How do I carve a career doing what I love?
It takes a blind leap of faith to embark on a new course or career path not knowing what lies ahead. For many, the fear of the unknown that this concept induces is enough to stop them dead in their tracks. We can’t see what’s ahead so we close our mind to it. As the principal of the Australian Centre for Meditation and Mindfulness, I invite you to think differently by sharing my story with you about how I came to be doing what I love.
12 years ago I never dreamed of a career doing what I love. At that time I was going through a divorce and each day felt like a series of massive obstacles to overcome. Whilst all this mayhem was happening around me (and inside me), there was a little flame burning somewhere inside that lit my way. Here are some things that worked for me in bringing my dreams to reality.
I enrolled in personal development courses, sought counselling, expanded my meditation (what I could manage at the time) and all of this was my sanctuary from the stormy turmoil outside. I know that many of you can relate to what I’m saying in your own way. We all have a story of what brought us to do the inner work and look for more creative solutions.
I made these courses and interests my first priority. They came first in my budget. I don’t even really know how I managed to afford it, but somehow I did. Then, as soon as I was qualified I started practising as a counsellor and offered meditation groups as well. Becoming a facilitator and helping others changed how I perceived myself and I started to lead myself to a better place, as well as others.
The meditation groups were my most enjoyable and effortless endeavour – there’s a clue! They were fun, they felt easy, I loved the gathering of like minded souls and the growth that I saw in people as they attended regularly. It was such a supportive space and one that led to my business expanding – not only by running more groups but by feeding my counselling business as well. I believe that whatever you are most aligned with and drawn to is a a clue towards what you should focus on developing.
I tried other things along the way, but I always came back to meditation. I focussed on 2 main areas – counselling and meditation. I also enjoyed Reiki and intuitive work but they supported the counselling and meditation as well. I enjoyed finding things I really enjoyed and focussing on doing those things really well rather than doing too many different things. If there’s one thing I love it’s an expert, and I strove to become an expert in one field. The meditation groups also allowed me to combine my skills into one offering. Having said that, at times, I would foray into something new and find that I learnt something that I was able to bring back to my core activity. So my intuition knew best.
I learnt not to put undue financial strain on my business. I took a leap of faith but not without a safety net. All business need space and time to grow and prosper and all businesses have peaks and troughs. So I had other work to support me when I needed it to smooth out the bumps.
I decided that I would always do this work no matter what the outcome. Whether or not my business was a success, I knew that I would always teach meditation and personal development in some capacity. I loved doing it and it was a huge part of my life. Having this personal commitment to my work helped me maintain creativity and joy in my work through the journey of building a business. At the same time, there were certain financial realities to be faced, and when something is not working it can be foolish to carry on with it. The things that didn’t work were things that were not really meant to be a part of my business anyway, but sometimes it can feel difficult to let them go.
Once I made a living from my work I never took it for granted. I believe a business needs to grow and change as I do. Whilst the core of my business is like a strong tree, the branches of the tree can flower and bear all kinds of fruit according to where my creativity takes me. This keeps my interest strong, makes the business dynamic and maintains its relevance to my students and potential students.
I valued the people who worked for me and did a great job. I always paid a fair fee for the work others did (relative to what I could afford at the time) so that I knew I was giving them my best. I also treated them with respect and care and valued them. This has resulted in loyal co-workers with great expertise – and these are my most valuable asset.
ACMM offers training in meditation for personal development and accredited meditation teacher training. Our training covers group facilitation skills, meditation skills and facilitating guided meditation for individuals and groups. Our training includes options for facilitating meditation for children of all ages, meditation therapy for practitioners and running workshops, classes and retreats.