What Looking Beyond Means To Me
As someone in the business of helping people feel well, it’s important for me to actually walk the self-care walk. However, as a human living a real life where things get messy and hectic, I’ve certainly had to learn some stuff the hard way. For example, it wasn’t until I truly looked beyond my to-do list and at my actual life was I better able to help others find balance in their own.
We talk a lot about the physical body, but the mind and spirit are just as important—it’s why I ask clients about things like stress, work, and relationships. During my clinical training, I learned about anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and food science, but as time went on, the more I realized wellness is about so much more than food, and what’s behind our goals and blocks speaks volumes.
We get so caught up in how the external impacts us, it’s hard to see how our internal environment impacts our experience and what we project out. For example, we might fixate on how our work schedule and the resulting exhaustion affects our eating, but we’re less likely to consider how what we eat influences our work performance and energy levels.
Then there’s the way we hold ourselves back because of fear: fear of failure, of success, of the unknown. We get overwhelmed by all the things we can’t control or fix rather than focusing on what we can do. We forget taking just one small step is actually an option. Or we stall and find ways to block ourselves.
You wouldn’t think much of it now, but the New York City subway system was created through lots of drilling and blasting through rock, clearing out the debris bit by bit and stringing lights along the way. It was messy and dangerous, but there was a vision and a plan, lots of reaching dead ends and saying, “Well...this is why we have dynamite.”
For me, deciding to leave the hospital world to focus on my own business was what scared me. Though I gradually decreased my hours as I focused more on writing, speaking, and coaching, I got so used to covering weekend shifts so I could do “my work” during the week, I forgot how to make time for friends and family. I once fell asleep in Downward Dog position at yoga.
When I found myself juggling seven different gigs and running on fumes, I had to face my fears: Was I allowed to do what made me happy? Could I actually help people doing it? What if I went broke?
I’d always assumed when I moved on from clinical, it would be for something happy—One big, shiny thing would sweep me off my feet and deliver me into a shiny new life. In reality, it was a phone call from a loved one with punch-you-in-the-gut bad news that shook me awake.
I crunched the numbers and got really clear, really fast on which things in my life did and did not serve the bigger picture. It wasn’t like I jumped without a net—at the time I gave my notice, I’d been actively building my business and planning financially—but I’d once thought I needed to know exactly what the next three or five or ten steps would be before taking a risk.
Ironically, it turned out to be my most successful, rewarding year to date. What was really cool, though, was that I noticed my clients became more successful in meeting their goals. Plus, having more energy to bring to events helped me engage the room and connect with people in a more meaningful way.
I couldn’t make up for lost time, but I could move forward consciously and calmly into the unknown. I even started sleeping more, finally started using that meditation app I’d downloaded, and cut my daily eight cups of coffee to four. I also started visiting my family every week.
Sure, I can’t fix the big problems for everybody, but if I can help someone have a calmer or more productive day by knowing how to fuel themselves, then that’s a big win.
When I think about looking beyond, I think about looking beyond our immediate situation. Where do you want to go? What would do if you weren’t afraid? What kind of impact do you want to make? Get real about what’s inside and about what you’re putting out there into the world around you.
About the Author:
Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, INHC is a registered dietitian, integrative nutrition health coach, and writer based in NYC. She helps people streamline their healthy living routines so they can reach their personal and professional goals. She works with individuals, corporations, and the media to help make healthy living approachable and enjoyable.