5Q Friday profiles women who took a leap of faith career wise to start their own business and create the life they wanted. This week Maura Manzo shares her story.
1.) Who are you?
My name is Maura Manzo and I’m 31 years old. I currently live outside of Philadelphia.
2.) What’s your business?
I’m a yoga teacher and health coach. I write a popular column for Philadelphia Magazine blog, “Be Well Philly“; I’m proud to be a lululemon athetica ambassador and a community builder for the organization Off the Mat, Into the World. I lead yoga retreats and trainings locally and globally,and at the same time, am deeply invested in my own community at home.
3.) When did you decide to take the plunge and “create the life you want”?
About six years ago, I found myself in a very big rut — unhappy and unhealthy in quite a few areas of my life. I knew it was time for a change and I knew I wanted more, much more out of life. I quit my job, went back to school for holistic health (Institute of Integrative Nutrition) and got a job a local wellness center. About four months after taking this huge leap, the unimaginable happened and my life was, for sure, forever altered.
My apartment caught on fire and I lost everything….everything. All that was left were the clothes on my back. Even my car was destroyed in the fire. On one hand, I was devastated — I had just made huge changes in my life, and now this? What had I done to deserve it? How was I going to start all over when I was already starting all over? On the other hand, there was a part of me that was relieved. I had been praying for a fresh start, and boy did I get one.
Needless to say, it was the best thing that ever happened to me — three days after the fire, I walked into my first yoga class. Nobody will ever convince me otherwise that divine intervention wasn’t at play that day. Long story short, over the course of the next five years, I went on the fall in love with the practice of yoga. I also became the director of the same wellness center and lead it to award-winning success. In 2010, I raised $20,000 for Off the Mat, Into the World and traveled to South Africa for humanitarian work with HIV/AIDS populations. And most recently, in March 2011, I took the plunge to finally become 100% self-employed.
4.) Why do you love it?
I love what I do, every single day. Even in the frustrating, challenging moments. Why? Because I truly believe I am living on purpose. I know I was born to do this work. And I think my quick success is a testimony to the power of living and breathing your passion. I am blessed to be creative every day — everything I do in my life was at once only alive in my imagination. This brings me an enormous amount of pleasure, pride and fulfillment. I am also continually inspired by the people who I work with. I love being able to empower and inspire others to find the greatness that lives inside of them. We all have unique, individual talents and gifts and it my absolute pleasure to support others in tapping into their own possibilities.
5.) What’s one piece of advice you have for anyone thinking of taking the leap?
Faith. Six years ago, when my home burnt down, I was scared. But deep down, I knew everything was going to be ok. I could feel it in my heart. I had to trust that there were a reason for all the things that happened in my life up until that point, that they were lessons and gifts that would later help me. Support is also crucial. Together, we are all better and stronger and more capable. So find a community that supports your growth and helps you take care of you! And finally, follow your heart. Always. It will never let you down.
-Contributed by Maura Manzo. Learn more about Maura.
Like 5Q Friday? Want to be featured? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org that answers the question: “When did you decide to take the plunge and “create the life you want”?” We will review each submission and let you know next steps if your selected. Check out all our past 5Q Friday posts here.