Self-trust — Trusting yourself and developing your intuition is probably the most important quality to set you up for success. As I mentioned, in the early days, when I didn’t trust myself or business sense, I spent a lot of time worrying, in doubt and fear. Then I came to realize that my mindset was creating sabotage in my confidence and my business. My employees could sense it and it didn’t make them feel secure in their roles either. Even when I invested in business coaches and mentors, I had to learn how to tap into what felt right for me and my business. I had to learn to trust myself to take the right next step. It’s a feeling that comes from your heart and gut. You just must learn what that feels like, and to trust it.
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 Martha G. Blessing.
Martha G. Blessing, RN is a healing mentor and body-mind wellness expert. She is the author of Healed and Unlimited: The Secret to Breaking Free From Chronic Dis-ease and Igniting Your Personal Power and the host of The Place To Be Free Podcast. For over 25 years, her grounded wisdom, highly skilled capacity to hold space, and her razor-sharp aptitude for seeing her clients’ deepest gifts–alongside their most critical stumbling blocks-make her a highly sought-after mentor.
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 grew up in Western New York, in a typical middle-class family. The youngest of three children and the only girl, I’d have to say I was a little favored by my parents. I learned to express my creative independence at an early age and my parents supported that. I went to a private school and became interested in figure-skating when I was five years. I spent a lot of my time as a child and teen at the skating rink before and after school. There weren’t many kids in my rural neighborhood, (I grew up on an island) so I learned to use my imagination to entertain myself and have fun. Both sets of my grandparents were business owners and entrepreneurs, although I don’t think they would have called themselves entrepreneurs. Even though I spent many years with a career as a registered nurse, it was in my blood to follow creative pursuits as an entrepreneur.
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? When I was 28 years old, I began a 10 year healing journey. During that time, I had 3 back surgeries and was consumed by daily chronic pain. I followed everything that my roots in Western Medicine had to offer, but it wasn’t enough to help me restore my health. Having been a competitive figure skater, I was determined to get my full mobility and health back. As a nurse, I knew that if I kept taking all the medications they prescribed, I would end up with a long list of adverse side-effects and damage to my liver, kidney, and stomach function.
I just knew that there had to be another way, another solution. That’s what made me go all in. I just couldn’t accept that this would be my fate.
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 activities are running and yoga. The yoga helps me stay centered, focused, and grounded. It creates balance in my body. Running helps me get the cobwebs out of my brain. I’m not that fast, and I’m not fanatical about it. I just like the way it makes me feel and I enjoy being outdoors in nature and the fresh air.
To live a wellness-focused life is one thing, but how did it become your career? How did it all start?
Once I started searching for answers for my own healing, one thing led to another and the path was laid out in front of me. This was all pre-internet days, so information wasn’t as readily available like it is today. I took a yoga class in my local community after my first back surgery because I wanted to regain some strength and flexibility. That led me to visit a wellness retreat center in Massachusetts. This opened a whole new world and lifestyle that I never knew existed. The deeper I went, the more I healed and defied the odds that the doctors had given me. I felt like a kid in a candy store! At one point I just knew that every fiber of my being wanted to bring more of this to the world. I kept studying, trying new modalities, and exploring new possibilities. I went far enough into holistic and alternative health that there was no going back to working as a nurse.
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?
When I started my first full-time wellness business it was a brick and mortar business, an Ayurvedic wellness center. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I had a vision for several years about what it would look like and feel like. I had spent several years building my private practice, renting a room at someone else’s business. By the time I took the leap to create the business I had cemented my vision into my mind. But I was too focused on the aesthetic appeal rather than the day-to-day running of the business. In hindsight, it would have been a better choice to spend less money on the aesthetics and focus on the results we provided to customers. Even though I already had a following, it would have been better to use that money on marketing and advertising to grow our client base. I resolved the issue by pounding the pavement to get customers in the door and cutting back on expenses as much as possible. I found out just how strong and committed I was to learn what I didn’t know and how important is was to ask for help and network with other women business owners.
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?
My work truly is a hybrid for health and healing. The combination of professional experience and training blended with my own healing journey and unique intuitive gifts creates a new hope for people who have exhausted both conventional medicine and holistic approaches, with little to no progress or results. We each have a powerful healing mechanism within us. Our bodies know how to be healthy. We just aren’t taught how simple it can be. I’m an educator at heart, teaching people just how easy it can be when they have the tools to access what is already inside them. It’s never too late. You’re never too old.
