On Wednesday 10 August 2022 my good friend Lorraine Acheson called me and asked if I’d be ok to give a talk at the Women in Business (WIBNI) Pizza and Prosecco evening for new WIBNI members the next evening. Lorraine just happens to be WIBNI Managing Director and the speaker they had lined up for the evening had to cancel at short notice.
Lorraine knows I’m very relaxed about public speaking and to make it even easier for me, she said she would interview me. I told her I didn’t think I was a very good ‘woman in business’ as I don’t make lots of money. Like most working in the wellbeing arena I’m in it for the love and the passion not the money – but Lorraine said it was my journey that would inspire others. So I said ok, and then I didn’t think about it.
All Wednesday and even when I arrived at the lovely venue I refused to worry or plan what I was going to say. I believe in sharing from the heart and being in the moment – you know it is my actual job to be in the moment 🙂 When I arrived at the event I met an old friend and spent the first hour catching up with her and eating pizza!
And then I was on stage… the interview went well and it was a great night. The audience of brilliant women – who I got to meet lots of personally in the facilitated networking after my talk, were wonderful – so many interesting jobs and business… everyone was very kind about ‘my speech’. But I knew I should have said more and been more honest and articulate about my journey. I wished I had actually taken some time to prepare and think more about what I was going to say. Practising mindfulness doesn’t mean we can’t have time to plan!
So I’ve had that time now and I’m sharing the 5 points I should have said last night…
Lorraine asked me to share about my journey and I said how I felt it was all down to luck! How many co-incidences happened, how I just ‘put myself out there’ and people picked up on me. How I got the time right as when I left my full-time job in January 2014 suddenly awareness of mindfulness had hit Northern Ireland after a long time of people thinking it was a cult! I shared how I got asked to to TED talk and be on UTV. I encouraged the audience members to follow suit, to not live in fear and take risks for their dream (although with a backup plan of an alternative job – which I had too!).
- Qualifications in my field
But there are a couple of other things I had to support ‘my big leap’ into self-employment. I quoted that much heard line ‘leap and the net will appear’ and I do believe that, but to support this mythical net I had years of study and a Masters degree in Mindfulness behind me. I wasn’t just leaping in the hopes I knew what to do… I also had a job to go back to if it didn’t work out, I took a career break.
I also had an established client base having taught part-time for a number of years and I had what was then an innovative plan for a fulltime mindfulness teacher: offering public 8-week and 6-week courses plus workshops and corporate training.
3. A network of supportive friends
So as well as luck I had experience, training, clients and some planning! I’m also a natural networker in that I like people and I connected well with many of my students who then offered me some work in their workplace or recommended my classes to friends and family. Listening and befriending others is something I do naturally and actually it’s helpful for business too. It’s also been helpful for life in general, community and friends are really what life is about.
4. Steadfastness, consistency and constancy
A big thing that I also recommend to anyone starting a business is consistency. That is another of my main reasons for success or at least longevity in this field. Of course, I am extremely dedicated and passionate about mindfulness, self-compassion and wellbeing but I’m also consistent….
I taught in Namaste Yoga Centre on the Ormeau Road EVERY week, even during the summer from 2008 till the 2020 pandemic struck and then I took the class online. I offered a monthly self-compassion workshop EVERY month from 2015 and continued online via the zoom and now still offer in person every two months. I consistently and regularly offered 8-week courses and retreats – until I had my baby in 2021. I think that constancy, that regularity and familiarity is also a secret of success. I’ve chosen to adapt my offering now to suit my life with a young baby, but I’ve had years of being there and I’m still here, still around and enjoying teaching. So consequently a lot of people know me and I have a good reputation as a reliable teacher. I’ve also taught many others to become teachers too…
And finally ‘courage’. Courage is necessary for everyone and anyone wanting to succeed in starting and maintaining a business. There’s no doubt it takes courage to ‘put yourself out there’, to not be too worried about what other people think, or how you look. If your business is going to interact with the public, there will be people who love and like you, and there will be people who don’t. It’s not possible to please all the people all the time and if you can accept that, life is easier and much less anxiety filled. Learn to listen more to that excitement and drive and not that doubting hater!
I still believe in luck too – I can’t help it I have had a LOT of it 🙂
This is where I come back to luck again. Mindfulness practice naturally helps us with self-confidence, right thinking and the ability to stay present and not catastrophize over what might happen or brood over what has already happened. Self-compassion enables us to be kind to ourselves when we make mistakes, to be understanding when others let us down and to talk gently to ourselves when we’re faced with challenges. All of these things are invaluable. So it’s very lucky what I do for living is also what helps me to stay calm in the business of it 🙂 Calm is a superpower and I’m so grateful I have a means to generate it 🙂
So whatever business you are in or if you’re just navigating the tricky business of life – mindfulness and self-compassion are guaranteed to help and support you through.
Please contact me if you would some training in these evidence-based practices for yourself and/or your team members 🙂
#mindfulness #selfCompassion #luck 🙂