Show up as your whole self — have the courage to stay true to you every step of the way. You are whole and complete just as you are, don’t ever let anyone make you feel otherwise. This includes comparison. You are on your own unique path, which means it doesn’t make sense to compare yourself to others because their path is different.
The global health and wellness market is worth more than 1.5 trillion dollars. So many people are looking to improve their physical, mental, and emotional wellness. At the same time, so many people are needed to help provide these services. What does it take to create a highly successful career in the health and wellness industry?
In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry” we are talking to health and wellness professionals who can share insights and stories from their experiences.
In this particular interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Danielle Lumetta.
Danielle Lumetta is the Co-Founder of Before Noon, a wellness driven brand that provides products and alternative therapy sessions to help relieve stress.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you grew up?
I am originally from Michigan and am the oldest of two. My dad comes from a large Italian family. My mom was born in the Philippines and came to the US with her sister at age 13. My sister and I grew up very close to my cousins on my mom’s side of the family, so much so that people would often mistake us for a family of five girls.
My dad worked for General Motors, and at age 7 we started moving every three years for his job. I like to say that I was born in Michigan, my childhood home is Saltillo, Mexico, and my hometown is Rochester, Michigan where I went to high school. I got to see and experience an expansive, culturally rich world at a fairly young age, which has undoubtedly made a huge mark on my life.
Was there a particular person or event that inspired you to live a wellness-focused lifestyle? Can you tell us about your main motivation to go all in?
I am fortunate in that I have always had exposure to a wellness-focused lifestyle. Growing up, my dad was very much into leadership books, one of which motivated him to have me and my sister map out what we were doing to nurture our minds, bodies, and spirits at ages 5 and 9.
It wasn’t until I experienced burnout that I decided to go all in. After college, I worked in management consulting where I specialized in the Retail and Consumer Goods industry. I enjoyed consulting because it entailed constant problem-solving and I got to work on interesting projects with brands I admired. Tactically, however, it translated into 14–16 hour work days, flying to my client’s location every Monday, and flying home every Thursday, just in time to do my chores and hit repeat all over again.
One day, about three years in, I woke up unmotivated, disillusioned, and disconnected from self. Simply put: I was burnt out. I decided to take a three-month leave of absence to backpack through Southeast Asia and New Zealand with my best friend. This time was eye-opening, because I learned how to meditate, I created a daily journaling practice, and I was introduced to energy healing. Most importantly, it taught me that how I live is a choice, and it is up to me to learn about the options to consciously choose a balanced life unique to me.
Most people with a wellbeing centered lifestyle have a “go-to” activity, exercise, beverage, or food that is part of their routine. What is yours and can you tell us how it helps you?
My go-to activity is journaling. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, sad, or “off,” I open my journal and let all of my emotions flow onto the page. If you’re familiar with Harry Potter, I liken it to when Dumbledore uses his wand to take memories out of his head and put them into the Pensieve.
Talking about my emotions was never a strength of mine. Growing up I was taught that emotions equal weakness. As a result, I had a tendency to ignore them, which meant I bottled them up until I was ready to explode and I never felt understood. Journaling is a way for me to get out what I am feeling, uncensored. From there, I am able to not only name what I am feeling (hurt, frustrated, sad, etc.), I am also able to communicate what I am feeling in a clear way.
To live a wellness-focused life is one thing, but how did it become your career? How did it all start?
During my three-month backpacking trip, I curated small gift boxes for friends. In it was a jade crystal from Myanmar, a healing balm from Bali, and a hand-written note.
My now co-founder, Natasha, owned a boutique in San Francisco at the time. I had been helping her with the store, on nights and weekends, for a few years. Natasha and I had grown close over the years and I gifted her a box.
When I gave it to her, I remember her sharing her own journey with crystals and energy healing and how they were powerful in helping her to navigate the challenges she was facing in her life. Then she goes, “why don’t we create something around this?” From there Before Noon and my career in Health and Wellness was born.
Those small gift boxes ended up being the blueprint for our now Healing Tool Boxes, which are self-care starter kits that include a sage bundle, workbook, calming serum, and small crystal.
Can you share a story about the biggest challenges you faced when you were first starting? How did you resolve that? What are the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
The biggest challenge I faced was trusting in the journey. I prefer logic and control, however the entrepreneurial journey has often been anything but logical or controlled for me. In fact, when I lead from the heart, do my best, and surrender to the outcome, that’s often when the magic happens.
For example, I had been planning for about a year to leave my day job in consulting and switch to Before Noon full-time. I had my financial plan, I had my personal plan, I had all the plans. The exact month that I planned on leaving, Covid-19 happened.
Fearful of leaving my comfortable corporate job during something as uncertain as a global pandemic, I stayed a few more months and then decided enough was enough. It was now or never. I took the leap and haven’t looked back since.
Steve Jobs has a quote that summarizes this so beautifully, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
Can you share with us how the work you are doing is helping to make a bigger impact in the world? Can you share a story that illustrates that?
