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October 21, 2019

Learnings on and off the mat on my way to becoming a conscious entrepreneur


I finally hung up my tailored dresses and jackets, stowed my collection of shiny red shoes in their boxes on a shelf, let my styled hair grow long and wild.  I left the corporate world, opened my heart and soul to radical change, and the magic began to happen on a journey that lead me to HUM.


People wonder why I called my brand HUM.  The meaning of HUM is not obvious, it's more like a whisper, an invocation.  


There are many ideas and implications inside this simple looking three letter word - you might see vibration, music, humanity...  The core inspiration for me has always been the mantra.  HUM is a powerful Sanskrit bija mantra that invokes creativity, passion and fiery brilliance as well as an all-encompassing spirit of wisdom and enlightenment.  HUM means "I AM", and when linked to another Sanskrit word it works as a declaration and affirmation of a particular pure quality. For me, it is the invocation of a state of mind and heart I want to embody, and it's the manifestation of a dream and a creative vision, the calling for inspiration, confidence and courage to make it happen.


It's taken me 4 years, this transformative journey to becoming a conscious entrepreneur.  4 years = 48 months, 208 weeks, 1,456 days, 34,944 hours.  Of course I wasn't working on this 24/7... still, it's a lot of time, energy and attention going in one direction.


And it has been a humbling, eye-opening, learning experience every step of the way. 


Humbling?  I've had a successful professional life before this, working in big corporations in the beauty industry.  If you have a vision and the passion to bring it to life, it's easy to do fabulously creative things and achieve great results when you are surrounded by teams and colleagues, when you have a big-name company and a big-budget that attracts partners like a powerful magnet.  In comparison, it has been a completely different experience trying to bring my vision and dream to life by myself, and with my own savings.  Humbling, and eye opening as to what is real and what is illusion.  It's as though your identity is your job title.  And it's interesting to see how some people react when you no longer have that title or the impressive company name.  And another example, it was so interesting to see which of those people who once lined up to work with me in the big-name company were still there to help me when I was on my own. Only two! It's like most of them had done a Houdini-worthy disappearing act, without reappearing.  I realized how important it was to me to create a business that would be authentic, caring, generous, real.


I am extremely fortunate and grateful for all the opportunities I had in that big-name company, for everything I learned, for every challenge I faced, and every person I met.  I finally realized that my goals were not really aligned with what was important to me, and that most of those people I met and worked with were not MY people.  MY people are the ones who have joined me on my HUM adventure, those who share my values, and who have supported me and helped me in big ways and small ways to bring it into the world. And kind of like magic, wonderful people and new opportunities began to appear in my life, just what I needed and at the right time. 


I've transitioned from a corporate executive to what I call a "conscious entrepreneur", creating a business that is personal, purposeful, and ethical, thinking not just of the bottom line results but more about how this business can be of service to everyone involved, the impact it has on the planet, and the joy it brings along the way.  This feels so much more authentic to me.  Click here to learn more about the Ethos and the values of HUM.


HUM's first step into the world is this website you are visiting.  Things look different depending on the perspective you look at them from.  Hopefully you will see an elegant, flowing website rich with useful content and thoughtfully designed tools to inspire and empower you on your yoga and meditation journey; hopefully you will have a happy and seamless experience.  This is my goal.  From my perspective, I see 4 years of thinking, creating, researching, solving, writing; I see a concept imagined, evolved and brought to life, with words, images, custom designs, and multi-media content; I see a complete collection of products created from scratch, with every single element sourced as consciously and responsibly as possible, or carefully chosen from artisans and small businesses around the world; I see a myriad of foundational work and back office tasks required to make it all happen efficiently.  


Oh, and I forgot to say that I am a highly detail-oriented, self-managing perfectionist.  Just add that to the mix and see what happens...


FOUR KEY QUALITIES have helped me to stay the course, keep going, and finally bring my vision to life.  


  1. PATIENCE...with myself if I didn't do things as perfectly or as timely as I wished, with collaborators and suppliers if things didn't happen the way I had envisioned, considering every collaboration as a gift, and understanding that things will happen when the time is right.  
  2. PERSEVERANCE...staying positive in the face of rejections, never taking "no" for an answer when I really want "yes", believing that there is always a way to make it happen, always a solution to every problem.  And just keep doing it.
  3. CONFIDENCE...unwavering, unshakable confidence in my idea and in my abilities to make my vision come to life.  There has been no room in my head or heart for even the tiniest of doubts. I have had lots of self-doubt in the past, but this time if my confidence wobbled I made a very conscious effort to maintain it, to BELIEVE it, to declare it, like a mantra. SO HUM : I AM Confidence.
  4. COURAGE...facing my fears and doing it anyway, courage to put my vision and my creation into the world for all to see. Courage to let to of my corporate "identity", to reinvent my life and forge a new path.


