Jo Howarth, Founder of The Happiness Club
Can you really choose to be happy?
“Jo, I have to tell you that daddy’s died…” and with those words, spoken by mum, my life changed forever…
Aged 25, I was living in Liverpool – 200 miles away from my home in Somerset. My parents had split when I was five and mum got back with her childhood sweetheart; an emotionally abusive alcoholic, he was a cheat who caused perpetual chaos. I spent my childhood walking on eggshells – a feeling I later learned to label as ‘anxiety’; I never felt able to relax into happy times.
I thought of dad as more like a nice uncle who I saw a lot of, so I felt like a fraud for being so sad when he died. To me, counselling was all bunkum, but my friend convinced me to give her counsellor a go. It took years for my barriers to come down, but gradually Eammon opened my eyes – changing how I saw the world, everyone in it and myself.
I thought I’d made great progress until the day I exploded at my eldest daughter; I sounded like my mum – not what I wanted for my girls. I called Eammon immediately. He reminded me it’s utterly possible not to repeat what you’ve been through and said: “I’ve been waiting 10 years to train you. When are you ready?” I’d already quit working as an events manager; the time was now. I became an advanced hypnotherapist and mindfulness practitioner.
My first business venture, The De-Stress Show, failed spectacularly, so I became a jobbing hypnotherapist. Three years later, I was chatting to a lady at a networking event, who said: “You do know that what you do is help people find happiness?” It wasn’t until March 2015 that the seed she had planted exploded in my head: ‘Oh my God, it’s a Happiness Club!’ I would send my members something every day to help them choose happiness!
For the past three years, I’ve focused on delivering corporate and school workshops, as well as training others to deliver them too. Now, my mission is to sign up 10,000 global Happiness Club members so that they can learn what I’ve learned…
We all have the potential to be happy.