My Abbreviated Story
I’ve always admired those people who knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. I guess I knew that I wanted to work with people . . . but that’s incredibly vague. I mean, I could’ve worked at a customer complaint center or a hotdog truck, and satisfied that life goal.
Fast-forward through 5 years at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and 2 years at USC in LA, and what do you get? B.A. and M.A. in Professional Writing, M.A. in Communication Management, followed by 12 years in Manhattan with a resumé full of sales and business development jobs in a variety of different industries. Plus, the pressure of maintaining that Manhattan lifestyle (and rent!). Maybe it was all meant to play out this way, or maybe I kept ignoring the signs, hoping that with each new gig I’d come into my own. Find my “thing,” like everyone else.
While all of the skills and experience I've cultivated, and the people I've encountered, have shaped me to be the person I am today, the jobs themselves lacked a “je ne sais quoi.” As a result, I was massively unfulfilled-- a feeling that permeated every aspect of my life. But a life riddled with “if onlys” and “shoulds” and “I wish’s” is not one to which anyone aspires. And in 2015, courtesy of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), I figured out that “quoi” was Health Coaching.
I should back up a bit, and mention a few things. I’d been a “health-conscious” person my whole life. On those late nights to the diner with friends, after plenty of vodka-sodas, you’d find me eating egg white & spinach omelettes with whole wheat toast, while everyone else indulged in heaps of cheese fries and cheeseburgers. When we ordered pizza to our freshman dorm room at 4am, as all-nighter sustenance, I thought I was doing myself a favor by taking mine sans cheese... because, you know, low fat!
We know better now, but at the time, what I hadn’t realized, was that with each choice I made, starting from a young age, I was shaping my health, my preferences, and most importantly my self-image. It didn’t matter that I could be found lifting weights or running the track, at any hour of the night while inevitably procrastinating from writing a paper. If I continued to self-sabotage via misguided food choices and obsession with weight and self-esteem, no amount of exercise, cheese-less pizza, or they're-only-five-calories pickles was going to set me up for a fulfilling existence.
As a young adult, I continued to make choices that directly contradicted my goals. What’s more: my inner thoughts, or my “self-talk,” and general opinion of myself needed work. OK, that’s a severe understatement. I lacked the insight, the motivation, and the tools to really look inward and address the underlying problems.
Through various eye-opening experiences traveling the world, changing jobs every few years, and discovering my true autonomous, adventurous, and free-spirited self, I slowly realized the things that matter to me. During my eleven-month program with IIN, which coincided with a halt in my previous career in business development, I had no choice but to be honest with myself. And through health coaching, I can finally proclaim that I'm living in sync with my values. Now, it is my goal to help others to do the same.