The distinction between a career and a job has always been a gray area for me. When I was a kid both of my parents spent some time working from home. They both had offices in our house, sat behind desks, typed away on their computers, and worked long hours. My parents had careers.
I had little drive and direction in college. I studied something I enjoyed, dance, but I rarely thought beyond college. Once I left the formal education world I felt lost. I was supposed to leave college feeling inspired and driven to begin a career, right? But a career in what? While I wrestled with all of life's big questions I bought my time tending bar, teaching the occasional dance class, and practicing yoga. Eventually teaching yoga was added to my hodgepodge of jobs.
Unlike any other job I had held, I felt at home teaching yoga. With time I was able to strip away the jobs that didn't serve me and commit all of my time and energy to yoga. Very quickly I immersed myself in my studies and dedicated countless hours to developing classes. However, at the end of the day one question would nag me: So when do you get a real job and move toward your career?
I never meant to undermine teaching yoga, but I would constantly tell myself it was just a job that I really enjoyed. Sure I saw many teachers who were in it for the long haul and had established themselves as career yoga teachers, but teaching yoga wasn't my career, was it? Teaching yoga was just buying me time while I figured out my next step, right?
In March I was flying home from a teaching opportunity in Bismarck, North Dakota. On that flight I came to my senses. It took a gig that required getting on a plane and a studio footing the bill for my accommodations for me to admit that teaching yoga wasn't just my job. Teaching yoga is and has been my career. It's almost akin to renting versus buying a home. Renting gives you a place to live, but owning is an investment and commitment. Simply switching my mindset from job to career has given me permission to reflect upon the time and energy I've invested into the almost 6000 classes I've guided over the last eight years with absolute pride.
With big realizations comes reflection. Although I figured I had little direction throughout most of my life, I can now see that I was destined to become an educator. I look back on my childhood and the countless hours I spent "playing school" with my stuffed animals. Throughout high school and college educating others on simple things like music genres or current events gave me a tremendous sense of satisfaction. It took some time for me to find my subject, but I'm grateful I found one that speaks so deeply to me as well as to my students.
Just as my yoga practice allows for me to settle into the present moment, my new awareness has given me space to breathe and drop into a beautiful calm. I'm no longer anxious about growing up and finding a real career. I have a kick ass career as a yoga educator. It may not include a desk, a computer and regular hours, but it's a career that excites me, challenges me, and leaves me feeling completely fulfilled.