“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly, than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life perfectly.” – Anonymous, Bhagavad Gita
At thirty-one, Alexa Johnston felt the need for more authentic connections. She had been pouring all of her energy into her corporate job and realized she was mismanaging her time and energy to the detriment of herself, her creative pursuits and her important relationships. This pattern of always putting others first began to take its toll and Alexa started to feel disconnected from herself and her creativity.
But all of that came to a turning point when Alexa decided to follow one of her passions and train to become a yoga instructor. During her training, she had to do a report on a book that had been a part of her yoga journey and she chose Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. The book had a serious impact on Alexa and she realized that by not giving herself space to create, she was depriving herself and the world of the opportunity to experience her unique gifts.
The answer seemed clear: be your authentic self. But what could be more difficult or frightening to someone as deeply private as Alexa? It would mean exposing her true self to others. It would mean willingly inviting possible scrutiny of her gifts and vulnerabilities and imperfections. It would mean being seen. But Alexa decided that living her truth and speaking her soul were worth the risk if it meant she could finally put her creative gifts out into the world.
Alexa’s husband Mark was very supportive and helped hold space for her as she made an important transformation. Alexa quit her corporate job and followed in the footsteps of her entrepreneur parents by starting her own business. In 2015, she launched her website where she designed and sold her own jewellery online and in stores. Alexa’s fear of failing didn’t go away entirely, but she could balance it by knowing she had a strong base that would support her even if things went sideways.
By the end of 2015, her jewellery business was doing great and Alexa had learned an enormous amount about designing, entrepreneurship and herself. During that time, she also completed her yoga teacher training, as well as a restorative yoga teacher training program.
By the end of that first year of business, Alexa decided that, while she loved what she was doing, it was no longer where she wanted to focus her creativity. She decided to scale back her jewellery business and closed down her website. Though she felt some worry about being seen as a failure, Alexa knew in her heart that she was making the right choice.
Alexa continues to pursue her creative visions and to build the life of freedom she’s always wanted: freedom to create, freedom to live in different places and travel, freedom to start a family. In fact, she embarked on one of her biggest creative ventures in July 2016 when she welcomed her son James into the world. Alexa has always wanted a family, but having lost her own mother at a very young age, she also felt a lot of fear around becoming a mom. When James arrived two months early, his premature birth brought many important lessons for Alexa and her husband. In particular, they learned to accept that life is not 100% in our control and that sometimes all we can do is decide how we will respond to it. Together they have chosen to respond with gratitude and love for their healthy baby, amazing healthcare providers, and family and friends who have all been so supportive.
James is now four months old and Alexa has started to brainstorm for her next big venture. In 2017, she’s planning to launch a new project that will include travel, adventure and a whole lot of love – stay tuned! Meanwhile, Alexa and her family have been preparing for another adventure: moving closer to family in British Columbia. Being a West Coast girl, Alexa can’t wait to dip her feet in the ocean and play in the sand with James.
This journey has been one of healing, empowerment and elation for Alexa. For those who are considering a similar path and feeling that same insecurity, vulnerability, fear and excitement, Alexa says: do it anyway! And get excited about it! If you look around, chances are that the people around you are already excited for you and waiting to see what amazing things you’ll do. Acknowledge your fear and then go for it anyway. The world needs you and your unique gifts now more than ever.
Article written by Amanda Milroy
Amanda is passionate about languages and writing and has a degree in translation and professional and technical communication. She’s honoured to be part of the SheTravels team and to help put these inspiring stories out into the world.