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Career changes, giving stuff up and doing what makes your heart sing

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I am accustomed to making drastic career changes. As you may already know, 3.5 years ago I left a 20 year career in biology research to follow my heart’s calling by becoming a doula, antenatal educator and babywearing instructor (read why I did that here).

By becoming a doula, being at births and hanging out with like minded spirits, I experienced many deep spiritual changes which led me to take further steps in the spiritual journey I started 15 years ago and to further my Reiki healing training and developing training for birthworkers in postpartum healing techniques like closing the bones.

I now sense that I am at the cusp of yet another massive change. It’s like I am at the bottom of an enormous mountain-I can’t quite see what the view will look like from the summit but I know I have to climb it.

I have spent a lot of time recently reflecting of where I to go professionally. Something had to give because by the end of last year/the beginning of this one, I felt as if my life was running me, not the other way round. It was tricky because I love what I do, and I also knew that I wanted to develop new things and keep on learning too.

I felt my various activities where too separate, and that I was wearing too many hats. For example I wanted to do more Reiki but I didn’t want to do it in a way that would be just another separate/splitting activity from my birth support work.

Something had to change, but I didn’t quite know how to make it happen.

You see when you run a one woman small business, there is only one of you. And it’s especially important to bear in mind when you run a heart centered business. In my case there just weren’t enough hours in the day and I was getting burned out, plus I couldn’t quite see a clear direction.

So in February I embarked on a business mentoring programme with Suzy Ashworth. I wanted to learn to learn to run my business better but I didn’t expect it to cause such a transformation.

Suzy encouraged me to come out of my comfort zone. She challenged me to write blog posts in particular, something I thought I was crap at. I used to look at my friends who I thought were better writers than me, and never thought this was something I could do. I also thought of marketing as cold and yucky.

Only when it came to it, I realised that writing came quite easily to me, and so was doing little live videos on Facebook-boy was I nervous about doing those the first time-but then I realised they weren’t that bad, in fact I had fun making them, and realised that my fear of them was much worse than the reality.

I also realised that heart centered businesses are about telling people why you do what you do-not trying to sell stuff to people, cold caller style. They are also about finding your tribe.

What happened was quite tremendous for me-as I wrote these blog posts- I learnt so much about myself-why I do what I do-why I care so much about supporting women through their childbearing time. Stuff even I didn’t know about myself came out.

I learnt to know myself better.

I learnt to value myself more.

I grew.

It wasn’t always comfortable or easy. There were many doubts and fears to confront along the way.

But as I wrote lists of the stuff I offered, I learnt that had skills that I didn’t even know I had-because I just “did it” and didn’t think it mattered.

Have you noticed how we dismiss the stuff we do easily and naturally, the skills we are good at, only to compare ourselves less favourably to others who can do stuff than we can’t? Only our friends don’t see us like that-they see what we are good at.

The business mentoring programme helped me do that for myself.

I learnt that this isn’t about competition and thinking that I am better than others out there-or that others are better than me-it is about showing my uniqueness and what makes my heart sing, and attracting the people who are drawn to me. It was scary too, because as I showed more of my true self, I knew some people would be put off. But I also knew these weren’t the people I wanted to work with.

In particular I wanted to work more spiritually with people-so I wrote my “confession of a hippy scientist” blog-it felt scary, but the responses I got were amazing-and then something quite miraculous happened-I started getting clients who wanted to work with my hippy side. I was delighted, because it finally allowed me to wear all my hats under the same job. I had an epiphany-I could do Reiki and spiritual ceremonies with the people I was already working with. I didn’t have to try splitting myself into different roles again.

I was also encouraged to let go of stuff that didn’t make my heart sing.

To go forward, you have to let go of some stuff and make space for the new stuff.

For me it meant giving up teaching the group antenatal classes I had been running for 5 years-at least for the time being. It was a complex decision, and I procrastinated an awful lot about it. Even though I think I had actually made the decision months ago. Eventually I sat down and wrote a list of pros and cons-I think there were 3 pros and 25 cons. So I decided to stop there and then. I had a few cold feet moments after making the decision but now it’s been made, I feel much lighter and confident and happy to go forward with stuff that really makes my heart sing.

Incidentally, 3 days after making that decision I was offered a unique opportunity to do some training in an area which would have made me jump for joy 6 months ago. Yet I turned it down, because it simply didn’t fit with where I want to go right now. For the first time, I had a very clear vision of where I wanted to go. So saying no was easy (ish!).

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I’m learning that as I go forward I have to listen to my heart very carefully before I say yes to new proposals. I have a strong drive to be helpful so my first reaction is to say yes. I’m learning to listen to my instincts more often. To go with my gut.

So where am I right now? Back to the mountain analogy at the beginning of this post, I feel a strong pull to work more spiritually with expectant and new families and birthworkers. One of the first steps of this has been the development of my Rebozo workshop-something that allows me to make use of my unique mix of science and traditions. I have just finished writing the handout for this-it turned out to be a 25 page long document, complete with pictures and tutorial videos of each technique, and in which each technique’s effect on the various joints and organs is explained by my osteopath friend Teddy Brookes. I feel very proud of it and I cannot wait to see what people think of it.

My next step will be to develop a healing workshop for Birthworkers. When I started to think about training people to do Reiki, after I took my Reiki master teacher course, I only had expectant parents in mind. Recently, after discussions with other birth workers, and in particular birth trauma specialist Alex Heath, and after treating a lot of people who care for others and learning to care for myself, I had another light bulb moment. I feel it’s more important to offer this skill to birth workers FOR THEMSELVES, before them being able to treat their clients. This fits with the filling your fuel tank analogy I wrote about recently. You cannot fill the tank of another person if yours is empty.

I don’t know where else my journey is going to take me. I am looking forward to climbing that mountain-I just know the view at the top will be amazing 🙂

If you are a birthworker and you feel drawn to work with me-have a look here 

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