Career: Do what you love
Earlier this week I dropped a big announcement that I resigned from my career with the U.S. Department of State. One of the reasons driving this decision was that deep down, I just wasn't passionate about the work. When I was faced with returning, I had to really think if that work was worth missing 8 hours plus of Teddy's life each day. And to me, it just wasn't. It was the hardest decision I've made to date, but as cliche as it sounds, closing one door can lead to the opening of another. And luckily in my case, it has. I'm so excited to announce that I'm now Editorial Director and Strength Coach for YogaByCandace, a health and wellness modern lifestyle company headed by the amazing Candace Moore. In this new position, I get the honor of working alongside a global yoga instructor, an entrepreneur, and oh, btw, a published author. So I am thrilled that Tuesday next week (which also happens to be my birthday), I'll fly out to the mountains of Tennessee to teach strength and conditioning at the Namaslay® Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) Tennessee! I'm beyond excited and grateful to be able to be a apart of the trainees' journey and also to do something I love.
But, I'll let you in on a little secret, I'm terrified. I'm terrified that I will fail. I'm terrified that I can't do it. I'm terrified to leave Teddy as I've never been away from him. Ever. And now I'm leaving him for 5 long, whole days. I'm terrified that I will miss his first steps. I'm terrified that I'll then cry hysterically if I miss his first steps. I'm terrified to get up in front of a room full of yogis and lead a strength class. Which is the one thing I want to do!
Getting up in front of a room full of people has never been something I've enjoyed. I remember speaking to the A-100 class of 86 new Foreign Service Officers at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and I all but passed out. I remember specifically that it was 86 because when I accepted, I thought it was like 20-30 for some reason and when I showed up and saw a room packed full, panic shot through my body. A little background, Foreign Service Officers are some of the most intelligent and ambitious members of the Foreign Service and their training class, known as A-100, is no doubt made up of our nation's future ambassadors. Having served as an assistant to our ambassadors and other high level principals, I was asked to speak on a panel about the ways in which they could benefit from forming a strong working relationship with assistants. This panel took place was during my injury, so I was confined to boot and had to hobble across the vast FSI campus, climb three flights of stairs (I was too short on time to make it to the elevator and wait for it to arrive) and then, heart pounding both from the cardio output and the nerves, I knocked on the already-locked door only to interrupt the already-commenced panel and have 86 inquisitive faces turn to look at me. Apologizing, hobbling, and struggling to catch my breath, I made my way to the front of the room and up onto the stage and took my seat. Grasping for air, I was desperately trying not appear winded and nervous. My nerves were taking over and then, my savior -- water! My eyes locked onto a small water bottle placed next to my chair and I reached to take a sip and buy some time to regain my composure but it backfired! My hands were trembling so hard water was splashing out of the bottle as I removed the cap. I couldn't do it! My shaking hand placed the cap back on the bottle and tried to screw it back on. I could feel 86 pairs of eyes bearing down on me. Blackness started to fade in, the sound seemed to fade, and I am 99.9% sure I was about to topple right over and pass out on the stage floor in front of 86 inquisitive faces. But I took deep breaths, in through my nose, out through my mouth, and slowly started to regain some composure. I don't think I've ever felt my heart resounding through my entire body. I made it through that panel and have no idea if I looked as nervous as I felt, but as I climbed gingerly into the Uber to return to Main State, and slumped into the backseat, I told the driver that I thought I just took 10 years off my life. He said 'well at least you're ready if you ever have to do it again.' AGAIN?! The thought of doing that again almost made me pass out-- again. And so, as I prepare to get up in front of a classroom full of eager yogis with big dreams, I wonder if I can do this. One thing driving me is that I love health and fitness. It's my passion, my hobby, my meditative outlet and my foundation for a healthy, stable lifestyle. Being able to do this as 'work' is a dream come true. So have you ever wanted to do something, you were excited to do it, and you knew you'd be better for it but you were absolutely terrified to do it? I hope so, because I feel like these moments are the moments that make up our lives. And so, here is my list of ways to feel confident and ready (even when you're not):
1. Visualize - The first thing I'm doing is picturing exactly how I want my classes to flow, exactly what I want to say, and exactly how I feel while I'm doing it. I'm picturing myself doing exactly what I want to do and doing it perfectly. Now I realize things will most likely not go perfectly, but I'm at a point where I'm comfortable with that.
2. Focus - As doubt, fear and insecurities seep their way in, I had to find a way to keep them at bay and so I decided to make a list of all the positives about this opportunity and bring my focus to that instead. One, getting to do what I love. Two, getting paid to do what I love. Three, getting to spend time with like-minded people. Four, Buckles, Candace's husky, will be there. Five, getting to learn more about myself. And so on....So every time I start to second guess my abilities, I focus on this list.
3. Practice - This might be obvious, but for me, I have to practice every aspect. From the playlist, to the strength moves, to the instructional cues, I have to get a comfortable flow for the entirety of my lessons. I want to feel like my entire class is second nature and that the lessons I have will effortlessly flow, freeing my mind and my nerves to focus on the class itself, assisting with posture corrections and taking control in the event that the unexpected happens.
4. Practice - And practice some more.
5. Take control - It's funny how things seem to just happen at the right time. Like the universe is presenting you with exactly what you need exactly when you need it. I happened to listen to a podcast where Susie Moore was the guest speaker and mentioned, among other things, her book What if It Does Work Out?: How a Side Hustle Can Change Your Life. In it she talks about not letting fear take control. That fear will fool you into thinking that it's in control, and you're not. But you have to remember you're in the driver's seat and fear is not--unless you put it there. So I'm trying really hard to take control and push fear aside.
The Ginger Ninja