Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new era for me. I’ll be wrapping up my last day on the job as an executive online producer for a college. This job was the latest in a string of demanding web jobs I’ve had over the last 16+ years. The past year and a half have been full of some interesting challenges as I searched my heart to carve out a new way of life that truly put my best skills to use. I was absolutely burned out and having those existential thoughts: “Is this really all I’m ever going to do with my life?” My heart felt sad and heavy and I became frustrated over “making it through Monday-Friday” and “living for the weekends”. I knew I was very lucky to have so many technical and production skills….but my heart and soul longed for something more creative and entrepreneurial, something that had my personal stamp and could also better the world. I began to envision a life in which I could split my time between my two loves: music and yoga. As I see so many of my dreams beginning to come to life now, I am convinced that consistent mediation has been a key factor.
It’s more than just daydreaming. It begins with a daydream or a vision, but then you move to the next step: writing notes in a journal about your goals, doing the research, asking questions. You prioritize the goals and take them one step at a time. For example, last year I knew I could be making more money from licensing music. I knew I had to do 3 things: 1) keep writing a lot of good material (especially in styles/genres in demand) 2) develop more partnerships 3) keep better administrative track of my material already in circulation. I organized all my best tracks on one server for review by potential partners, complete with authentication, meta-tagging, etc. I researched leads to new business relationships. By the end of 2009 I had added on another 5 companies and learned more exact details about the media buys for my music in commercials. I began a lot of follow-up work on back-end royalties. Now I have new checks coming in from my new partners and I have BIG payouts coming for backend royalties that I think would have possibly been forgotten for a long time or altogether.
As for yoga, I knew I wanted to open a studio, but I knew it was not the right time to try… much preparation and research was needed. I knew what I needed to do: 1) For the time being, keep up with my personal practice and look for any and all opportunities to stay connected to teaching. 2) research everything about the yoga biz and small biz climate and write down my goals 3) write a business plan, get some funding from a bank/investors and open up a studio in a good area of LA not already saturated with yoga studios. I started “pop up” yoga classes in empty loft spaces and photo studios downtown. I started renting studios by the hour and inviting my network of friends to attend my classes. I had some real ups and downs! I’ve had wonderful feedback from students who loved the classes. We had live DJs spinning sometimes which was amazing! I had good attendance on occasion. But at other times I’d have nobody show up and would be out of $50 after paying to rent the space. Or I would have to move on from a space after the building management kicked me out, or the location turned out to be bad. But the whole experience trained me to be a better teacher, to have good instinct, poise and creativity when it came to handling so many varying conditions of environment and levels of students. I began to learn about what did and didn’t work for a studio in terms of location, prices, approach, environment, class schedule, etc. I had been going through “future yoga studio warrior training” and I didn’t even know it!
Now, here I am, done with “day job” and holding a solid business plan, about to find out how loose the purse strings really are with the banks. The headlines reflect a major shift: banks are more eager to invest in small business, attendance to yoga classes has surged, interest rates are low and commercial real estate much cheaper, with property owners more willing to negotiate. So, even though I could envision it, and I wanted it, I still had to wait and watch and learn for the right moment to make the move. Now I’m going to be teaching classes at a great new spa/studio in Beverly Hills, writing more music and preparing to open my yoga studio.
I still believe that if I had not meditated constantly, if I had not created a sharp and positive vision in my mind, that I would not be where I am now. I tried my best to put limits on complaining and worrying and instead focused on marching forward towards the dreams.
Perhaps all of the above sounds trite and simple, but without a doubt the life I keep envisioning is beginning to take shape. I am overflowing with blessings right now. This reminds me of when I decided I wanted to go college at Northwestern, or move to Los Angeles, or find a wonderful man to spend my life with….I have been able, somehow, to make it happen. You can call it luck or coincidence, I suppose…or maybe just plain “effective wishing”. I don’t have an answer for WHY having a positive vision works. I only have the evidence that it DOES work.