Interview with Itzel Hayward
Who are your clients?
I work with primarily spiritual women who are looking to better themselves personally, create social change, and guide them to do that through the lens of radical self-love. So it’s through coaching work. It’s through one-on-one work, always moving forward.
What is spirituality to you?
To me, spirituality is merely the recognition that we are here more than just us as this individual and this body that there’s something greater, connecting all of us. So I hold spirituality extremely broadly, and I welcome everyone in the group. I hold all my definitions very broadly, even women. We’re a very inclusive group. We hold gender very broadly and very inclusively, and the same goes for our spirituality.
How important is self-care?
That’s such a big piece of what I do, and it’s becoming more clear that we need to redefine self-care. Self-care isn’t just taking our long bubble baths. If you have the time and space for that, do it, if that’s what self-care looks like for you. But if that’s not available to you, for whatever reason, that’s not the only way self-care needs to look. And sometimes, self-care just looks like doing the one thing you need to do to get to the next thing.
It’s really important because you have to be passionate about what you do. I know that my clients know that. So the vibe and the energy has to be there.
How do you find Zen amidst the chaos?
I think people often feel stuck geographically and believe that this idea of peace or transformation can only happen in a certain environment or a certain geographic situation or location. And, to me, such a big piece of spirituality and practice is to be with what is whatever it is. I used to live in spiritual communities, beautiful spaces, Yoga retreats, very quiet. And I remember that at one point there was construction happening outside. So there are jackhammers, jackhammering in the middle of silent meditation. And I would tell my students and the people I was working with that this is advanced meditation. I don’t want you to think I have to stop this so I can meditate. We are now doing advanced meditation!
When did you decide to go out on your own?
I was a lawyer for 13 years. I worked in consumer protection. I worked in ethics. It was funny because when I was a lawyer, I would tell other lawyers that I had the dream job. I loved what I was doing. I believed in what I was doing. At some point, I realized that I had another call, there was something else there that was calling to me, and I thought, okay, let me step away from this and see what’s there for me. I jumped with no ideas. I was in the middle of a yoga teacher training. It requires starting to live with it and taking that journey. I had a coach. I had a coach before I quit. I had a coach before I became a coach.
Working with somebody is always a great way to begin getting beneath the layers. Let’s keep going. That’s the journey. Maybe that timing wasn’t super wise or maybe didn’t make sense to a lot of people. But I did, I leaped because I did have that moment of clarity. I had exactly that, just a moment of clarity when I realized I don’t want this. I had a lovely office next to a big window. And I was looking out my window. I was sitting in my office, I had a door, closed my door, and just realized this isn’t where I want to be for the rest of my life. I just had a really clear understanding of that.
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How have you maximized your business?
What’s helped me is to be super flexible to maximize flexibility. So I just started trimming everywhere I could trim. Not to put in a commercial or plug for Pocketsuite, but genuinely that tool is so powerful. And it enabled me to cut out the one software I had for forms and this other software I had for signing contracts and this other software I had for billing and this other software I had for accounting. I was able to eliminate a lot. With this tool, I became more flexible. I was able to shift more quickly.
Where do you see the world heading?
I want to be in a world where we can all see each other’s humanity and appreciate our interdependence. In a lot of ways, I feel the situation we’re in with the pandemic has increased that. I’m hoping that we can hold on to some of the lessons we’ve gained through this and keep moving forward, really understanding that we are all so profoundly, deeply connected on levels that we can’t even comprehend with our minds. And if we can begin to appreciate that and hold each other, you know it’s like the golden rule we have in every religion to love others as we love ourselves. Let’s love ourselves and then let’s understand that everyone can be loved in that same way.