A young woman came to me who had been suffering with both anxiety and post-partum depression, and had significant back pain. She had a two-month old and a 2-year-old. She was struggling to function and take care of her family. She had gone to seek treatment with her primary doctor. He put her on medications. But 2 months later, she wasn’t feeling any better. She felt hopeless and disconnected. She was afraid to leave her house. She wanted to break free. She wanted to feel better. She was worried that her emotional problems were going to rub off on her children. Fortunately, her husband and her mother were very supportive. She felt out of options and had followed everything that she knew to do. She didn’t like to take the medications because she said they made her feel dull, like a zombie moving through life.
It took a few sessions for us to build a trusting relationship. I did a lot of educating on what the true cause of her symptoms were, from an energy medicine perspective. Once that trust was established, she enrolled in my core program. Within 8 weeks she was weaning herself off of medications, with her doctor’s supervision, and starting to recover her energy and life again. She started joyfully running and exercising again, taking her kids to the park, after 10 weeks. After using the methods, I taught her she’s back working part-time and thriving in her life and body again. It’s not that life doesn’t throw her curves balls from time to time, but she has the tools and understanding to move through them quickly and effectively now. I was able to help her physical and mental health improve, when western medicine had run out of options for her.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I’ve just launched The Place To be Free podcast. I’m super excited about bringing new, cutting edge conversations on health + wellness, energy medicine, healing mindset, quantum healing, Universal Laws and wellness lifestyle to inspire and ignite the potential of our listeners to create profound wellness in body and mind.
We are breaking down old paradigms about health and healing and helping listeners get a new perspective on the ability to get back control of their health.
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?
The three character traits that were pivotal in my success are flexibility, creative thinking, and not being afraid to fail. I started out with a specific vision for the direction of my wellness career, but that certainly isn’t where I ended up. I’m grateful for developing my intuition and self-trust and being flexible enough to listen to it. It allowed me to follow my inner desires, even when they seemed impossible or irrational. I knew I wanted to expand my reach to help more people, beyond my local community. At first, I had no idea how to do that. I didn’t have a solid vision, only the feeling in my heart. I followed a lot of “gurus” and spent a lot of money trying to figure it out. In the beginning it felt like a real struggle, it seemed like I was failing miserably. In the end, what helped me succeed was listening to my inner compass and trusting it to lead me. I learned to ask a lot of “what if” questions, that had nothing to do with what the experts were teaching. I learned not to do things just because other people told me that was the way to do it. There’s nothing more powerful than learning that you have everything you need to succeed at your desires already within you.
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 a an ever changing and evolving balance between our inner consciousness and our outer landscape. Everything in our world is made up of energy and the elements. We can observe energetic qualities and their opposites in everything that exists. Hot and cold, light and dark. In our body and mind, we carry 5 essential qualities: fire, earth, air, water, and ether(space). Our health is maintained when we learn to observe and balance these qualities and adjust our self-care and daily routines accordingly. They are not static, and our response should be adaptable and individualized. That’s the biggest fault I have with mainstream sick care, it can’t adjust to each person’s interior landscape and consciousness. It doesn’t restore the balance of these elements. What is needed to restore balance is different for every stage of the life cycle. A restorative meal plan for a woman in her 30’s is completely different than a woman in her 40’s or 50’s. I’ve seen people of all ages trying to follow a specific diet, like the Blue Zones, without considering their specific imbalances and needs. People who live in a Blue Zone, like Ikaria, have very different energetic needs to create balance than say, someone who lives in New York.
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?
First and foremost, I believe that our bodies know how to be healthy. They are divinely ordered. Our heart beats without us having to do anything. Our breath moves in and out of our bodies without our involvement. But we do need to do things to support it’s function, rather than impede it.
I believe that every individual comes here with a purpose and plan for their life. Whether it’s to be a painter, mother, leader of a tech start-up, or a first-grade teacher, we owe it to the world to be around long enough to expand into that purpose. We owe it to the world not to cut our lives short and rob the world of our gifts.
When we choose to make wellness a priority, we make a choice for becoming more responsible about the mark we leave on the world and our society as a whole. Beyond that, it just feels good. It’s empowering and uplifting to have the knowledge and tools to understand yourself on a deeper level and know how to make choices for your personal growth, rather than giving your power and outcome over to someone else.
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?
