Pursuing a New Career without Feeling Pressure

Usha is a 40 year old woman living in India. She is a qualified dentist; however, due to family commitments she wasn’t able to create a dental practice. What evolved for her was a big surprise. She began doing yoga and found herself passionate and so much happier than she could imagine. Usha is now teaching yoga and wants to make her living from yoga, rather than dentistry. She’s curious about how one can organize and smartly pursue a new career without feeling any pressure.

Many of us, because of a variety of conflicting commitments, have to make choices that seemed at the time disappointing and disheartening; sometimes it feels downright tragic. Usha, you have transitioned not only to a place of acceptance but it actually sound like you are far more inspired than you were about dentistry. Turning this excitement, happiness and fulfillment into a successful career is the next step.

There are some very practical steps to be taken, but first there are, of course, some questions to be asked by me “ the coach. Knowing that you, Usha have family commitments as well as other commitments, I want to ensure that you are balancing your career commitments with the other commitments. I’m curious; what are the commitments that you have to balance? It’s good to make a list of these commitments and then be clear with what sort of investment is required for each. I’m also curious about the hierarchy of these commitments? Which is most important to you, and what is the investment of time, presence and perhaps money for each? How important is the financial aspect of this new career as well?

Notice what feelings arise as you begin to organize your commitments into priorities. Does it feel overwhelming, exciting, frustrating, adventurous, inspiring or something else? This is important to get, because from this place you’ll be potentially choosing to choose without even realizing what you are choosing. Quite often, these feelings that arise can either inspire you or make you feel like quitting before you even begin. Feelings and emotions are hooked to some thought you carry around with you that generally has to do with being worthy enough, being good enough, being smart enough or even being lovable enough. These thoughts trigger actions, which can take you in the opposite direction from where you say you want to go. So, noticing your emotions, feelings, body sensations and your thoughts are essential in the process of successfully creating your career. I encourage you to practice noticing your thoughts and your feelings and see how you move in relation to them.

When I was writing my book, Self-Empowerment 101, I was constantly faced with this voice in my head that said "Who are you to write a book? Who are you to think you are smart enough? Who are you to think people will read your book and get value from it?" Every day this voice was with me as I wrote page after page, until I was done! It was probably one of the hardest things I ever had to do “ facing that voice that said I wasn’t enough. It took commitment and courage to fulfill my dream of writing that book, but was one of the most important challenges of my life. I know I can face those voices that question my worth, my enough-ness, and do what I set out to do “ because I say so.

So, having made a list of commitments, putting them in order of hierarchy and seeing the investment it takes for each, you can begin to create a plan for your career in balance with your other commitments. Usually the first questions I ask in regard to creating your career is: What’s at risk? This question usually gets us into a more serious, more strategic thought mode. It makes us consider what have I got to lose and am I willing to risk the loss? The questions that follow this are: How can you manage your risks? How have you managed risks in the past? Did this way of managing risk work for you? How can you be so that what shows up in the process of creating your business doesn’t scare you or stop you from taking the next step?

Quite often what’s at risk is our identity, our sense of safety and stability. We risk rejection, failure and we even risk being a success. More often than not, these are the risks that create procrastination and avoidance of the next thing to be handled.

We know who we are within our comfort zone, but as we begin to expand ourselves by taking on new ventures, it can begin to feel uncomfortable inside our skin. The yoga of building a business or building relationships of any kind requires stretching through the discomforts of the moment. Our commitment to fulfilling our desires needs to carry us through these uncomfortable times.

Having a thinking partner, like a coach, a mentor or support group, even a friend really helps to keep you on task and accountable for what you say you are going to do. When you get anxious and find some way to avoid taking action there’s someone there to say "So, what’s happening right now? What’s stopping you in this moment?" This gives you a chance to reflect on what it’s like being you as you step into creating yourself beyond your comfort zone. This is an important time to reflect without self-criticism and really honor yourself for the courage it takes to step beyond your known world. What’s crucial, I believe, in creating success is that you clearly and playfully imagine the practice you want.

My final question for you Usha, in this moment, is what do you have to do to create this career as a yoga teacher? Make a list of what needs to be done. Getting a space; a financial plan “ asking yourself: What income do I want or need to generate, what do I need to charge, how many students do I need? Do I need a business license and a business account? How am I going to let people know about me and what I bring to the world of Yoga? When you look at this list, ask yourself what needs to be done first? What might you have to research to take the next step?

What you are creating for yourself, Usha is built from the inside and the outside. It’s a combination of being present to the "Who" inside yourself with the "What" of the outside world. More will be revealed over the months, but for now, enjoy the adventure and the exploration of yourself and what you are wanting to create. We are all cheering you on and practicing along with you.

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