How I realized I was going upstream in my career path, working harder not smarter and decided to leave the rate-race to create the life of my dreams… and how YOU can too!!
I’ve always been an ambitious person. From a very young age, I knew I was supposed to do something bigger than myself and change the world for the better on some level (even if that just meant making an impact on one person’s life in a big way or millions of people)! It’s difficult to explain in just one post, but no matter what I was doing I always knew my “why”… It didn’t quite matter what my “what” was just as long as the message that I needed to share was portrayed; whether it was writing, working as a makeup artist, as a stylist, planning educational events, or any number of things I’ve had the great opportunity to experience, my underlining message was always the same – that I want to do “positive female marketing” (a term I started using when I was 16 years old when I told my mom in our kitchen that I wanted to change the world and “own my own positive female magazine someday”! hehe 😉
With this deep inner feeling of knowing that I wanted to do something big with my life, I’ve always worked very hard (maybe even a little too hard) and gone above and beyond in school, work… you name it! It’s been so rewarding to be able to experience each of these amazing opportunities that have made me who I am today, but it’s not until this very moment of working for myself, being a true entrepreneur in every sense of the word, experiencing what it’s like to have TRUE freedom, following my heart, my ideas, my passions fully & learning to trust myself in every situation and circumstance – that I can honestly say I am fulfilling my dreams and can live with no regrets knowing I went for it! I dreamed fully and I leaped! I’m proud of that. I am doing what I’m meant to do, I feel “in alignment” (as us Yogi’s say 😉 with my highest version of myself (lavender chakras) & while I have not “arrived” yet to my final destination of where I see my “ideal career” being.. For the first time I am content in the process, the journey! It’s as though I am living in such transparency that I feel connected to my soul purpose, my deepest and highest version of myself because I know I am truly living fearlessly, vulnerable & following my heart 100% with no backup plan!
So, as you read this going… “Okay, okay girl, we get it, you like your job!” (Lol ;)… Know that it wasn’t always this way. In fact, while I’ve always worked in artistic industries that I love and that fulfill me, I’ve always told the people closest in my life that I’m in the right industry, just in the wrong job. What I meant by that was that because I’ve always been someone who is passionate about a product/service mixed with being outgoing, I’ve always naturally had a knack for sales. So of course, I’ve always been thrown into sales in each industry because that’s where “the man”/the boss/the industry saw me. BUT what has fulfilled me has always been the creative within the industry. It wasn’t until I decided to standup for myself, my life and ASK for what I truly WANTED that I was able to create the ideal work life that I’ve built.
When I first graduated from college, I was offered an unpaid writing internship for a magazine or a Business Manager position for a well-known mineral makeup company running a counter out of NORDSTROM. After going back and forth, knowing that whether it was a magazine or cosmetics my goal was the same to do “positive female marketing” (yup, there it is again… thanks 16 year old self lol)! After weighing the pros and cons, I ultimately decided to take the cosmetic job for many reasons career & personal… not only did it pay more but my boyfriend from college and I were rooted in Utah at the time and picking up and leaving just didn’t make sense at the time for either one of us.
So, here I was 21, a Business Manager for Bare Escentual cosmetics and making a really great salary + quarterly bonus potential! While technically, I wasn’t pursuing my dream of moving to New York (the city of dreams!), pursing my goals of working for a magazine, writing (hello, “How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days”… guys this was seriously supposed to be me… Andy Anderson, Heather Hooke.. AA… HH… k nevermind makes more sense in my head lol…). Anyway, a small part of me knew I was compromising my dream and not fulfillming my writing, which writing for me is like meditating, it just flows out of me and puts me in my “flow state” so by not pursing it, or most importantly practicing it, a small part of my soul just feels in-authentic and disconnected on some level. I was also able to convince myself that not only would the money be worth it, but that I could just adjust the dream slightly and instead of doing “positive female marketing” for a magazine, I would do it for cosmetics “creating depth in a shallow industry” or so I told myself.
