The first few days after I lost my job in June 2014 were very difficult. I had been working hard for 18 months, trying to build a stronger financial foundation at the nonprofit where I had been hired to do so. I had faced the interpersonal challenges that arose in the office and was committed to being a team player—no matter how much I had to swallow my pride. Despite doing my absolute best, I was let go during a downsizing. It was hard to feel unwanted—and I had absolutely no idea what to do next.
Within days, visions for my future began to appear. I enrolled in a life coach training program to get better adept at facilitating the group life coaching sessions I enjoyed leading. I also decided to do something I had been dreaming about for years—open a yoga studio in my neighborhood. Finally, I began looking for consulting opportunities in the education world that would provide me with the flexibility in my schedule I needed to run the yoga studio and coaching business. When I designed new business cards that July, I included all my job titles: education consultant, life coach, and yoga teacher.
By August, I had started planning my next steps for each enterprise. There were a few things that applied to all three businesses: set up business banking and credit card accounts, create promotional materials, implement a social media strategy, and design a website. In addition, I needed to do to a few things unique to each business.
On top of all that, I felt like I needed more direction as a yoga teacher and to be a successful studio owner. I decided to enroll in a 500-level advanced yoga teacher training program, which is analogous to getting a master’s degree in yoga teaching. The program included lots of class time, even more independent reading and several papers throughout the year along with a final thesis and oral presentation. But I chose to do it with one of the most successful yoga studio owners in the world. I knew there was a lot I could learn from her. (I was right!)
Once I had the vision for my life, the passion quickly created the plan and gave me the motivation to take the actions necessary to carry it out. Unfortunately, I didn’t have wisdom and discernment in equal measure. I feel overwhelmed just writing out those long lists of things I tried to do to create three separate businesses. I am not even sure how I managed to do it all—or attempted to do it all. I know that I worked long days and even longer nights. My sleep suffered. Since I was always on the go and always had something on my To Do list to complete, I rarely allowed myself the opportunity to rest. My body was not at all happy with these decisions, and my lupus activity soared. I was forced to take oral steroids to combat the inflammation and take several weeks off from work. By October, I had overwhelmed myself physically, emotionally, financially, mentally and spiritually.
Why would I do such a thing to myself? I was desperate. For the first 35 years of my life, I had batted the demons of child sexual abuse among other crappy things that had occurred. I was pretty unhappy for a long time and didn’t live up to my full potential. Once I started therapy and began to look at my circumstances differently, I discovered I also could change them. And change, I did. At an aggressive pace, I began pursuing my goals, trying to make up for lost time. That’s why I tried to launch three different businesses at the same time. I didn’t want to wait another minute to see another dream come true.
The last 18 months have shown me that I need to temper my ambitions and motivations with wisdom. Often that means setting priorities and picking one thing at a time to pursue. Even though I want it all NOW, that would be unwise for a number of reasons. Most of all, I would wear myself out in the process and be unable to truly enjoy my successes. I’ll move a little slower, more mindfully, as I try to have it all going forward.
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.