Ask for help early, often and consistently. I try to do too much on my own and I know that often makes things harder than they need to be. I don’t doubt my business would be farther along than it is if I was better at reaching out for support.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Liz O’Carroll, a speaker, women’s health advocate, holistic health coach, and founder of Misfit Wellness, a platform dedicated to making a healthier diet and lifestyle feel approachable and sustainable, especially for those struggling with mental and physical heath challenges. She is deeply passionate about exposing people to the transformative power of the holistic and integrated approach to wellness that changed her life. Through corporate workshops, public speaking, health coaching and a multi channel platform, Liz aims to create a shared experience around health and healing that replaces shame with compassion and acceptance.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Struggling with depression, disordered eating and a variety of health issues on and off since childhood made me painfully aware of how inadequate the standard of care has become in this country. There are so many gaps in the information, tools, resources and most importantly, compassion and support that people receive when faced with health problems. After realizing how many family members and friends also struggled with increasingly common issues such as infertility, food and body image issues, and mental health challenges, I grew eager to find a way to make health and happiness more accessible to others than they have been to me. I started my business and community work to help people feel less alone and ashamed and more empowered and accepted on their health journeys.
Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?
People dramatically underestimate how much sleep, stress management and simple nourishment can benefit their mental and physical health. If I had to pick just three tweaks, they would be:
1) Prioritize getting sufficient sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can be helpful with improving sleep quality and duration.
2) Add 5 minutes of daily meditation or a simple breath work exercise to help you manage stress. Even 5 minutes each day will help you be calmer, more self-aware and more present in your daily life.
3) Fill at least half of your plate at lunch and dinner with a rainbow of vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables like kale, Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. 100% of my clients see improvements with their digestion, energy, weight management, skin and immune function when they make this change!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
The first time I did a free community event focused on making peace with food and your body, I was blown away by the amount of women that had been waiting for an opportunity to open up about, and connect to other women around shared pain. I’ve always known there are so many people out there silently struggling with body image and self-acceptance, but I had no idea how many people were waiting, hoping, ready for a chance to start talking about it. That event cracked something open in me, as much as it did the other women in the room. It helped me recognize how vulnerability and honesty have the power to help people release shame and finally find some peace.
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?
The biggest mistake I made in the beginning, and occasionally still make, is coming out of the gate too fast and furious with clients. I am so excited to be able to help people who have been struggling for so long, I have to be very careful not to immediately overload them with recommended diet and lifestyle changes that I know will have positive impacts. I learned quickly that people have varying capacities for change, and that slow and steady is the right pace for most people. Even if you hold the keys to the wellness castle, you have to meet people where they are and be patient, accepting of their individual limitations and compassionate around (most people’s) resistance to change.
When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I hope that the work I do will decrease shame around things like mental health, infertility and disordered eating just enough for people to seek the professional and personal support they need. I find that shame, and the secrecy that comes with it, is often one of the biggest obstacles to healing. By opening up about my own struggles, facilitating conversations around these topics and creating a safe space for others, I hope to help people find their way to an increased quality of life, more self-compassion and a less painful and burdensome health journey. Imagine a world where people felt empowered to do whatever it takes to care for and be kind to themselves? That is a world I want to live in.
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?
My husband has been the ultimate supporter, a remarkable silent partner in this journey, a true gift. Because I am doing work that is so intimately tied to my own past and struggles, it can be emotionally exhausting, scary and uncomfortably vulnerable at times. He is my sounding board, my safe haven, an unwavering source of unconditional support. He believes in my mission and encourages me to keep going when I question the logic behind building a business around such deeply emotional work. I’m painfully practical and historically a bit risk averse when it comes to money and business, so his reminders to focus on the intangible rewards help me more than he knows!
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Helping people be kinder to themselves, more compassionate and more accepting of themselves. It’s not the sexiest concept, but I truly believe self-acceptance is the most incredible gift with a significant ripple effect.
What are your “3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1) Ask for help early, often and consistently. I try to do too much on my own and I know that often makes things harder than they need to be. I don’t doubt my business would be farther along than it is if I was better at reaching out for support.
2) Ask your audience for feedback constantly and work hard to get to know them. I’ve learned that you never know your audience as well as you think you know them, and it’s so important to gain insight into their needs and wants to make sure you’re creating content and experiences that are as helpful as you want them to be.
3) Learn to love social media. I still have a love/hate relationship with it because I resent how depleting it can be, and I know that prevents me from connecting to my audience as regularly as I want to. Social media, whether you love or hate it, is a necessary evil when you’re building a business like mine with a limited marketing budget. It can mean the difference between reaching a few and reaching many with your message, so learn to love it for what it can do for you.
If you could take one well known person to brunch, who would it be?
I have so much respect and admiration for Arianna Huffington and the work she is doing with Thrive Global. By setting a new standard for self-care, she is helping many accomplished, career driven women feel unashamed of taking care of their mental and physical health.
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 is a topic very near and dear to my heart. Mental illness is woven into the fabric of my extended and immediate family, and my own life. Having struggled with depression on and off since childhood, I have experienced first-hand how much your entire life experience hinges on mental wellbeing.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
@misfitwellness on Instagram and Facebook
Thank you for these fantastic insights!