Episode 1

Why I Created the Journey Podcast

with Risa Kawamoto

The Journey Podcast: Why I Created The Journey Podcast

Episode 1

Why I Created the Journey Podcast

with Risa Kawamoto

The Journey Podcast: Why I Created The Journey Podcast

Welcome to the first episode of the Journey Podcast!

I’m your host, Risa Kawamoto, a Transformational Coach and Yoga & Ayurveda teacher.

The Journey Podcast is all about sharing the journeys of purpose-driven individuals from all walks of life who are following their passion and fulfilling their purpose in their own individual, unique way.

In this very first episode, I will be sharing my own journey to how I landed the decision to create the Journey Podcast. I will also be sharing my vision for the Journey Podcast and what you can expect from future episodes.

So I hope you enjoy listening to the first episode of the Journey Podcast!

My journey goes back to my childhood.

You may be thinking how my childhood got anything to do with deciding to create my own podcast but I feel it’s really important to set the scene.

I was born and grew up in Japan until the age of 9 when my parents decided to send me to a boarding school in the UK.

I used to avoid telling people about this part of my life because when I say boarding school in the UK, people automatically think that I have wealthy parents and that I’m well-educated, or at least I thought that’s what people would think of me.

I wouldn’t call my parents wealthy, I would say I grew up in an average family in Japan. I’m really grateful that I didn’t grow up in poverty and I was able to receive a good education, good quality food to eat and able to enjoy my childhood without worrying too much about money or worrying about where I would be living tomorrow.

But this was mainly because my parents were extremely careful with their money so that they could provide us with a good childhood, and also send me to the other side of the world to receive alternative education. I know that my parents sacrificed so much for me and my brother.

And then there’s the well-educated part… If anyone thinks I’m well-educated because I went to a boarding school… well I’m sorry to disappoint you but I’m not well educated at all! Which has been my big hurdle throughout my life but I will come back to this later on in this episode…

Anyway, I went to a very unique school called Summerhill School. It used to be called a ‘free school’ but it’s now known as a democratic school. But I guess it doesn’t really matter!

The main thing about this school is that lessons are non-compulsory and both adults and children have equal status.

So what happens when you are a child who grew up with rather strict parents and are all of a sudden given a choice to either go to a lesson or do whatever you want to? Obviously I made a choice to not go to lessons at all! I spent 7 years in Summerhill School and I can probably count the number of lessons I attended!

Although I didn’t go to lessons much, I learnt so much from living in a small community surrounded by unique individuals.

I know many people crave freedom – but what many people don’t realise is that freedom comes with responsibility. I learnt responsibility from a young age and the consequences of your own actions and behavior. So although sometimes I want to blame my parents for my challenging upbringing and early adulthood, I’m grateful for all the lessons I learnt from 7 years in Summerhill School.

So when I left Summerhill School at 16, I had to face the consequences of my own actions.

I had 2 GCSEs, (which stands for The General Certificate of Secondary Education – an academic qualification in England – I had to google this!) and broken English. I’m proud to say that I didn’t study English properly and I learnt English from just listening to other kids at school.

I had chosen to study media studies and photography at college (FYI, college in England means higher education and not a university) because I wanted to become a photojournalist at the time.

I really enjoyed the photography course although I couldn’t really immerse myself in it because I was working 6 nights a week in the restaurant to pay my rent and bills and all the expenses that came from the photography course.

And if you know me well, you will know this about me already but I’m really stubborn and I wanted to be independent. In fact, I couldn’t wait to leave school and start working. So I told my parents to not send me money! Mainly because I knew my parents were struggling financially and I didn’t want to be a burden to them.

So the majority of my student life was spent working in the restaurant. I actually enjoyed it and the best part of working in the restaurant was free food and alcohol!

In my last year of college, I had to make a decision to either go to a university or start working full time.

Well, I have to say it was an easy decision as I couldn’t afford to go to university as I was still classed as an overseas student and I didn’t want to ask my dad for money I knew he couldn’t afford.

