At the end of 2017 I received the best gift and the most unsatisfying diagnosis of severe hormonal imbalance with Hypothyroidism. Despite my focused approach to “health”, I had some major blind spots. I had to take a long, hard look at what was in my life that didn’t need to be and what was missing.
How does this happen to a health coach?
I’d gotten lost in the day to day. I was tied to my commitments and obligations. I was ruled by the “shoulds”. I allowed the “chores” to become my beacon of direction. What needed my attention? Who needed something from me? What wasn’t complete and was needing only me to be finished? These days turned to weeks and the weeks turned to months. My life was much more reactive than intentional.
I focused on my work, my tasks, and “what can I control”?
In this season, I allowed all of the “shoulds” and “need-tos” to consume me. Yet, that wasn’t the part that rendered me ineffective as a wife, mom, daughter of God, friend, daughter, employee, or business owner. The largest missing piece for me was my time with God. I had allowed the excuses of why my health could not be a priority or why my time with God would be compromised during this season of my busy. You see, those things can’t be SEEN. They aren’t necessarily physically in front of me demanding my attention. God isn’t like a child, always pulling at you and grabbing your face to look at Him. He doesn’t give you deadlines to meet. He patiently waits for us to seek Him. I believe there are blessings within our days that God places to remind us of His faithfulness and love. But you must be still to find them.
There was very little room for stillness. When I found it, I typically saw some shiny object begging for my attention, and there is where my attention went. “Sorry peace, you’ll just have to wait until I complete this project or travel for this conference or create more content” …blah blah blah.
I tend to strive for perfection and sometimes it paralyzes me and renders me ineffective, looking like a deer in headlights. I want to meet the expectations of all the people, I desire to please, and I will sometimes forget that my needs are important too. Does that sounds familiar?
I swapped out my morning walks for email responses and never-ending meetings about the meetings. I missed my time in nature, but God’s creation wasn’t going anywhere, right? So I kept striving. I was working about 50 hours a week in a full-time career and I was building my growing coaching practice. I was still a wife and a mom. I was burning the candle at both ends and pouring gasoline in the middle.
As time went on and the demands grew, it felt like walls were closing in on me. I yearned for time to just be. To be still and just be in God’s presence. My health wasn’t nearly as patient as God. The reminders of the importance of maintaining my health came frequent like an annoying neighbor kid who rings the doorbell every 30 minutes. I was fatigued most of the time, I started gaining weight, I was irritable with most, but especially my family.
I was trying to manage my stress as best as I could and my symptoms smelled of Adrenal Fatigue but it seemed like something more. After my visit to my primary care physician, I was frustrated and confused. I KNEW something was off and all she could gather was a “mid-life slide”.
You know, the downhill slide you embark on once you hit 40 (and this was just before that)? Your metabolism slides down, your energy slides down, your weight slides up and your boobs and belly button also head south. She made me feel like my extreme fatigue, brain fog, irritability, weight gain, heavy periods and dry skin were just a sign that I had one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel. Her solution? How about an anti-depressant?!
I didn’t have a Xanax deficiency, my body was telling me (loudly) that I had no longer made my health a priority.
In my pursuit of success, I had lost the roadmap I give to my clients to prevent and recover from burnout. I had allowed the voice of social media and “experts” to shift my attention and priorities.
My next best steps?
Thankfully, I had created amazing connections with practitioners that I trusted to help me uncover the root cause of my symptoms. I asked for help. I knew that I couldn’t see all my blind spots. I needed some people to guide me through this time. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and severe hormone imbalance. We are talking crazytown imbalance.
I gained new insight into what was going on within my body and a plan to lead me back to recovery and homeostasis. I had new adjustments to make. I also needed to focus on restorative exercise (yoga, walking, stretching, deep breathing).
REASSESS MY PRIORITIES & GOALS:
As I was working on healing my body and recovering from stress induced hormone imbalance and hypothyroidism, I knew that I could no longer keep up the pace I was running in life. It was time to let go of my full-time position that I had held for over five years as a Business Development Manager of a supplement company and focus on my health, family, and growing coaching practice.
I understand that not everyone has the ability or luxury to take this step; I am so grateful that I could. I worked hard to build my practice and gain new clients (I’m still working on this!) and I desired to build upon what I had started a few years before.
