When I first met Casey Van Zandt, yoga teacher and executive coach/consultant, a few years ago, she was working long hours at a big corporate job. Since then, she left the corporate world, completed yoga teacher training, started her own consultancy, and teaches yoga. Casey is living her passion and I’m honored and inspired to feature her in the very first installment of #PassionProject, a series that explores making your passion and strengths your life.
Name: Casey Van Zandt
Place I call home: New Orleans, Louisiana
Where I live: Santa Monica, California
My passions: Yoga, laughter, SUP (stand-up paddling) and time spent with family and friends
My job: Yoga Instructor, Executive Coach and Consultant
The moment I knew that this was my path: There were many signs but like many I chose not to see them. Through meditation, I visualized this new-found life and discovered that I could use and share my core strengths in business with others as tools to help them be more successful. I’ve cultivated a yoga-like environment in my consulting firm and in addition to executive coaching and corporate trainings, I also teach yoga. I’ve put together a career that complements my strengths, and also allows me to give back in the areas that I’m particularly strong in.
Philosophy I live by: “Work smarter not harder.” In many corporate situations you find employees who work hard and put in a lot of hours because face time is what is valued. The foundation of my business is a work-life balance and making sure my clients have hobbies outside of work. I try to help my clients get the business results that they need effectively, so that they have time before or after work to do something that inspires them.
As a yogini, I of course recommend yoga. But to me, a hobby is a hobby and whatever works for my clients works for me. A happier employee with a quality work-life balance tends to deliver better results.
My goal in life: Although it’s never perfect and I’m not always 90 to 100 percent happy, I found true inner happiness about two years ago. My goal in life to remain happy. Don’t sweat the small stuff and laugh a lot.
In five years I want to be: In my previous corporate life and success I was in the practice of setting two, five and 10-year goals. I lived by them and became obsessed in a workaholic kind of way. In my recent “passion” business, I refuse to set a five-year goal, rather I want to be in a place of happiness and success even if my business changes gears—wherever the Universe takes me.
Where I go for inspiration: Social media (lol). People have different views of social media, but it really helps me stay on track.
My heroes in real life: My parents. They financially survived Hurricane Katrina and have since, in their fifties, started new careers and rebuilt their life. Times were tough, but I admire how much they adapted at their age in a state of loss. Now, they are better than ever. It just goes to show how life will throw you curve balls and take things away. You have to have faith and fully believe that everything is going to be all right.
If I could get everyone in the world to do one thing it would be: Check the ego and judgement at the door. Live and make decisions from the heart!
One thing that most people don’t know about me is: I live a block from the beach and don’t know how to swim.
My greatest fear is: Water. To overcome it, I recently took up SUP yoga, which I am really enjoying.
My advice to anyone wanting to turn their passion into their life/profession is: Simplify what it is you’re passionate about and what comes relatively easy to you. Outsource (or trade) things you’re not good at. If you are truly passionate about something, you already have many of the tools inside of you. Transcend the fear and “what if” and turn that fear into proactive energy. Go for it!
My morning or daily routine: Mornings start with a brief meditation and a daily angel card to kickstart my day. From there, I move on to a cup of coffee somewhere nearby. In the afternoon, I respond to clients, teach yoga, practice yoga, coach clients, and meet with clients. I try to keep the majority of at least one day each week open for research, creativity, and brainstorming. I typically try to take the weekends off, but that doesn’t always happen.
My life essentials: Eye lash extensions, Under Armour sports bra, yoga pants and my beach cruiser.
My favorite book: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
My happy place: On the beach path in my Santa Monica neighborhood.
My perfect day: It’s pretty simple really: a yoga practice, coaching a few clients, a walk along the beach, a phone call to my mom, and a local dinner with good friends.
I am grateful for: So much. Often times, I pinch myself because I can’t believe how good this life has become. I would say: good health, a strong body, family and friends.
Who inspires you and would you like to see featured in #PassionProject? Caley Alyssa