My wake up call. (Warning: long story coming your way…but it’s worth the read!)
Today, I want to share two stories of Soul Awakening with you. Mine and my sister’s.
In 2009, after working with an Executive Coach for over a year, I decided to quit my job.
I had no idea what I wanted to do next.
Initially, I was going to launch a baby products business. I did a consumer survey and put together a business plan so I could raise venture capital before quitting my job…I was being very “MBA” and strategic about it.
Then…I woke up one day and thought; “Wait a minute. I don’t give a crap about baby products! And if I start this company, I’ll be living and breathing baby products for the next 20 years.”
I was pursuing it because it was a good business idea, not because I was passionate about it.
And I realized if I started that company, I’d be an unfulfilled entrepreneur instead of an unfulfilled private equity investor.
I’d be switching industries, without fixing the underlying issue.
That’s when it hit me – my entire life, I’d been following my ego, my mind and my wallet.
I had not been following my heart or intuition.
And that was why I’d made a lot of money, but hadn’t felt deeply connected or passionate about what I was doing.
I wanted to find meaning, purpose and PASSION and make plenty of money with my work.
So I set out to find this new holy grail.
It was scary. I swiped the slate clean. Gave up on the baby products business. Started again from scratch.
I gave myself six months with a single mandate;
I commit to following my heart and intuition to find work I love.
I figured if I didn’t find work I loved in six months, I could always go back to private equity or start the baby products business then. And I took my commitment seriously.
I quit my job with nothing planned.
I was adamant about following my heart and intuition, constantly paying attention to what gave me energy, and listening to signs and synchronicities.
I reached out to people, signed up for classes or programs ONLY if they lit up my heart, and felt like a “yes” in my gut.
Around this time I read Brian Weiss’s book “Many Lives, Many Masters,” and had a session with Ainslie MacLeod.
Brian’s book changed my life.
It was the start of my spiritual awakening. When I finished the book, I turned it over and saw it’d been written in 1988. I wondered what the heck this guy had been up to since then.
So I googled “Brian Weiss.”
This was in September of 2009. The first search result said; “Brian Weiss – coming to San Francisco in October!” (I lived in SF at the time).
Because I was following my heart and intuition, and looking for signs, it seemed obvious that I was meant to be at this workshop.
So I signed up.
One month later, I was in a Holiday Inn ballroom with 200+ people, waiting to be hypnotized by Brian Weiss himself.
I remember thinking; “What am I doing?!! Have I lost my mind?! This is NUTS.”
Here I was, a Stanford MBA working in private equity – a professional – sitting there about to be hypnotized with a large group.
And yet…a small voice inside said; “stay.”
I was intrigued and incredibly curious about what was going to happen.
As Brian dimmed the lights and started playing some strange, relaxing music, I thought; “I’ve really lost my mind.” But I stayed.
What followed was one of the most profound experiences of my life. It brings tears to my eyes to this day when I talk about it.
After being deeply impacted by Brian’s session, I decided to join him for two weeks at the Omega Institute the following summer to become a trained healer in past life regression hypnosis.
I also became certified as an Executive Coach, studied mindfulness and trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a healing modality that literally rewires your neurology to create change. (it’s cool stuff!)
Just because. Just because I wanted to.
I had no idea these quirky “hobbies” would turn into a successful business.
At first, I was just doing it for me. Because I couldn’t NOT do it.
That was the start of my journey.
I was doing it because I loved it, and because a deeper, more still voice inside me was telling me this was my path.
It wasn’t easy to hear or trust that voice. It took a lot of patience, faith and determination.
And here’s what I learned; this part of me has a wisdom that’s deeper than I realized. It knows things about me that I don’t even know myself (on a conscious level).
I’ve learned over the years how to coax this voice out, how to trust it and listen to its guidance.
And that is my hope for you.
Next week, we’ll be opening registration for our BRAND NEW Soul Awakening 10 Day Bootcamp. This is a FREE online program where you’ll receive an inspirational video and daily tool every day for ten days.
It’s my intention to share some of the tools that have helped me awaken to my own soul, to my true path in life, so that you can do the same if you feel called.
