I worked in office settings on and off for ten years. The offs were grad school and travel (that I always felt like I was scheming and stealing to maintain my sanity). The last job that I had, I hated. I had studied International Business and Arabic in grad school and felt very passionate about working to create economic opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa. I moved to DC after graduation and struggled to find a full time job in my field. After six months of couch surfing and interviewing, I finally accepted a job completely outside of my field. I then spend the next 2.5 years working in dental education. I think the universe was definitely sending me a strong message/playing me for a fool because wtf random landing is that? Anyways, it was fairly chill, I worked 35 hours a week, had great benefits, and mostly really liked my colleagues. But I always felt stuck and unfulfilled and like I was operating completely outside of my gifts.
I lost my job unexpectedly in the fall of 2016. I was not prepared financially or otherwise to be out of a job and this transition was extremely stressful and uncomfortable. However, looking back, I see it as a blessing in disguise. I had unemployment benefits for six months, which were not enough to live on, but did afford me the time to figure out/say aloud that I would never again work in an office environment. The trauma of being out on my ass without a cushion was enough to light a real fire under me to ensure that I'd never be in that situation again. I started my own business and scraped together random side jobs (waiting tables, walking dogs, teaching 15+ yoga classes a week) to make it by.
I signed up with my Young Living Premium Starter Kit in January of 2017. I couldn't afford it, but I knew I needed it. I also lost my health insurance when I lost my job, had no PTO and could not afford to get sick. I was attracted to Young Living's high quality wellness products first, but very quickly also became intrigued by the idea of residual income. The more I learned about Young Living, the more it all seemed to fit. It offered me personal wellness, granted me the opportunity to better support other's on their wellness journeys (operating inside of my gifts), and it allowed me to build residual income and true financial freedom. I went from feeling very stuck, dejected, unsuccessful and unfulfilled to feeling boundless, inspired, valuable, and abundant.
I've learned a couple of very important lessons while on this journey:
1. I will never put all of my eggs in one basket again, especially if I already know that I hate that basket.
2. For me, it is exceedingly important that I do work that has personal meaning and that has a positive impact on other people and on the world. Helping Baby Boomers copy/paste and being a style guide slave is the opposite of meaningful and impactful.
3. It has been my experience that the work that I do derive personal meaning from doesn't necessarily pay enough to live on. I want to be able to do this work anyway and not have to worry about money. It is important to me that I am able to volunteer my time for causes that I care about (teaching chair yoga at a homeless shelter and helping rescue dogs find good homes, for example). I want to be able to lead Yoga & Culture retreats to the MENA region and inspire and empower others to experience this beautiful and misunderstood corner of the world. Growing streams of residual income allows me to focus on adding real value without having to stress out about surviving.
4. Travel is non-negotiable and one of my highest priorities in life. I want to be able to travel whenever I want to for as long as I want to and not have to worry about having enough PTO or whether I can afford to leave.
I would not have been able to articulate any of this two years ago, but over time my priorities, my dreams, and my “why” have become crystal clear. I love and value the life I have created for myself. Every single day, I feel happy, fulfilled, free, and connected. I cherish the relationships that I have formed with my clients, students, teachers, mentors, and friends. I know that I am making meaningful contributions and adding value. I rarely sit at a disk or wake up to an alarm, and I spend hours everyday in the woods with my dog (who spent 10 hours a day in a crate before). I focus my time and energy helping others feel better and live more vibrant lives. I pinch myself constantly and thank my lucky stars that I had to fail so hard for so long to finally learn to fly.
Pictures by: Travis Bjorklund @tomamepictures