Frequently I listen in awe to other people’s stories and how the path they took led them to helping others and setting up businesses in the wellness industry; stories of hardship or overcoming insurmountable obstacles. When I started thinking I should add something about my own path to launching a mindfulness coaching and business mentoring business, my initial thought was, this is going to be very mundane.
It is and it isn’t. It is, because it is mundane, but it isn’t, because that is the miracle of life and what makes it special for each and every one of us. It was a million little everyday decisions, twists and turns in the road that led me to exactly where I am now. Without each one I wouldn’t be here, in a place ready to be able to share what I have learnt.
When I look back I can see how tiny details of things that happened throughout my life impacted on how I have collected the building blocks of mindfulness teachings that I now aim to package up and pass on to others. It wasn’t big life changing events, it was little ones like my primary school teacher who started each day with a story and asked us all to write the moral down, and how this taught me that there is learning and reason in everything in life, and that it’s an essential life skill to be able to recognise both the intention and the learning. He was the teacher that also told me to always be my own person and not to follow others.
It was when the timetable wouldn’t fit my choices for Scottish Highers and I had to choose between Higher Chemistry and Higher Religious Studies; I knew I had no chance at chemistry as my main memory from the O’Grade was the view from the classroom window. It was in this religious Studies class that I discovered how much I loved learning about theology, behaviour and different religions.
It was making friends with a German girl on holiday then being randomly selected to learn German not French at school and deciding to write to her, only to later spend summers with her family and working with her Dad in the Miele factory. I was 15, travelling alone and way out of my comfort zone with my limited German that could only really ask where the station was, and how much a return to Munich was.
It was finding a Richard Bach book when I was meant to be studying for school exams that led me to devour all the books in the New Age section, and carefully write motivational quotes in my diary. I can still remember the pleasure of writing my favourite Richard Bach quote in coloured pens: ‘If you want to be with someone you love, aren’t you already there?’ (That’s another blog waiting patiently to be written!)
It was the university lecturer who told us the most important thing he would teach us was how to distill information, and that is what I did throughout my time working in a corporate, and when I set up the ‘How to Potty Train’ website and, what I’m aiming to do now in order to share the benefits of mindfulness.
It was going into the office at University and speaking to a friend who said she’d just made the deadline to submit a standard application form to Scottish Power and deciding that seeing as I had a standard form already written, I’d do the same. This led me not only to my first graduate job but to my husband, who I had two children with.
It was seeing a sign for ante natal yoga and meeting a yoga teacher who gave me my first experience of mindfulness throughout my pregnancy and the birth of my children. I still use her mantra ‘All will be well, all will be well.’
It was meeting the designers of this website at the first event I went to after moving to the Midlands from Scotland twenty years ago. I have worked with them on many projects over the years.
It was watching Ant and Dec host a Princes Trust event one evening when I was home alone and immediately applying to become a Princes Trust Business Mentor, where I have learnt so much about business, and met some great people and contacts. This network led to grant funding to get my business off the ground.
It was organising a supper club where I met my business partner the week after I had travelled to China to an Import/Export fair in search of inspiration for a business, and exactly as she had had an idea for a potty training product after struggling to potty train her son. We decided to give it a go for three months and went on to jointly patent and develop the product then launched it in all the major supermarkets over the following 11 years.
It was sitting at my children’s sports day and talking about our business to one of the Dads only to discover he’d recently started working for someone who invested in small businesses and that I should send him our business plan. This opened the door for investment and growth in our company.
It was practising mindfulness and then setting up classes with friends that invited the possibility that maybe some of the learning might just benefit me as well as others. (This took a while for the bubble to the surface.)
It was eventually hearing myself when I said for the third year in a row that my New Year’s Resolution was ‘to be content with what I have.’
But the real start of my journey came when I was watching the film Lion and cried watching Saroo on the wrong train, being transported further and further away from his home. I knew at that that moment that I was on the wrong train, moving further and further away from my true purpose and destination. Not long after that someone said to me, with all good intentions, that I came across as stand offish, cold and analytical, and that I should stop standing in the shadows. It was also when another commented that because I had dropped out of an event this person was also attending, she would need to ‘up her game’ and totally re think her wardrobe as my replacement was far more glamorous than me.
That’s when I decided I wanted to make some changes, both inside and out.
I am so thankful to these people, they were the messengers delivering what I was ready to and needed to hear. I know, if I had wanted to, I could have let these comments bounce off my walls, and I honestly wouldn’t have cared less, (their opinion of me is their business not mine), but I wanted to listen and using the mindfulness skills I had leant I was able to make the brave decision to let them penetrate in and then to choose how I wanted to respond. It was then that I realised I had drifted off course in many ways and something inside of me did indeed step up and make the changes. It took a while. It was tough. These changes meant breaking out of who I had become, which wasn’t even who I thought I was, never mind who I really am inside. Confusing – right? It meant breaking down all the walls that had protected me for so long, leading me to make tough decisions, shed 16kg, walk away from things I had put a lot of work into, burn bridges and to pursue new beginnings from a place of total vulnerability but magically also from a place of total authenticity.
The people I needed to support me at this time were right by my side, again often seemingly coincidentally, like when my friend bought me a gift voucher for a back massage that led me to a Reiki and Touch for Health practitioner who literally stripped the old doubting energy and thorny emotions away. My business was sold, freeing me to pursue my dream of becoming a full time Mindfulness Teacher, and amazingly the perfect teacher training course ran in the same month.
I am stronger, happier and so grateful for every step I have taken during this spiritual awakening/mid life crises! I know who I am. I am happy with who I am and I know how to show up for that person every day. I believe I am also far better equipped to help others now as this whole experience changed mindfulness from a nice experience where I would sit and bliss out each day into an essential set of teachings that guided me through a tough period. I say tough, but I can honestly say that throughout it I experienced happiness every single day and would never have described myself as unhappy. Instead I felt liberated and empowered. I also know that if these tools can help me find happiness through the stormy weather, now that the sun is shining I will indeed be living my mantra of ‘flying high, being truly me, having a rewarding career as a mindfulness coach and living a life full of love, joy and abundance.’
So bring on the next chapter, I’m ready and open to whatever is next….and I’ll never call my life mundane again as I now realise we all have a story and the first step is to believe it’s an important one full of everyday miracles that guide you and make you…you. So, if you’re ready to share your story and to use it as Miracle Gro for your soul, to enable you to become the person you want to be, I’m here and ready to help you. I’m guessing if you’ve read this far, a part of you is ready….