Pleasance Silicki is a mother, Ayurvedic lifestyle coach, creator, author, speaker, podcaster, holistic health coach, and facilitator. But this isn’t just list of what she does, it’s a list of her personal values and priorities that has guided her career.
In line with her natural talent for teaching, coaching and personal development, she’s also been a mentor as part of WERKIN’s collaboration with BEACON, a community of women entrepreneurs in Washington, DC.
Pleasance shared how she’s turned her passions into her profession in a recent Ask-Me-Anything organised by WERKIN.
WERKIN: Tell us about yourself.
Pleasance: I am a lifestyle and wellness mentor and facilitator for retreats and workshops. I use yoga, Aryuveda, and my holistic health background, to lead my programs. I have a hybrid business, meeting with clients in person in Washington D.C., and then online, which is a really wonderful mix for my family.
I have two small kids at home who I love to be with, and so I love that mix of online, where I can have more sustainable programming, but also being with people in real life through retreats, workshops and private coaching.
I started many years ago as a teacher in D.C. public schools. As a teacher leader, I was organising events for students and staff and working with them on wellness and well-being. From the moment that I was in a classroom, I really loved working with humans on human potential, development and growth. I moved into administration and started a school for boys in Washington. I really like work that allows you to use different parts of your brain and I feel very passionate about creation and community.
I left teaching and education, and had my daughter. When I was pregnant, I was dreaming of what I could do next. I had already worked through my yoga teacher certification and was doing a lot of meditation, and chanting and fitness. I envisioned a studio here in Washington D.C. that would be family focused. I could have childcare and mothers as yoga teachers and fitness teachers in a really inclusive spiritual community. So I built the Little Ohm Yoga Studio which I ran for eight years.
Three years ago, I transitioned away from having a brick and mortar space to doing the work I do now, this hybrid-online. I have also moved away from being specifically for children and babies and families. And I'm doing a lot of work primarily with women as caregivers, and in the entrepreneurial space, on how to work with balance and use Aryuveda and yoga philosophy to tap into wisdom to live a full and beautiful life. It's been quite an adventure and I can't wait to see what happens next, as I continue to learn and evolve and grow with my business.
Mentorship is BEING SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING WHAT YOU WANT TO DO
WERKIN: It sounds like through your different experiences as a teacher to being a coach to starting a yoga studio, you’ve picked up other interests along the way. Did you have mentors when you were moving across these different spaces?
Pleasance: Oh yes, I really believe in mentorship. I believe in staying close to women who have what you want to have, and do what you want to do. Every step along the way, I have attended workshops or read books, or listened to podcasts. We have access to so much wonderful information. In DC, we have a really big entrepreneurial support community for women. We've had it for the past 11 years in different ways. Finding people who've been a little bit more experienced than you, and asking them those really big questions and listening to how they are living their lives. I take all of that really seriously.
I developed a morning routine for my own well-being because everybody I know who was living a successful and content life, talked about their morning routines. So for me I didn't want to put up resistance towards the knowledge, and advice that these women who were further along in their businesses, or had a larger business or even people who've decided not to grow their businesses because they have a special needs child, or because they enjoy gardening.
I try to find mentors who have that sense of balance in their own personal and professional lives. I am a holistic health coach. So I look at everything from all angles, from the holistic perspective.
Authenticity and Flow
WERKIN: Well that's interesting you talk about the importance of balance because it seems like when you start your own business, it does give you that freedom to situate your life as you choose. Given that you're a coach and a mentor to different people starting their own businesses, what is your experience with mentoring and coaching people coming from different industries? For example, coaching somebody who is starting a bakery versus a dietitian starting their own practice. What are some of the differences that you find in mentoring across industries?
Pleasance: Well, I honestly feel that when you bring your whole self, your authentic strengths and values, and who you truly are, your gifts, into the work you do, there's probably a thread through all the different external job titles. The most important thing is really looking from the inside out because you can create the kind of work you want to do, and how you want to do it.
And so the job, or the career or the path that you're taking, you might be able to mold that even if it's inside a different organisation. You think you've been in one career path for a while, and now you're really wanting to change. You’re starting your own bakery, really looking at yourself. What did you do before that you loved? What are the things that you could do and time just passes, they call this the flow state. So what do you do in the flow state?
The core of who you are, and what you love to do can go across a number of different areas. So in my work, when I was a classroom teacher, I was managing and organising different groups within a structure of a school day. When we started a school it was very similar, just a higher level because now I was responsible for multiple classrooms. When I started the yoga studio, it was the same thing, responsible for scheduling, managing my staff, mentoring my staff and our teachers. And now, even on my own, I'm doing the same thing for my business. So every week, mapping out what are the different areas of my business that I'm working on. So one of the things that I noticed, especially the past three years is that this is my expertise. This is what I love to do. I love to help people work within their schedules and manage their time and think about balance.