And today, I want to share my personal story of Soul Awakening along with my sister Alexa’s story so you can get a better sense of what I mean when I say; “Soul Awakening.”
To me, “Soul Awakening” means beginning to tune into the voice inside you and taking action on it, even if it’s scary or weird.
Our souls often hold a deeper truth that’s waiting to be discovered. Whether you identify with a particular religion, spirituality or are agnostic, there are things you can do to connect with your soul on a daily basis.
Soul Awakening starts with telling the truth about your happiness, your energy and your desires.
Here’s my sister’s story of Soul Awakening…
Older siblings are so cool.
When I was little, I pretended not to look up to my sister Alexa. I wanted to be “tough” or some silly notion.
Now, I openly adore her.
She and I both had these “awakenings” in our thirties. We realized we believe in God and the Universe, the power of our thoughts to create our reality, and all these forces greater than ourselves.
It’s been incredible being on a parallel journey with her.
This past Tuesday was my sister Alexa’s birthday and I want to honor her by sharing parts of her story that may be helpful to you.
Torn between two worlds.
Alexa’s always loved drawing, painting, photography and most anything creative. She’s also had a deep love for skiing from a young age.
She got into the prestigious RISD school for college, but felt like a fraud and went to Wellesley instead (our parents’ first choice).
A “good student” and an artist.
At Wellesley, she compromised soul and ego by choosing to be pre-med with an art major.
Ski bum or doctor?
When she graduated from college, Alexa had an urge to ski full time but applied to medical school instead.
Her soul wouldn’t let her do it.
She deferred medical school to be a ski patroller, justifying her choice rationally with the “patroller” part of the equation saying it was good training to become a doctor.
After one year of medical school, she became depressed and passively suicidal.
She couldn’t ignore her deeper impulses anymore.
So she quit medical school to be a ski bum, living in Chamonix, Utah and Montana and eventually earning money as a photographer for Powder magazine.
Fast forward fifteen years later.
She’s a professional photographer who shoots weddings, fashion and outdoor lifestyle (she’s really good at it. She shot all the photos for my website…lucky me!).
Yo-yo’ing from soul to society.
When I look back at Alexa’s journey, it’s fascinating to notice the many moments when she had a “soul inkling” or “soul calling,” and what happened when she tried to push it down and do the “practical” thing instead.
Much of the time, she had a foot in both worlds.
She compromised by choosing a traditional route while continually stepping off that track to pursue her deeper desires.
Now, she’s getting a PhD in depth psychology and she’s like a kid in a candy store!
She’s so excited to read all her assignments and write papers on these topics. She really loves what she’s studying.
The other day she said to me; “Vanessa, how lucky am I? My backup job to make money (as a professional photographer) is some people’s dream job!”
It took courage to honor her truth.
In the near future, she wants to be a spiritual teacher and use her photography in a healing way.
She’s found her niche.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you may hear my sister’s story and think; “well, that’s great for her. But I’m not creative. I don’t have an urge to be an artist…I don’t have something I’m ignoring.”
We’re all creative. And we’re here to create.
You may not be an artist, but you are here to create. And you will be passionate about something if you give yourself room to explore.
Maybe you enjoy creating in your garden, or cooking a new recipe, or making up games or songs with your kids.
Self-esteem and choices.
I was listening to a talk by Caroline Myss the other day about self-esteem and choices.
She said true self-esteem is having the courage to do what we really want, what’s calling us, regardless of what other people will think or say.
I believe true self-esteem is listening to the voice of our Soul and choosing what lights us up, regardless of what others think.
Big and small choices.
You can do this in so many ways. It doesn’t mean you have to quit your day job to become an artist or follow your soul’s path.
It could be as simple as saying “no” to a volunteer job or a social event you don’t want to go to, and choosing to spend time experimenting in the kitchen or garden instead.
Each time you honor your truth, your integrity gets stronger.
And it becomes easier to hear the inner voice that’s guiding you the next time.
If you’re looking for practical ways to listen to your intuition and start hearing the callings of your Soul, stay tuned for our 10 Day Soul Awakening Bootcamp!
I’m sharing some of my best tools and strategies in this program for the first time. It’s gonna be a wild ride.