Following your gut. Listening to your dreams. Building your fantasy business. It’s wayyyy easier said than done.
You could be the most creative and focused person on the planet but when self-doubt, fear and insecurity pop up those dreams will scatter away to some safe little corner of your mind, or deep down on a to-do list that you’re sure to forget.
That’s why I’m totally fascinated by people who find the clarity and confidence to follow through with their dreams, even when it scares the hell out of them…
Which is why I’d love to introduce to my friend Cameil Kaundart.
I met Cameil years ago while I was working for Yelp. She was running around the kitchen with a floral headscarf and a couple of trays of American cookies, testing recipes weeks before the launch of my friend Marc’s cafe, Bob’s Bake Shop. She greeted me with such an insanely warm vibe that I loved her immediately.
Fast forward to today.
I’m officially the luckiest coach in Paris because I get to see Cameil (and her cookies) three days a week at the cozy new space she launched this Fall. Located in central Paris, Chez Cameil is a cheerful, colorful loft where people come for healthy food, yoga classes, lectures, events and other well-being services, like coaching and hypnosis. It’s where I see my clients three days a week and I absolutely love it!
But Chez Cameil was lodged in Cameil’s head for years as a “maybe-one-day-I’ll-finally-get-it-together-to-make-this-happen” kind of dream.
I had Cameil on the phone this summer the day she had to tell the landlord whether she was going to take the space. It was not a light decision to make for loads of reasons that I’m sure you can relate to (self doubt, money, and the huge responsibility that come with following through) but on top of that she was also just separating from her French husband and reconstructing her identity as a single American on French soil.
I so, so admire her for finding the clarity and courage to just go for it! So I’d thought I’d share her story with a little Q&A with her below about how she made it all happened. Hope you find Cameil as inspiring and fascinating as I do!
What exactly is Chez Cameil for you and what do you want people to experience here?
Chez Cameil is a manifestation of my dream to create a community where all people feel welcome to take care of their well-being, practice yoga, celebrate healthy food, share their ideas, emotions and desires.
My goal is to create a family atmosphere, where people can gather and feel ‘at home’, where they can take the time to rest, refresh their minds and grow in an open and collaborative space.
Chez Cameil was a dream of yours for some time. How did you know that this was the right time to go for it?
You know that feeling when something you want scares you, but you just know you have to go for it? It’s the moment you’ve been asking the universe for, putting all that hard work into mentally, spiritually and physically and now it’s right here in front of you. I had that moment and I took it.
I’d been working on the idea of Chez Cameil for a good five years, and it wasn’t until just last year that I finally narrowed it down to the version it is today, many thanks go to my good friend Gwen. She really helped me turn my idea from one giant cloud to a nice streamlined lighten bolt.
I was working away on the business plan when my husband and I decided to separate. I was then not only looking for a space for Chez Cameil, but also looking for a new home.
I’ve always been good at working, being focused on a goal and doing whatever it takes to get it done, but in that moment I realized my work was all I had. I had lost my couple and now only had myself and my work, so I went into extreme Cameil mode. Those of you who know me may be laughing, thinking she is always in crazy organized Cameil mode. Lol
Knowing that I was on my own again after eight years of sharing my life with someone put me into survival mode and I spent all my time looking for a space and developing Chez Cameil as if my life depended on it. Let's face it, life is easier when you are two and have the support of family or a partner. I live far from my family.
So, in one month I started a crowdfunder with KissKissbankbank that eventually raised 10,000€. They kept telling me that no one ever raises that much money. I would not take no for an answer and insisted that I could do it, and did!
I felt like life was testing me, so I decided to turn all the sadness, anger and confusion I had into fuel to finally do what I had been wanting to do for sometime.
It was my moment of rebirth and I am forever grateful for it. My now ex-husband has been a great support and we remain friends, but sadly it took us separating for me to be pushed into that moment of fear and then overcome it and turn it into something beautiful that I can now be proud of.
Many people struggle to find a professional path that brings them joy and is in total sync with who they are, their values and natural skills. How did you figure that out?
Through a mix of trials and gut feelings.
I was an English major, working at a café as a Barista in Seattle where I would occasionally bake cute goodies. The owner insisted that I go to culinary school and bought me all the tools and books I needed to sign up, so I kind of had to.
After signing up and dropping my English major, I decided I should at least work in a kitchen first before paying all that money on schooling. So I went around asking all the top restaurants in Seattle if I could work for free for a week to see if I liked this as a profession.
