Hi! I’m Taisie Grant.
Growing up I always believed that in order to be ‘successful’ in life you had to follow the stereotype; the big corporate role, the highly admired job title, the big salary and a prestigious level of responsibility.
Otherwise – you would be classed as a failure – a nobody.
In the same vein though, I felt this immense pressure on my shoulders that I had to live up to this preposterous expectation and that if I didn’t achieve all of the above then I would have indeed failed. Of course – writing this to the audience I know it is to be shared with, I’m sure a lot of you will understand where I am coming from but will also know that there is a lot more to life than the societal expectation surrounding success. Unfortunately, I do believe society has a huge amount to be held accountable for when it comes to people ending up in a groundhog day job rather than a career that they love and why a lot of people go through life in a ‘job’ that as every Monday morning rolls around, causes them to wake up shrouded in fear and anxiety. What I have also realised, however, is that in order to find a career that you love – you, first of all, have to know what you are passionate about. And that, after having spoken to a lot of people about this, can sometimes be where the first hurdle lies. I have heard more than once that people have no idea what they are passionate about. Unfortunately, life sometimes doesn’t give us time, or should I correct myself by saying sometimes we don’t make time, to step back from the daily grind to really look at ‘what we love’ and what really sets our soul on fire because we’ve spent so long in auto-pilot with the blinkers on.
Getting up, going to work, coming home, numbing out from our miserable day in the office, going to bed and then rinsing and repeating, over and over. Well, all of the above was me. 23 months ago. I had been in a world that I realise now was so far against every grain in my body – trying to fit, trying to make it work, trying to pretend I was a success and most of all trying to pretend I was loving it. Spending all of my time worrying about what everyone else was thinking about me and how I would be viewed, dare I say it validated, rather than worrying about what was important to me. Living in line with my values, standing firm and sticking to my beliefs. After a series of serendipitous events – I happened to, through recommendation, end up at a magical place on the East Coast of Kenya – and had signed myself up for a 200hr YTT having not ever done more than five yoga classes – perhaps a bold move? But I didn’t care. I was at breaking point, in a terribly bad mental black hole, and my mental and physical health was really suffering, horribly. During those three weeks away, as cliche as it might sound, they have gone on to become three weeks that absolutely changed my life.
I realised that I didn’t have to live constantly against my grain. And that I also didn’t need to live a life where I constantly felt like I had to compete with everyone in my peer group; experiencing that suffocating feeling of never being good enough and always feeling like I was failing compared to everyone else. Yoga has taught me one of the biggest lessons in my life. The practice of self-kindness and self-compassion and that lesson alone has opened my mind in more ways than I could ever have imagined.
It also has taught me about passion and purpose and given me a realisation as to what I was born to do. There now isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t feel fully aligned to myself and the value chain I stand for and live by.
I realise how incredibly jarring the many years before now that I have not been aligned to these have been. It has meant that I have learned to be more content with my present situation – rather than constantly berating myself for not being ‘enough’. Or what I deemed was enough.
The trouble with never thinking you are enough though however means that whenever you achieve something – you are still never satisfied because there will always be someone doing what you believe to be ‘better than you’, appearing to be more ‘successful’ than you – so you just constantly set yourself up for a life of unhappiness and an inability to ever find contentment. Through yoga and movement – I have finally realised what I was put on this earth to do. And despite there being times where I have felt completely hopeless and lost, wondering what on earth I had done giving up my good salary and all of the security which comes with having a job, I now truly have a career. A passion. A purpose.
And let me tell you, it is one of the most exciting and liberating things to happen to me in my 30 years. For all of the days where I have worried over where my next paycheck might be coming from, not once have I regretted my decision to quit my job and follow my passion.
I do not ever have to question my values – because I now am able to hold strong the values I put above everything else, and as a result, can choose to work with those who honour the same values. I often felt in my old jobs like my moral compass was at times highly compromised and challenged. Making a career from my passion has given me freedom in ways I didn’t think was possible. The freedom to work and travel knowing that I can still earn while I am away. The freedom to go to new places and then create my work from there. The freedom to explore avenues that really interest me. The freedom to meet like-minded people and not have to pretend to be what I need to be – I can just meet them as me.
I have also redefined my definition of ‘success’. So many of us are entrapped in the belief that we can only be successful if we adhere to the societal guidelines and expectations of how and what we’re supposed to achieve. This is one of the most suffocating things to hold yourself against. When you redefine success to what YOUR definition is, the world becomes hugely exciting! And you feel expectation melting away – as success becomes what YOU make of it and no one else. And it can be absolutely anything! Something as simple as that you are living in line with your truest self. And if you ask me, I’d take that any day over selling my soul to the devil to have someone else’s validation!
I cannot encourage you enough to do the same! To find and explore your passion if you have something that you are passionate about; or if you don’t, to go and find something.
My only word of caution to you would be to have the financial stability to allow you to do this, as at times this has been unsettling, but for me going back to the old life of a ‘job’ seems like something I couldn’t even begin to imagine doing. It seems alien and so far away from the life I have now created. Yes, there might be times where I have to work the coffee shop or wait on tables in these early days to keep me afloat. But that is a small price to pay for the opportunity to truly shape your own and, as a result, other people’s lives.
I don’t want to get to the end of my life and say – I wish I had done X. I want to write my story starting from now. No regrets. The only thing you need to do is believe in yourself. And believe that you can make it happen. There will always be people who try and dissuade you otherwise for all manner of reasons – fear, jealously, their own unhappiness – but as long as you are committed to the path that you know was meant for you, you are the only person who needs to believe in what you’re doing and in yourself. So go bravely, go boldly. Find your courage. Find your strength. And dare to jump into the unknown and let me know what happens!
In the wonderful words I’ve learnt from our yoga mama, Lara,
I’m pulling for you!