How and Why I Shifted My Career From Corporate To Wellness
I was not always a full time wellness practitioner. Previously I had a very rewarding career as a chemical engineer in aerospace for over 25 years. I loved the technical challenges and working with groups of people. I worked for a very supportive company, enjoyed a substantial salary, was rewarded with advancement opportunities and received praise and validation for my work.
Why did I want to leave a high paying career?
To Find Fulfillment
At the same time, I felt like something was missing. I wanted to feel like I was making a difference in people’s lives. I wanted purpose. My kids were grown and had finished college and being a Mom used to be my purpose. Now I wanted to find more fulfillment in my career. I was ready to focus on me.
I was looking to give back to the world. Earlier in my life, I had experienced the loss of my husband in a tragic accident. He was struck by lightning during a summer vacation. This loss made it very real to me how short life is and that we need to embrace each moment. I wanted to make my moments left here mean something.
To Embrace Creativity
I am a creative person and I like to think outside the box. Doing things, the traditional way is not my forte. I like to find new ways of doing things. In the conservative field of aerospace, I felt like I couldn’t fully express myself. I didn’t feel like working for another company was going to be any different and I wanted to make the rules myself. I decided to try entrepreneurship.
To Experience Freedom
Luckily, I had a passion which I could envision transforming into a career. I had been practicing yoga for over 20 years. Yoga was how I managed the stress of my corporate career. When I came to my mat, I would come home to me. I could climb back into my body and be all of Deb – not the controlled and professional engineer, but the creative and free flowing individual I longed to be at all times.
Owning my own business would mean I was free to decide how to do everything. I could mold the business into whatever I envisioned.
I could start a yoga studio and help people to manage their stress and help them feel better. I could give back and feel purpose in my life. Then I started to think about how to make this all happen. My transition from corporate to wellness was a plan I began about 10 years before making the final leap.
How did I make the shift from corporate to wellness?
Planning…..plannning…..and more planning!
I began teaching yoga as a side job while I was still in my corporate career. Initially I just did a weekend training and then taught once a week at a local gym. As time progressed, yoga was helping me so much in my life that I wanted to become a better teacher and I went through a 200 hour certification program. I then decided that I would like to open my own studio. This is when the real planning for my career transition began.
I opened my studio in a space in my home initially. I wanted to start growing a yoga business while I was still at my corporate career so I would have some income established from my business before I made the shift. This made the transition seem less scary.
I was loving my little home studio and helping people with the yoga. I decided I would like to learn more about yoga to improve and grow as a yoga teacher. At this point, I went through a 500 hour yoga certification program. My teaching deepened and I was able to teach more about the emotional and spiritual aspects of yoga.
I was now getting within a couple of years of when I could take an early retirement from my corporate job and I started to analyze how much income I would need to get from my business. I had a spreadsheet with lots of tabs to look at it all. It was clear that teaching yoga alone was not going to balance the budget. I started to think about how I could offer more wellness services to my clients.
It was at this point that I decided to go back to school for my Master’s Degree in Nutrition. This is how Roots Yoga and Nutrition was born. A way to expand the wellness offerings beyond just yoga. This new plan required a new facility and Roots Yoga and Nutrition was opened in the current location, The Mill Building in Tariffville, CT.
I completed my Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Integrative Health with Herbal Medicine an went on to complete a 1000 hour internship and became a licensed Certified Nutrition Specialist. I was now able to offer clients ways to more ways to support their wellness. I could give back and make more impact in my clients lives and I also had a broader scope for the business and a unique niche.
Doing all of this planning and education did not mean the business would organically grow. Without my full-time commitment, it was difficult to grow the business. At the point that I was eligible for early retirement, I had finished my Master’s degree and everything was lined up business wise for me to take the plunge and commit full time to my life as an entrepreneur. I needed to devote my time to the business to help it grow.
What was I waiting for? I had done all this planning, I had decided this was what I wanted, and now was the time. This was a terrifying plunge and took lots of bravery. I was shaking in my boots, but I did it. Remember I had learned the hard way how short life can be. I didn’t want to look back and say well I should have taken the opportunity when I could have.
I left my corporate career at the end of April in 2018 and I have learned so much. I have learned how rewarding having your own business is and how nice it is to live with freedom. I have also learned how difficult marketing is and how hard it is to have the self-confidence to sell yourself. I am happier than ever and I continue to learn and evolve the business to best serve myself and my clients.