I think it’s safe to say that most of us have been there: having to torturously force yourself to get out of bed 5 mornings a week, the dread of heading in to the office, the tiresome feeling of going through the motions, the struggle to keep from flipping your desk and running out screaming, the overwhelming and constant nagging knowledge that you are not doing what you are meant to be doing. You’re not fulfilled. You’re not happy. You’re trapped. Truly, I think only the most fortunate of all of us have never had a work experience like this.
But that’s what I was doing for years. I was forcing myself to go through the motions at a job that I had no passion for anymore. It left me stressed out, resentful, depressed, drained. It hurt my mental health, it hurt my relationships, it hurt my self-worth. I stopped taking care of myself. I started drinking more. And I felt like crap.
But what was I supposed to do? This is what I went to college for. This is what my mother sacrificed so much for me to pursue. This is what you’re supposed to do. You go to college, prepare for a field, get a job, and you slave over it until you retire and if you’re really lucky you won’t hate it.
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. The thought of another year, no, another day, in that field without an end in sight was enough to make me cry. I wasn’t being true to myself and I wasn’t making a difference – not the way I wanted to anyway. But I literally had no idea what to do. This was all I’d ever known. I came from a family where everyone did the same thing for decades. And, on top of that, all of that time spent pretending left me without a sense of myself.
I knew something needed to change and I didn’t know what or how, so I started with what I knew: myself. Step 1: start taking care of myself again. So I stopped keeping wine in the house, I started meditating again, I started working out again, I started eating right again. And,man, what a difference! I started doing things for myself instead of doing things out of obligation. And, slowly but surely, I started reconnecting with myself and my passion.
It took a while and a lot of conversations with friends and strangers and a lot of research, but I started shaping an image of what I am passionate about. And then I learned that this could be a career and that there is even a name for it! I was going to become a wellness coach.
What does that mean? I’m a government major! I work in government. I went to school for this. I’ve been doing this for years. How do I just drop all that? Oh my gosh, people are going to judge me. People are going to be disappointed in me. What if I fail? What if I’m wrong and I hate it? Will my partner forgive me if I drive myself into poverty following some harebrained idea and make him shoulder the entire financial burden of the household?
Step 2: stop overthinking, follow your heart, and take a risk. Turns out, the people who care about you care more that you are happy than that you’re following a more traditional career path. The people who care about you will support you in your pursuit of happiness and fulfillment. And the people who don’t support you? Well it turns out they were pretty shitty anyway and you’re better off. But be grateful for them, because they test your commitment.
So, I took my leap, put my money where my mouth is, and enrolled in the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. The wellness coach certification landscape is CRAMMED with different institutes, trainings, programs, etc. so it took a while to find the right one for me. One of the perks of my initial college education is that it taught me the value and process of evaluating the integrity and veracity of information. What appealed to me about Dr. Sears’ approach is his insistence that you “show [him] the science.” This program appealed to my more holistic leanings by focusing on more than just nutrition, but also appealed to my critical side by basing itself in science.
I’m four weeks into my training and have not a single doubt that I made the right choice. I am so excited and intrigued by everything I’m learning and can’t wait to share it. This is where my passion lies.
Within a couple months, I will be certified health coach focusing on family health and pregnancy. My goal is that within the next year, I will be able to quit my job and be working for myself in my own coaching practice. For now, I’ll be using this space to post about my journey training and following my dreams.