We see our impact in big and small ways. Everything from a Member sharing that she finally took 10 minutes to take care of herself after being reminded by our crystal sitting on her desk to Members sharing their stories of heartbreak, infertility, and loneliness in our Sessions. One Member shared that she is going through a really difficult time and doesn’t have anyone to talk to about what she is feeling and found that community in Before Noon.
People, and especially women, are seeking emotional support — a place and a community to go to when the world feels too overwhelming and they don’t know where to turn. For many Members, that place is Before Noon.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
In April of this year, we launched Before Noon Sessions, which are group alternative therapy classes. Directly after launching, we started fundraising, which took the majority of our focus. We received an influx of demand for our Sessions, however, we felt the Before Noon “magic” or “spark” was missing from them.
In August, we decided to pause our Sessions to refresh the experience. We realized that in launching, what we did was simply take an in-person experience and dump it online. Today, our Sessions are focused on practices to release stress: rest, movement, finding balance, and connecting to intuition. We are in the midst of testing our new Sessions by invite-only with a select number of Before Noon Members. The experience is SO much more profound. In the meantime, we are building an external waitlist, which will get access starting November 1st!
Over 80% of Americans experience chronic stress. Yet, 60% do not get the emotional support they need to cope with stress. Instead of distractions or short-term relief, our hope is that our Sessions help people get to the root of their suffering. We hope they will be guided to recognize patterns in their emotional reactions to stress, learn practices to constructively cope with stress, choose to break the patterns and therefore achieve a different result.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
I would say: strategic, curiosity, and empathy.
I am fascinated by solving problems. I love coming up with novel or imaginative solutions to problems, often accompanied by a 3M easel pad and many sticky notes. For example, in consulting, I was often the go-to person for out-of-the-box thinking. I once put together a whole proposal for a leading healthcare company about how they could innovate their pharmacy experience.
I get this trait from my Grandma. She was what my family liked to call a “curious oyster.” I love adventure, exploring, and travel. I love learning new things, meeting new people. I love reading, taking in new information. This was how my best friend and I ended up backpacking through Southeast Asia and New Zealand for three months. Another example of “strategic,” for this trip, I had us put together a mission statement, which many of my friends tease me for, however, it was super powerful for the two of us to be aligned on what experience we wanted to have, which must have worked because we didn’t fight once the entire trip.
I can sense the emotions of those around me. I have the ability to intuitively understand others’ perspectives. I may not always agree with their perspective, but I do understand where they are coming from. This trait has been especially powerful during the uncertainties of Covid-19. I recognize that none of us on the Before Noon team are able to show up 100% every day, and that some days each of us may need a break. It’s important to me that everyone feels valued, empowered, and fulfilled, because at the end of the day that’s what we are about. If that means working odd hours or taking time off, that’s totally cool with me as long as the work we agreed to gets done.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. Wellness is an incredibly broad topic. How would you define the term “Wellness”? Can you explain what you mean?
I define wellness as the balance of mental, physical, and emotional health.
As an expert, this might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons with our readers about why focusing on our wellness should be a priority in our lives?
The purpose of a wellness-focused life is self-actualization, or realizing your full potential. Said in another way, it is becoming the best version of yourself.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow introduced the concept of a “hierarchy of needs” in his 1943 article, “A theory of human motivation,” which proposed that certain basic needs drive human behavior.
He initially stated that the lower level needs of the hierarchy needed to be met before progressing to higher level needs, however, he later clarified that it is not an “all or nothing” phenomenon, rather when a need has been “more or less” satisfied, then our behaviors progress towards meeting the needs of the next tier.
I give this background because I love Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a framework for why wellness is important. Mapped to the pillars of wellness: mind, body, and emotions, it becomes much clearer as to how taking care of your body helps to fulfill your physiological needs, how taking care of your mental health, helps to fulfill your safety needs, and how taking care of your emotional health helps to fulfill your relationship and esteem needs, with the end goal of finding a balance between all three wellness pillars to achieve self-actualization.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increasingly growing understanding of the necessity for companies to be mindful of the wellness of their employees. For the sake of inspiring others, can you share steps or initiatives that companies have taken to help improve or optimize their employees’ mental and physical wellness?
Some corporate initiatives that give me hope regarding an increased focus on holistic wellness:
- More companies have been granting their employees a week-off without it impacting their PTO in the name of mental health, for example: Coinbase, Real.
- Companies have assembled task forces and employee resource groups focused specifically on mental health, which I would argue is more underserved in corporations than physical health, for example: M Booth.
- With everything that has happened in the past year with regards to racial injustice, companies are creating safe spaces for people to share their thoughts and feelings. For example, Ralph Lauren invited Before Noon to co-host an API event, during which Natasha and I spoke about our experiences as Asian, female founders, the taboo of mental health in minority spaces, and our thoughts around asian hate. They got to some really deep and sticky questions, which was awesome!
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Health and Wellness Industry”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
1. Always prioritize your wellness first — If you don’t prioritize you, nobody else will.
My birthday is May 26, meaning it usually happens during Memorial Day weekend. For years, it got eclipsed by baby showers, weddings, graduations, etc., and I didn’t mind. It wasn’t until the year that nothing happened that I realized how much celebrating my birthday actually meant to me. When I say nothing happened, I mean nothing happened. Instead, I spent the whole day crying because I didn’t feel loved, valued, or celebrated.
