In January 2018, I was excited to begin my training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. When I started, I was judgmental about why people got specific ailments. With Western medicine as the foundation of my health knowledge, I believed we were all predisposed to our conditions based on genetics, and nothing could be done about it.
A 20-year history of experiencing painful fibroids led me to pursue health coaching. Before IIN, I'd spent five years studying holistic approaches to healing. I figured if I could help myself, I would eventually help the countless others suffering from the same issue. I had no idea about the role of a Health Coach, but after much research, I became excited to bring my insight and knowledge to support others.
How my IIN education informed my work
The classes at IIN were enlightening – I learned so much about human behavior and how the human mind, body, and spirit work in tandem to support healing. The most important lesson I learned was about bio-individuality, the concept that everyone is different based on how they were nurtured (or not) in their mother's womb and their upbringing, environment, exercise routine, sleep quantity, water intake, etc.
Upon graduation, my goal was to become the premiere Health Coach for Black women, who have the worst health outcomes among any other group. I quickly started booking clients and began holding group events, which I called Goddess Gatherings. I even joined a local integrative wellness practice as a lifestyle consultant, engaging clients one-on-one regarding their health. It didn't take long before I began to feel burnout. It was frustrating when, session after session, clients weren’t sticking to the protocol. Then I became nervous I'd spent too much money and time on a new career path only to feel less fulfilled than I'd anticipated.
After soul searching, I realized I had more fun in and enjoyed the camaraderie of the group setting – it was where I was able to shine! After each session, the women offered glowing feedback about the content, structure, and knowledge presented. In fall 2018, I created the Sanctuary Radio Show through a local radio station. My mission was to educate, inspire, and empower Black women to unapologetically transform into their most authentic, healthiest selves by tapping into the goddess within. This platform allowed me to have a broader reach to share transformational information. I enjoyed the production process and got positive reviews from listeners.
Though it was time consuming, it was only then that I felt more peaceful in the role I'd created for myself. I realized I did not have to follow the traditional route of seeing clients one-on-one to be a successful Health Coach – and that was okay.
Continuously evolving on my Health Coach journey
Even my Health Coach journey led me back to my favorite IIN concept of bio-individuality. A successful Health Coach understands their strengths and weaknesses and doesn't try to compare themselves to others. They harness their unique gifts in a way that feels peaceful and productive to them.
Recently after a short illness, I questioned my health coaching ability. Though I was using every tool in my arsenal to feel better more quickly, I had to remember that healing takes time. Just because I was a trained Health Coach did not mean I was immune to illness; I was simply still human. At that moment, I realized I hadn't been offering myself the same level of compassion and understanding I would have given a client. I slowly began to provide myself with more grace during my healing process.
The best Health Coaches are honest with themselves about the ways they can best support clients, remember their own vulnerability, and unapologetically pivot when things aren't going as planned. The more in tune a Health Coach is with their own self, the better they are able to offer the highest level of support for their clients. This is the ultimate mark of success.