My Career: Burn-out led to new career path

In our weekly My Career feature, in Women on Wednesday, we chat to Michelle A. Hardwick, owner of Release... Peace 
My Career: Burn-out led to new career path
Michelle A. Hardwick Job title: Owner of Release...Peace.

Name: Michelle A. Hardwick

Age: 54

Lives: in Cobh, Co. Cork 

Job title: Owner of Release...Peace

Salary bracket: €10,000 to €45,000

Education background: Initially I was trained in the Hospitality Industry. After experiencing burnout, I changed my career path and started in the Relaxation/Wellness Industry.

I am fully trained and qualified Hypnotherapy, NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming), EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), QHHT (Quantum Healing Hypnosis Therapy) and Regression. I was personally trained by Gary Craig - EFT Founder; Dr. Brian Weiss - Regression and also Dolores Cannon - QHHT). In addition I studied Meditation (which I practice daily) as well as Mindfulness.

Hobbies: I love walking, reading, watching movies, meditating/relaxing as well as dancing.

Describe your job in five words: Corporate Wellness, Meditation Facilitator, Practitioner.

Describe yourself in five words: focused, light-hearted, determined, loving and honest.

Personality needed for this kind of work? You need to be very patient, well-grounded, be ethical and have extremely good boundaries.

In addition it is essential to have understanding, compassion, self-confidence and self-belief.

One final personality trait needed is to be able to use humour, where appropriate.

How long are you doing this job? Since 1998 - I started while living in New Zealand. I first began as a Hypnotherapist and then added numerous skills/methods as I progressed. I worked and taught the variety of techniques I had for many years in/around Asia+Norway. 

After my marriage dissolved, I returned to my native Wales to be with family and started up again there about 10 years ago. A while back I moved to Cobh and since then I have been teaching and working in and around Cobh and Cork.

Michelle A. Hardwick Job title: Owner of Release...Peace
Michelle A. Hardwick Job title: Owner of Release...Peace

How did you get this job? My parents had fish and chip shops/restaurants so I began working as a young child helping out there. It seemed natural for me to go into the Hospitality industry. I qualified after school with an ordinary and national diploma in Hotel, Catering and Hospitality Management. I then left the UK and went to Switzerland. I learned German/Swiss German and started working as a waitress in a restaurant. I later changed jobs and became a manager of a cafe in Hotel Pullman Continental Zurich, and much later became an Assistant Hotel Manager in Zurich. Later I took on a teaching role in Les Roches a Swiss Hotel Management School in Crans Montana where I taught Food & Beverage Management. After 3 years there, I joined the Shangri-La Chain and headed out to Beijing to their flagship hotel in the early 90's to be a trouble-shooter in one of their outlets that was struggling. Living in China at that time was incredibly stressful.

Burnout out after three years, I left and headed to New Zealand to teach in a Polytechnic there. My health was failing and I knew I needed to change from being in a stress-producing industry to a stress-releasing industry.

As I had used self-hypnosis to help me study for my exams at school, I decided I would try that instead.

So I became a part-time consultant to members of the local hotel industry with a company called Winning Strategies, and began a new path I studying in Hypnotherapy for two years. I successfully qualified and opened up my first clinic in Dunedin (NZ) in 1998. I've been working full-time in the field ever since.

I was given an opportunity in 2005 to teach my tools in Hong Kong and I agreed. That then lead to numerous offers from other businesses in Asia. I was able to work with clients and teach my workshops in China, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Norway, Canada, India and Bali. I also began working online to continue working with the clients that I had met while on my travels.

After my marriage broke up, I left New Zealand and returned home to North Wales to be with family. I started a new business there called Release...Peace. A chance meeting with someone at an EFT conference saw me coming to Cork and Dublin to teach EFT. I loved being in Ireland so much that I decided I would love to live here. So after finding the right place to live I transferred my business and myself over to Ireland.

As I was still teaching in Asia I would only be in Cobh for a few months of the year. Over time the long distance travel took it's toll on my body so after meeting my partner John, I decided I was ready to settle!

More recently I've been teaching and working in and around Cobh, Cork, West Cork and Dublin.

A few years ago my mentor suggested I join Network Cork - which I did. In 1998, I was thrilled to have been voted a finalist of Businesswoman of the Year, with Network Cork, which I am very proud of!.

