We've all heard the story of the mother or father who had to find a better paying job once their child was born. But how about the story of the mother who quit her well-paying job to pursue less pay to make a larger difference in the world? Why would a person leave a great paying job right at a time when they were going to be spending more money than ever on diapers, baby formula and all the unexpected costs a baby brings?
These are the questions I asked Kelly, a young wife, mother and yoga teacher with another little one on the way. I met her at 5 a.m. in the heart of downtown Hartford, Connecticut at a yoga studio that she helps run called Downtown Yoga.
After she took me through my first ever (and slightly excruciating) yoga class, we sat down for an interview. She started to tell me about how she went from working as a tax accountant at a major hedge fund to becoming a full time yoga instructor. She made this life-changing transition all while she was expecting her first child.
"I was that person who would have been [at the office] until midnight to get things out the door…But once my daughter was born I wanted her to see me doing something that made the world a little bit of a better place. I wasn't really bettering anyone's life besides my clients and they weren't great people anyway. I was really excited to be doing something that would actually improve people's lives."
For Kelly, making money to support her family wasn't enough. She wanted her daughter to know that her mother was making a positive impact in the world, whether that was through yoga or the community outreach Downtown Yoga supports.
I've always heard people say how important it is for parents to provide for their children, but what if providing for them isn't enough? What if a child needs more than just food? What if in order to succeed they need to see their parents doing something that makes the world a better place?
The better question is, how do we find that job that helps the world become a better place? For Kelly, the transition from a higher end job to a yoga teacher wasn't easy. She found that once she wasn't stressed any more, maybe she wasn't important anymore.
"I actually really struggled with that when I left because I felt like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm not stressed, I'm not important.' I really associated the stress level I had with someone who's really important and added value. I had to change my way of thinking to realize that just because you're stressed out doesn't mean you're important. Just because you're busy all the time doesn't mean you're important. It's not necessarily a good thing."
I think it's all too common in our culture to assume that busyness and stress are directly related to importance. But stress doesn't contribute anything positive to the world. When she's teaching sunrise yoga, Kelly is teaching others how to release their stress and feel more peace in their lives. Now Kelly feels important because she knows she's doing work that makes a difference.
"I spent my whole life just studying to be an accountant. I love accounting. I love numbers. I love how logical it is. I love that there's always a right answer. And then for the exact opposite reasons is why I love yoga. And I'm so much more passionate about yoga than anything else."