I’d built a life around what success should look like and I’d got my house by the beach, the promotion and settled down with my partner but whilst life looked great from the outside inside was a different story. I wanted more from life so I let go of everything that didn’t make me happy and went in search of what would.
It takes courage to make sweeping changes and transform our life and often it’s not until things get too bad to bare that we’re forced into the required transformational steps. Whilst I’d put myself on the right track, it wasn’t all a bed of roses. Sometimes it has to get worse before it can get better.
Within a year I was single, jobless and homeless at 32, life couldn’t have been more different but for the first time it felt good. It probably looked like a complete disaster from the outside though! Queuing up at the job centre, cleaning toilets in an ashram, house sitting because I couldn’t afford rent. But at the same time teaching yoga, spending time with family, taking walks on the beach, writing a book and getting to do what I loved everyday.
I thought once you followed your calling the universe had it covered, wasn’t this supposed to be easy. I was doing what I loved but it felt like such hard work. I didn’t get much support because most people thought I was crazy, I sometimes wondered myself! Some days I’d be consumed by fear and self doubt, this was new territory, the unknown and I wasn’t sure if I was really up to it.
Even though I’d forgone the corporate dream and what success was supposed to look like I was still concerned with how my life looked. Embarrassed about going to the job centre to claim employment support, embarrassed to admit the low number to my classes and afraid to admit to struggling as this was the path I was born to travel and I didn’t not want to be right. I didn’t want all those who thought I was crazy for giving up my ‘comfortable’ life to say “I told you so” and given the things I was writing and coaching I didn’t want to admit to not knowing the answers and having these doubts I was trying to coach others on!
Then came by biggest lesson; it’s not about how life looks, it about how it feels. Everything happens for our greater good and where we are is where we’re meant to be, the tough times were my lessons. Without failure I could never have learned what I needed to know for success. I learned a lot of lessons from that time.
So often in todays society our focus is on how life looks. What car we drive, what street we live in, our job title, if we can get a promotion, sending our kids to the right school or just simply the clothes we wear and the supermarket we shop at. And this is further fuelled by comparison to what other people’s lives look like, when we try and keep up with the Joneses. It’s too easy to get carried away living a life according to what looks good, but what use is this unless it also feels good. If we are working more hours so that we can take five star holidays and shop at the designers stores but we’d rather be finishing work early to spend time with our kids aren’t we missing the point?
I am doing what I’ve always dreamed of and helping people in the process, this is success. I have the time to do the things I always missed, the important things like exercise, spending time with those I love, volunteering and travelling. This is success, not my bank balance or number of followers on social media. I am still grateful every day for not having to get up and go and work in the corporate world and still so lucky to have so many things; a loving family, my health, opportunities. I got inspiration from these tough times, it also enabled me to better serve others who are
going through the same thing because I’ve been there, I know how it feels.
I also learned that it’s about reasons not results. During this time I often lost my ‘why’ the reason I decided to do this. It became about earning money to pay rent, I judged my success on the numbers I was getting and I became more concerned with the outcome to my work rather than the reason I loved to do it. The fact that I could help and inspire others and give and be of service is far more rewarding than the salary and this is why I do it. Yes I need money to eat just like the rest of us but this can come from many other sources it does not need to be the number one reason I do what I do, this is for love not money.
So as I sit on the verge of my first book launch and my business continues to grow, I remind myself how far I’ve come and that in every set back there is a lesson, I’m sure there’s more along the way, this is how we learn to be our best. This is why it’s important we celebrate the successes and remember all the things we’re grateful for, it puts perspective around our life and reminds us that it’s less about how it looks and more about how it feels.