LA, always says “hustle in purpose”, and I love this phrase. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. It’s all a hustle, but as you’re hustling keep reflecting back to that purpose. Even though your purpose may change, life constantly has struggles, so make sure what you are hustling for has worth in your heart.