I think the biggest wellness initiative that has come out of the pandemic is the attention on mental health that is now in the spotlight. The subject used to be taboo, and a lot of employees were afraid to speak up about the stress and anxiety they’ve experienced in the workplace. They feared judgement and even losing their jobs. There are new initiatives that focus on creating company culture and collaborations for health and wellbeing within the workplace. It’s a more holistic model and approach. It’s not just about what kind of health insurance plan they’re going to offer, but rather, what are the steps we can take daily in our work environment to support health and wellbeing of our employees while they are at work. They’re doing things like improving air quality, expanding green spaces, offering mindfulness and meditation retreats, supporting nutrition and aromatherapy classes, and expanding diversity training in the workplace. Without a plan to help employees deal with the stress of the pandemic, they are at risk of having very low productivity that effects their bottom line. A lot of good has come out of the pandemic in respect to corporate initiatives. Employees got a taste of working from home and creating new routines that, even though stressful in the beginning, proved to be more beneficial for their mental health and personal wellbeing. While most people will not be wearing their pajamas and sweatpants when they return to the office, companies are having to adapt to this new work employee-centered work culture. They realize that there has to be more focus on work-life balance and in most cases, corporations are recognizing that they need to play an active support role in creating a new culture the promotes the wellbeing of it employees.
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.
- Flexibility — It’s a critical piece of trusting yourself and the direction of your business. Be open to ideas and collaborations, that at first site, might seem irrational. Don’t assume that the plan and direction you had mapped out was the one that would lead you to your goal or success. I had never planned to have a retail store inside my wellness center. And when someone first suggested the idea, all I could think of was how much more time, work, money, and energy it would consume. It ended up being the best move I made to grow and scale the wellness center.
- Compassion — First and foremost, have compassion for yourself. Be impeccable with your word to yourself, which includes not being hard on yourself when you make a mistake or things don’t go exactly as you hoped or planned. In the early days of my business I was hard on myself because there was so much to learn, and so much I didn’t know. That self-judgement eroded my confidence and slowed me down. Be gentle and kind to yourself. And ask for and be willing to give compassion to the people who work for, or with you. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has misunderstandings and miscommunications. It doesn’t mean you can’t have high standards. I do. But the compassion piece relieves a lot of pressure and stress!
- Self-trust — Trusting yourself and developing your intuition is probably the most important quality to set you up for success. As I mentioned, in the early days, when I didn’t trust myself or business sense, I spent a lot of time worrying, in doubt and fear. Then I came to realize that my mindset was creating sabotage in my confidence and my business. My employees could sense it and it didn’t make them feel secure in their roles either. Even when I invested in business coaches and mentors, I had to learn how to tap into what felt right for me and my business. I had to learn to trust myself to take the right next step. It’s a feeling that comes from your heart and gut. You just must learn what that feels like, and to trust it.
- A vision bigger than yourself — A lot of companies in the health and wellness sector just go into business to get a piece of the pie, from the 4.5 Trillion-dollar industry. But consumers have grown weary of the confusion and hype-marketing. Especially after the pandemic, people are looking for real, personalized solutions to take care of the physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Entrepreneurs and businesses that are building a more conscious and sustainability-focused brand are the ones that consumers will become loyal to. Having a vision and a brand that goes beyond personal desires and improves the collective and quality of life are in the spotlight -it’s a priority for a lot of consumers, as we move forward out of the pandemic. People are craving a health-caring model. We donate 10% of our profits to saving the honeybee population and addressing global warming issues. People really like that they are supporting a cause while they are improving their well-being.
- Support system — Find your tribe. It might be other local business owners, or someone that is in a completely different field. The first thing I did when I opened my brick and mortar business was to go door to door to other businesses in our area. Not to get them to buy from me, but just to develop new contacts with small businesses. Join the chamber of commerce, or professional organizations that are interested in supporting you. But make sure they are people with a “can-do” mindset, not anyone that wants to complain about how hard it is to run a business. You must have a support system, aside from your friends and family that you can “talk shop” with and bounce ideas off of. Especially during the pandemic, I had weekly zoom meetings for support and brainstorming.
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’d see to it that Universal Laws and mindset principles were taught in school/colleges and teach people how to keep their focus in the present moment, get out of their heads and centered in their bodies.
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.
I loved to sit down for a few hours with Gwyneth Paltrow. I like the way her brain works and her knack for flowing into “bigger conversations” about creating change in the world.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!