LESS hustle and more harmony...
That’s a philosophy Sonia Carson applies to her life, and one she wishes she knew about many years ago to avoid suffering burn-out.
The successful owner of Urban Salon in Carrigaline, which operated for almost two decades employing up to 14 staff at a time at the height of her career, it seemed like she had it all.
“I had a nice house, holidays, family — all the perceived societal descriptions of success, and it all looked great, but inside I was striving for harmony and inner peace,” she said.
Sonia opened the salon in 2003, when she was just 22, and her daughter Renee was starting school. Fast forward to 2016 when she was also mum to Kyle, and she juggled being a mother and busy business owner without really having any awareness of boundaries and prioritising personal values.
She knew her heart wasn’t in the hair business any more, but at the same time she didn’t know what she wanted for her life going forward.
“There was a build-up of things, managing staff, standing all day with pain in my back while being a mum and sacrificing a lot all got too much — it was exhausting and emotionally draining. I wasn’t enjoying the business any more, my body was screaming at me and I had to listen! I’m still healing the physical damage I did to myself over those years of hustling! Hairdressing is extremely demanding on the body,” she said.
Sonia felt she was at a crossroads, and when a friend invited her on a yoga retreat to Malaga for a week, she took her up on it.
“At the time I was very tired, very fed-up and frustrated. When I stepped off the wheel for a week I was able to see things better, get more clarity and tuned into myself.
“When I came back I went to see a life and business coach and I realised the salon was creating a lot of my stress, I had built a prison around me, it was not giving me the quality of life and freedom I craved so I made the decision to introduce changes.”
That was in 2018 and Sonia began to create very strict boundaries around work/life balance: “I had a lot of realisations, but also a lot of fear, however I knew I had to move forward so I started to cut down my hours and educate myself further in the world of wellness.
“The more I began to mind myself on a deeper level, the more content I felt.”
She wanted to be able to support other women who might be going through similar things she had learned about along the way.
Sonia trained as a Life & Executive Business Coach and began coaching and mentoring other women, many in business and from the salon industry. The many years of experience in business combined with coaching and yoga training helped her to pursue her dream and passion to support others.
In April, in the middle of lockdown, she made a decision not to return to work in the salon and is now fully focused on supporting other women to create changes in their lives. Not returning to the salon wasn’t a difficult decision, she said: “I wouldn’t have been honouring myself by doing that. I knew this was the year to do it. It felt right. The salon served me well for many years and gave employment to many amazing professionals along the way.
“I’m very grateful and proud of my business journey so far, for the opportunities it’s given me and the people I’ve met along the way. I was blessed with great clients who have always supported me and especially through the transition. I’m so excited for this new chapter and what the future holds, it’s feels good!”
Sonia offers one-to-one coaching, online coaching programmes and wellness workshops, which include mindfulness, personal development, yoga and meditation. She loves creating a safe and supportive space that brings like-minded women together who all want to evolve and live well.
Through her work, she meets lots of women who she says don’t even realise how exhausted they are: “Society has conditioned us to feel this way and wear it as a badge of honour.
“We are human beings, not human doings. It’s not healthy or sustainable to believe that the busier you are the more successful you are.”
Instead, her approach is to live your life by design, and not default and do be true to yourself. This global pandemic has woken a lot of us up. “I see more and clients looking to create change within life and business.
“We have made a lot of realisations, simple pleasures are so meaningful, the small things really are the big things!
“We have to live in a way that is good for our mind, body and soul and through self-exploration and awareness we can do that.
“You hold the key to your own success and happiness, however that looks to you! You can write your own next chapter,” she promises.
See soniacarsoncoaching.com or follow her on Instagram at soulfully_sonia