We were poor. Poorer than we’d ever been as adults, as a married couple, as a family. I had quit my full-time career that had supported us, gone part-time in a new position and then was laid off. The unemployment money had run out. My husband made enough to pay our bills, but we didn’t have enough for groceries. I was in graduate school working towards my new career. I needed work, something to do between then and graduating and being paid in my new profession, the profession that made my Soul sing.
I didn’t want to do just anything to bring home an income. I’d worked in a soul-sucking career for years, I didn’t want to do that again. Still, I took a job that went against so much of what I believed in, so much of what I stood for. We needed the money. We needed groceries. That job lasted three weeks. We were back to not having money for groceries.
We didn’t know what to do. My husband tried to find a second job, freelance work. Nothing came forward. We were scared. Fear was starting to lace its icy grip on our hearts. We were starting to fight more. I was filled with guilt for leaving a well-paying, albeit soul-sucking, career.
During all of this, I wrote. I wrote about parenting. I wrote about relationships. I wrote about healing from trauma. I wrote from my life experience and what I knew. I wrote to heal.
To my surprise people started to comment on my blog posts. That I inspired them. That they found comfort in my words. That they found healing.
I was shocked. Truly. I wondered if the people who left those comments or sent me emails were messing with me. I took each compliment with a heavy dose of skepticism. More compliments came. People asked me questions. People asked for advice. People asked me about mindfulness and connection and relationships.
Then, one day as I was working on a prompt from an e-course I was taking, it came to me. Coaching. I could be paid for what I was giving away at that point.
I thought for a bit about what kind of coach I wanted to be. “Parenting coach,” that felt right, I knew a few parenting coaches and consultants. Yet being only a parenting coach felt limiting for me, so I slept on it to see what would come into my mind during my sleep. When I awoke the first words in my head were “mindfulness coach.” I’d never heard of “mindfulness coaching” however I didn’t let that stop me. When I said the words “mindfulness coach” out loud, my heart fluttered and a smile spread across my face. No, I’d never heard of that profession, and that wasn’t stopping me from stepping into it, embracing it.
Within a month I had a domain and a website, had moved all my old posts from my free blog site to the new domain. I learned about newsletters and did a crash course in learning how to run an on-line program. My first online program had 33 people registered. Thirty-three. Over half of them were gifted spots, and the program was pay-what-feels good. I made a little bit of money, but more importantly than the money, there were 33 women who had faith in me, who believed in me and my message. Believed in me enough to register for my program.
Those 33 women will forever hold a special place in my heart, and in my business. I tear up when I think of them, even now.
I now have clients from around the world: Australia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Africa and across the United States and Canada. I have created collaborative programs with other people who run heart-centered businesses. I have written guest posts for a few blogs. I offer my on-line programs and a limited number of one-on-one coaching slots. My baby business has grown from an ah-ha! moment into something I am proud of, something I enjoy, something that will continue to grow.
I officially launched my business in November 2012. Less than a year ago. I’m not earning enough for my husband to retire and for us to depend on my income, but I love what I do now. I’m my own boss. I can change my mind about any business plan I come up with. I make it up as I go along, learning and exploring and experimenting along the way. I decide when I will offer courses or take on new 1:1 clients. I continue to write and connect and grow. My business makes my Soul sing. What I love most about my now business is that it is also my first step into my future post degree business. I had been so blocked to this possibility, so focused on my long-term career goals, that it took a while for this path to open to me, or rather, for me to open to it. Once I released the “shoulds” and acknowledged this path less traveled (or perhaps not traveled at all), it felt like the world opened up for me.
I continue to follow my heart, to grow my business, to grow my Self. I find healing and joy and peace in my business, something I would have never thought possible a year ago. I love the connections I make with my clients. I love guiding them to becoming the women and men they want to be. I love the lessons they teach me. I love how my business has a life of its own and yet it doesn’t control me.
I see my business’s future: it’s bright and beautiful. It makes my Soul sing. By opening myself to possibilities and not accepting something less, by listening to and following my heart and most of all, by stepping into my vulnerability and allowing myself to shine, I have found a path that fills my life with joy. I had to take risks to get here; there have been some dark moments and days and weeks of doubt. From where I stand now, it was worth it all.
|Gwynn Raimondi is a compassionate body-centered mindfulness guide and a cultivator of pleasure and play. She inspires deeply grounded connections in the lives of many through her writing, e-courses and one-on-one coaching. She can be found online at http://gwynnraimondi.com and on Facebook. Her newest program, Savoring Sensuality begins November 1.|