As part of my teacher certification I had to do volunteer hours teaching yoga to people who would otherwise have trouble gaining access to classes. I worked with Army wives with small children in my neighborhood who couldn't get to the evening classes offered at our gym.
One of those ladies told me that I was born to teach yoga and I was pleased and inspired by her praise. However getting to this point was perhaps an unnecessarily long journey. I could have taken a short cut had I listened to my intuition a long time ago.
Four Questions to Ask YourselfWhen making career choices there are four questions you can ask yourself that will help lead you in the right direction.
- What am I good at? You probably do the things you're good at in your spare time. Your family, friends, and colleagues probably offer sincere praise for the things you do well. Brainstorm traditional and non-traditional ways to turn your strengths into a career.
- What do I enjoy? Pay careful attention to this one. You might be good at something you don't particularly enjoy. This could lead to a less than ideal career choice because you'll lack passion.
- Can I make it happen? Dreaming is a wonderful exercise but sometimes circumstances make dreams impossible at least in the short term. As an Army wife that moves frequently I can't pursue the dream of having my own yoga studio with an attached café. It just is not possible right now.
- What am I scared of? Sometimes you might see obstacles and barriers to the direction you'd like to take. Talk through your fears with a mentor in the field. Perhaps your concerns can be addressed, leaving you free to continue.
My StoryWe are so very young when we have to make our first decisions about what we want to be when we grow up. I was 16 when I decided on what I would major in in college.
If you're lucky you are like my husband who always knew he was going to be a lawyer. There was never any question and he could choose any undergraduate degree he pleased, practical or not, because he was so sure. Today he is perfectly satisfied as a practicing attorney.
I was too fearful to pursue my strengths and the advice of one of my teachers. I was afraid of not being able to support myself or pay for an advanced degree if I didn't choose what I considered to be a highly practical degree.
In high school, I received a coveted school pin for writing the best short story in my freshman class. Sophomore year, my English teacher excused me from some of the regular curriculum so I could focus on writing poetry. He also gave me time to write and prepare a speech for a competition which I went on to win. Junior year we started taking interest inventories and getting career counseling. Everything started pointing me toward accounting and law so I started focusing on business and I went on to become a CPA, in the end rejecting law because conflict makes me uncomfortable. My government teacher tried to steer me toward the English department but I stubbornly refused.
I received my accounting degree and worked for several years as a CPA doing well and having my company pay for my MBA. I was often called upon to write procedures manuals and to learn new software so I could teach it to my coworkers. But when the time came for me to get married and move to Germany to join my husband who is a lawyer for the US Army I said goodbye to accounting and I haven't revisited it since, though I maintain my credentials just in case I need to find a good job quickly. I wasn't heartbroken to leave my career behind because I wasn't passionate about it.
Looking back on jobs and conversations I've had since then I recognize a pattern that would have dropped me off at the point where I am now had I listened to my intuition. And no, it's not necessarily the English department, thought writing this blog does play into my passion.
My passion is to help people reach their full potential. You can't find a job like that in the want ads. It's not very specific. But, I've done it through teaching quilting and scrapbooking, by teaching military parents how to be advocates in their children's educations, by leading a group of mothers with preschool age children, and now through yoga.
When I was still working as an accountant I told that guy who's now my husband that I wanted to teach yoga. I was a beginner so the process seemed intimidating. Later as a newlywed I brought it up again and he joked that he couldn't be the vegetarian guy with the miniature poodle, VW Bug, and the yoga teacher wife. Even though he would be supportive of what I wanted to do he said that I don't have to teach something just because I'm interested in it. I agreed with him.
But, I was still thinking about it and 10 years later I am now a yoga teacher and I regret not listening to that little voice that was pointing me in this direction all along.
If I had found a way to let go of my fear about not being financially secure perhaps I could have done a course of study that would have been more appropriate for me, that I would have been sorry yo leave behind. Or, perhaps I would have gotten an earlier start at teaching yoga. But then, perhaps life itself is the best teacher and I needed the cumulative effects of all of my life experiences to bring me to this place. I'm thankful that my husband provides a good life for us so I can be free to explore the things that make me happy even though I'm not the moneybags he thought I was going to be. Perhaps the money will follow the passion.