Leaving a traditional job to start your spiritual business can feel really scary.
I mean, really scary.
Personally, I had to face a lot of self-doubt, fear, and resistance when I first thought about leaving my job teaching college English to start my healing business.
But – as they say – I felt the fear and did it anyway.
Because the pain of staying small at a job that no longer fulfilled me was way worse than the fear of stepping into the unknown.
In this post, I share my personal journey of leaving the safety, familiarity, external validation, and steady paychecks of academia to launch my own spiritual business.
I hope this story will give you the courage and confidence to start – or keep growing – your business.
When external validation isn’t enough
I opened the email.
It was an invitation to speak about my research on English literature at Harvard.
At the time, I was still teaching college and finishing my PhD in – of all things – 17th century English literature. (Kind of removed from the real world, I know!)
I was both elated and nervous to receive that invitation.
By all external measures of success, it seemed like I had “made it.”
I was an up-and-coming scholar with lots of promise on the path to tenure. At the time I thought, “Job security for life? Hell yes.”
I knew that speaking at Harvard would make a great addition to my CV.
So, I accepted the invitation and got to work on the paper that I would present during my talk. I felt a bit nervous – no one really likes to speak in public, I don’t think – but I had tons of public speaking experience behind me. I knew I could do this, and I was excited about what it would mean for my future career.
There was a part of me, though, that felt kind of forced into giving this talk.
I was pushing myself to do it because it felt like a no-brainer, like something I needed to do for my career, like something I should do because I’d have to be crazy to turn down such an opportunity… right?
(That’s often how things felt for me during grad school – just another hoop to jump through, something I should do to get to the next level of prestige and recognition, something I should do because it was expected of me. Gaah, the pressure!)
The turning point… or when you realize there’s something else out there for you
After weeks of preparation, I drove to Harvard and gave my talk.
The room was packed with my academic colleagues and Harvard professors.
The stakes felt really high, and of course I experienced some intense stage fright.
Despite this, I gave my talk as confidently as possible and got really good questions and feedback from the audience.
But it was also at this point that I felt my floaty self—maybe it was my Higher Self floating up above my body—begin to question what I was really doing with my life.
I felt a nagging in my heart, a sense of I’m unfulfilled and there’s somewhere else I’m meant to be.
This was really difficult to feel and sit with because, by all external measures of success, I had made it.
Anyone looking in would’ve told me I should be happy and fulfilled with my promising career as an academic.
So I couldn’t help but wonder: “What’s wrong with me?”
Soul searching and finding the true path
When I got back home after the talk, I spent a lot of time soul searching. (I did a lot of this while riding a stationary bike or going for walks).
One particular day, I was riding my bike and it just hit me – I couldn’t help but confront the truth: academia was not the place for me.
My heart was calling me to go elsewhere, to do something else.
I realized that my true calling was to help others wake up, to remember the truth and power that resides within, to stop making themselves small to please others. To stop doing what’s expected of them – what they think they SHOULD do – and start doing what’s natural and fulfilling for them at a soul level.
Not knowing how I would do this or how the path would look, and still pedaling away on my bike, I prayed so hard that tears came pouring out of my eyes:
Dear Spirit Guides,
I don’t know how I will do this.
I don’t know how to leave my job or walk away from a future in academia.
I don’t know how this will happen or what I need to do,
But please show me.
Show me how, show me the path, and help me take the next step. And then the next step. And the next step after that.
If you lead the way, I will follow.
I am open, I am ready, and I will do whatever it takes.
Please help me.
Following the path of your Higher Self
Somehow, my prayer worked.
Looking back, I realize that was the moment of activation.
The moment where I decided to stop listening to external voices about what I should or shouldn’t do and start following my own wise, powerful, supportive inner guidance.
From that day forward, I have worked hard to listen to my intuition and to Divine Source instead of surrendering to the voice of my ego or the voices of other people.
Of course, my ego mind was outraged at first.
It kept saying things like you will be mocked, people will think you’re crazy, you’ll be broke and miserable, etc, etc.
But I pushed through the fear and did everything that was asked of me along the way. I did what Divine Source asked me to do, and I’m still doing that to this day.
I invested in coaching, business programs, and healers who could help me overcome the fear and resistance and keep pushing to build my business.
I learned how to embody my healing gifts.
I also learned about marketing, ideal clients, how to tell better stories, how to build community on social media, how to serve my clients so well that they tell others and spread the word. (Among many other things.)
I’m now doing fulfilling work that feeds my soul, makes a difference, and helps me connect with others on a deep level.
On top of that, I’ve doubled my income from teaching. And I love being self-employed because I can uplevel or change things up whenever I want.
I also get to decide what I want to do, when I want to do it, how I will do it, and when I need to take a vacation. I have total autonomy, freedom, and ownership.
More importantly, I’ve learned through personal experience that listening to your inner wisdom and guidance is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
Following through on the intuitive guidance you receive can be so scary and daunting – especially if it goes against “conventional wisdom” or the shoulds and shouldn’ts that you’ve followed for so many years.
But if you step onto your true path with courage, persistence, and the willingness to really listen and do the work, your life will be transformed. You will come alive, you’ll be more yourself than ever before, you’ll manifest things more easily, and you’ll feel a sense of true gratitude and fulfillment when you wake up in the morning.
So what are you waiting for?
Thank you for reading this! Please share any insights or questions by leaving a comment below. How does my story resonate with you? Do you recognize yourself in any part of it?