What is the nature of your business?
What services or products does your business offer?
Who is your target market?
What first sparked your interest in this business and why are you
passionate about it now?
For my 40th birthday I went on two sea-kayaking trips that ignited my soul. That year an intuitive friend suggested I put my passion for art, healing, adventure and nature together and create something new, opportunities where people can remember who they are. Id spent 14 years of retraining till that moment and I've been building the company ever since.
Who inspired you?
Why did you pursue your own business vs working for someone else?
Aziza is the sum total of the parts that make up the whole of me. As artist, therapist, athlete, nature girl and business woman, I get to express my whole self through my company, putting all those parts together for a holistic healing and fun experience. I also work in partnership with others who offer the accommodations or services like yoga, meditation and sea kayaking that I include on the retreats. I like partnership and collaboration.
Not having to ask for permission when a new idea inspires me is particularly delicious. I thrive on self-determination.
What are some of the obstacles you've faced and how did you overcome
Beginnings are hard yet we have to start somewhere. It was important to notice the money I needed to pay my bills came from unexpected sources, not necessarily the opportunities I created. It became clear to me that it was the healing which manifested on the retreats that was important, not whether I'd filled the group or not. I experienced a series of small miracles:
First, my intuitive friend put it all together in a vision for me to consider, then someone gifted me with a Web site design, another offered to edit and optimize my web pages. I met outfitters and lodges willing to forego deposits to help me get started as I marketed to fill the groups. Someone gave me a used computer for my home office, another set it up and taught me Web page editing basics so I could independently make changes. I remind myself of all these things when I wonder if I'm doing the right thing; they all demonstrate beyond a doubt that the universe is supporting this vision.
Accepting that this is my calling and focusing on that with intention, helps when mundane tasks and obligations of self-support provoke fear rather than trust. When I bother to notice, I see that everything works out exactly as it should. When I bother to remember, I see that there are real benefits and wisdom to delays. Self-employment can feel isolating at times and brings up old insecurities. It's important to have good friends to talk to who believe in your vision.
What is your business's proudest achievement so far?
I received a phone call from a man who had been referred to my Web site by a friend. He wanted to know more about what I offered because he was coming up to the first anniversary of his only childs death, and her name was Aziza. It seemed so fitting to him that he should look at finding some comfort in a company with her namesake. This extraordinary encounter with someone who was seeking helpan encounter only possible as a result of the birth and naming of my Aziza and the death of his ownis a true testament to the mysterious power of healing.
Since then I am privileged to witness the insights and awareness that women and men experience on retreat. Their generous feedback on how their lives are positively affected light my way forward.
What are some of your future goals?
Impeccable Leadership is a workshop that developed out of an epiphany I had on my first retreat in Bali. It outlines a logical way to achieve self-acceptance and compassion. I present it to the corporate world and other public groups. The handbook by the same name will be out soon.
Publishing the experiences on these retreats will inspire individuals and therapists alike- written articles are ongoing. I speak at events about personal growth. Theres a series of books in the works. Ive been invited to participate in a documentary featuring my approach to exploring Relationship patterns, which prompts my curiousity about TV as a means to reach a wider audience. Darlene Montgomerys book Conscious Women, Conscious Careers features the story on how Aziza came into being. Opportunities and invitations that cross my path constantly amaze me.
What 'Pearl of Wisdom' can you offer to help other women starting
It's important to know what is in your heart, and how you want to live your life. I believe self-knowledge is critical for a company to succeed in a way that is satisfying. Determine what is truly meaningful to you. It's hard enough starting out, so if you're doing it for the money, or glamour or to prove something, it will be a long dark road.
If you are doing something you have been called to, no matter what, you can find some sense of satisfaction at the end of the day. All the drudgery of the dry stuff, like bookkeeping and marketing etc., all the disappointments that come with the territory, are balanced by knowing that all your efforts are going towards something you want more than anything. Keeping motivated is critical and that comes from believing in the very thing that is requiring all your energy.
A valuable lesson I've learned is to foster a reaction of curiosity instead of defaulting to a negative interpretation of the situation. There's a reason for everything that happens, and it's usually a good one, even if it's hard to swallow, even if it's not what you expected. Work with the given. That way you are flowing with the current rather than fighting it.
Check in with your body; close your eyes, be quiet, imagine each option and be aware of your bodys reaction. Youll know exactly what to do by listening to your innate wisdom. Follow that voice.
Do you have a favorite quote you'd like to pass on?
Sail forth! Steer for the deep waters only.
O my brave Soul