“Being my own boss and being paid to do a job I love, I feel immensely grateful.”
We all know the old adage a healthy body is a healthy mind, but for many of us our bodies may not be as healthy as we’d like. Nevertheless, it is important to make time for yourself and relax, we all know what it’s like to be stuck behind a desk for hours and to feel like you’ve aged about fifty years in the space of one day. Thankfully, GirlCrew Dublin member Karen Davies is here to give us all a good stretch and bring a bit of balance back into our lives. “Last July I took the leap to leave my software development career of 15 years to become a full time yoga and pilates instructor.” While this might seem like it was quite a leap, it’s something that Karen says was in the planning for about five years. “I knew I wanted to stop working in Information Technology but it took me a while to work out what I wanted to do with my life instead. I came to the conclusion that you can never be sure about these things, and sometimes you just have to try things out and see how it goes.” Taking her own mantra to heart, Karen began the necessary research, and in April 2015 she completed her initial training in the Yoga Room in Dublin. “[And] a couple of months later handed in my notice at Paddy Power, where I’d worked as a Java Developer for the past 6 years.” Despite being sure that she wanted a change, and getting off to a strong start teaching two classes a week, Karen was still hesitant about having made such a drastic change to her career, “…it was daunting to leave a secure well paid job to leap into the relatively unknown.” This fear turned out to unfounded however, and Karen has built a successful business helping others. “Now, a year later, I have 10 classes a week – I work for a variety of studios, gyms and corporates, I run my own class in a school hall in Kilmainham on Friday evenings, and I teach private classes on request. The money is still tight… but I’m getting there.” Money issues aside, Karen knows she has made the right choice. “My new lifestyle isn’t always easy, but I absolutely love it. Being my own boss and being paid to do a job I love, I feel immensely grateful.”
1. What is the best thing about your role?
Teaching yoga and pilates, and running my own business, I love the variety – no two days are alike and no two classes are alike, I work in gyms, studios and offices and the students differing needs and abilities keep everything interesting and challenging. I also love the physical aspect the job brings, after 15 years working in an office I just wanted to move.
2. What did you find most challenging about it?
To begin with I was petrified of speaking in front of a group, I knew I wanted to teach but I was really scared I’d clam up and forget my words. Surprisingly once I started it just came naturally; when you believe in what you’re talking about the words just seem to come.
3. What is your proudest work related achievement to date?
I taught a class at Moynalty yoga festival this summer, it started at 9:15 on a rainy Sunday morning, so I was worried that no one would turn up. I was delighted to have 43 eager students pack the tent out completely and we had a lovely gentle morning yin yoga class together.
4. What would be your one tip to others who want to get involved in this industry?
Start teaching as soon as you complete your training (or even before). It’s when your confidence is highest, the longer you wait the more doubts might creep in. Say ‘yes’ to all opportunities to start with, and let yourself be taken out of your comfort zone.
5. What would be your motto in life, and in work?
“Be yourself – everyone else is taken”, from Oscar Wilde. For a start, it’s much easier to just be yourself – you don’t have to waste energy and effort trying to be something else. Take inspiration and advice from others of course, but then use that to create your own unique and wonderful brand of ‘you’.
6. What’s your favourite thing about being in GirlCrew?
It can be isolating being self employed, so I love the feeling of belonging and solidarity that GirlCrew brings. I love having somewhere to post random ‘girlie’ questions that I have no one else to ask, and to get advice from dozens of helpful GirlCrewers.