AJ Bishop has worked in the financial services industry for over 15 years, leading and managing wealth management teams at top institutions like Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase. Although she excelled in her field and moved up the corporate ladder quickly, she didn’t find joy or fulfillment in her job and began to question her purpose and ability to make a difference in people’s life.
She attended Designing Your Life for Women in San Diego in 2019 to map a path toward a fulfilling and thriving career.
What sparked your interest in the workshop?
A friend of mine encouraged me to go with her. We’d both read the book and I had been trying to make progress on my life designs before coming to the workshop but found it difficult to design within my fast-paced everyday routine. It was hard to find time and space to intentionally make progress.
The workshop gave me the space and focus I needed to move forward. It was definitely a launch-pad for me.
What was your favorite activity during the workshop?
I really enjoyed the time we spent ideating and prototyping. No idea was too farfetched, and we were free to be creative. I hadn’t seen that type of bold creativity and collaboration being supported in everyday social settings or in traditional corporate offices.
What did you take away from the workshop?
I learned that when you’re isolated in decision making, nothing happens; that’s why it was so important for me to attend the workshop and design with other women.
“The workshop provided a collaborative community, inspiration and support.”
At the end of the workshop, we were asked to identify one action that would help us continue our life design process. Sometimes big plans can be overwhelming. It was great to have that next step because it gave me a path forward.
What surprised you about the workshop?
I was surprised that the workshop was a design journey in itself. We didn’t just learn design concepts; we applied them and went through the entire design thinking process over the weekend.
Tell me about your odyssey plans.
While at the workshop, I realized people often do not pursue their dreams due to money. I knew I wanted to change that, so I created three different odyssey plans with very different steps to take. I noticed my strongest theme was a desire to coach others through the transition process. I knew I had a unique vantage point because of my wealth management background AND the decades I have practicing and teaching mindfulness, yoga and meditation.
My first milestone in all three of my odyssey plans was to get clear on how I bring my two backgrounds together through a passion project. I did research on others who were already in fields I was curious about and reached out to them to understand what they saw as a need in the world and how my experience could serve others. I also got clear on my core values: integrity, connection and generosity and wanted to ensure these values were my guiding light for how I would start my passion project.
During the coronavirus quarantine, I decided to prototype a virtual summit from my most appealing odyssey plan. It was called, The New Nine to Five and we discussed how to change fear, anxiety and uncertainty about the future into joy and fulfillment at work and in your life. It was a free event where I curated over twenty expert speakers from around the world in a variety of fields such as meditation, psychology, physiology and business.
After the summit, I finally understood the intersection of my financial and mindfulness backgrounds was wealth consciousness. Wealth consciousness is raising the awareness of mental models, beliefs and behaviors conflicting, contradicting or complicating your relationship with money. In my coaching and consulting business, ajbishop.co, I work with businesses and professionals who are transitioning out of their industry or career and help them attain financial well-being and holistic success.
What advice do you have for other participants?
Tap into your resources and intuition. When I decided to host the summit, I had no idea where it would take me. I just knew I wanted to drive people to shift their mindset on uncertainty and fear. I started thinking about who I wanted to collaborate with based on the topics and themes I knew were important to do just that. I made a list of all the people who have inspired and influenced me in wealth management as well as mindfulness and I reached out to them. Even those who were not available assisted in brainstorming ideas as a contribution to my summit.
“Without the skills and tools I learned from the DYL Women workshop, I would have never prototyped my odyssey plan and followed my intuition of bringing what I knew was valuable and needed into the world. My business, ajbishop.co would not exist today – I know this for a fact!”