74. The OG of career change: From Accountant to Mindfulness Consultant, plus a 10-min meditation for job-hunters - featuring Ilana Kosakiewicz.
A big and bold career shift.
Today, Ilana Kozakiewicz is a Kinesiologist, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, and Mindfulness Consultant. But until 2016, Ilana had over a decade of work as an accountant, working for large energy corporations.
It sounds like a massive career transition, so I invited Ilana to share with us why and how she did it. I'm so glad she said yes. It's great for those in career transition or actively planning their next career steps to learn from professionals who have done significant career changes themselves.
If you have ever thought of doing a 180 with your career, taking on an entirely new project, this interview with Ilana is for you. Significant career transitions like the one Ilana implemented come with risks and opportunities. It can be scary, and it's also easy to romanticize what it will look like in the future. Let's break down Ilana's experience from the beginning.
The tipping point: What makes professionals decide to change careers?
Most of the time, people don't know what they want to do at an early age. Sometimes our experiences would, later on, shape us and help us realize this. This is what happened to Ilana. She was initially an accountant, she loved numbers, and she worked as an accountant for many years. However, over time the work was not enjoyable anymore. She burned out, which hurt her overall health and wellbeing.
Many professionals would be able to relate to this because, at some point, most of us do experience burnout at work. Although that does not mean we need to change careers or jobs, it's a good time to:
- Take time off: recharge or batteries and make sure your reset and regain your balance.
- Reflect on your career progression and where you are at the moment
- Review your career plans and what you want to do to move towards your key goals.
Ilana was already interested in kinesiology before being burnt out at work. Still, when she took some time off to recover, it was the perfect time for her to reflect and realize that she wanted to be a kinesiologist since it was also part of her healing journey, and she has a passion for it. Not only that, but she wanted to run her own business and transition from corporate to being a business owner.
Key tips to help you shift from a corporate career to being a business owner.
- Find a mentor: Working with a coach or a mentor will save you time, effort, money and give you the go-to and how to start a business or transition to a different career or sector. You will learn from someone who has the experience, ensuring you set expectations with care and understand the risks involved in this transition. In Ilana's case, she worked with a coach for the first year of her journey.
- Join a networking group or do courses to gain new skills on managing a business: There are excellent networking groups, associations, and courses that will help you network with other business owners, gain ideas and insight to plan your new business, and learn new skills to help you run it successfully. To see the list of groups and courses Ilana and I mentioned in the podcast, go to the "Links Mentioned" heading below.
- Get help: If you are planning to have your own business, small things and tasks build up for you to do, and eventually, it will take you away from the heart of your business. As much as you love your new business, doing too many things will burn you out. Budget for and learn to outsource tasks and responsibilities. It's possible to hire freelancers to help you with the daily tasks that you can delegate or specific technical projects to have more time for more important things.
- Transition slowly: Starting a new business can be very stressful. If you can still stay at your current work, transition slowly, visit and do part-time business. Eventually, when your business starts making you money, or you have savings to keep you afloat for a time, then you can quit your job.
- Enroll in incubator or validator program: Universities offer entrepreneurial programs for free for their students and alumni. This can be a great option if you have a business idea and you're not sure if it's going to work. Links for these programs are listed below.
The stress of being in survival mode.
Ilana believes many of us have lost the intuition to respond to our body's signals that make us take breaks, stop working, or be physically active. Quite often, if you are working in a corporate environment day in and day out, you are not in sync with your body needs.
The lockdowns may have exacerbated this lack of alignment between mind and body during the COVID pandemic. Ilana says that "a lot of people are still stuck in that fight-flight-freeze mode. They're just in "go" mode. They've just gotten into the habit of going into their office at home and not taking that self-care as seriously as they probably should. I feel like a lot of people through COVID lost their routine and rituals a little bit. The self-care slipped. They just got so overwhelmed with emotions, limiting beliefs, and fear. And what happens when we get into that high cortisol state, that fight-flight state is you don't think properly."
Steps you can take to incorporate wellbeing into your life.
If you have lost your job and are currently in transition, you may have many stress hormones in your body. If you are presently working and feeling overwhelmed, too busy, unsatisfied, you may have similar stress symptoms. Ilana recommends that we develop healthy boundaries with our work and incorporate self-care practices like meditation, yoga, or just a simple walk to manage and cope with stress. She is also a fan of meditating and exercising first thing in the morning, as it gets our circadian rhythms going. This ensures your body clock is working well and may even help you sleep better.
How to commit to meditation?
It is one thing to put a task in the diary, but it's another thing to take action and do it. "If you are a beginner, start with five minutes," says Ilana. Five minutes of meditation can considerably impact your productivity, your mindset, emotional well-being, and your sleep. You can then build up your practice over time. Another easy way to start is following a guided meditation.
Then figure out where you will do your meditation, especially if you're working from home. Establishing a set place and time will make it real, and with time will also make it part of your daily routine.
The final 10 minutes of the podcast interview is a guided meditation with Ilana, and it is heavenly!
About our guest, Ilana Kosakiewicz:
Ilana Kozakiewicz is one of Australia's leading kinesiologists, energy coaches, and yoga and meditation teachers. She is a wholefood lover, an entrepreneur with a past life spent working in the corporate world as a CPA accountant.
Ilana's health journey with chronic fatigue and auto-immune disease taught her that slowing down, finding moments of stillness, living in the now, and listening to your body's inner wisdom and intuition are not just important – they are essential.
Ilana is passionate about teaching women to live in alignment with their innate cyclical energy, menstrual cycle, and the moon. She helps women shift their energy and take back their inner power and self-care rights by making themselves the number one priority.
Ilana also works with children (& some men) to assist in shifting their essence, energy, and zest to live authentic, content, and happy lives.
Originally from Gippsland, Australia, Ilana now lives in Bayside Melbourne and spends her days with her clients, teaching yoga and meditation, writing, dancing, cooking in her kitchen, and spending as much time at the beach as she can.
Podcast Episode Timestamps:
- 06:09 - How Ilana chose accounting.
- 09:03 - What made Ilana reach a tipping point?
- 13:25 - How did Ilana transition from corporate to being a business owner?
- 22:53 - How to transition slowly between your corporate job into a new career or own business.
- 29:45 - What is kinesiology?
- 34:35 - The importance of wellbeing for corporate professionals.
- 36:56 - The stress of being in survival mode.
- 38:59 - Find your own practice: Steps you can take to incorporate wellbeing into your life.
- 48:03 - A 10-minute meditation exercise.
It is essential to take care of our overall well-being to do the best job we can and not get burned out. Learning to find your balance between work and other important aspects of your life will help you reach your career goals. Whether you are currently working, looking for a job, or starting a career, it is vital to stick to a routine that will help you stay grounded and enhance your health and wellness because nobody will be able to take care of you better than yourself.
How to connect with Ilana:
Links mentioned in this episode:
- My interview on Ilana's Podcast, The Energy Shift: Manage Your Energy Levels while Job Hunting Or Working From Home With Renata Bernarde.
- Job Hunting Made Simple: Online Course and Group Coaching Program
- Reset Your Career: Online Short Course and Action Plan
- Ilana's recommended business networking groups:
- Renata's recommended business networking groups:
- Financial Literacy for Business Owners (US-based)
- Like-Minded Bitches Drinking Wine (worldwide)
- The Lady Startup Lounge
- Renata recommends business course B-School
- Monash Generator Programs
- Download a transcript of this episode.