The next year, I knew how much celebrating my birthday meant to me, so I treated myself to a yoga retreat in Bali, something I had been wanting to do for years. It turned out to be one of my favorite birthdays, because I put myself first. And because I put myself first, others joined in on the celebration. For a week, I celebrated myself through a daily yoga practice, exploring Bali, relaxing by water, and meeting new people. At the end of the week, a group of 10 new friends got me a small birthday cake and sang me “happy birthday” in the middle of the jungle. It was perfect.
I share this because we get so caught up in what other people think or feel, that we forget that the majority of people only really think about themselves. What this means is if you don’t prioritize your mental, physical, or emotional wellness, nobody else will. You uniquely know what you need. You are your biggest advocate. Prioritize yourself first.
2. Build a personal vision, goals, and mission — “Anything you can imagine, you can create” — Oprah Winfrey
Vision — Some call this manifesting, some call it visualization, whatever you want to call it, it entails closing your eyes and imagining how you want to feel in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, or at the end of your life across the categories of Career, Health & Wellness, and Personal Relationships.
Once you have a sense of how you want to feel, you document those feelings. You can either write them down, or I like to create a vision board every January. I cut out inspiring images from magazines aligned to the categories of Career, Health & Wellness, and Personal Relationships, glue them to a poster board, take a picture of my finished vision board, and then set the picture as my phone wallpaper as ongoing inspiration.
Goals — From your vision, reflect on the biggest goals you want to achieve during your chosen timeframe.
Mission — Once you have your vision and goals down, it’s much easier to create your personal mission statement. I revisit my mission statement about every 5 years. I initially worked with a life coach to clarify mine, but other good starting points include: Andy Andrews’ Ultimate Guide to Writing Your Own Personal Mission Statement, Indeed’s How to Write a Personal Mission Statement, Examples of Personal Mission Statements. If you’re like me and you love personality assessments, some of my favorites to help with these exercises are: StrengthsFinder, Enneagram, Myers-Briggs.
3. Create a career map — start at the end and work backwards.
One of the best pieces of advice I received early in my career was to start at the end and work backwards. Meaning, what do you want to be known for at the end of your career? Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? (See how the previous exercise helps with this?) When you start with the end in mind, you can then work backwards to where you are today, illuminating the skills and experiences you need to build today to get to the end. This is especially helpful as you consider your next project at work or your next career move. For some, going through the exercise of identifying their personal vision, goals, and mission reveals that they may want to start on a different path, and this helps provide the starting point and roadmap to get there.
My career map is a simple 3-page powerpoint. The first page includes my mission statement, my goals, and my top 5 strengths from the StrengthsFinders personality assessment. The second page starts with the role I am targeting at the end of my career at the top, underpinned by three boxes that highlight the goals of that role. Underneath that is a section called “Mid-Term Steps” which are 4–5 skills I want to develop in the mid-term. Underneath that is a section called “Short-Term Skills” which are 4–5 skills I want to build within the next 1–3 years. The last page roughly maps each skill to a more detailed timeline. I tweak my career map almost every year.
4. Build a trusted support system — motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”
Now that you are clear on your personal vision, goals, mission and career map, it’s important to surround yourself with people who will encourage and support you. This includes your friends, family, partner, and paid support. For example, I have what I like to call my “advisory board” of therapists. I regularly visit a hypnotherapist, a functional medicine doctor, acupuncturist, masseuse, and couples therapist with my partner. They are who support me in working through old wounds, traumas, and triggers so I can show up as my best self.
My partner and I are both entrepreneurs, which means we often have little time for housework. To make things easier and make more space for us to spend quality time together, every month we choose one chore to “outsource,” whether that is getting the house cleaned, setting up a meal delivery service, getting our laundry done, etc.
5. Show up as your whole self — have the courage to stay true to you every step of the way.
You are whole and complete just as you are, don’t ever let anyone make you feel otherwise. This includes comparison. You are on your own unique path, which means it doesn’t make sense to compare yourself to others because their path is different.
Listen. The right people, places, and situations will embrace you and build you up. The wrong people, places, and situations will reject you and tear you down. I knew it was time to leave consulting when I realized I wasn’t comfortable showing up as my whole self to work. I also knew it was time to leave a past relationship, when I hid a side of me that I feared would be rejected.
There are many more inclusive spaces today. And if you can’t find one, come visit us over at Before Noon, we’d love to have you.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would promote the most wellness to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would create a 21-day challenge (the number of days it takes to create a habit) during which each participant tells one person per day that they are grateful for them and why.
We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Yes! Eckhart Tolle. He is a spiritual teacher who wrote the book “The Power of Now,” among others. His teachings are dense, but profound, and I have so many questions for him. I’ve also heard that he is one of few who has uniquely mastered the ability to be fully present, which you can feel when you’re in his presence.
The other person I’ve been dying to meet since I was a kid is J.K. Rowling. I grew up with Harry Potter — I started reading the books in 2nd grade. The world she created was a gift to me for so many years that I would love to give her a hug and say “thank you.”
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!