It was time to shift my lifestyle to promote wellness. Again, let me say, the answer isn’t for everyone to quit their job and become a full-time entrepreneur (and this could be more stressful), the point is to dig in, seek God and ask what He has for you. For me, I had a calling to build my business and reach more women.
I allowed myself to build margin into my day. I allowed myself to rest. I allowed myself to just be.
Another “next best step” was for me to lean into God. I had missed the connection, the peace, the growth, and the relationship that I gained when I made time to listen to His voice. I couldn’t move forward without His direction.
This time of physical challenges left me grateful that I was given an opportunity to stop looking inward and instead, focus my eyes back to God. I had been living in my own strength for some time. It was time to get His help.
What did I learn?
In the past 12 months of changing my lifestyle, my career, my priorities I have learned so much about myself and was able to increase a better understanding of my clients. What were my main lessons?
I was not as much of a time-management ninja as I thought. Being in charge of your own time can be challenging when you do not report to anyone, have nobody expecting deliverables with a deadline, and have open structure to your day. I had to create structure for myself. My time is a commodity and I was wasting it at a neck-breaking speed. I had to implement systems, processes, and time limits to get things done (even writing this blog has a time limit).
Health is not a constant. Once you figure something out and feel pretty comfortable, you may need to make new changes. I have spent the past year doing lots of tweaking, testing, changing, and going back to the drawing board. I feel like I have a good hold of what is working for me to normalize my hormones and thyroid function but I understand that it can change and I will be ok when it does. Being frustrated and stressed about it doesn’t improve my health. I can only pay attention to what my body is telling me and move from there.
Comparison is a thief of joy. Embarrassingly, I spent too much of this past year looking at other coaches in my industry and wishing I was where they are. I wanted the number of clients they had, I wanted my website to look like theirs, I wanted my photos to look beautiful like theirs. I was focused on other people more than I was on my own journey. This creates a root of bitterness and resentment. It makes us discontent where we are. We get so focused on what we are lacking and where we want to be next that we miss the joy of right now.
What I came to know? I have a journey to experience and teach me. There are no short cuts. I can have a growth mindset or fixed mindset about my journey. I can be positive or negative. It’s up to me. I have a choice. Thankfully, I chose to embrace my place and I have felt the freedom and success that brings.
There are not fast fixes that last. We all want the easy button. I am totally guilty of this. Why draw out a process and the results to be had by taking the long way? Here’s why: Because the quick fixes are often not sustainable. They work temporarily because you can only do the work for a short time (think crash diets, long hours working, caffeine dependency) and they are never something you can build a healthy lifestyle around. I wanted to jump 1,000 steps forward . In my own health and business, I wanted to get to the glory days of success without the work…because that just feels better, right? I mean, why can’t it just be easy? You know the saying, “you don’t appreciate what you didn’t earn”? It’s true. I have earned my success (and I will continue to earn my future success) in my current business and health and family life and it’s amazing to know I put in the work. I appreciate the people, the journey, and the results so much more. The best part? I can keep this pace forever or until God asks me to change my direction.
Community is key. I have had struggles in my path (and some continue) but I asked for help. I knew that I couldn’t do everything on my own. I have an amazing support system between my husband, kids, friends, and experts that help guide me, pray for me, keep me accountable and check in on my progress.
We tend to have a default setting that tells us we can do it all alone; it will be faster, cheaper, and keep the anonymity. If we don’t share the struggle, it’s not really a struggle, right? WRONG. It continues to fester and eat away at us until burnout, breakdown, or both, happen. Gather your people and ask for help. Seek expert advice and trust the process.
What does this mean for you?
I pray that my lessons offer a light of hope for you. In my struggles, observations, and research, I was able to better understand you! I understand your stress (even better!) and I know how to help you increase your energy, focus, time management to improve your success in work, family, and lifestyle.
During this year, I was able to fine-tune my programs based off of feedback and need. Revitalized Wellness is now open and offers you a sustainable roadmap to beating burnout! Click the link to find out more about the 12-week group program that is offering my clients AMAZING results-greater than they imagined!
I am making this journey one of ease for you (notice I didn’t say EASY). I guide you, you become more aware of your lifestyle, choices, and the impact on your health.
Drop the shame.
Lose the guilt.
Believe you can feel better.
Make a choice.
I hope you choose you.
In health, Ericka 💜
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