Adrienn Eijzenga: From team leader at a large organisation to a professional foot reflexologist.

Adrienn was one of my first coaching clients, back in the days when I was starting to consider quitting my corporate job. Without a doubt, our conversations and witnessing Adrienn’s courage and proactivity inspired me back then. 

Adrienn is now a highly qualified, purpose-driven business owner of Sole in Balance with a full-time focus on foot reflexology. If you are curious how she made her unusual transition from a team leader in finance to helping people with health issues, keep reading and get ready to be inspired 😉

Your previous career was in a corporate environment and travel industry. How and when did you start to experiment with the idea of becoming a foot reflexologist?

The first time I thought about starting a new career was in 2015, so quite a few years ago. I was looking to study something that would allow me to support people who had health issues. I remember the first time looking up information about reflexology schools in the Netherlands, wondering whether I could even manage to study in Dutch. I decided to attend a workshop at least and see how it felt. It was given at the Total Health Academy near Utrecht, and I really liked it:)

Your career transition was probably not the easiest, considering it takes four years of additional studies to become a professional foot reflexologist. You had a full-time job, and you were starting a family when signing up for your studies. What helped you decide, and how did you deal with potential fears when you committed to such a long-term goal?

Indeed, the first year I did not even sign up for the study because I became pregnant with our son, so everything shifted a year. During that year, I was still hesitating whether or not to start. I also received a lot of support in my decision making from you, as my coach. During our sessions, it became clear what was possibly holding me back, and by the time I went on maternity leave, I knew I would sign up for the reflexology study. I just thought: let’s try it for one year, and then I can decide if I continue. I attended the classes every second Saturday, massaged people in my free time and studied in the evenings after work. Before I realised it, I was writing my thesis on insomnia and stress (and I was allowed to write it in English, for which I am forever grateful:). Soon after, I got my diploma in foot reflex therapy. 

What was the moment when you told yourself: “I’m going to do this as a job!”?

That was actually not long ago. Somewhere in the background, I already felt that after having studied for so many years, I could not just put my diploma on the shelf so that it can get a layer of dust. With all the changes in 2020 and the uncertain times regarding Covid-19, I realised I wanted to give this a chance and start my business. At this time, so many people are in a situation (mentally or physically) where a reflexology treatment can be of immense help to boost their wellbeing. And I am so happy to have this new mission.

Many people are afraid to leave their stable office jobs and make a radical change. How did you manage to make your transition? What helped you to face your fears?

Well, I am not different. I am also one of those people. I have worked all my adult life as an employee, and there is no one in my family with an entrepreneurial background. That does not make it easy to decide to opt-in. And I am still in the middle of the process as I have only recently started. However, I do not want to grow old, look back and then realise that I missed this chance of having my own business. If it works, great; if it doesn’t, I tried, and I can give myself a pat on my shoulder in any case.

What helped me in making the transition:

  • The support and trust of my own family. I am so grateful to my husband, who took care of our little child while I was busy with the study and continues to support me every single day. Also, my extended family in Hungary is supportive of my plans and stand behind me. 
  • I have read quite a lot of books that are aimed at helping you face fears and guide you a bit on this new path. Positive affirmations and positive thinking were also extremely useful to me. How often do we hear that if we don’t try something, we can only lose? That we already have the “no”, but can we get the “yes”? I am only starting now, but it makes me excited to think that I am doing this, no matter what happens next. 
  • Putting things in perspective. I am a pretty realistic person overall. If I consider the worst thing that could happen, is that after x months/years, it seems it doesn’t work. Then I need to look for a job again. And what’s the best that can happen? That I am a successful practitioner that people look forward to visiting. In between, there will possibly be a lot of ups and downs, learning new techniques, getting better at marketing etc. Overall it’s a mix of excitement with a pinch of fear.

What were the reactions of other people?

Previously, I always felt jealous to see people who decided to quit their job to start their own business. And now I made the decision myself. I got a lot of positive feedback and encouragement on this decision. Basically, everyone I talked to was incredibly supportive. 

What does working as a reflexologist mean to you personally? What do you like about this work?

Great question. On the one hand, I can observe the changes that my clients go through during the treatments. It is great to hear their feedback in between sessions and learn about the progress they make. Everyone who takes the responsibility to invest in his/her mental and physical health – whether via reflexology or something else they find beneficial -, is on the right path to overall well being and a better life. When something is off, we usually feel it but tend to ignore the signs. Let’s learn not to do that and listen to that alarm bell. I am a fan of prevention, not so much of cure.

Another important thing is that everyone is different, and so each treatment will be specifically tailored for each client. I always need to look up some more information (among others, I have a 1200 pages book from Maciocia about the basics of Chinese medicine). I also prepare extra tips to help with a specific complaint (acupressure points will help reduce pain, for example). 

Last but not least, I find that by giving something to someone else (my attention and my skills), I am also getting back. I feel calm and peaceful after working with clients.

If you could give a piece of advice to someone who is thinking of pursuing their dream project, what would you tell them?

List the pros and cons and see if you can develop a sound and realistic plan to make it possible. If you are very hesitant, a coach like Anna is super helpful because she will challenge those beliefs or fears you may have but cannot clearly explain why you have them.

What are your future dreams and aspirations?

As I have recently started, I would like to establish a well-running practice and learn more techniques to support specific groups of people (add some specialisations). I am also very interested in breathwork and playing with the thought to become a teacher to hold group sessions for those interested. All in all, I imagine a fulfilled life where I do what I am good at.

Thank you for your time, Adri! I wish you all the best with your business and a lot of fulfilment and joy with many happy clients!

If you would like to learn more about Adrienn and her amazing foot reflex practice, Sole in Balance, make sure to check out her website, connect with her on LinkedIn, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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