It’s been three years now since I left my full time Corporate job to work for myself. On one hand it feels like it was just yesterday. On the other, it feels like time has significantly slowed down. In this span of time, I’ve learned a few things.
I didn’t initially set out to leave my corporate job to be a yoga teacher and I certainly never thought I’d go deeper into the healer world. I did however, finish my yoga teacher training at the same time (so it is my 3 year anniversary from that too!). I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit in that world. How I would find my space. I had (and still have) my side hustle vintage business and I wanted to work on that. I also knew, from skills gained at my corporate job, that I was a good teacher. I didn’t want to be stuck solely working from home and lose that part of my career that I loved. So I thought I’d teach on the side. One class, maybe. You know, ‘Get out of the house and with people’. Well, as you may already know, it all turned into much, much more than that.
First of all, I’m not writing this, nor am I here, to sell you dreams of success or manifestation. This isn’t a Quit Your Day Job story filled with empty promises. In fact it isn't even a quit your day job story. I’m not here to tell you if you do X, Y, and Z (insert trendy wellness regimen of you choice) your life will change dramatically or save you from the dregs of a job you hate. Nope. No rags to riches story here. No riches to rags to riches story here either (just because I say I left a corporate job doesn’t mean I worked at Goldman Sachs. I worked at a retail start-up. So not exactly making the big bucks.) We see this selling of dreams all of the time in the wellness industry, in the entrepreneurial dream industry, and everywhere on social media. Coaches are everywhere, overtly and covertly, with a lot to sell. Quite frankly, it’s tiring and it is so easy to make it all look easy. Guess what? It’s not. Changing your life is a practice. It is a resolve. It is a life long journey.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
I needed to leave my job because I needed to heal.
I started that job broke, in debt, and recovering from a debilitating hand injury. I needed to get back on my feet in many ways so it was a godsend that I was most grateful for. Still am. I worked hard. Damn hard and I moved my way up the proverbial ladder. Six years later, my debts were paid off and I had money saved, I fully recovered my hand, and was practicing yoga again. I was also surrounded by toxic behavior both at work and for years and years outside of work that I didn’t have the energy to do anything about. I didn’t have the full trust in my own intuition to do be kinder to myself. I just worked hard to avoid it. Eventually, I was exhausted, my gut was inflamed (my female boss once asked me if I was pregnant while we were at an after work social. “Nope” I answered, and took a swig of my wine. “Just severely bloated, thanks.”), and I needed a next. Only my next couldn’t be more of the same. I started my yoga teacher training in the January prior and the truly transforming healing work had started while in it. All while I still had my job. I didn’t realize it, but the more I healed the more I could see the toxicity that surrounded me. The more I needed to clear it out. I needed to catch my breath. By the time I was nearing the end of my training, I knew I was at the end of my time at my job.
When we are in toxic surroundings, relationships, or living with our own unhealed traumas, our intuition is clouded. Our intuition becomes surrounded by a fog. I can look way back now and see places in my life where I broke through that fog. It is very clear to me. And I can see where the fog slowly and not so slowly rolled back in. When we can’t hear our intuitive voice, we don’t have a lot of trust. Trust in ourselves and in the Universe. I didn’t just leave my job that summer, I started to leave the fog. Immediately following and throughout the years since, I’ve been confronted with dealing with all the toxicity that I didn’t have time to deal with before. The fog has lifted a lot. I’ve let go of “friends”, I’ve let go of “family”, I’ve let go of thinking the Universe owes me an explanation. It doesn’t. I needed that job. I needed to have severe digestion issues. I needed to go through all of that to get myself on a proper healing journey. Not one of self doubt because my intuition poked its head through the fog for a minute and then left me wondering what I’m doing. No, one where I can fully say, I’m here to stay.
You don’t have to give up a part of yourself to become something new.
All too often what keeps us from making changes is the thought that you have to or will become something new entirely. That can be a scary thought. Especially, if you’re no longer in your 20s. We are also shown this, again and again by so many in the self-help industries. Usually a story where someone is saying how they gave up being an actor or in the fashion industry (usually something vapid sounding) to become a coach or a healer (something more profound sounding). In my opinion, you don’t have to give up any one part of yourself for a switch in your career plan. What you do have to give up is any thing that was false. So if you were an actor because you thought you should be and not because you wanted to be then yes, it has got to go. Anything that isn’t truly you and why you are giving in to it needs to be figured out. Again, that intuition has to be in the sun and out of the fog. Again, you need to heal so that you can truly connect with who you are.
While I may have been less aware of my toxic surroundings and relationships, I was always connected with my interests and chose career paths that reflected that strongly. As I look back on my life, my interests and hobbies were my strongest tether to my true self. I’m not throwing them out the window just because now I’m a yoga teacher/ healer. Quite the opposite, I’m building on the foundations I’ve already built. And in fact what comes up for me in my personal healing sessions is that I’ve come full circle. Perhaps this is the part I suppressed the most. I didn’t have the words or the logic for it back in the day. Now I do. And I still do all the other things I always have. Embrace your multi-facetedness. Be a full time soul.
Tune out the noise.
When and if you start following your heart’s desire, become really clear on what you want. And on what that looks like. Again, the Universe doesn’t owe you explanations and your outcome may and will look very different than what you pictured. Along the way you will need to be clear that you are on no-one’s journey but your own. Even though I stated that I didn’t leave a very high paying job, it paid more than being a freelance teacher. Do I believe that I can get up to my former salary? Yes I do. Along the way though, I have to be really clear on my budget and what living with less looks like. I also have to be able to defend it. Because there is a lot out there to make you feel like you’re missing out. On social media everyone is traveling, and doing this and doing that. Meanwhile, I’m over here teaching, knitting, breathing, and deepening my studies. Do I want to change places? No. Not if that means I have a toxic job environment I need to escape on the regular, my heart and head in a fog with no boundaries in place, and a bloated distressed belly to go with it. I’m just fine where I am. I’ll take a swig of lemon water. Thanks.
I’m here to stay.