“From business director to spiritual healer: how I left my high-stress job to unlock my true potential”

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Jody Shield, 35, is an intuitive therapist. But she wasn't always. For over a decade, she worked in the corporate environment of advertising, believing it was her dream job. After becoming exhausted and burnt out, Jody decided it was time to change her path. Here, she tells the story of how she came to accept herself, and provides her tips for how we, too, can live a more mindful and happy life. 

Life as a corporate high-flyer was not for me, but somehow I managed it for 10 long years.

It started in 2007 when I arrived in London for what I thought was going to be my dream job. I was hungry, and willing to do anything. Advertising was fun, fast-paced and full of flawless, talented people.

But I was a square peg in a round hole, kidding myself that I belonged and, comparing myself to them, I quickly felt inadequate. I wasn’t half as good as them, I wasn’t qualified or experienced enough. How had I got here? Had they made a mistake hiring me? 

Living with constant imposter syndrome and convinced I’d be ‘found out’, I was sure I’d be sacked. I tossed and turned at night, a black cloud of impending doom ever-present in my dreams.

Burned-out and running on empty, I was always the last one in the office. Never feeling like I’d achieved enough to leave on time. Friday night I’d stay for drinks, and blot out all feelings of unworthiness that lingered in the background. Come Sunday I’d feel worse, sob into my pillow and wish the ground would swallow me up.

Wake-up call

After a few years of uncertainty, I was mentally and emotionally spent. 

One day, having had the flu for a week, I sat shivering in bed, and each time I thought of work, anxiety would rush through my system. In my manic world, and my desperation to work harder and harder, I had lost myself. It was all about work, and I was giving my blood, sweat and tears to a company which I didn’t own for not enough money.

I needed time-out, to pull myself back together, and remember what made me tick. In that moment, I made the decision to leave. If I stayed, I’d risk losing myself completely.

In a haze of excitement and fear, I booked a one-way ticket to South America. I wanted answers, healing and a fresh start.

A few months into my trip, a friend mentioned a healing centre in Peru. I was curious so I called up, and booked the last place, without fully understanding their programme.

A few months later, in the middle of the Amazon I was taking Ayahuasca; an indigenous plant medicine which cures people of illness through releasing old trauma, negative energies and emotional 'baggage'. I questioned why I was there, and soon it became clear. I faced a secret eating disorder I’d been in-denial about for years. I spent three days cleansing, purging and letting go of all the inner damage I’d done, and accessing old trauma from the past which I wasn’t aware of.

I felt transformed.

What I realised was that most of us are in-denial with our issues. We believe we’re fine until we notice the cracks, and are brave enough to face them. During this healing time, I realised I’d have to change my career. What was unknown was what to do next, or how to get there.

Returning to London was a challenge. Would anyone understand me now? I decided they wouldn't, so I isolated myself, and pushed friends away as I tried to figure it all out. I stayed in advertising to fund whatever was next.

Learning my new trade

I became absorbed in understanding mental, emotional and physical health. What causes our modern struggles? Why are we so anxious, depressed and stressed-out? 

As I began to make sense of it all, it gave me hope and my shoulders finally relaxed. I knew I wanted to help other people discover what I had - that tapping into your past and your many layers was the start to unlocking your true potential.

Working full-time enabled me to fund my training in healing. I learned my tools and techniques. But I still had no idea how to take the next step. As I waited, I rebuilt myself and found a new inner strength.

Leaving my job

Soon afterwards, I knew it was time to finally quit my job. The timing wasn't ideal: I was in the process of buying a flat, but something within me said it was now or never. I trusted I’d be supported, and while most people around me questioned what I was doing, I surrounded myself with those who were excited and cheering me on.

The main thing you worry about is finances. But, underneath, I had this inner knowing everything would fall into place, and I believed it would. When this is your belief, it’s your reality too. Because I was doing something I loved, everything fell into place. I seemed to be following my 'purpose', and being rewarded for acting on my intuition to quit my job.   

Healing modern woes

Now, I help people to heal their modern woes by releasing the pains of their past.

It’s similar to what I experienced in Peru, without the need to ingest anything or go to the jungle. Every day of my life, I’m doing things I’d have never dreamed of before: giving inspirational talks, leading meditations with global brands and changing people’s lives.

Saying goodbye to the limiting beliefs that were holding me back in life opened me up to achieving everything I'd ever dreamed.

Five tips for enlightening thinking

1) Inner detox: Ask yourself: How is your life limited right now? Which areas are you not making progress in? Are you earning what you deserve? Are you happy? If life is a struggle, it’s likely you have some old baggage from the past weighing you down and creating limitation and negative beliefs. You create your world around you, based on what you believe about yourself. You need to detox and release the past. 

2) Surrendering: We love to control our lives. Holding on tightly, we manipulate outcomes and make sure things happen. But controlling our lives restricts the possibilities of what can actually happen when we loosen our grip. Whenever we let go, we move into more 'flow' and life is easier. More space is created for extraordinary things to happen. Make this your mantra: "I choose to surrender now. I choose to let go now."

3) Meditation: You need a way to reconnect with yourself. To understand what you are actually thinking, feeling and sensing in every moment, to hear your own intuition guiding you to what’s best for you. Meditating quietens the mind, slows everything down and helps you feel more connected. 

4) Pay attention to signs: 'Synchonicities', 'coincidences', 'signs'. Whatever word makes sense to you, are happening all around us. We are constantly receiving signs, whether it be thinking about someone and then they appear, or books dropping into your lap at just the right time. Simply acknowledging them increases the frequency of them happening, and they will help guide you through life.

5) Positive thinking: When you’re positive, you raise your vibe. Try swapping out negative words you use for more positive ones, or becoming more aware how often you use negative words and how it affects your mood. Using more positive words such as: happy, joyful, exciting, blissful, brilliant, incredible etc instantly boosts your mood.