Reflection 2018

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

I’ve been pondering what to write for my final blog post of 2018. The usual topics - interesting health related subjects, healthy recipes, or announcements for new programs I have in the works - just didn’t seem that satisfying. I realized this past October marked three years since I started my nutrition therapy practice back in 2015. Time has flown by, so I thought the end of the year was a good time to slow down and reflect…

It’s been quite a journey, starting from scratch to now running an engaging practice. Like many of you, I’ve experienced some major transitions in my adult life. My career has shifted from a business and IT professional for 15 years, to six years as a stay-at-home mom, and then having taken the plunge as entrepreneur and nutritionist. While business professional and full-time parent had their individual challenges, starting my own business has been hands down the most challenging! There’s been the uncertainty and the excitement; the lulls and frenzied fast pace; anxieties and the calm that comes when you know you are doing what you’re meant to do; the frustration that pushes me to the edge, along with those deeply rewarding feelings that convince me I must persevere.

It’s been an intense learning process on many levels: Starting my practice at ground zero, with limited knowledge, zero experience, zero clients and almost zero confidence - to a place today where I am comfortable operating an in-depth nutrition therapy practice serving over one hundred clients. There were many exhausting days where progress seemed to move in slow motion. But looking back over the past three years, it’s somewhat of a blur. I feel grateful that all the hard work has been worthwhile. I’ve learned so much, and there is still so much more to learn.

For me, it’s all about learning and growing. Personal growth is almost always challenging and, on occasion, painful. We are forced to recognize our weaknesses and work hard to address them. This is how we grow, and there are no shortcuts. My journey as a nutritionist ensures a long list of things learned and weaknesses exposed.

Probably the biggest challenge I’ve had to cope with – and also the most beneficial lesson! - is the art of how to effectively work with people from such diverse backgrounds and personalities. While I’m generally confident in my people skills, there are instances when I feel incapable. I’ve had moments where I wished I could hit a rewind button and start over, along with moments of complete bewilderment. Sometimes my emotions go into overdrive. I so intensely want a client to experience a great outcome and highly value our relationship. Anything less than a great result leaves me feeling unsatisfied and inadequate.

I’ve come to realize that those negative emotions at times overwhelm the positive experiences from most client relationships. I can be left feeling defeated and even second-guessing my career choice. I care deeply about every individual client and so want them to succeed. But because of this passion I tend to be very hard on myself. I have to accept the reality that there are aspects of client relationships outside of my control. The road to major lifestyle changes and improved health can be a rocky and challenging process. I have to better manage my expectations and, at times, my frustrations.

There are times I question whether it’s all worth it. Especially when my mind is still, I know so clearly that it is worth it: Because: I know nutrition is medicine and that it heals; I know learning and applying functional nutrition is my passion; I know I love teaching and sharing knowledge with others; I know I so love seeing happy client faces when they’re making progress and taking huge steps forward in their journey to better health. I know it’s so important that more people be informed and have access to the information that can change lives.

It feels so reassuring to reflect on these “whys”. Every time I think of them, my heart is filled with gratitude: First and foremost, I am grateful to those clients who believe in me and provide me the opportunity to serve them (even though I don’t have all the tools and answers); I am grateful for daily enjoyment from studying food, nutrition and good health; I am grateful for the challenge of running a small business; and, importantly, I am grateful for learning I must set my personal feelings and interests aside as I put my clients first – as I draw upon that inner-compassion and let it guide me through my journey.

Lastly, I would like to conclude with a favorite mantra that we can hold dearly throughout 2019 and beyond: There is really no such thing as a mistake or failed experience. We learn from adversities than we do our successes. Every one of us is on our own special journey: navigating, persevering, having different experiences and growing. All of these things – the positive and the challenging - are here to prepare us for the next stages of our lives. No matter where we are on our journey at this moment, we are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing…

Happy Holiday and I wish you a fulfilling year of 2019…

With deepest gratitude,

Functional Nutritionist

Jenny Noland