Do you need particular qualifications or experience? Yes indeed. Life experience is important as well as relevant qualifications in this field.

Describe a day at work: I get up and do my morning meditation, ground myself and set an intention for my day.

I have a good breakfast and get myself ready.

If I have made time and more importantly if the weather is nice - I go for a walk. If not, I might do a few stretches in my room.

I check emails, social media and then start seeing clients (in person or online).

Depending on my schedule I prepare my things for the corporate classes/groups and drive into the city.

I have lunch between 12 noon-2pm - around client appointments/classes.

If I am teaching at night I will prepare my things and head to the classes. If not, I go for a walk.

I then make dinner, rest and relax. If John (my partner) is home we might go for a walk together and talk about our day. We sometimes catch a movie or chill in front of the TV.

I try to stop being online around 8pm that means I will have wound down enough to be able to get to sleep at around 10pm.

While I am in bed, the last thing I do is focus on gratitude. I give thanks for all that has happened in my day/for the people in my life and for anything else I feel positive about.

How many hours do you work a week? I am self-employed - so quite a few! I have to say I love helping clients so I don't view it as 'work'.

I do work numerous hours though: not just teaching classes, facilitating weekend retreats and seeing clients one to one; but also as I am in business I need to spend time completing admin/marketing/networking/presenting to corporate clients etc. etc. However, I try to keep a number of evenings and some weekends free, when I am not teaching. As I am self-employed I can take time off as/when I can, so depending on my schedule we might head away for a weekend somewhere or I might take an extra day off in the week.

What do you wear to work? Usually a suit or a dress + jacket - something that looks professional and smart.

Also I need an outfit that is comfortable to wear as I can be seated for many hours at a time with clients or at the computer.

Is your industry male or female dominated? It's mixed, but I'd say roughly: 60% female - 40% male.

Does this affect you in any particular way? No.

Is your job stressful? Sometimes yes. There is always a lot to do when you are self-employed.

How is it stressful? In the beginning when I began my business, it was stressful as I didn't have a regular income and there were many outgoing costs to cover.

Also, once my client has resolved whatever it is they came to see me about, they stop working with me. So it's important for me to be able to work regularly with new clients.

I am always grateful when satisfied clients refer their family and friends to me.

Thankfully, now I have more of a steady income from a variety of sources: corporate clients, retreats and clients.

Rate the stress on a scale of 1-10: 8.

Do you work with others or on your own? I work on my own one to one with clients in my office at home in Cobh (and on Skype). In addition, I also work in a clinic setting once a week at the Natural Clinic on Sullivans Quay, which I love as I am also part of a potent team of experts there.

I teach meditation in classes on my own in Passage West. I also work alone with corporate clients. However, I do work with others too: I co-facilitate weekend retreats every three months with a wonderful woman called Val Lane, and soon I hope to be facilitating a new style of meditation together with a local sound therapist called Carol Daly in Cobh.

When do you plan to retire or give up working? I don't plan to retire or give up working but I do plan to reduce the number of hours I work in the future and see people in larger groups less frequently.

Best bits: The satisfaction I feel when helping clients make positive changes in their lives/health and well-being. I love it when clients achieve the goals they've set for themselves!

Often there is a ripple effect that goes on to friends/family/colleagues which is always great to hear about!

At the end of my meditation classes I feel really happy to witness participants absolutely chilled, relaxed and at peace.

I am very often humbled during our weekend retreats. It is so moving when participants share their truth and their lives in the group.

It is powerful to see first-hand how people's lives have changed after being in group for a weekend. I know vital it is for everyone to take time out from their schedules to be with themselves.

Worst bits: Having to spend time doing accounts (which is not my first love) - but something that is essential for me to do to keep track of my business.

Advice to those who want your job? Go for it - if it's your passion to help others, do it! Initially you might not be rewarded hugely financially for it - but the gifts, insight and awareness you'll receive along the way will make your heart and soul sing! At some point it will change, and the rewards will be there.

Any other comments? I'd just like to share that if anyone would like to experience a weekend retreat, the next new group will be forming on the weekend of February 28 to March 1. I still have a few spaces available. \ More details: Or for other retreat dates, please check this link: My number is 087 149 2338.

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