How Meditation Helped Me Turn My Passion Into A Career

By Susan Chen

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to us by Susan Chen. In addition to starting Soozy’s, the new healthy muffin company we’re all obsessed with, Susan is an expert teacher in Vedic Meditation, a simple and effortless mental technique. Her passion for the practice led her to India, where she spent 4 months immersed in the teaching of meditation and study of Ayurveda. She teaches meditation courses in NYC and Austin.

“Can I really take the leap and do this?” I often asked myself as I considered leaving my job in corporate America. I was succeeding by all measures – I was advancing quickly, enjoyed the intellectual challenge at work and my co-workers were some of the smartest and most fun crew I’ve ever known. All the while though, that small voice kept pulling me back to my lifelong passion – baking.

A lifelong home baker and lover of sweets (lets be real – what girl isn’t?), I baked almost every night to unwind, especially after a long day spent in the corporate grind. I truly enjoyed nourishing my family and friends with cakes, muffins and breads. I experimented weekly, and had fun whipping up treats I could bring to family birthdays, our office brunch, and even to share with friends and neighbors.

My pure love of baking came from a desire to create the healthiest and best-tasting treats that I couldn’t find anywhere else. Much to my surprise, everyone raved about my baking. Comments such as “Susan, why aren’t you selling this?” and “this needs to be sold in grocery stores!” continued to pour in, and I felt an overwhelming sense of love and support.

But, despite being constantly reminded of how I was unique and “had something special,” I always stopped short of taking the plunge and moving ahead to start my own business. I feared giving up the comfort and predictable life, and forging into, what seemed at the time, the scary and anxiety-provoking world of the unknown. Then, on the recommendation from a friend, I learned to meditate. Shortly after, things began to shift… quickly.

photo via free people

At first, the benefits were physical. I was sleeping better and my energy levels increased. Old, nagging injuries and chronic migraines didn’t flare up as much, and then they disappeared altogether. Within a few months, the physical benefits started to change my mental and emotional states. I became more relaxed and stopped getting stressed. I remember being surprised by how quickly the changes were happening, but the shifts were so profound it was impossible not to take note.

With this newfound energy, all of the sudden my dominant sense of fear and worry (about almost everything!) stopped. Rehearsals for what might happen in the future and reviews of the past became quieter in my mind, and I started to trust myself and be more present. Making a change didn’t seem so daunting, and instead of being unsure about what might happen and worrying about what I could lose, I saw massive opportunity before me and was motivated by what could be gained by taking a leap.

photo via albion fit

Meditation is what propelled me into my current state. I am now a proud baker and CEO of a delicious clean baked goods company called Soozy’s. In the midst of this, I also took a 4 month detour (mid-product launch, no less!) to go to India to become a meditation teacher. In the past 18 months, I’ve done more in my life that I’m proud of (and that is fiercely me) than I have in the past 18 years. And I’m increasingly sharing my journey on how I found the energy and confidence to take the leap.

Eager to take a leap of your own? Here are my tips:

photo via the everygirl

Commit to establishing a meditation practice

Study after study shows the benefits of meditation, but it’s up to us to close the deal. Having a formal meditation practice is the only way to get ahead of life’s demands and the stress we build up when big things happen.

photo via barre3

Find a style of meditation that works for you

Incorporating regular meditation in our lives shouldn’t feel like a chore, and meditation should not be hard. Figuring out a technique that works for you is of utmost importance if you’re going to stick with it. I always recommend connecting with a meditation teacher who can help you develop a sustainable and long lasting home meditation program.

photo via lululemon

To dream big, start small

Big changes are really a culmination of a string of small decisions. The reality is, I never planned for a big leap; all I ever prepared for was to take the first small step and, at each turn, I used the data I had to make the next best decision. I didn’t look years into the future and go down the rabbit hole of “what ifs.” Focus on immediate, actionable milestones that get you one step closer. Ultimately, you will get where you want to be.

Bonus: By focusing on smaller, more attainable decisions and next steps, the stakes don’t feel so high. This allowed me to “keep calm and muffin on!”

photo via free people

Be adaptable

The one and only thing that is guaranteed in our lives is change, yet most of us resist it at every turn. Every day we go out into the world, and our expectations get rocked. What if, instead of resisting change, we factor it into our plan or even begin to embrace it? Shifting towards actually expecting change makes you better at adapting to anything that comes up. Things you used to take as “bad news” are now just new data points that help refine the next step. Instead of letting the disappointment weigh you down, they are now just new pieces of information that you can use to change course quickly.