I know that my yoga and meditation practice has been the source of these four qualities, and has given me the strength to face every challenge I've come across on this HUM journey.  To deal much more easily with the wobbles, with the sense of overwhelm, the never-ending search for the next piece of the huge puzzle I had created for myself, and with the complex dance of two-steps-forward-3-steps-back. 


Embracing yoga and meditation has truly changed my life.  Some effects are immediately obvious: sense of calm, relaxation, feeling of being more grounded.  The most important benefits are subtle and cumulative, and one day I realized that these ancient practices have helped me to see things differently, to better understand what is important, to develop a better sense of purpose and a better way to deal with challenges.  They have also lead to an explosion of creativity and inspiration.


The practices have also helped me to see things differently, to open to a completely different way of dealing with my emotions, with situations, with challenges.  These are the most profound learnings for me because they are the ones that are so far from who I was or how I thought before I began this journey.  These learnings are THE REAL MAGIC.



I learned to let go of the need to control everything (yes, I'm also a control-freak so this was HUGE for me).  I learned to let go of the fears, and just do it.  I let go of any expectations related to the project, expectations of results, expectations of people's reactions, realizing that success can be measured in so many other ways (this is another hard one as my corporate career trained me to be fiercely results-driven, but it's a crucial attitude to adopt as an entrepreneur in order to feel good about what you do). Holding on is exhausting!  Letting go is freedom. 



I learned to absolutely trust my vision, my decisions, my ability to figure it all out (despite all my professional experience, every single aspect of the HUM business has put me outside of my comfort zone and was something new to master).  I learned to trust the process, trust that the right people will come along when I need them, trust that the Universe was there to support me...trusting something untouchable and unknowable such as the "Universe" was all new to me.  I think this aspect of trust is closely related to letting go of that need to control everything.  More freedom.



Open to the signs and sparkles along the way, to the endless possibilities, to whatever comes along, the good stuff and the bad stuff (whatever or whoever, it will be a valuable learning).  There are learnings and opportunities everywhere if you are open to receiving them.  Sometimes where you least expect it.  



This is so true!  My business goal became my daily intention - do everything I can to successfully bring HUM to life, in all it's multi-layered aspects, as a way to inspire and empower others on their yoga and meditation journey, to see sales flow and grow (think big!!!), and to have fun doing it.  Of course it's not enough to just set the intention, you need to align your intention with actions and do it with great passion and determination. I've been focusing on this for 4 years now, and I laser-focused on my intention for the final months of preparation to launch and found the energy, the ideas, the help, the last elements I needed to finalize. Everything fell into place. Expansively.  



I used to be too busy (working, thinking, planning, solving, stressing, rehearsing in my mind, etc.) to really notice all the great things in my life.  In fact I hardly noticed my life flying by. Cultivating a greater awareness through yoga and meditation has allowed me to really recognize and marvel at the beauty, the bounty, the opportunities, the love and support that surrounds me.  Every moment, every encounter, every opportunity is a gift to be cherished.



I have faced a lot of disappointments, rejections, really difficult challenges on my journey.  I've come to believe that how you see things and how you feel is a choice.  I've chosen to see all my difficult situations as positive opportunities for growth and for something better.  I've chosen to be happy, today and everyday, and I really am. I decided I would have fun doing this project or I would stop doing it, and I have found joy in every step.  Even the hard stuff is easier when you look at it with a positive attitude.  It may sound overly simplistic, and I admit it's not always easy, it was a completely different way of thinking for me. But this is how I have lived these past few years, and I can tell you it works. Just making that choice and declaring it, either to yourself, to another person or to your journal is enough, and has an immediate emotional and even physical effect.  Reminding yourself of your choice each day, like a mantra, will firmly install that choice in your heart and mind.


SO HUM = I AM THAT     How do you want to feel today?  What state of mind and heart do you want to invoke for your life?  Declare your intention: I AM ...joy, peace, clarity, confidence, creativity, love, compassion, abundance...


I AM JOY, revelling in every moment of this magical journey.  Hoping you will continue on with me to see where it leads.


I AM GRATEFUL and honoured that you chose to visit HUM, and that you chose to read this rather long story. I sincerely hope my learnings will inspire you on your own journey, as you make your own dream come true.  


"For a yogi nothing is impossible". (Swami Vishnudevananda). 


Do you have any profound learnings on your own business journey?  I'd love to know, and you may inspire others.  So please tell us in the comments.



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