I recently had the opportunity to teach and speak about yoga and meditation in law enforcement, at the Women Leaders In Law Enforcement Conference in San Diego. There were over 900 attendees!
It was powerful to be in a room with such amazing women, all doing wonderful and powerful things in law enforcement. I wish I had had the opportunity to attend something like this when I was a police officer, because it was so inspiring to be around this group of women. And yes, there were some men there too.
At the conference, Sylvia Moir – the Chief of Police in Tempe, Arizona – gave the opening speech for the event. She was the Chief of Police in El Cerrito, California and I had the opportunity to meet her during her last few days as Chief in California before she went to Arizona. She’s an amazing speaker and a great lady who I would have loved to have had the opportunity to work for during my career.
She talked about how as women, (statistically speaking) we usually won’t move forward with a change in our careers until we feel everything is perfect. We tend to hold ourselves back even though we are qualified and smart enough to meet whatever challenge is in front of us. She said we need people in our lives that will give us a nudge. People that will push us when we hold ourselves back, and to kindly (or not so kindly) nudge us towards what scares us.
When I retired, I thought I was saying goodbye to police work forever. I endured a few tumultuous years in the department, and those years took their toll on me emotionally. So when I retired, I wanted nothing to do with police work, security, or anything similar to it.
When I started my yoga training I had no idea where it would take me, where I would teach, or IF I would teach; I had no plan.
After teaching yoga for a few years and connecting with more teachers who were teaching yoga to the firefighting community, I realized that my calling was to reach out to this community as well. I understand their daily struggles, and empathize with trying to balance home life with the stresses that come with the job. In the society we live in today, this profession needs yoga and meditation more than most. Putting on that uniform today is different than it was just a few short years ago.
When I discovered that I could teach police officers and firefighters, and stopped holding myself back from taking that leap, I reached out to those that I thought could help me, because I wanted to help them in return.
Through different connections, I’ve been able to teach here in the Bay area at various police and fire departments, bringing yoga to those that wouldn’t have tried it otherwise.
What I’ve learned is that opportunities don’t always land in your lap. You have to make phone calls, and sometimes even kick down some doors to make people realize you are valuable and can bring something to the table that they need, even though they might not know it at the time.
When you are presented with an opportunity that seems a little scary; a job change, promotion, moving out of state, etc. you have to find the confidence to take the chance and jump at the challenge.
A year ago, if someone told me I was going to be at a conference teaching yoga to women in law enforcement and then speaking to them about how yoga and meditation can help them in their careers and personal lives, I would have said you were crazy.
Find people who will give you that nudge. They will push when you feel you’re not qualified or feel scared that you will fail. Don’t let opportunities pass you by because you feel everything is not perfectly aligned. Take the chances when they come and surround yourself with those that will give you a nudge (or a push) when you need it.