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The Space Between Starting And Being Ready

Sometimes course-correcting doesn't happen just once.

Photo by Jordan Ladikos on Unsplash
Photo by Jordan Ladikos on Unsplash

“The key to success is to start before you’re ready”

Marie Forleo

When I first heard this quote, it resonated with me. At this time, I was trying to decide if I should make a major course correction in my career, or if I should stick with what I had always done.

I needed confidence, I needed motivation, and starting before I was ready meant it was time to stop making excuses and just get started. No one was going to change my life for me, so I was going to have to do it myself.

And I did.

However, a year into my career as a health coach, this quote means something different to me. Understanding what it meant to start before I was ready was the key to making a lasting change in my life and career. It was scary, and I had a lot of self-doubt. But taking the time to step back and reassess what was working and what wasn’t – and make the necessary changes both big and small – has led to me re-correct the direction of my career. And in doing so, narrow in and develop my true passion.

The course correction

After the birth of my second child, I made a major course correction in my career and my life. I had a job and profession that I loved. However, I’d changed, and I was no longer the right fit for the role I held. It was a difficult decision, to walk away from something that filled me with purpose and passion. But it was also burning me out. I knew if I didn’t make a change, my career would change me. And I didn’t want to become that person.

After a lot of time and reflection into what I loved about my career and all the roles I had been in, I was able to narrow down what mattered the most. I realized it was supporting people who wanted to make changes to improve their lives, has always been my passion. Particularly in the areas of social and mental health. I decided to go to study and became an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I knew from my personal and professional experience that there was more to health then physical health. That you could eat all the kale and broccoli in the world, but if the rest of your life was not supporting you, it wouldn’t be enough. If your life was full of unmanageable stress. Toxic relationships. Career that’s not fulfilling. If you didn’t have social support. All of these things have a significant impact on individual well-being, but are too frequently overlooked.

So I became a health coach. And I loved it (I still love it!).

The re-correction

The second change didn’t happen all at once. Over time, it was a small series of changes I incorporated into my practice that began to shift my focus.

I started seeing clients one-on-one to help them achieve the transformation they were looking for. I absolutely loved seeing their success! It was also wonderful to see my years of experience, paired with my recent education, coming together in a beautiful harmony.

I learned that a huge part of coaching has nothing to do with me, my knowledge, or experience. It’s about listening. Truly, deeply listening to what is being said, giving space for those feelings, thoughts, and ideas to be explored. It’s not about me and my beliefs at all.

As I listened, I began to note some common threads. What seemed to make a difference, and what made less of a difference. Having spent years in the mental health and social inclusion space, I knew that the social and mental components of health and wellness were often overlooked. Or considered secondary. The World Health Organisation states “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”.

I had spent so many years teaching the importance of social connectedness to health and mental health, it had become fundamental in my belief structure. How much the non-physical aspects of our lives influenc our health. It was something I was comfortable and confident talking about. Something I understood. Something I had personally lived!

But the more I listened to my clients, the I began to understand another factor that had a significant influence on how they felt both physically and mentally. It was what they ate. How food effected how much energy they had, how well they slept, the amount of stress, and even their mood.


The Eureka Moment

Drawing on the connections between my clients experiences, I started thinking about my own experiences as well. Did what we eat influence our mood? My Eureka moment came when I realized how much of an impact it had on not just my clients moods, but mine as well. Maybe there was more to it? And maybe it was time for me to find out.

It was this question that caused me to enrol in Food and Mood: Improving Mental Health Through Diet and Nutrition run by the Food and Mood Centre at Deakin University. To say this course changed my viewpoint on the role of food in mental wellness would be an understatement! It was exciting, but at the same time it forced me to give up some of my long-held views. Maybe to best serve my clients, and myself, I needed to learn more about nutrition science.

Rediscovered Purpose

So this became my re-correct. While serving clients as a health coach, I’m also attending university to become a nutritionist. Not because I need to in order to do my job. But because this is the direction I need to take in order to continue to discover meaning, purpose, and joy in what I do every day. While it was not my original plan, it was a direction I discovered by being present with myself and my clients.

I only found it because I got started before I was ready. Before I knew exactly what my final destination would be. I got on the path and started. With several microsteps to re-correct my course along the way.

I would not have known the microsteps that needed to be made unless I had gotten started. Before I was ready.

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