So I decided to start looking for a full time office job! At this point, I had already given up my photojournalist dream. Because one – my English wasn’t good enough. Two, my photography skills weren’t good enough. So for me, all I wanted at that point was to get my foot in the door to some kind of office job.

I had no idea how to apply for jobs and how to do a formal job interview! I honestly can’t remember now how I got my first permanent full time job, but I managed to get myself a job as an Office Junior in the media regulator in London, earning £16k a year! I think I was around 20 years old.

I was working in a lovely team although everyone in the team was much older than me! I was well looked after.

But after working in the restaurant for 3 years, I found working in an office as an Office Junior rather uninspiring and soulless…and I wanted to do more than just answering the phone and filing…

So after a year or so, I started looking for new jobs. As I got quite lucky and got my first job relatively easily, I thought it would be easy to get a new job since I now have some experience!

But no… I soon realised the biggest hurdle was not having a degree. Almost all the jobs I wanted to apply for required some form of degree!

I still applied for hundreds of jobs even though they require degrees. But I didn’t get any invitations for an interview. I started to feel really depressed and hopeless.

Until one day, I got a call from a recruitment agency that their client is looking for a Japanese speaker in a global advisory firm, as a Client Service Administrator.

A few days later, I got an interview and then a couple of days later, I got a job offer.

I was really pleased with myself for getting into one of the largest global advisory firms in the world, even as an admin role. I thought it could open up a door for me to climb the corporate ladder.

But a few months later, I was already feeling bored, discouraged and unmotivated. There was no space for creativity and I felt like my skills were underutilized.

I started looking for different qualifications as I thought if I had some sort of qualification it would be easier to find jobs I wanted. So I dabbled with HR qualifications, a legal secretary course, IT and studied a bit of social science at Open University as well…

But none of them really sparked my joy and got me nowhere in terms of my getting my next job or next career.

I did eventually get a new job in another global advisory firm in another admin role! It wasn’t a dream job of course and I only got a job because I got a call from a recruitment agency who told me that I would be a good fit as I have experience in another global advisory firm.

But in this company, I got funded to study an accounting qualification as I eventually got a finance role. I finally thought – this is it! This is going to be my new career – as an accountant!

I had always been good with numbers and I thought this was the perfect career.

But I never felt enjoyment in the job and constantly felt something was lacking in my life.

As I got promoted and took on more responsibilities, I was working longer hours and was spending most weekends either studying for my qualification or working.

I was stressed out, exhausted and feeling miserable from my job and I had also ended up in an abusive relationship.

I didn’t know at the time but I was completely burnt out.

I filled my sense of emptiness with cigarettes and alcohol hoping this would relieve my stress.

But it didn’t. Instead, I was hungover almost every morning and led to a really bad eczema flare-up on my face and my self-esteem hit rock bottom.

I know many people who got to know me recently or after this dark period of my life, they can’t believe I used to smoke, or even drink a lot of alcohol.

I actually started smoking and drinking from around 13. And again, I was doing this to partially fill the sense of emptiness and try to get attention from my parents.

So smoking and drinking wasn’t something new to me. It has always been a coping mechanism.

I did eventually leave that job after 5 years and started working in a smaller company away from Central London.

And it actually gave me more free time to focus on my life. And this is where everything started to change in my life.

A few months later after getting this new job, I moved to an area where there was a yoga studio within walking distance from my home. So I started practicing Yoga regularly in this yoga studio and started learning about Yoga philosophy in my spare time.

And of course, I still didn’t enjoy my new job! I hope you are all starting to see the pattern here…. I moved to a debt investment company, which was completely out of alignment with my core values. But again, a recruitment agency got in touch with me as they thought I had all the skills and experience for the role, so I went for an interview and got a job.

But this time it was slightly different. I had yoga in my life!  And my regular yoga practice kept me sane, grounded and gave me a sense of feeling alive.

I think around 6 months into the job, I started looking for a new job… but I also started looking into a completely different path – and started searching for a yoga teacher training course! And also around this time, I discovered Ayurveda as well.

