“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. ” – Paulo Coelho
I was 20 when I first heard this powerful quote. It was the summer after I had finished my sophomore year of college and I took up a sales job which often came with several inspirational self-improvement type of talks from management. During these sales meetings, I ate these talks right up. These type of quotes fired me up for the first time in my life not only because they were inspiring, but because time after time, I found truth in them. And I found trust and accountability in myself as well as pride in my own efforts. Once I established my goals, and went full throttle and fully applied myself towards achieving them, I eventually reached my goals. Along the way, I experienced quite a few too-good-to-be-true “magical” moments. Ones that really did feel like the universe was conspiring to help me.
Eight years later (spoiler alert: I’m 28), I’m rediscovering this quote at a very fitting point in my life. As I had mentioned in my previous post, 2013 has been the most difficult year of my life. I became very ill with Histamine Intolerance along with SIBO and a cryptosporidium gut infection, all of which wreaked havoc on my adrenals and hormones. I’ll get into my condition more another day, as it is not my main focus in today’s post.
The point that I’m attempting to reach is that in this very scary and dark point in my life, I was forced to reevaluate my entire life. At first, the reevaluation was about food intake, sleep sufficiency, stress reduction, and questioning the intense exercise I had been doing regularly while sleep deprived. Then it got deeper. Am I happy? Do I feel fulfilled? If not, why? Was my corporate accounting job stressing me out to the point of illness? I was definitely happy in my personal life, and I kept answering “no” to that last question. Truthfully, it wasn’t a stressful job. I felt like I knew exactly what I was doing, and that I was good at what I was doing all while working towards a financially stable career. But day in and day out, I wasn’t satisfied with how I was spending my time. I looked back at the 8 hours of account reconciliation and journal entry posting and felt so unsatisfied that I was hunched over at a computer all day not contributing to something that I truly valued in life. I started to realize that most days, I wouldn’t say more than three peeps to anyone. I had a sneaking suspicion that I might be meant for something else in life.
Meanwhile, no doctor or allergist could explain to me why I was experiencing borderline anaphylactic shock reactions to certain foods, why I often felt faint, why I had trouble breathing, why I got persistent head aches, or why I couldn’t sleep most nights even though I felt like a zombie at work most days. I had to roll up my sleeves, wipe my tears of fear and frustration away, and google my heart out. One night, unable to sleep due to massive chest pains and heartburn, I googled my way on over to an article Chris Kresser wrote on Histamine Intolerance. I made a mental check mark next to nearly every symptom he mentioned. Order was restored in my universe once again, and I breathed a sigh of relief and may have even cried a joyful tear. However, that joy didn’t last. I was still very sick and still had to treat myself through implementing a very restrictive and tricky diet (as the only effective treatment known today is a drastic change in diet). It was clear that I HAD to contact Chris Kresser to seek out his help. Little did I know, that in a very ill market of people who have no idea where to turn, he is the guy that is highly in demand. I got put on a waiting list with an estimated wait time of four months or more (aka an eternity, at the time).
I got lucky and was seen in three months. During those three months, I dove deeper into learning about food intolerance, gut flora imbalance, intestinal pathogens, the GAPS diet, the SCD diet, why Paleo works, the Low Histamine Chef, the blood brain barrier, leaky gut syndrome, adrenal fatigue, probiotics, SIBO, stress management, meditation, yoga, wellness, grassfed beef, pastured eggs, bone broth, ghee, etc etc. Due to the nature of a low histamine diet, my life revolved around what I was going to cook and eat for my next meal. Slowly but surely, my symptoms weakened. I began to sleep soundly after years of grogginess and sleep deprivation. And above all else, I experienced the healing power of food.
Fast forward to today, eight months later, I’m still ill, but getting better every day. I quit my accounting gig and am pursuing a career change to holistic nutrition. Quitting my job was equal parts incredibly liberating and incredibly frightening. I’m walking away from a financially stable career and starting another career that offers no promise of success?? Despite my fears, I had to jump ship. I had been through too much, learned too much, became passionate about too much to ignore my innermost desires to help others who are experiencing what I was.
School starts Spring of 2014. In the meantime, I am working towards my CPA license while working part time. It’s still scary to think about what I will do once I become a certified nutrition consultant. There are many unknowns. How will I start my business? Will I join an existing practice first? Who will I work with? Will it pay the bills? I know it won’t be easy. But I know I will figure it out.
I have been immersing myself in reading up on holistic nutrition and following the work of those who I admire in the industry to learn of how they got started. One fateful day, I was listening to the Balanced Bites podcast and the guest interviewee was a woman who had nearly the exact same background as me! Former accountant turned nutrition coach. After listening to the interview, my main take away was “Wow, what a coincidence. If she can do it, so can I”.
A week later, I listened to a talk on YouTube given by Ramit Sethi about how to get your dream job. A facebook friend of mine ‘liked’ the talk, and I clicked on the link because the topic was relevant to my current situation. His talk was all about taking charge of your destiny. Not about applying for jobs, sending out resumes, and hoping for a call back. But about contacting people, connecting with people directly, and carving a path for yourself. That same day, I sent out a handful of emails to nutrition professionals who I admire in the industry asking if they had any internship opportunities available. Among these professionals was the woman who was featured on the Balanced Bites podcast I had listened to a week earlier. To my delight, she replied very warmly, seemed to like my story, and appeared genuinely surprised at how similar our backgrounds were. We met today and got along quite well. She is revamping her business offerings and is happy to bring me on board to experience and help with the process of it!
I can’t stress in words how elated I am to know that I took the initiative, made a few decisions, and as a result, worlds collided, stars aligned, and a great opportunity was born.
I thought I was going to limit this post to one cheesy quote. But here’s another one: Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I don’t necessarily believe in fate. But I do believe that happy coincidences or lucky chances occur in life. You just have to pay attention and be prepared for these moments in order for them to work in your favor. In no way do I feel like I’ve made it yet, but I feel as though I’ve taken the first step on my new career path in holistic nutrition. I’m excited for what’s to come.
I’m going to file this one under “times that the universe conspired to help me”.