Taking Risks

I’ve always been a bit of a thrill-seeker. I remember, vividly, jet skiing with my now-husband when I was 19 years old. It was perhaps my second time on a jet ski, and I was eager to show off and impress. He showed me how to jump waves from boats, and how to take sharp corners to create rooster tails. It was all good, until I crashed and hurt my knee. An injury that continues to flare up from time to time.

Even as a young child, I loved the thrill of “living on the edge.” One of my few memories of my dad is not very flattering for him, and it is less flattering for me. He had just gotten a tape recorder to tape himself playing the guitar and singing. It was a big deal around our house. I wanted to be heard on that tape recorder so badly! So while he sat in the living room practicing, I stood just outside the room, in the hallway, making noises. I know it was wrong, and I received a few warnings before he decided that I needed a spanking for not following his rule of being quiet. While I am not a fan of spankings, I did deserve the punishment.

In the past ten years, I have taken more risks than I could have ever imagined. I planned leaving my job for nearly five years, including making sure we had no payments on anything and a substantial savings account before I retired from teaching. When I quit, five years ago now, I still did not have a plan, but I knew the time was right. In fact, the last year of teaching, I prayed a lot that I hadn’t pushed it out too far. In my heart, I knew it was time for a change.

It took me a couple years after retiring to find yoga, though I had already been planning women’s circles and workshops before I stopped teaching. When my friends started a fitness club in Prior Lake, I started facilitating women’s circles weekly. It was hard to advertise, since the club was so new, and women’s circles were almost unheard of, at that time.

I took my first yoga teacher training through encouragement from those same friends. I decided to do it to correct my form, never planning to teach a class. Throughout the training, they ask you to offer 10 hours of community service by teaching yoga to a group that doesn’t get the chance for a regular practice. I decided to take my community service to a group of teacher friends, because I knew that if someone came to offer yoga after school while I was teaching, I would have jumped all over that.

During this time, my friends who owned the club asked me to take on a weekend yoga class. The rest is history.

Bringing women’s circles, retreats, and a website to my yoga teaching solidified my company, Jill Sand Consulting, and by 2009 I offioially launched the name.

All of these advancements came with huge levels of risk. It was risky to quit my job (ask my husband; he worried for two years). It was risky to start a business in 2009 (ask the economists, with their daily doses of reality bleakness). It was risky to plan a retreat to Jamaica (ask the Tropical Escapes representative Trish, who helped me send energy out to the Universe so others would sign up).

But I can truly say, this is the happiest I have been, for the longest period of time, in my entire life. Now, I tend to be an optimist, but this still says a lot. I love my job. I love the people I work with. I love the flexibility of my schedule. My mantra continues to be: “It is ALL good!”

Taking risks requires a leap of faith. And in fact, my faith is what has drawn me to this job that I really enjoy. My business is a women’s wellness company. By that, I mean, wellness of the body, mind and spirit. It’s easy, in today’s world, to talk about wellness of the body and mind. Athletic trainers and therapists are very acceptable. But it is trickier to offer spiritual wellness, especially with respect to the fact that many of the women I work with come from different faiths. But we find that common ground and “do the work” from that space.

I truly enjoy being a risk-taker, and if you are looking for encouragement in your own risk-taking, you know where to find me.

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