And then In 2014, I completed my first yoga teacher training!

The training was really challenging physically and mentally… but it’s a story for another time!

The biggest accomplishment after completing my Yoga teacher training was to quit smoking.Yoga really helped me look at my life from a different perspective and showed me that I didn’t need to rely on cigarettes to feel happier in my life.

After completing my yoga teacher training, I started building my own website, started blogging and started teaching at work, to my colleagues. I also started running private yoga classes – and started marketing and promoting my classes.

I was really naive – I thought Yoga is so popular and thought it would be easy to get people interested in my yoga classes – but I soon realised how difficult it is to get students for paid private classes!

I started following other more established yoga teachers and started studying their marketing tactics and strategies.

I also started searching for all the marketing and business courses online – and that is when I discovered a whole world of online business and coaching!

And for the past 8 years, I learnt so much about online businesses, branding, marketing & sales.

I have also ventured out different things… from health coaching, to offering web design services and business consulting.

So you may be thinking… What is all this got to do with me creating this podcast?

Well…. Looking back, one thing I really struggled with was finding a role model, both in my career and in my business life.

I never really had anyone who I could look up to, who I really admired. A person who has a similar background to me, and has gone through a similar pathway, overcome challenges and had a successful career or business.

I used to and I still do get a bit envious when people tell me how they admire their parents or school teachers, or work colleagues, or successful entrepreneurs and they are their role models. People who really expanded their thinking and inspired and encouraged them to go after their dreams, whether it was directly or indirectly.

I have listened to many business podcasts where the host interviews a successful entrepreneur. Some can be really inspiring but I often find myself feeling discouraged as most of the time these successful entrepreneurs are white male or female, who are hetrosexual, able bodied and have a good academic education. I straight away feel like oh that’s not me, I’m not white, my English isn’t my first language, or I don’t have a degree. I can’t be successful like them.

And I also felt the same as a Yoga teacher as well – I’m not a pretty, white female Yoga teacher, I can never get thousands of followers on Instagram! I know it’s really stupid to say that… because I know the number of followers on Instagram doesn’t mean anything! All it matters is how my students feel after taking my yoga classes.

This is why I decided to create this podcast.

My vision is to bring diverse guests from different ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, social status or physical and mental ability, who are living according to their True Self and fulfilling their purpose in their own individual unique way.

With hope you will be able to relate and resonate with some of the guests who can hopefully inspire and motivate you to live according to your True Self and follow your passion as well. Because I believe that we are all unique individuals who are capable of great things no matter what our background is or any labels we are given by society!

So that was my journey to how I landed the decision to create the Journey Podcast.

I hope you enjoyed this first episode. And please do share with your friends, families and colleagues and spread the love!

Thank you for listening and I’ll see you in the next episode – where I will be talking to my first inspiring guest!

Start your unique journey to discovering your True Self.

You can get my support & guidance in two ways!

Self-Study Online Course:

If you are interested in deepening your knowledge and further your Ayurveda & Yoga journey, you may want to check out my self-study course – Pathway to Sattva.

Pathway to Sattva is an online course that will kick start you on your journey to creating a fulfilling, meaningful & joyful life through adopting an Ayurvedic plant-based, sustainable diet and lifestyle. You can learn more about the course here.

1:1 Coaching:

If you want to discover your True Self and purpose and lead a fulfilling, meaningful and joyful life but you need some support, guidance and accountability, I invite you to check out my brand new 1:1 coaching program Pathway to Dharma.

Risa Kawamoto (she/her)

Risa Kawamoto (she/her)

Hi, I’m Risa! I’m a Transformational Coach and a certified Yoga & Ayurveda teacher.

I am passionate about guiding and supporting purpose-driven individuals, discovering their True Self and inner purpose, and creating a fulfilling, meaningful & joyful life, using the powerful tools of Ayurveda, Yoga and transformational coaching.

I am excited to guide and support you as you begin your journey to discovering your True Self and creating a fulfilling, meaningful & joyful life!