We underestimate the role of mental health and therefore, don’t allocate enough resources to is as a society, as an economy and even as individuals. We are so able to brush it off or file it for later because it is intangible until it is not and it overwhelms us.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Fiona Gilbert. Fiona is a serial entrepreneur in the health/wellness/movement world. She juggles several roles that drive her passion to bring affordable, sensible and personalized wellness to women and their families. Fiona understands that women are the cornerstones of their communities and its wellness. She’s CEO of Quanta Therapies — a multinational bioenergy, life science company, Partner at Haumea Health — an international fertility coaching company with a focus on assisting LGBT families. She is also partner at Devas Being Divas — a holistic retreat for women over 50 rediscovering themselves, their courage and their purpose and partner at Koolkuna — a real estate development company focused on providing safe, affordable housing around the world. Fiona provides personalized biohacking protocols for her executive/celebrity clients.
Thank you so much for doing this with us, Fiona! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I was a desperate patient who realized all the options given to me were not suitable options for me. At that point in my life, I had zero understanding of anatomy or physiology; I just knew I needed something different and I needed it ASAP. So, I went from being a historical ethnographer to exercise physiologist to biohacker.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
I’m 4’11”, mostly Asian and at the start of my career, I walked with a hip or foot drop at any given time. Sometimes I even had a walking aid. But I was pretty good at neuroplasticity, and one thing neuroplasticity can do is increase reaction time when you do things like MMA (mixed martial arts). I was asked by a coach to consult on one of his fighters. I showed up and sat in the corner as he ran drills. I don’t think the fighter even knew I was there. Then I stood up and went over to give a correction drill. The look on that fighter’s face was priceless. On days when I question my skill, I remember that look and I power on.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Taking on my clients’ goals personally.
When I started, I thought my clients’ goals were mine. If it was personal for them, then it was personal for me. Gosh, I was so naïve! Clients come to you with a list of goals and you do not factor in any of them. Your only role is to be a facilitator. Give your expertise, give your support but their outcome does not necessarily depend upon you. You are not that special!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have an incredible network. So many thought leaders across so many different modalities and industries. Each person who has crossed my path has introduced me to the next person, the next piece of technology, the latest modality, thought process. They have challenged and grown my foundational skill set.
I relish in being the dumbest person in the room.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I have been ridiculously blessed to work with some of the elite on the planet. But health and wellness should not be reserved for the elite.
All the companies I am a part of right now are focused on how to make health, wellness and cutting-edge technology available to as many people as possible. How is a mom in Iowa able to get the same tech as a mom in Bel-Air? How is a mom in rural India able to get the same information and care for her family as a mom in the Upper West Side?
There is more than enough on the planet. We just need to figure out how to make sure people have the option to get what they need regardless of their demographics and the amount of money in their bank account.
Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
Make one small change per week.
30/60/90-day transformations are rubbish. True transformation takes at least a year. My tincture library took 2 years to establish. My legendary kitchen/nutrition systems are a culmination of years of small tweaks. When things are naturally and smoothly integrated into your life, that’s when true change happens.
Everything in moderation.
There was a great meme a few weeks ago that caught my attention: “my current body type is like you can sorta tell I workout but you can also tell that I don’t say no when someone offers me a cookie.” It is fast or famine for most people and that is unhealthy. Embrace life, enjoy everything. Enjoy that bite of cheesecake but maybe not the whole cheesecake. When we don’t deprive ourselves, you find a much more balanced equilibrium that your body and soul will thank you for.
I will not be rushed.
This is my personal mantra. Take an extra 5 minutes. Breathe. The world is not going to end because you took a moment to enjoy life. None of us is that important! This doesn’t mean you are now going to be constantly tardy. This means you learn to prioritize. Learn to balance saying no and saying yes appropriately.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
If I had a magic wand, everyone would have a year attached to a holistic health practitioner to empower them to learn about themselves and learn how to personalize their own “wellness bubble”. A friend asked me not long ago, “not everyone has access to a health provider like you, what are they suppose to do?”. My response was, “everyone should have access to someone like me.” It’s about empowerment and connection because then you teach that skill to your child, to your friends and it becomes part of our collective consciousness.
What are your “3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
Your heart will break … over … and over again …
As wellness practitioners, we are invited into the inner sanctum of our clients’ lives. It’s a tough and competitive industry. For those of us who have been here a while and outlasted everyone else, we are here because we can survive the heartbreak. We see our clients when they are broken, when they are at their lowest when they truly need a healer on multiple levels. It takes a toll.
Be fussy about who you treat.
Every single practitioner does this job because they want to help people. It’s that simple. It’s also an insanely competitive arena. And clients can be energy vampires; knowingly or unknowingly. When you first start, you can be faced with having to take on every single client that comes your way because you have to pay rent and feed yourself. It’s part of the process. But the goal is that you grow your skills and your practice to the point where you can pick your clients and you can spend your energy with people who feed your soul.
Show up with everything or don’t show up at all.
I ended up closing my practice temporarily as my divorce was finalized. I thought I could separate my personal and professional lives but I was noticing some of the worst outcomes and I realized I was responsible. Your clients trust you with their wellness. Life happens. Things outside our control happen. But if you can’t show up with everything, be courageous enough to not show up at all. Our clients deserve our best.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health wins hands down. We underestimate the role of mental health and therefore, don’t allocate enough resources to is as a society, as an economy and even as individuals. We are so able to brush it off or file it for later because it is intangible until it is not and it overwhelms us.
I have been personally working on Theta brain programming with my friend Dr Teri Mahaney and working on accelerating my ability to process emotionally. Over the past couple of decades, I’ve had many “hits” against me. I’m Australian (we don’t do emotion). I’m half Asian (we don’t talk about emotion). I lived with a chronic illness for 15 years. I’m involved with 5 companies. I’m a mother to an 18 and 22-year-old. I work in multiple time zones. I care for the wellness of serious Type-A personalities. If I am not all there and present, I am not able to be there for anyone else.
My life is not unique. Most women juggle multiple jobs, family, being a caregiver and can’t remember the last time they pee’d in peace.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Across all social media:
Thank you for these fantastic insights!