How to Create a WorkLife You Love That Fulfils Your Wants and Needs

A Lesson About How to Get Creative and Inventive In Doing What You Can With What You Have
Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

What do Westminster, A Village Hall and Knitting Classes have in common? A Creating a WorkLife That Fulfils Your Wants and Needs Case Study

I was at a networking event some time ago with fellow business owners and met a lovely woman called Terry whose business is about teaching people how to knit and she runs classes in Westminster. I’m not sure what Terry did before this and I do hope I meet her again as I’m intrigued to know.

It got me thinking about how inventive people are about developing their WorkLives in line with something they love and are good at, that fulfils their wants and needs. Who’d have thought a cottage-industry business in knitting would successfully operate in the land of politicians! And while I’m not sure if any members of parliament pop into Terry’s classes, I’ll be sure to ask if I meet her again.

What Terry is doing resonated with me because many years ago my oldest sister Anne, who trained as a nurse, gave it up once she started her family to stay at home to bring up her boys. Anne had always knitted. She once told me when she was four or five our mum first taught her, and she hasn’t stopped since.

While Anne enjoyed being a stay-at-home mum she also wanted to earn her own money. But anything she did needed to fit into the lifestyle she’d carved out for herself. Anyway, she came across a company who wanted people to knit Aran jumpers (a traditional Irish jumper) for export to America. Apparently, there was a large demand for this style of jumper — among Irish ex-pats I guess. And this is what Anne took on and did for many years to come.

I asked Anne how much she was paid for each jumper. While she couldn’t remember exactly, she thought perhaps it was between IR£5 – IR£20 – depending on size. This was in the 1960s, when my sister Lily, who worked in our local post office, was earning IR£1 per week!

Many years later when she was in her 50s Anne returned to work in a more formal environment, putting into practice the skills she’d gained in her nursing, and worked with people with disabilities supporting them to live independently in group houses in their community.

She has since retired, and when I last spoke to her she was back to her knitting and selling her wares at local craft fares. She’s actually doing quite well from a financial perspective. But probably more important to her is the network of friends she’s building and the social interaction she has.

She’s been asked to run knitting workshops in our village hall, and while the village we grew up in is many miles away from Westminster on many levels, I think the satisfaction she gets from her little cottage industry is similar to Terry’s and indeed to anyone who creates a WorkLife doing something they love which meets their wants and needs.


I love the podcast: Side Hustle School with Chris Guillebeau. I never cease to be amazed by how inventive people are in doing something that fulfils their WorkLife wants and needs and earn good money doing it. For some it helps to supplement their income, for others it helps to finance something important for them — something they’re passionate about, or an experience of a lifetime. Some people are happy to keep it as a side hustle alongside their regular job, and others develop it into a full-time job or business.

Book Wisdom

In the book Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau, he’s created a step-by-step methodology for imagining, building and launching side projects that can earn real serious cash. Gretchen Rubin describes his book as: “The essential guide for anyone who wants to create more freedom, opportunity, and security by launching a profitable side hustle” On his popular podcast, Chris often says, “Inspiration is good, but inspiration combined with action is so much better,” and Side Hustle provides both. It’s packed with practical tips and strategies — illustrated by compelling stories of real-life hustles — that will inspire readers to start their side hustles now.”

I love the question that Chris poses: “What if we could quickly and easily create an additional stream of income without giving up the security of a full-time job?” That’s because I love “What if” questions. I’m often known to say: “What and If are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side by side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life.” A quote I’ve taken from the film Letters to Juliet which is based on the book Letters to Juliet by Lise Friedman and Ceil Friedman.

I think it’s an important question to reflect upon to help address any obstacles or fears we may have which are holding us back, perhaps the most common being “I don’t have the time”, or “I don’t want it to take over my WorkLife”.

Reflect on this question and see what it brings up for you, then through self-feedback consider what you can do to overcome the obstacles and/or fears that may be holding you back. For example, in understanding the block or fear of not having enough time, or not wanting it to take over their WorkLife, people were able to address and alleviate this by:

  1. Identifying what little time they did have, and for some this was as little as thirty minutes a day; but the thing is thirty minutes adds up over the course of a week, a month, and a year. What people found was the most important thing in achieving their goal was consistency, and every small piece of input, action, and step took them a step closer.
  2. For those who were concerned their side-hustle would take over their WorkLife, they simply came up with a plan to ensure it didn’t, after all they were in the driving seat, and this was very much within their control.

Sage Wisdom

“Hobbies cost you money, legit side businesses make money. If you want to get on the road to financial freedom and enjoy more passion and choice in your life, Side Hustle can help you take the first critical steps.” Jessica Herrin

Words of Wisdom

“In a changing world, so much has shifted in the last few months, people want to invest in themselves, want to create more security for themselves, because they recognise that the world we live in is not secure, and trusting your future to a corporation, or to a government or organisation, even if it’s a good corporation, government or organisation is not wise, even if you love that job and want to keep going to it, you also want to build something for yourself.” Chris Guillebeau


Creating a WorkLife you love that fulfils your wants and needs, will be ongoing throughout the chapters of your WorkLife. We all have more than one career or side-hustle within us, should we choose to change our WorkLife path at our different WorkLife stages.

What do Westminster, A Village Hall and Knitting Classes have in common? Is part of a series of stories about how people created a WorkLife that fulfilled their wants and needs at their different WorkLife stages. Stories about how people got creative and inventive in doing what they could with what they had — their skills, attributes and experience in creating opportunities for themselves, and making good money while doing this.

Today’s featured book is: Side Hustle By Chris Gullebeau

WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories:

The intention of the stories I share is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories, you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles, failures and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride.

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.



This story was originally published on 7/6/21. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.


School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Build Your WorkLife Around What Engages and Inspires You  

How To Be Creative in Your Thinking

How To Let Curiosity Be Your Driving Force  

Tap The School of WorkLife Book Series to view the complete collection of books. From here, you can tap on each individual title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

I'm Carmel O’ Reilly. I'm a writer and learning practitioner. My books and learning resources are designed to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning. As founder of School of WorkLife, my guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.