I have some major news. I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that I have accepted a position as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School and Kripalu's Institute for Extraordinary Living!
I'm over the moon, because this is truly my dream job. I'm going to be managing a project called Yoga In The Schools, where I'll be studying the effects of implementing yoga in high school (and elementary school) phys-ed classes. In a nutshell, the project is a perfect combination of my love for research and my passion for wellness.
The pic above is right before my interview at Harvard (I was so nervous!)
The most amazing aspect of this opportunity is that it didn't happen by accident. I manifested this job using several techniques that I outline below.
But first, what does all of this mean for the rest of my business and my relationship with you? In all likelihood you won't notice many changes. Over the next few months my husband and I will be preparing to move to Boston, and I will most likely be starting at Harvard in January. In the meantime, and throughout my time in Boston, I will continue to blog for Owning Pink and on my personal blog. I'm also hoping to give talks and teach yoga in the Boston area if those types of opportunities arise. I will continue to update my website, Facebook and Twitter regularly. So you can rely on me to keep providing you with loads of content to create a life you love!
I'm embarking on the next phase of my journey, and I'm taking you with me. Together, we're going to learn what it means to break through fear and follow our hearts. Keep reading to find out what I've already learned so far.
When I quit my corporate job I was determined to get paid to do what I love. I wasn't exactly sure what I loved or how I was going to get paid to do it, but what I did know is that I couldn't spend one more minute trapped in a cubicle. Deep down inside, I felt that I was on this earth to help people - but my vision was blurry. What did I have to offer? Who could I help? Would anyone want what I had to give?
I spent my first few post-corporate months getting very clear about what I loved to do. After some intense brainstorming sessions, I narrowed it down to four things: Writing, Speaking, Research and Yoga. I wasn't sure if people would pay me to do these things. But I was willing to try.
Now, over 2 years later, I've manifested a job that combines all four of my passions. Here's how I did it:
One of the first things I did after leaving the corporate world was to get clear about what I loved to do. I didn't worry about creating a 4-year business plan, complete with pricing and sales goals. I simply got very honest with myself about what I wanted to be doing with my time - regardless of whether other people would think that these things were a socially acceptable "job." Eventually I started focusing on how much to charge for my services, but at first I gave myself the freedom to choose how I wanted to design my workdays.
I've been turned down on many occasions over the past 2 years. There have been people who didn't want to work with me, who thought what I was doing was crazy, who flat out rejected my ideas. I've been asked to remove PowerPoint slides about my book (The Antidepressant Antidote) from my presentations because companies were afraid of the topic. I've had people leave nasty comments for me on Facebook. I've failed. Hard.
Throughout all of this, I put my head down and kept going. It wasn't easy. Sometimes I wondered if the naysayers were right. Maybe I was crazy. Maybe I had nothing of value to offer. But then my True Self would encourage me to take the next step. Even when I wasn't completely sure what I was doing or how it was all going to turn out, I kept listening to my gut instead of listening to everyone else.
Tama Kieves, author of This Time I Dance and Inspired & Unstoppable, put it this way:
"Like many inspired souls, I’ve often felt lonely in my consistent desire for true expression. I’d envy those who could kick back in “normal” lives, enjoy a few burgers at a backyard barbecue and some nice, conventional success. They’d fix a garage door, buy a house at the lake, or take a cruise to Alaska, and that would be enough. They didn’t wrestle with some unnameable gravitational pull, a colony of inner voices, or the secret claustrophobia of their own trapped potential. They didn’t need to change the world, chant some mantra, become a brand, or win a Pulitzer or a Grammy. In other words, they could just turn on the news. They didn’t need to be the news."
Following your heart can feel lonely, but it's worth it.
Right before I quit my corporate job, I came across an article in Yoga Journal Magazine about research that was being done at Harvard Medical School. The article profiled a professor named Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, who was studying the effects of yoga on well-being. Reading the article gave me goosebumps and caused a light bulb to go off in my head. I knew in that moment that this was what I was supposed to be doing.
At around the same time, I became aware of a postdoctoral research position at Harvard Medical School that was being offered by one of Dr. Khalsa's colleagues who studied the neuroscience of yoga. I applied, but was rejected because I didn't have a strong enough background in brain imaging.
I was disappointed, but I kept going. I sent an email to Dr. Khalsa asking if I could help with his research from afar (for free). He agreed, and for the past 2 years I've been helping his team publish an article about yoga as an intervention for performance anxiety in adolescent musicians. We bumped up against several obstacles when trying to publish the article, but I'm happy to say that it has now been accepted for publication in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.
Two months ago when Dr. Khalsa advertised a position for a postdoctoral research fellow in his lab, I jumped at the opportunity. And I beat out 26 other applicants to get it.
My point? Throughout this entire process I have had to be patient and trust in divine timing. I'm very achievement-oriented and I usually want things done yesterday. But the universe doesn't work that way.
As Reid Tracy, President and CEO of Hay House publishing, said at a conference that I attended: "It takes 10 years to create an overnight success." In other words, all of the people who you see on TV and Facebook who look like they "made it" overnight, usually put at least 10 years (or 10,000 hours according to the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell) into their passion. They were going after what they wanted, but they were also patient and trusted in the process.
One of my dear friends once said to me, "Bethany, you are so brave to be doing what you're doing. You have major balls!" I laughed at the time, but have since realized that one of the main things that helped me manifest this opportunity at Harvard has been my willingness to feel the fear and do it anyway. It took balls for me to:
It's also going to take balls for me to move to Boston. The cost of living is astronomical. My husband and I will have to trade in our house for a 2 bedroom apartment. Two cars for no car. Small city for big city. We're leaving our friends and family behind.
To be honest, I'm absolutely terrified.
But I'm going. Why? Because I'm trusting my gut, which is telling me that this job is the direction I'm supposed to take. Maybe the job will last one year. Maybe I'll end up moving to Boston permanently. Who knows. What I've learned throughout this process is that I don't have to have it all figured out. I just have to be willing to try.
I didn't do this alone. I've hired business coaches who were invaluable in helping me clarify my vision and break through obstacles (thanks Rich German and Gabrielle Bernstein!). I've read countless books, taken online courses, attended teleseminars and conferences, and talked to supportive friends.
No person is an island. It's much easier to face a difficult journey when you have support!
If you're unsatisfied with your current line of work, do something about it. You might not be able to leave your job right away, but you could start saving up money to leave when you're ready. Or you might take a night course to beef up your skills. Whatever it is, have the courage to do it. With a little clarity, tenacity, patience, guts and help, there's no way you can lose.
If you'd like more tips on this topic, plus some personal instruction from me, check out my online course, Creating A Life You Love: Find Your Passion, Live Your Purpose and Create Financial Freedom.
What do you think of my big announcement? Share your thoughts with me below or post your comments on my Facebook Page.
If you live in the Boston area, I'd love to hear from you! Where are the good spots to live, shop, do yoga, ride my bike?
Until next time, keep following your heart and I will, too.
Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love. Check out her book, The Antidepressant Antidote, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and join her whole-self health revolution.
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