Today is my re-birthday, the 5th anniversary of breaking free from the security of a regular paycheck, generous health benefits and a 401K. These are all good reasons to work in a traditional environment, I understand that, but at the time they had become the ties that bind. Five years ago, with a little bit of planning and a lot of courage, I submitted my letter of resignation and walked away from my career of 12 years. I have never looked back.
Three of the four previous years I celebrated May 23, this great day of my rebirth, and marked the occasion by writing a blog. But I skipped last year. It’s not that I wasn’t still excited about my decision to venture out on my own as an entrepreneur. I felt good about growing from 1 to 3 yoga studios and employing 30 yoga instructors doing what they love. It’s just that I had settled into a routine of running my business and teaching, of teaching and running my business. I still loved what I was doing, but it was no longer shiny and new.
There have definitely been highlights over the past year, don’t let me fool you (or myself). Top of the list is a breathtaking trip to South India and the anticipation of another trip, this time to North India in 2020. Our teacher training and corporate yoga programs have been solid and growing. The business glided past the 5-year mark, a milestone that 50% of businesses never reach. But even so, truth be told, I didn’t feel like I had anything to celebrate last year on May 23. Doesn’t that seem strange?
Somewhere along the line my burning passion had settled into a steady flame. While I found comfort in the studios humming along and being less dependent on my managing every detail, I fretted over my lack of passion. How could I live a life of purpose without a burning passion, one that I would lay everything on the line for? I did this when I opened my first studio in Speedway, and I did it before, in the 90s, when I up and left the country with a backpack to pursue my dream of being an archaeologist. For the past year I have been searching my heart for what I call my “It,” and have been coming up dry.
I ask those of you reading this, do you have a passion? Do you have that one thing – your It – that gets you out of bed each morning and drives your every decision? Or are you like me – a person who has more than one interest, who is curious about trying new ventures, who likes to conquer something and build upon it or move onto the next thing? If you are like me in this way, should we be ashamed of our varied interests and lack of a singular passion?
I listened to Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love on the Super Soul Sunday podcast with Oprah. I found enormous comfort in her talk about people like me, and perhaps like you too. She defines us compassionately as humming birds. First of all, I love humming birds. They are so pretty and independent as they flit confidently around a garden.
Now I understand! That’s what I’m doing. I flap my wings and drink the nectar of one blossom, and when I’ve had my fill I zip over to the next. Along the way, Elizabeth explains, humming bird people cross pollinate flowers and contribute to their sustainability. I find this to be a delightfully comforting way to think of myself.
Sometimes I flit from one flower to another on a completely different plant, even one in a far off garden. Other times I visit individual flowers on the same plant. That’s where I find myself today. My studios primarily serve women, and most are educated and professional. These women fill me up, so much so that they inspired to me flap my wings and launch a women’s networking group, Top Floor Women, in Franklin. Different flower, same branch. My heart swells when I share my soul with other women, when they tell me that I inspire and encourage them, and when I introduce them to other talented, multi-faceted women. This nectar tastes delicious and the garden is proving to be plentiful.
Truth be told, I think I’ve found my It.