by Kathi Szabo

Last week I discussed Step 1 which is understanding your spiritual vision, your values, and your WHY! Understanding your purpose and how it relates to the world is the foundation. When we are clear on this, we can easily process everything through this lens. Is it aligned with my spiritual vision, my values and my why?

Step 2 is then finding clarity around the life you want to live. It’s important to be able to visualize it completely and fully.

It’s not about what we DON’T Want

Many times we know exactly what we don’t want. When I worked for Nautica in NYC, I knew I didn’t want to commute an hour and half one way. I knew I didn’t really want to be focused on selling more clothing that most of us really don’t need. I knew I didn’t want to be on call after hours and on weekends. So I would complain and moan about these aspects of my job, but I absolutely had no clarity on what I really wanted.

In 2016 Mark and I bought a yoga studio. By this time I knew I wanted to own my own business and I wanted to improve people’s lives. Did I have clarity that I wanted a yoga studio? Did I have clarity that I wanted not to just own a yoga studio, but that I wanted to be part of a chain of yoga studios?

No I did not. I just knew it was the first step in getting me out of what I didn’t want.

So a year later, in May of 2017, I went into panic.

I had been working my way out of a job by refusing to lay-off my staff and instead offer a plan where I would be the one let go. You may think I was crazy, and perhaps I was; but I knew it was time for me to leave. But I didn’t have the courage in me to just resign and move on.

For one, I had no idea what I did want to do. We had the studio, but I felt like a failure teaching (I was living the paradox of “I’m not good enough.”), and I didn’t feel confident in the whole business. I knew subconsciously that to leave my good-paying, executive job, it was going to have to be from Nautica letting me go. And finally they did!

At first I was thrilled! Excited! Elated! But that quickly wore off once I thought, “what am I going to do now?” I had no plan. The studio didn’t seem like the answer, it was barely breaking even and at that time I didn’t believe it ever would be successful. (I now know this was a deeply-rooted limiting belief – but that’s for another day).

So, for the next year I stumbled through life.

I worried that we would run out of money. I tried my hand at a number of things, like flipping a house that had been vacant for 10+ years and finally landing on coaching. How I got there took many twists and turns.

But I started to go inward, doing some personal development work, going to Tony Robbins Events and I realized what I have always done, no matter my job or volunteer role, was to help others see the best in themselves! It was the main reason I had previously gone back to school for my MBA – so I could be an adjunct professor and work with college students. It’s why at my time in the corporate world I enjoyed writing and giving reviews and midyear updates to my staff! I wanted to see them thrive and I wanted to support them.

Knowing what you love doing is KEY

Once I understood this, I started to gain clarity on the life I wanted to create. I began to have confidence, not just in me, but the yoga studio, in Mark and in the life we were creating.

So in Summer of 2018 I went on a personal solo retreat to the Pocono’s and started creating my life. My first coaching business was created:  Far Cliffs, from Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I decided to create a program that would focus on an individual’s inherent strengths, not skills but character. My work would be helping others find the best inside of them and bring it to the world! I finally had some clarity.

Clarity leads to more clarity.

The thing is, once you notice the change with clarity, you start getting a clearer and clearer picture. By 2019 Mark and I had done some amazing work and we were clear that we wanted to help others. We loved the yoga studio and the community we created, but being part of a franchise made it difficult to do the things we wanted to do. We started to plan our exit: make 2020 the most profitable year yet, making it desirable for someone who wanted to be part of a franchise to buy it so we could go on our own and help others through our coaching!

Well you know what happened in 2020. Covid. We not only had to close our doors, but we also couldn’t find anyone to buy the studio. No one wanted to take that risk at that point in time. Our franchise agreement was ending as well as our lease on the space and we needed to make a decision.

“Should I stay or should I go?” The Clash

The easy decision would have been to stay. We had enough money from Covid loans to keep going at least another 9 months to a year, but that would mean signing on for at least another 2 years, time to get it back to profitable and then time to sell.

We were clear, we didn’t want to be part of the franchise. We wanted to create something of our own. Help people in more ways than just through Yoga. So even with complete understanding that if we didn’t renew our lease and franchise agreement, we would have to close the doors for good and file bankruptcy, that is exactly what we did.

Clarity keeps you living your spiritual vision, your values.

The decision aligned with our values. The decision aligned with the clarity of the life we wanted to create. It was difficult and we were unsure how we would get through; but see, when you have clarity, you don’t settle. You see your future and you don’t take detours or roads that take you away from them, not closer.

So in 2021, Far Cliffs became Eclectic Well-being and we were truly creating a life we love!

When we take the detour, a path not aligned with our values, we Survive, not Thrive.

If it wasn’t for being absolutely clear of what we wanted, we most likely would have resigned to right now  running a franchised yoga studio. We would be surviving, not thriving. So many of us do things to survive because we don’t have a clear vision of what it means to us to be thriving.

If you don’t have a clear vision of what you want your life to be, you will never get to thriving or living in flow. You will simply continue to survive.

Look inside. Think about what kind of life you really want. Do you want to work with others? Do you prefer more alone time? What impact do you want to have? Is your job a means to create your life, or is your job your life and the way to fulfilling your spiritual vision such as in our case?

There are no right or wrong answers here. It is simply taking fine tuning our lenses until we have a sharp crisp image of the life we want.

Next week the final step in Creating a Life You Love… The Power of Decision.