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Changing Your Mind

What does it mean to start something and then find you don’t want to do it anymore?

Last weekend, I took my last test for my Holistic Health Coaching program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and I am now a graduate.

When I started the program I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do with it. I wanted to get as much information about health and healing as I could to recover from my own health issues, and I thought maybe I could help other people like me.

Now, after completing all the work, registering my own business, creating my website, and even coaching a few people over the last six months, I realize that I don’t want to leave my day job in conservation and animal welfare policy to be a health coach.

So now I wonder… what does that mean? Does that mean that I wasted money and time to become qualified to do something I don’t really want to do anymore? It troubled me until I was able to reframe my thoughts about it to see what I have gained.

I loved learning all of this information. Studying about health and nutrition enabled me to better recover from my surgery last year. Now that I need to have another surgery in October, I feel even more confident that I have done everything I can to prepare my body, mind and spirit for the best recovery I can possibly have.

I have also discovered other interests by being exposed to new things in the program. I had never tried green smoothies (fruit smoothies with spinach or other greens in them) and now I love them. I started writing this column and have learned so much by doing it.

I learned how to register a web domain and create a web site with WordPress. I created and then donated a 4-week “Energy Boosting Cleanse” program to my church auction and led eight people though a diet, exercise and mindfulness program.

So this got me thinking about how we can be really hard on ourselves when we change our mind about something or when it doesn’t turn out to be what we expected. This doesn’t mean that it was silly to do it or that you were a failure to start it and not see it through.

Life isn't a straight line. Everything that you do leads you to the next step. Sometimes you don’t even realize how important your experience will be until later. Maybe you were a lifeguard during the summers even though your parents and teachers pressured you to get a job that would help your career. You had a great time, but secretly wondered whether they were right. Years later you go to the beach with your family and end up saving a child’s life.

In a less dramatic example, maybe you started going to a book club and the group chose to read an autobiography. You didn’t think you would like the book but ended up loving it, but not loving the book club. You decided to quit the book club but in that one meeting you got an appreciation for a whole new genre and just can’t get enough of autobiographies now.

Or, maybe you just had a good time learning taking that swing dance class. Sometimes having fun is enough!

Although that “Energy Boosting Cleanse” program I donated to the church ended months ago, last week one of the participants told me that it changed his life. Wow. Even if I never do a single other thing with the knowledge I gained from the program, I helped somebody change his life. So, I have to say I’m pleased to be a graduate of the program and I can’t wait to see what happens next, even if it isn’t exactly what I anticipated.

Sarah Wayland September 21, 2011 at 11:15 AM
When I was in graduate school, I discovered that I loved to quilt. I (stupidly?) told my advisor that I was considering leaving graduate school to quilt full time. He (wisely!) observed that when a hobby becomes the main source of your income, you sometimes lose your pleasure in it. Since then, I've realized that following your passions outside of work helps to make you a well-rounded person. Indeed, I sometimes feel like I have a bigger impact on the world through my volunteer activities than I do through my work. And that's okay!
hildanelson September 21, 2011 at 11:31 AM
Get free samples of Emergen-C vitamin drink mix from "123 Get Samples" Request it and enjoy free samples of these vitamin drink mixes.
Houkje Ross September 22, 2011 at 01:22 PM
Amen for being able to change my mind!
Emily Fanning September 23, 2011 at 08:47 PM
Never be hard on yourself for thinking why did I get this education when I still want to do this other job. Why did I take this new course?? I have lived long enough in life to see there are reasons sometimes that we do not understand why we are led to do one thing but we still want to do the other. And as you walk your path - you will find at some point you are going to use that new education you just received. The more knowledge & learnings you acquire comfortably - you will find it will come in handy when you least expect it. Did I ever think I would start an art council? No. Did I ever think I would be working with kids? All my life i have been working with kids and when I thought it was over with, here I go again and my past experiences are coming in handy. All my past life experiences are coming in handy to teach by. The kids love my stories of my learnings in life - sometimes very funny and sometimes very sad I love my kids.

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