Cynthia Green is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Guelph, Ontario and owner of Leading Pathways to Mindful Living. As a certified meditation facilitator, Cynthia courageously shares her life lessons, and guides participants in corporate settings, retreats, and local studios on their journey to deeper self awareness and calmness. We are honoured to share her Success Story!
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Honestly, years ago it was for the tax advantage. I’d been a single mom working a corporate job and when my son turned 18 I didn’t have the dependent write off. That was many years ago but it always stayed with me. After being restructured, downsized, reorganized and burnt out I realized that the only real security in life is knowing what we are truly capable of. In 2009 I made the decision to join the leagues of women entrepreneurs changing the world full-time.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The pride in saying I’m helping change the world one person at a time.
Can you describe a typical day?
A typical day – there isn’t one. In the morning my first thought is ‘do I have a presentation today’. If the answer is yes, my mind rehearses the content. If the answer is no, then it’s meditation, workout, healthy meal and prep for the next seminar.
Who do you count on for help?
I’m reminded of a quote ‘the story begins with family’ and then there are the friends that become part of our soul family. I have an amazing circle of women who I can count on, and of course my husband Tony whom I lovingly refer to as “Teflon Tony” because my stuff doesn’t stick to him. He reminds me everyday of what I’m capable of.
Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
I’ve received the greatest gift of being able to sacrifice in many different ways. Being the eldest in the family I was the caretaker, the overly responsible one and loyal to everyone (but myself). I stayed in jobs long past their expiry date and received many wake up calls – downsizing (which was really right sizing), being rear-ended on the highway commuting (which was a push from the universe), fibromyalgia, and clinical depression. Something inside me kept resisting those labels though!
We relocated to Thunder Bay in 2003 for my husband’s career. The move meant I didn’t have to work, however after I decorated the house and organized the closets I realized something was missing: a purpose or meaning. The 1600 km distance meant I couldn’t put on my Wonder Woman cape and save my family if they needed it (who really didn’t want saving anyway), it was about me reclaiming my life and saving me. I reconnected with my ‘self’, the ‘me’ that had been the assistant in everyone else’s life, the ‘me’ that resisted the little voice that kept whispering ‘share your gifts’. The magic of the Boreal Forest and healing energy of Lake Superior, new friendships, the tragic death of my younger sister, and a two year transformation program inspired me to turn my passion and hobby into a business. For 20 years I’d been speaking at conferences and wellness studios. My sister’s death propelled me into the realization that none of us know how many breaths we have on this earth, and fear is no reason to hide. It sounds like a cliché but her death was my wake up call.
When the opportunity to move to Guelph, Ontario and be closer to family that now included 5 grandkids showed up, we grabbed it. Little did I know the move would include my mom’s diagnosis of lung cancer and how I was able to spend the last months of her life, sacrifice no, being of service yes, in such an intimate way that I felt I’d been preparing for my entire life.
A few days after my mother’s death and all that entailed caring for her, I was scheduled to present a Stress Management seminar at an out of town conference. Well-meaning friends encouraged me to cancel, and I asked myself ‘what’s the worst thing that can happen.’ I showed up, cried once and connected with everyone in the audience because of my vulnerability.
What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
Our eldest granddaughter taught me a valuable life lesson. During one of her visits she looked up at me with her dark brown eyes and said, “Gommy, (which stands for part mommy and part grandma) when I’m at home I’m just a kid and nobody listens to me but, when I’m here I feel special.”
My first reaction was that I didn’t want to send her home to her parents, but my next thought was of all of the times I was too busy to play floor hockey with my son or when I multi-tasked my way into a frenzy. Teaching mindfulness practices is my way of making amends for the multi-tasking I used to teach.
Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
I’ve spent much of my time travelling to other cities to present workshops, and am now spreading my roots here in Guelph.
Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
My best friend Sue Armstrong, an award winning trainer and author.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
Meditation, mindfulness classes and retreats for women who want to reconnect with themselves. The terms are so mainstream now I don’t have to call them anything else. Years ago when I said I teach meditation, people thought it was ‘woo woo’ (to use my husband’s words!) and I felt like I had to hide what I do or call it something different.
Any tips for other women thinking of starting a business?
We aren’t necessarily taught how to put our needs first. Listen to the small voice inside that keeps vying for your attention. Reframe the word selfish… let go of the guilt… show up as the wise radiant being you already are.
In the words of William James:
“To change one’s life: start immediately, do it flamboyantly, no exceptions!”