I moved to the United States from Brazil about 12 years ago with my husband. While in California, my husband studied for his MBA and I focused on improving my language skills. After he graduated, we migrated east to NYC and it was my turn to pursue a master’s degree. I completed my MBA and finally felt ready to conquer corporate America.
After spending time at a large advertising agency, I decided to take a role at a smaller company where I could constantly challenge myself in the areas of marketing, branding, negotiating, and investor relationships. Although I didn’t realize it at that time, everything I learned there would eventually help me in starting my own company.
When my first son was born, it was easy to go back to work. I was ready to showcase my professional skills again, loved the “adult time,” and really felt accomplished. Life was great. Then came the birth of my second son, and going back to work was more difficult than I imagined.
I was lost and unsure. I hated leaving my children. I would fantasize about changing careers. I felt less fulfilled than ever.
I was shocked when I had these feelings that seemed to be consuming me, so I decided I needed to use my time in a more meaningful way—a way that would have a greater impact on those around me, that would fulfill me, and make me truly happy. Switching careers was not easy, but I knew that it was time for a change. So, I started to think about my transition.
I have always had a passion for anything health or wellness-related and was in a constant pursuit for more information. I would spend my free time reading about nutrition and the latest trends in the wellness community. I knew this was my passion, but I never thought I could make it my profession. I couldn’t just leave my job and start a new career.
So, here is what I did to get things going.
Once I considered switching careers, I dug deep to discover “why” I wanted to do this and “what” was I going to accomplish during the drastic shift. I asked myself:
Why do I want to transition to a new career?
Why will this make me more fulfilled?
What is it gonna take for me to be successful?
What skills do I have now that I can leverage with this new career?
The list of questions was truly endless, but this reflection gave me clarity on the real reasons behind my intention to make a change. After all, I wanted to make sure I ended up in a career that I truly loved.
So, when I was sure that I wanted to pursue a career in health and wellness, I made no hesitation. I immediately enrolled in a year long health coaching certificate program. All of the sudden, life became exciting again.
The following months were exhausting. I was working full-time, studying, taking care of my kids and the house, and still trying to make time for me. I may have been deprived of routine pedicures and nights out on the town, but working overtime to prepare myself to leave my job was my “me time” at this stage. I knew I was on the right path because it made me happy. The pedicures could wait.
It might sound cliche, but laying out a plan with both short and long-term goals was a game changer for me. Here is what I did:
Of course, this was not easy as I didn’t know many people in the field, but I was surprised by how quickly people were willing to help when they saw my intentions were genuine. This kept me motivated and helped build my confidence tenfold.
Having a support system was extremely important to me. I knew that with this big move, ups and downs would be inevitable. Having people encourage me along the way helped me minimize the difficulties and fears during some of the hardest days.
My husband, close friends, and even my kids were remarkably supportive. I surrounded myself with positive people and avoided those who were too negative and skeptical.
I’m proud to say I left my full-time job one year after I started planning my transition. By the time I finished my health coach certificate program I was able to secure client work that helped me gain experience and exposure, which ultimately led to more work opportunities.
Starting from the bottom, I had to learn the basics and take on tasks that I thought were beneath my level of experience. But being humble and open minded really helped to see the big picture, and it all paid off in the end. I’m happy and doing what I love.