In the late '90s, I started my career in the beauty and fashion industry. It had been a fantastic experience, but somewhere along the way, I lost my way when I lost my job in 2010. The funny thing is, during those ten years, I secretly thought of what else or where else I could go, even though I had a position I loved, working for THE makeup brand at the time.
After losing my job, the first thing I did was get another one at one of my favourite cosmetic stores, hoping it would land me another corporate training position. When that proved fruitless, I decided to return to school to learn how to do hair. That decision was based exclusively on the fact that it would make me a more marketable freelance makeup artist. It makes sense to anyone in the industry; however, I wouldn't say I liked hair and made no bones about it.
Being broke was why I said, YESSSS!
Months after completing my course, I was contacted by the hair school I attended. They wanted to hire me as an instructor. Their logic was based on my background as a trainer. My logic for saying yes was based on being broke. I thought it was utterly absurd, but I took the job anyway. They promised I would have all the training necessary to be successful. Well, three days is what I got. Somehow, I rose to the challenge, spending endless hours on YouTube and other relevant sites watching hair videos. I was a fraud, but my saving grace was my passion for teaching and coaching.
Every day was filled with the anxiety of being found out. Now, you would think this would be where I took the time to gain insight and perspective on my next move. Unfortunately, being a fraud is not the best way one should spend their days and talents, but NADA!!! I could barely survive on my meagre pay, so in a fit of desperation and fear, I reached out to an acquaintance who worked in the hair replacement industry for work.
I must mention that when I applied for these jobs, I didn't bullshit about my skill level—I highlighted my soft skills - leadership, organization, and customer service – which overrode my hard skills…. actually knowing how to do hair.
I was hired with a promise of training and support, …… STILL WAITING!
If I thought I was a fraud before, that was nothing compared to being a mediocre stylist cutting hair for men who were paying a small fortune to mask their hair loss. It took me six months to accept that I did not, in fact, like or even respect the role I was in. I was taping and gluing hairpieces on men who sometimes felt duped into buying overpriced man wigs. The selling techniques were shameless and played on my conscience.
During that time, I was promoted to a supervisory position, which I accepted, and now my shitty job had become a full-on nightmare. After my first year, I was in deep trouble; I was too scared to quit and too miserable to carry on. I had no idea what to do or where to go next, so I took advantage of the therapy offered through our group benefits. Finally, decision that made sense, although still reactionary, would provide a more positive outcome.
It's fascinating how one’s mind works when you are in "survivor mode." Fight or flight can manifest in very different ways. For me, it was simple; identify the problem, create a solution, and attack. My answer to this problem was returning to school, studying culinary arts because I love to cook and you should do what you love, right?!?
I registered for a 2-year full-time course at George Brown College. I was taking part-time interest courses there, so this all made perfect sense to me. I had my high school transcripts transferred, I gave up my downtown apartment, and I made arrangements to move to my parents. I would stay at my job until school started; phew! Problem solved…. NOT!
I learnt to breathe again!
The magic of therapy is it forces you to stop, look and listen. This is something you can't do when you're running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It took me a whole year, but I learned to breathe again! At that time, I realized that trading one hamster wheel for another was not the answer to my problems; getting off and getting quiet was. I returned to daily meditation and made the simple decision to step out on faith, quit the soul-sucking job, and continue enjoying my culinary arts courses as the hobby they were meant to be. I have a marketable trade and connections, so I continued to do makeup until the next step came to me.
I re-read Louise Haye's "You Can Heal Your Life," which prompted me to read more books about self-help, healing and connecting with source.
One day I came across a powerful intention that read, "I live my Life On Purpose!" WHAT?!? It hit me like a ton of bricks. Everything you do, think and speak is done with and for a reason. What a concept! No running around all willy-nilly or reacting to every situation, but taking the time to walk your path, whatever it is, with intention; your purpose is the north star that leads you through life. This was my Ah-Ha! Moment. Living my life ON purpose became my guiding force.
I LIVE MY LIFE ON PURPOSE
I reflected on what brought me true joy in life and work. Yes, I love to cook, and nothing makes me happier than feeding my loved ones, but I also wanted a harmonious life that makes room for friends and family. Ask any Chef; they can tell you how many hours they spend in the kitchen. This is not life for me.
My life's purpose has never changed, only how I viewed it. I have always wanted to help people live their best life (I studied Social Work straight out of high school). When I completed my Life Coach Certification, it had been the first time in a very long time I engaged with my life on purpose.
When I make decisions now, I think of the intention behind my choices. Have I taken the time to get quiet and listen? Have I thought of the purpose behind my words and actions? Am I in action or reaction mode? Try asking yourself these questions to stay on purpose.
Since I first wrote this story in 2019, I started HERCOLLECTED, a subsidiary of Janine Bowen & co, in 2020, and it has become my primary focus in growing my business. At HER, I provide resources and coaching to women who want to live purposefully and support one another in the pursuit of their dreams.
For more information and support, join The Circle; it's free!
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