It’s funny, looking back from the very beginning things just felt a little off in that career path. While I LOVED the product and the brand (still do, I am a LOYAL Bare Escentual user and swear by their 100% natural mineral foundation in my youtube videos, which btw you guys should totally check out.. I know, sorry guys, self promo lol)! Anyway, while some people that I met are still VERY close friends of mine today who I talk to all the time, many of the other people I interacted with, I felt so much like a fish out of water. I’ve always LOVED learning from and connecting with people in a real way and have always been someone who just naturally can get the conversation going and for some reason this felt so difficult in this industry – just to relate and have a basic conversation felt like pulling teeth. It often felt so shallow and disconnected. I didn’t get it. My dream of How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days quickly felt like a scene out of The Devil Wears Prada. I felt so vulnerable and out of sorts like everything was a competition and there was this lack of trust from the beginning, like anyone would stab you in the back an any moment. & the higher up you got, the worse it seemed. I just did’t recognize this reaction or feeling. I felt so beside myself, even a little awkward at times & extremely disappointed.
When I flew to corporate in San Francisco, I met some other people from other regions that I really related to and this really inspired me! Here I was feeling so cool “flying on business” with my corporate card and staying in the city amongst high rises, chic coffee shops, art galleries, and trendy lounges – it was so cool, exactly how I imagined!! I felt like I WAS transported back into the movie How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days! … sure we were in San Francisco, not New York… and sure it was cosmetics not a magazine but you get what I mean. I fell in LOVE with the walking downstairs to instant nightlife, the trendy coffee shop lines, the white modern corporate headquarters and after work cocktails with my corporate friends – this experience was night and day compared to working in the field, this is what I imagined it would be like and it was even better than what I thought – I was hooked! I felt focused and re-inspired again & blew off my intuitive feelings in the beginning writing them off as nerves for the new job. Now I had a focus and a goal: I wanted to get out of Utah once and for all, move to San Francisco and be the Marketing Director for Bare Escentuals at their corporate headquarters in San Francisco and fulfull my “positive female marketing dreams” and no one was going to stand in this girls way! …Not a bad goal right?! Guys, it’s really too bad I dream so small hehe! 😉 So, as expected, I asked how to make this happen and I was told to do really well in the field, prove myself and I could be considered for a corporate position – so that’s just what I did.
Fast forward a few years… after working a ridiculous number of hours to the point where 13 hour days with no lunch became my norm, I was so proud to see that our little counter at NORDSTROM had grown from me + 3 employees to a staff of 14 people + a freelance staff of 10 people! My counter had more than doubled our corporate volume goal reaching #1 in the United states, where we were able to host an incredible event featuring the fabulous Leslie Blodgett (founder and CEO of Bare Escentuals) where our 1 day event hit record highs in volume and actually broke the NORDSTROM 1 day cosmetic event record! I was promoted to Lead Business Manager where I ran multiple counters inside of NORDSTROM & guys let’s just say bonuses were good… bonuses were reaaaaaaal good (shopping haul anyone.. don’t mind if I do hehe)! I was proud. Proud of how hard I had worked, proud of my amazing team and how close we had all become, proud of the positive change we were making in women’s lives! In yet, something was out of balance. Something still felt off.
For one, while it was doable for awhile, no one in their right mind can work those kind of hours long term and worry over the details required in order to maintain that status, which became an expectation – while staying healthy or maintaining any kind of healthy relationship. It’s simply impossible. There is no time. With 2 phones (one for business and one for personal), non-stop emails, pre-selling, events, goals, trainings, weekends, holidays etc it was non-stop & just got to be too much. & that doesn’t even include any of the politics. I was so grateful for my AMAZING team amongst the craziness and also wanted to protect them from it!
Unfortunately, what I found was that the higher up you grew in title, the more “mean-ness” I saw. It was so sad and discouraging. I couldn’t believe such cattiness from other counters and people in the industry. Whether it was jealousy for our success as a counter or simply just being different offering 100% natural minerals over traditional liquid foundations, it truly felt like we as a counter were going upstream and while it felt good to be making a real difference in women’s lives by promoting healthy, good for you products.. it kinda felt like, at what cost?
I remember noticing changes at corporate as well. I remember flying there to interview for a marketing position and basically having the Marketing Director promise me a job; telling me to start looking for apartments while I was there, just to find out 2 weeks later he was let go and did not pass along any recommendations. Ugh, back to square one.
There were many, many, MANY signs that I was going upstream and that I was simply off course, which I will not go into all the way here, but let’s just say the Universe was crystal – freaking – clear it was time to make a change STAT! From pay structures all of a sudden changing, to stores being built in the mall which totally effected our goals to the point where we couldn’t even compare or compete with our last years (LY) numbers, the path I was on went from inspiring and energizing to discouraging and depressing real quick.
