Trusting your journey

A candid look at setbacks and how they helped me build a successful well-being company and training school.

Go to the profile of Gail Donnan
Jan 13, 2018
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How much do you trust the Universe? After a few years of "resisting" difficult times in my career, I have now learnt to trust the journey.  Today, I have a successful business in the well-being sector, a training school delivering nine well-being modality accredited courses and a job I don't need to take a vacation from. But it has not been easy. 

I was asked to leave school at fifteen, I had one O' Level and was quite a rebel. Eventually I continued my education in my late teens, studied a Diploma in Business at a local tech college.  Working at a desk didn't suit me so after a calling to study Beauty Therapy I enrolled, studied and achieved my qualification.  I went on to work as a therapist for five years, one day I saw an opportunity that shouted to me to go for a Sales Account Manager's job for a skincare brand. I travelled from Yorkshire to London for the interview and got the job.  I was very successful and realised I was good at connecting with people, eventually I was head hunted by a new and up and coming brand of which I worked with for five years, rising to be their National Sales Manager.

I took a career break when my Daughter was born and during this time suffered Post Natal Depression after a challenging birth.  I decided to take positive action and trained as a counsellor and offered free counselling to other Mum's in my local area. 

When my Daughter was of school age, I was offered a part time job teaching holistic therapies in a local college.  I studied towards my Assessor and Teaching qualifications while working.  I enjoyed the kudos of being a teacher and was given more responsibility as a safeguarding officer, Counsellor and a member of the teaching and observational team as a mentor.

For continuous professional development I also worked in a salon as a therapist six hours a week which if I'm honest I hated.  One day I was sent on a training course to a hotel with a big skincare brand.  The equipment was poor and not a good representation of them as a company. It was then I realised there was a huge gap in the market for decent training facilities in the north for companies like this.

I networked and set up some meetings  and won a contract to provide a big brand with a venue, all the equipment they would need to hold training courses, the trainer just had to turn up. I borrowed a couple of thousand pounds from my supportive husband to buy the equipment and my company was set up.  Unfortunately the big brand I had won the contract with decided to pull out for internal financial reasons and I was devastated.  I was left with a lot of therapy equipment sitting in my garage, egg on my face and I felt very sorry for myself. 

As many women do, I had taken on too much at work and in my quest to be a good Mum, Wife and hold down what was really a full time job with part time hours, trying to start a business I was becoming ill.  During this time a close friend passed away and my nervous system was screaming at me to rest.  I paid no attention and eventually I had a breakdown.

My recovery was an interesting part of my journey,  I dropped my hours at work, forgot about all the equipment sitting in my garage, and just had to rest. After a few weeks I was drawn to Meditation.  After I had tried it I slept for the first time in ages.  I persevered and started to see the huge physical and mental benefits meditation had on my body.  I felt the need to share this self healing, so I enrolled on a Meditation Teacher's course and before I had qualified I had booked my local church hall for six weeks because I knew it would be successful.  I set up a Facebook group (which today has nearly 1000 likes/followers), walked the streets with leaflets and got cracking.  Within a few months my classes were filling up and it was generating a small amount of income. People would stay behind to tell me about their lives over a cup of tea and I made some great connections.

I was curious about my own self-worth and wondered if this was something to do with my breakdown.  I discovered the work of Eckhart Tolle, and read book upon book about ego and then discovered Mindfulness which spoke to me in ways nothing had for a long time. I re-trained as a Mindfulness Practitioner and started to run my own workshops which had waiting lists.

I was asked to work in local schools running Mindfulness and Meditation after school clubs and created "Super Hero Academy".  One day I came home and announced to my husband that I wanted some premises to work from.  He didn't think I was earning enough to justify a premises.  I kept driving passed some units that were for lease and one day I plucked up the courage to book an appointment to view.  There and then I knew it was right and I took one! My husband has been very supportive of the business and is a great sounding board when I have decisions to make.

I have never looked back. My business organically grew from somewhere I held my Meditation Circles, Mindfulness workshops, Counselling sessions and a friend doing Yoga to expanding to the next unit to offer ten Yoga classes, six Pilates classes, Kids Yoga, Kids book club, Baby Music classes, Qi Gong classes and sound therapies.  The original premises now offers holistic treatments, meditation, a self-development book club, mindfulness coaching, workshops, hypnotherapy, EFT and Reiki.  We are an accredited training centre with The Complementary Medical Association and offer nine courses.  We hire out to international speakers, authors, broadcasters and trainers.  Guess what? I did end up with a training school and all that equipment sat in my garage came to good use.  All my experience has hopefully enriched my courses and inspired others. We have filled a gap in the community, we have built an inspiration tribe of empowered people and now I know things didn't work out the way I planned because the Universe had something else in store. Many people who arrive at the centre eventually go on a discovery of self-development and I now coach others to set up their own wellness businesses. We reach people with self-development in lots of different aspects that is right for them. 

Trust your journey, in every set back or difficult time you gain a huge amount of wisdom in preparation for your next steps.

Gail 

www.mindfulspacemeditation.org


Go to the profile of Gail Donnan

Gail Donnan

Owner and Author, The Mindfulspace Wellbeing Company

I have been working in the holistic/well-being industry since 1995. In this time I have trained as a traditional counsellor, holistic therapist, Mindfulness Practitioner, a Teacher in Further Education, Meditation Teacher, Qi Gong Instructor, Reiki Master Teacher Practitioner and life coach. I have spent ten years teaching others and own The Mindfulspace Wellbeing Company in Ripon, North Yorkshire which is an accredited training centre in wellbeing modalties. I have written a self-development book, offer workshops, Retreats and a study program to help people inspire change in their lives. I specialise in mental health issues, anxiety, depression and inspiring others to make life and career changes towards the well-being industry. I am a published Author of "The Gateway - A journey to re-claim your power from Stress and Anxiety".

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