My First Award - Recognition and Reflection
Yesterday I received an award to celebrate the success of my business, which officially began less than 12 months ago. Everybody at the awards ceremony congratulated me and I felt proud, I smiled for the photographer, and then I saw a flood of posts on social media with my picture along with others who had also received recognition awards.
What stopped me in my tracks was somebody asking what I got? Did I get sponsorship or a grant? I felt quite annoyed, it was as if my achievement was being de-valued because it didn’t come with a monetary reward, and then I realised I was devaluing my success and achievements over the past 9-12 months in the same way, because I hadn’t really stopped to recognise exactly what I’ve achieved and what the award was really acknowledging.
Ananda ~ Health and Wellbeing was inspired by sitting through hours of terrible CPD workshops with supposed inspirational speakers, who had nearly always worked for the United Nation, represented Team GB or done a PHD in psychology and published a book. I had people telling me on a daily basis that I was inspirational and I should take the leap to share my passion, knowledge, skills and story, and in 2014 I said that one day I would, It wasn’t until 2019 that I took the leap of faith.
Ananda ~ Health and Wellbeing is a multi faceted company with a singular goal to support individuals and groups with their health. My ultimate dream is to be an inspirational presenter in Health and Happiness, and the mission of my business is to motivate and inspire people to change their behaviour to become healthier, happier and more productive.
Self-employment has been really challenging, financially, emotionally, and physically, but I chose this path. I have spent the majority of my first year in business worrying about growth and money. In the very early months I often felt I might quit and couldn’t face the uncertainty each month of whether I’d be able to pay the mortgage (this was often driven by others reminding me I was single and had nobody to support me). I applied for many unsuitable positions out of fear and frustration, and missed my safe life as a Further and Higher Education lecturer.
I was presented with opportunities I didn’t follow up or take, I made excuses, and felt lost in the expanse of business competition, and at times felt like I was selling myself short to my own capabilities; I knew exactly what I wanted but had no clue how to get there. I just kept going trusting that the choice I had made was for all the right reasons and I may not be a Ted Talks speaker yet, or have a national presence, but I have a local one and I’m paying the bills each month, and am nearly in a position to take a holiday.
I have achieved so much in a very short duration.
I started with the holistic delivery side of the business teaching Yoga; and went from delivering a taster class to working out of my own studio space in 4 weeks. Within 4 months I was taking classes into the community, leading hen parties, guest teaching on retreats and within workplaces. More recently I have been working in partnership with local businesses and this has given me a great deal of exposure and allowed me to re-develop the skill of negotiating terms and conditions and contracts. Alongside this I trained as massage therapist and decided to utilise my wonderful home to offer treatments from the ‘Ananda Zen Den’
The education / training side of the business has been more challenging to develop, primarily because I have found it very difficult to package and promote what it is that I offer. I have been fortunate to deliver many health and wellbeing workshops within businesses, education establishments and to community groups. This week I’ve been on the TV and local radio and attended networking events and self generated meetings. I have realised the business is unique, it may not be a national name yet, but its also not faceless or delivered from a generic script. Ananda ~ Health and Wellbeing is me, my morals, my values, and my ethics, which equates to a personal and professional tailor made package, and makes it a very solid foundation for any business to connect with and be assured of quality.
What’s in the pipeline in the next few months?
I am currently in negotiations with a large provider in delivering an on-going behaviour change programme for senior tier employees, and am thrilled to report I now have health and wellbeing education and training bookings confirmed. I am eager to meet with decision makers in organisations to offer bespoke tailored programmes to meet their workforce needs. I have private parties, guest teaching on retreats, educational setting and workplace wellbeing bookings in the diary alongside my weekly classes and workshops.
Finally, the ultimate dream to be an inspirational presenter … I am thrilled to announce I am speaking at the Taunton Feel Good Festival in May and also the guest speaker at the next Brainwave networking event. Ted Talks I am coming!! If you have an event nationally where you’d like to showcase a health and wellbeing provider who speaks common sense and will engage, motivate and inspire an audience with humour and education, then please get in contact.
None of this would have been truly possible if I hadn’t taken the leap of faith when life threw me an immense curve ball. I am so truly grateful for the people who have not only supported me, but have provided me with wonderful opportunities. To all those who share, like and comment on my social media posts, to the friends who show up to my events and don’t ask for mates rates, and to every singe one of my participants in classes, workshops and seminars – you will never know how your words of praise and engagement make such a difference to the scary and often lonely world of self employment.
I’m not just another yoga teacher, or another health and wellbeing company. I’m a brand and a specialist in my field, and I have a story to share, a legacy (of my late Father) to fulfil, and a dream to become an international inspirational presenter of Health and Happiness.
So, what did I get when I received this award yesterday?
The catalyst to reflect on just how much I have achieved!
No sponsorship or grant would have encouraged this important process to prepare me for whatever comes next.