I remember there was a day when I arrived for a big event we planned, all dressed up and I could not bring myself to walk in for another day at work. With no windows near by, once you get inside, I used to refer to it to my friends and family as a “fashion prison” lol… a little extreme and melo-dramatic, I’ll admit…but who cares. If you are ever feeling imprisioned by anything in your life, that is your tell tale sign to take action NOW. Life is too short to feel suffocated like that and no amount of money or status can change that – take it from me.
I remember journaling about this whole experience. I remember having bills to pay and praying for another opportunity. I remember having to stick it out, put on a smile to keep my team motivated and looking forward to my yoga class on monday at 6pm like no body’s business! Until one day, little did I know a client would change the direction of my life getting me back on track!
One day I had a woman in my chair who was beautiful, middle aged, and had this inner confidence about her. She went on to tell me she always wanted to be an actress, used to do it and then stopped and she felt like she stopped living her life for years. SHE was off track and couldn’t seem to find her way back… back to her art, her passion, her calling. I found it so in tune with exactly how I was feeling in that very moment in time! She went on to say that she made the leap…she left her high paying job with all the status to become an actress again!
She recently just signed with a local Talent Agency there in Utah and had her first audition later that day; in fact, that’s why she was there getting her makeup done! Here I was doing her makeup aiming to inspire her and here she was inspiring and truly CONNECTING with me by being real, relatable and vulnerable with her story. She went on to say something that will stick with me forever. She said, “You will only make a change, when the fear of the unknown is less uncomfortable than the present moment.” I paused when I heard this. She felt like a angel that had been sent down to me, telling me exactly what I needed to hear at that very moment. It was as though I was getting the “okay”.. the thumbs up… like hey, this isn’t working (clearly), time to make a change! & so I did.
I began researching local magazines in the area and found one called Healthy Magazine. It wasn’t easy, I had to be perisistant! It was a prestigious poisiion and the Editor, John Anderson, who is now a good friend of mine, was not hiring. But mix ambition with passion with persistence and amazing things can happen. I was eventually hired as their Online Editor and grew quickly becoming their Marketing Director. I was able to write and do sales while working 9-5, monday – friday. No holidays, not weekends like the exhausting retail world. I was moving to the next stepping stone to my dream career, my dream life!
After working for Healthy Magazine for a few years, my (now) husband and I moved to Los Angeles for a promotion he got at work. I was able to work from home, live in L.A. and live it up! I was so grateful! Until suddenly that little feeling began to come up again, it’s subtle but this time it did’t take me nearly as long to listen!
When my husband and I had the opportunoity to move to Florida for his career (following his own “flow state” and passion), I decided I was going to trust my gut and take the plunge! I broke the news to him that I was going to become a yoga teacher and blogger. A little nervous about his reaction, I waited. He smiled and said, “I always knew you were going to go the entrepreneurial route!” and while financially we needed to figure things out, supported my decision to not live in regret and pursue my deep passion for empowering girls, but this time – MY way!
So here I am, 2.5 years later following my heart and feeling like a weight has been lifted off my chest. Now certified in the art of yoga (the 6pm hour that was my sanctuary and kept me sane in my cosmetic days.. now I get to be that for others); with two yoga studios; loyal clients who are more like family; a very successful and constantly growing essential oil business; my own yoga apparel fashion line whose proceeds go to a national charity that empowers girls; and of course my blog and youtube channel all about empowering women! Something I’m truly proud of because I’ve built all this from the ground up, with practically no starting cash – all from an idea I had when I was 16.
You see, if I hadn’t been fearless a number of times, listened to my intuition, and stayed “tru” to my “WHY” I may not have had the motivation or the gall to trust myself, listen to my heart and follow what, I believe to be, my calling (or “Dharma” in yogi terms)! Here I am relaxing in my swim suit across the country, doing what I love all for taking that first step…
So ask yourself, is there any area of your own life that feels off? Anything that feels like you are imprisoned or suffocated? For most girls it’s typically their job or a relationship (perhaps a significant other or even a one-sided friendship). Whatever it may be for you, I hope this story inspires you on your own journey to trust yourself and your gut always! Decide not to live in regret and move forward towards your dream life with FEARLESS action!!! & if you’re on the fence, just remember
“You will only make a change, when the fear of the unknown is less uncomfortable than the present moment.”
Until next time, Namaste-BEYOUtiful xo! Heath
PS To assist you in discovering what it is you truly WANT in your life, be sure to watch my video HOW TO CREATE A VISION BOARD! You deserve to live your best life – I truly hope it inspires you to dream BIG! HH 🙂