So my balance looks different from anyone else’s unique definition of balance and being able to see who you are, and what you've been doing across many career paths, shifts and changes. It's so freeing, you know, it just gives you a lot of freedom. I try to stay close to and learn from other women who think this way and who really feel like they have a lot of opportunities and possibilities, and when I'm mentoring people, as they're making these changes in their lives, we're just looking for those common threads, and looking for ways to make connections. That’s very energising. It can really elevate your mood, your spirit and then you're excited about the work you're doing, it’s what feels good to you. And that's different for all of us.
WERKIN: Some really good advice about paying attention to your strengths, and your state of flow, and putting some thought and work into bringing that into your day to day life, forming your own role.
Pleasance: In business right now, one of the things that I've seen happen, especially over the past 10 years, is that oftentimes when women are starting businesses, they're looking to others and saying “I want that, I want to do it that way.” I always remind people you can't do it that way because you're not that person. You don't have their story. You don't have their expertise, but you do have your own.
So let's dig into self-awareness and self knowledge, enough to know who we are, because authenticity is very attractive. People love it. I can only be Pleasance. And the more that I'm on my own path, and follow my own energy and flow and interests, and really learn about who I am and how I work, the more I come through.
And so this whole idea of FOMO, and comparison and looking at other people, it really fades away when you start to learn to trust how you work. When you have a skill that you don't know, skill up and hire a coach, or a mentor, or do a program on a skill that you don't have so that you can continue to grow and evolve.
Sometimes when you're looking at other people, you lose sight of what your strengths are, and what your weaknesses are. What are the areas that you want to learn more about? And it's awesome to be able to invest in yourself that way, when you see your blind spot and you work on it.
WERKIN: So it sounds like this is yet another balance of both identifying your strengths, building on them but investing in yourself to build new skills where maybe you've noticed you can use some development.
Pleasance: Mentorship is so important because it helps you identify your blind spots and be surrounded with people who are doing what you want to do. It's just a really amazing way to stay on your path and counter imposter syndrome, and fear, and scarcity and not being worthy. Also mentorship is really important to provide a support system to help you during the tough times.
Networking is just relationships
WERKIN: What what tips do you have for networking?
Pleasance: Just show up and be interested in people. I say, “Tell me what you're interested in. Tell me what you're doing with your days. What do you do when you're not working? What are you doing for fun?” I'm a connector. For me, having a bunch of referrals, being able to ask and be interested in other people is how people are interested in me. I tend to attract really strong, powerful, educated women and I also feel that way about the work that I do. Networking is just relationships. It's about being in relationships. It's about helping people. I really care that they're doing work with integrity and alignment.
So I love what I do, and I love meeting cool people, and talking with them. I don't feel like I'm in a rush, and that is my networking strategy. I like to go to events that are really fun, and I'm interested in and I really am discerning about not going to everything, and especially if I am not feeling like it's a good fit for me. I really, really value connection. And authenticity.
WERKIN: Sounds simple enough. Just be interested in people and ask questions. Be curious and figure out what they're doing.
Pleasance: And when we're talking about networking or meeting mentors or working with other people, just bring your full self because you're actually, authentically interested.
WERKIN: So you talked a little bit about working with women and being really passionate about identifying other women who are trying to grow their career with a sense of balance of their skills and their personal interests. Can you speak a little about any challenges you've seen, or maybe patterns in some of the women you work with?
Pleasance: Yeah, we can talk about this for the next week. Boundaries, scarcity, imposter syndrome, perfectionism, that often comes up. One of the women said "I just need to refine this! I am tweaking it a few more times, a few more times until I present it.” That's a sign of perfectionism, and always fixing things.
I look at the source of it in three ways. The first is societal. What's happening in society, that's reflecting on women? And second, what's happening at the relational level, what's happening in this job or in this field? Lastly, what’s happening personally, in my life? And that's been really helpful to give context for why people pleasing is so layered, or why it's really hard for a lot of women to have boundaries, or why it's hard for them to post about themselves on social media, or pricing and charging.
WERKIN: If someone could come away from this conversation with one thing they can do to help themselves either in their careers or with balance. What would you recommend?
Pleasance: Less information, and less thinking, and planning and more being. No matter where you live, no matter what you do. Looking up at the sky. Taking a break every day to breathe and look a little bit more into the mystery and the magic of nature, and all the wisdom that's available to us really from the inside out. So much of our world is external, “other people's knowledge,” or the idea that “other people have the way.”
But you have a wealth of information inside of you. And tapping into that is a true gift, for the work you do, for your relationships, and for your life. So listen more from the inside out.