After a long list of rejections, a wonderful restaurant accepted my funny offer. I loved it, and them me. I stayed there for five years working my way up from the bottom cookie scooper to cake decorator to pastry chef. Thanks Dhalia Lounge! I’ve been cooking every sense.
However, I am no longer a pastry chef. I feel I tell a lot of people this but Ill tell you too: We need to be evolving constantly. “The only constant in life is change,” says Albert Einstein.
I am not the same chef I was 10 years ago nor the same person I was a year ago, so why should my job be the same? All the years of life experience I have created for myself have shaped me into this person I am now. I feel like I have been simply, by trial and error, taking what I like from each experience I have had in my life to create a synergy that aligns with my work.
I’m not saying it’s easy. It takes quitting jobs, taking big risks, self-confidence, and a good support system, being selfish at times and failing and trying again.
I was once told I was like the film “Yes Man,” because you could offer me any job and I was always up for the challenge. I was never scared to trust myself, I knew I could learn something from this experience and apply it to the next. So over the past 10 years I have been doing just that.
You talk a lot about listening to your intuition and knowing when something feels right. How do you connect with those sensations?
I spent a lot of time building a better relationship with myself over the past years and asking myself the right questions. What scares me about being single again? Where do I want to be in a year? What’s important to me? Asking these kinds of questions and really sitting with myself until I find the answers. Using meditation and journaling have been very helpful tools for me. When I feel my intuition is clouded I often retreat to an Ashram or a quiet place to be alone for as long as I can be with my thoughts to work it out.
Also, since I was a little girl, I’ve had very visual dreams and I’ve always looked to them for answers in my day-to-day life.
Two dreams in particular have changed my life.
In my early 20’s I died in a dream, but died really enjoying this weird bouncing bridge in the middle of a big beautiful lake surrounded by trees and woke up fearless and decided to leave Seattle and travel around South East Asia for four months. And it was not until four years ago that I realized the true meaning of the dream, but that’s a whole other story for another time.
The second, a few short months later, it’s my first week of my trip in South East Asia and I get very sick in Bangkok. I had a dream that I was on a train in the middle of grey rainy French winter. There was no sign saying I was in France or flags, but I just new I was in France and I remember, in my dream, getting off the train in the crummy weather and feeling the happiest I had every felt.
So the next morning I went to a travel agency and bought a ticket to Paris France. I spent the next four months traveling all over South East Asia and planning what I would do in France as I did not speak French, then went to Seattle, sold all of my things, came to France where I worked on a farm for three months learning to make cheese, then hitch hiked around the south of France, moved into the oldest all women’s squat in Berlin, decided I wanted to stay longer in Europe, so started to look for work as a chef and ended up finding a job as a nanny in Marseille for a lovely family who I am still dear friends with now, moved to Paris with them, fell in love and the rest is history all thanks to literally following a couple dreams.
They say the answers to all our questions are inside we just need to be quiet and listen.
What do you do when you experience fear or doubt as you develop your dream business?
I use Mantra repetition or Japa as we call it in Yoga. This has saved me so many times. I also have a wonderful group of friends, that I who knows where I would be without their ears to listen to all my crazy ideas and fears, also I am a firm believer in long baths.
I remember very clearly on my last trip of the yachting season this September, taking a brake on the beach between services and having a small freak-out about all the things I needed to do to get Chez Cameil up and running. So I closed my eyes did a mini Savasana/Corpse pose (similar to mediation only lying down on the back) and started repeating a mantra. I honestly do not remember what I had chosen, it could have been something simple, like Intuition, relax or strength. I kept repeating it to myself then did a fifteen minute silent Savasana and after my thoughts were clear and I was able to prioritize the huge list of things I needed to do and felt ready to start tackling them and crossing them off one by one.
Negative self-talk will kill you. I try to focus on the positive, make a plan, write it down and never be scared to ask for help.
What’s on the horizon?
I am always working on a bunch of projects as I love creating things, bringing people together and sharing. We have lots of wonderful workshops, book clubs, cooking classes, Yoga retreats and weekends coming to Chez Cameil with all the new collaborators and myself. Then on the side, I am also helping two lovely young gentlemen from Marseille open a Vegan Burger restaurant, there is a possible cookbook in the future with my dear friend Marc and maybe even joining a rock band. I am excited to watch the evolution of Chez Cameil and myself over the next year. So much of has changed just in the past six months and I am feeling truly loved, blessed and ready for whatever comes next.
I have the enormous honor of seeing my clients at Chez Cameil. If you’d like to learn more about my services click the button below.