During an internship at Morgan Stanley in the wealth management department for parts of my junior and senior year of college the senior vice presidents I was working for approached me about what I was doing after I graduated. At the time, all I knew was that I was going to be interning for the Clinton Foundation after I finished college. I expressed to them my love for giving back and let them know that wealth management wasn’t where I saw myself in the future. I remember distinctly the words of one of the senior vice presidents when I said this. He said, “Why would you want to do that? Better to make lots of money now so that you can give back more in the future. Make no money now and you won’t be able to make a ‘big’ impact.”
After this conversion, I doubted my response. These wealth managers had nice cars, houses and money. Here I was, leaving wealth management to go to an internship, after graduating with a college degree, that wasn’t even going to be paid. Having read the Alchemist I now see, “No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.”
I then went on to work as a consultant at a public accounting firm. Before I got the job, they asked me why I wanted to work for them. I had rehearsed an answer but as the words left my mouth I felt like I was lying. My heart didn’t want the job and there was no passion behind the words I was saying. After receiving the offer letter, I took until the final day to finally accept. I sat in the library all night contemplating the decision until I finally convinced myself that the money the job was offering was too good to let go of.
“When he was a child, that man wanted to travel, too. But he decided first to buy his bakery and put some money aside. When he’s an old man, he’s going to spend a month in Africa. He never realized that people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”
One night a colleague at the public accounting firm I worked for and I talked about my decision to leave the company to travel. We talked about many things but money was something that came up. He told me that he was there because in the future he wanted to have money for his kids. It wasn’t ideal for now but it paid the bills. I wish I could have told him then, “This candy merchant isn’t making candy so that he can travel or marry a shopkeeper’s daughter. He’s doing it because it’s what he wants to do.”
I came to Australia with a backpack full of summer clothes, a one year visa and a pretty good tan. I had just left Myanmar having just finished a 10 day Vipasana meditation course and didn’t have a “real plan” for a job or next steps in Australia. Arriving in Mudgee was a real change. Drew and I had just traveled around Australia for a week or two and I had just experienced some of the best beaches I’ve ever seen in my life. In the matter of a few days though, I went from sleeping in hostels, packing my backpack up every night, reading Lonely Planet like a bible to living in a small country town. On my second or third day in Mudgee I went to the gym to get a gym membership and expressed to her that I was a yoga instructor looking to teach as well. About a week later, I got the gig teaching yoga at the gym. “The boy felt jealous of the freedom of the wind, and saw that he could have the same freedom. There was nothing to hold him back except himself.”
Over the course of the past few weeks in Mudgee, I’ve put myself out there. I’ve reached out to gyms, people in the fitness community and friends of friends letting the universe know I want to teach yoga. I realized that even if it’s not yoga, whatever work I do I want to make people feel good. I got work part time at a winery and even there, it feels good that I’m doing something to contribute to people’s journey to happiness. Wine and cheese does do that 🙂
I’ve been lucky that Australians are incredibly friendly and I’ve had wonderful people to help me along the way here. Kiera’s lending me space at her studio and marketed all my yoga classes to her clients. Jules believed in me to instruct and now continuously gets people at the gym to come try out my classes. Drew connected me with friends, gives me a place to sleep and lets me use a room in his house to teach yoga to private clients. Emma gave me work at the winery without having much recent hospitality experience.
I put in the effort every day by believing in myself, listening to my heart and letting people know what I can offer. It’s only been a few weeks here but “…when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” There’s no reason not to do what you want to do with your life. Even if you think you don’t know… take a silent moment, a breathe to listen to your heart and what it’s telling you. Put yourself out there and see what happens. Don’t settle for misery. We all deserve happiness.
“Don’t give in to your fears.. If you do so you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”