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Mary Portas: 'I was wealthy and successful - so why wasn't I happy?'

Mary Portas restructured her business around new priorities
Mary Portas restructured her business around new priorities Credit: Jeff Gilbert/The Telegraph

Just after her four-year-old son Horatio was born, Mary Portas spent a few days in hospital. For the first time in years everything came to a standstill and there was time to think. “I was very successful and quite wealthy but I suddenly realised I wasn’t happy,” she says. “I had this outwardly lovely life but my soul wasn’t singing.”

She took a piece of paper and wrote “Are you happy?”. Below she listed the things that did give her a warm glow of contentment: her family, children and her wife, fashion consultant Melanie Rickey. The thing that didn’t make her happy – slightly to her surprise – was work. In most women of fiftysomething (Portas is 56) that might be their cue to seek early retirement and spend more time walking the dog. For Portas, having spent more than 20 years building up a successful business, it was time to tear it apart and start again, with some new rules.

Mary Portas changed her work-life balance Credit: TMG/TMG

She would no...

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