In 2013 I decided to quit my corporate job, after 18 years in the corporate world, follow my passion, my dream and my heart and create a career out of my love for yoga, wellness, friendship and fun.
I was not nervous. I was not anxious. I was not scared.
People asked me "what if it doesn't work out?" and told me "you're crazy for giving up a stable career, guaranteed monthly salary, free health insurance, titles and promotions, pay rises and bonuses, a team of intelligent colleagues and friends, company outings, dinners and travel, and more...are you sure?"
I had never been more sure.
None of those things seemed important to me any more. It was time to truly step into my power, be my own boss, and live my dream.
So how did I do it?
I want to share with you some tips that helped me to leave the corporate world and my current job with confidence, with ease and with grace.
I believed in myself. It's that simple. There was no doubt, no fear, no 'what if'. I only had focus, determination and belief.
Focus has always come naturally to me. When I get an idea I put it into action and I'm so focused on it, often to the exclusion of other options or even the bigger picture, until it manifests. I don't ask for people's advice. If people offer their advice, I usually say "thanks" but ignore them. I don't wonder 'what if', or 'will it work?'. I have such a strong sense of it being the right thing to do, almost like an internal voice guiding me and moving me forward. There is no doubt when it's an inner voice.
I hear of many people that are filled with fears and doubts and as a result they remain stuck. I believe these fears and doubts may arise if we think we want something, but that "thought" comes from the more conscious mind, perhaps from seeing something in the external world that we want and then we strive to achieve it. When our ideas and thoughts come from our inner voice there is only truth. There is no doubt. There is only belief. It feels like the true essence of belief.
I don't repeat affirmations to "try to make myself believe". That isn't needed when our inner soul truly believes. I believe that a sense of true Belief is what drives Focus. When people have fears and doubts, they find it very hard to focus. They keep getting distracted by other options or other people's thoughts and advice.
I was more of a rebel than my sisters growing up and I usually did exactly what I wanted. My Dad rarely shouted, but I do remember the time that he shouted at me when I was a teenager "You'll run your own business one day because you won't listen to anyone else!" He was correct. I was/am a middle child of 3 girls, and if I wanted to do something I would do it. I haven't changed, and I'm grateful for this inner belief and focus.
Never stop being passionate about what you are doing. My passion for what I was doing (teaching yoga, healing people through massage and Reiki, and teaching ChiRunning) also prevented any sense of doubt, fear or anxiety creeping in.
Being truly passionate about what we are doing also helps us to stay full present, and not plan ahead too much or look into the future with big goals. I had no big long-term goals. I was truly passionate about teaching people the gift of yoga, meditation and wellness, sharing the practices that had helped me in my life. I didn't have a business plan nor any big long-term plans for a business. I was passionate about every class I taught and I continued to teach more and more as that brought me so much passion. Everything in my business since then happened organically and beautifully, and every opportunity arose from an openness and from my strong passion to teach, help others and share these gifts.
I kept my passion for teaching yoga, and my recent yoga teacher certification to myself for a long time, never sharing it with any of my colleagues in the corporate world as I was concerned that they would realize my heart was elsewhere.
One day one of my colleagues told me that her boyfriend's company do yoga in the office. I quietly admitted to her that I was a certified yoga teacher and it would be fun to teach in the office. I had no idea that this honesty would lead to an incredible opportunity.
When my CEO heard that I was a certified yoga teacher, he asked me if I could teach yoga to the employees twice per week AND he offered to pay me for the classes, on top of my monthly salary. A dream come true! I was given the opportuity to practice teaching, as a new teacher, and I was being paid.
Being open and honest opened up doors for me and gave me this amazing opportunity that would actually help me in my dream career!
Whatever your dream job is, I'm sure there will be people in your current job that will want your services. Don't be shy to open up, be honest and confident about what you can offer, and doors may open and new opportunities may arise, just like they did with me.
Going Part Time in my job was the best advice I was ever given, thanks to my Dad for the great advice. When I resigned, my CEO was not happy and didn't want to lose me so he accepted my second offer of working 3 days per week and having 2 days to teach yoga and build my business.
As soon as I went part-time, I began enjoying my corporate job even more because I was no longer feeling attached to it, and I was also following my passion which gave me a deeper purpose.
Going part-time gave me the time I needed to build up new clients, while also still having the security of a monthly salary and health insurance.
Use your current job and colleagues for referrals to new clients in your dream job.
Three of my colleagues referred me to other companies to teach yoga at their company, and I received testimonials from colleagues who attended my yoga classes in the office. Creating any business requires networking and talking to people who may be interested, or know someone who is interested, in what you are offering.
I'm so grateful now to be working full-time on my own business, Body Flows Retreats. I'm also extremely grateful for the flexibility of that company to allow me these amazing opportunities of teaching yoga in the office and going part-time so my transition could be smoother and easier.
If you're still reading, I assume you are ready to leave your current job and follow your heart and your dream, right?
I'd love to hear how you get on with these tips above. What struggles are you going through? Where are you in your journey? Feel free to ask any questions or add any comments in the comments section below. I'd love to hear from you!
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Author: Sally Mitchell, founder of Body Flows Yoga Retreats and RYT 200 Yoga Teacher leads yoga retreats in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Mexico and Costa Rica. Living in beautiful Sonoma, California, after 15 years in NYC and San Francisco, her approach as a leader and teacher is holistic, balanced and grounded. She enjoys practicing and studying Yoga and Buddhism, hiking and trail running in nature, traveling, writing and inspiring others to live a more spiritual and meaningful life.