Life is an interesting ride. Sometimes it's a smooth, open road and you're chasing the sun. Other times it's a bumpy, dark path in the middle of torrential downpour and you can't see more than two feet in front of you. It forces you to slow down, pull over, and re-evaluate what the heck you are doing in the first place. I found myself in the storm recently, and had to take some time to sort things out. Here is some context so you know where I am coming from...
In the last 16 months I have moved overseas to the Netherlands and left behind family, friends, and the beginnings of my career in Naturopathic medicine in order to support my husband and his career ambitions. We thought it was the best decision for our future, to have one person working towards a stable, reliable income, while the other (me) has the variable, yet limitless, income. Travelling to new cities and experiencing different cultures was something that enticed us as well, making the decision to move even more appealing. We got married in September, after which my husband worked tirelessly to finish his PhD thesis, while I got our paperwork in order and packed up our lives for the big move. And so began our European adventure!
The first thing on my agenda was securing employment and an income. Finding a job as a foreigner was a challenge, especially when I did't speak the native language. So when an opportunity to work as a personal trainer and fitness instructor with the university presented itself, it was a no-brainer. It wasn't Naturopathic medicine, but fitness is something that I am deeply passionate about and I have always loved being part of the transformative process that comes with helping a client change their body and their lifestyle. I settled into my new role pretty effortlessly and quickly gained more responsibilities and opportunities within the position.
Although this job was fulfilling in its own ways, the mountain of student debt that I was under demanded that I earn more income, so I had to take on extra jobs, like bar tending and retail, just to make ends meet. As the months passed and I created more of a network, I realized that even though Naturopathic medicine was almost non-existent here, there were people who valued my skills and wanted my support and expertise to help them with their health, particularly with weight loss/body transformation. So, I took a leap of faith and decided to offer my services here - Core Essentials Health opened for business in September 2014. Like any start-up business, I knew that things would take time to get rolling and I had set more realistic expectations this time around, since graduating from Naturopathic college was a huge wake-up call in terms of the reality of the business world for NDs in their first few years of practice. I began working all sorts of hours, spreading my precious time and resources thin, and I started feeling like I was never gaining enough traction in the areas that I truly wanted to be spending my time.
While I enjoyed the experience of living abroad and I had felt "settled in", my day-to-day life was becoming autopilot as my primary focus became making ends meet every month. The weight of the financial burden I was carrying was eating away at my self-esteem as an entrepreneur, a practitioner, and as a human being, and my internal dialogue was always focusing on the scarcity, and the joy in my life was missing - big time. I don't think my husband or I really appreciated the magnitude of change that our lives had undergone. I was becoming disconnected through this experience, and it slapped me in the face around Christmas time, when we both finally voiced how unhappy we were with this situation. This woke something up in me in a profound way, and I knew that if I wanted a fulfilling and joyful life that I would have to make some serious changes to my life.
I knew the road ahead of inner transformation would be a process, so I slowed things down and focused in. I have been investing my time in reading articles and watching videos of people who are agents of change in this world, like Marie Forleo, Layla Martin, and Tony Robbins, to name a few. They have been incredible sources of wisdom and inspiration during this time, and I wanted to share this with you in the hopes that if you are experiencing personal, financial, or relationship challenges in your life, that you too can find strength and courage to face them and get through them, becoming stronger and more resilient in the process.
Here are 5 gems of wisdom that I have found incredibly helpful in my journey so far:
1. TAKE AN INVENTORY
What I have learned from Tony Robbins, which I feel applies not only to money and business, but also to relationships, is that you need to focus on outcomes as opposed to activities. Busy-ness does not equal productivity. This is where RPM comes in:
R = RESULTS
P = PURPOSE
M = MASSIVE ACTION
What do you want accomplished? Why do you want it accomplished? And what are you going to do to create that result? I realized that I was living with blinders on for so much of this past year and never took the time to addresse this basic and fundamental component in both my career and my personal life, given the massive change in my life with the move abroad. It really got me writing down what kind of life I envisioned for myself, for my career, and for the most important relationships in my life. Now I am taking actions every day, even if they are small, to try to align these 3 things in the different areas of my life.
2. DAILY GRATITUDE
Find something to be grateful for every day.
3. DISCOVER (OR RE-DISCOVER) YOUR MISSION
"It is my mission to educate, empower and inspire you to live a healthy and vibrant life."
I AM hungry to help people transform their health and their life. And although my current situation doesn't afford me the ability to work in my fullest capacity as an ND, I know that I can help people according to my mission. I just need to figure out the best way to do this with what I have in the here and now.
4. PROTECT YOUR NNT
I decided on 2 daily NNTs that I am going to be working on to create more inner well-being:
- Morning meditation - I am using The Original Angel Cards by Kathy Tyler and Joy Drake. I pick a card from the deck and meditate on its meaning and on how I can cultivate more of that quality in my life.
- Daily Gratitude - share at least 1 thing that I am grateful for every day.
I also decided on 1 weekly NNT, that I began a while back but haven't proactively stuck to:
- One FULL day off from work - no emails, no administration, no social media. Just focusing on relationships, things that bring me joy, and non-work related activities.
5. CHANGE YOUR WORDS, CHANGE YOUR WORTH
"I can't afford it "
"I don't earn enough"
"Maybe I am really not cut out for this line of work"
"I have a gigantic hole to climb out of"
It was sucking the life, energy and joy out of me, and affecting how I interacted with those around me. The mental story was profoundly disempowering, and it has been keeping me fearful and feeling small and insignificant for so long. But when you change your beliefs, you change everything. I have made the decision to get an ATM, or an Automatic Transformative Mantra, as Marie Forleo explains in her video on Money Mindset Shifts. Marie didn't grow up wealthy and like me, she too was also very much in debt from school, but she has managed to create an incredible online business helping entrepreneurs with their online businesses. She shared her ATM when she has felt money scarcity, and it resonated with me, so I am going to use it too. Any time I part with money, whether to pay a bill or when purchasing something, I am going to feel grateful and say:
"There's always more where that came from"
Be thankful for what you have, versus what you don't. Focus on your assets and skills, versus your flaws or shortcomings. Celebrate your accomplishments, versus what you have yet to achieve.
These are all lessons that I hope to continue learning from, and from which I am drawing strength and courage from during this time. I sincerely hope that if you have taken the time to read through to the end, that you have found some inspiration and hope as well. And if you have any of your own pearls of wisdom, I would love to hear them, so please share them in the comments below.
From the heart,