I have some big news to share with you today...
After four years working with Robyn on all the behind the scenes of Your Healthiest You, I will now be focusing on my business, on coaching and teaching full-time.
Since we created SO much together and had such a magical time doing it, Robyn asked me to share the most important lessons learned from working with her and Your Healthiest You the last four years.
While I could never fully put into words all that I’ve learned in the last few years, I did my best to sum up the most impactful lessons and aha moments on health, life and entrepreneurship in this blog post, since both Robyn and I thought these lessons would be helpful for you whether you’re wanting to start a business, build your confidence, or improve your relationships.
In this post I also share what's next for me. Yes, there will be coaching and teaching but I have some other fun projects in the works. You'll have to read on to find out more.
Lesson #1: The practical + magical side of gut health (digestion and intuition!).
While I struggled with my digestion for years, I always approached my issues from a place of getting healthier - using the internet and my studies at the IIN to search for the thing that would fix me. I was vegan, vegetarian, pescaterian, low fat, and more… all the while following someone else’s version of health in an attempt to feel better.
I’d heard about intuition, and I’d even had my own intuitive hit moments - signing up for yoga teacher training after only practicing for a few months, enrolling in IIN and then eventually quitting my corporate job - but I never connected this gut instinct with my physical gut health, that is until I met Robyn.
Through working with Robyn I learned that HOW you eat (slowly, chewing each bite until liquid) is just as important as WHAT you eat. I learned about powerful gut friendly foods like raw sauerkraut, cooked veggies and bone broth.
And slowly I learned to listen to that inner voice not only with my big life choices, but with the little day to day ones - my workout, my outfit but most importantly MY FOOD. As someone who was a former salad-all-the-time girl, it was quite revolutionary to allow myself a soothing blended soup, or a piece of toast, or a big ol’ plate of cooked veggies. Or a piece of meat, when my gut was asking for that.
I still find myself referencing the tools and practices (like the 123 Food Freedom Tool!) from both of Robyn’s books - Go with Your Gut and Thin From Within - when I need an extra reminder that the answers are inside of me, and that all I need to do is slow down and listen and they will become clear.
Lesson #2: Entrepreneurship is amazing, but it isn’t ALL rainbow lattes and fancy avocado toast.
When I decided to leave my corporate job to pursue a career in health and wellness and start my own business, I had this idealized vision: I was going to do yoga during the day and attend cool wellness events at night. I didn’t necessarily expect things to be easy, and I knew it probably wouldn’t be as straightforward as getting a job with a big company and climbing the corporate ladder, but I really had no idea what I was in for.
Often from social media we get the idea that individuals who work in the wellness industry (yoga teachers, fitness instructors, health coaches, bloggers, influencers, etc) are seriously living the life, but it’s important to remember that what they share (what we all share!) is just the highlight reel.
Starting and running a business is no walk in the park, no matter which industry you’re in.
I don’t say this to discourage anyone - I wouldn’t trade my decision to leave corporate or the experiences I’ve had over the last 4.5 years for the world. But, I do think it’s important for those on the outside to understand - we’re doing work here.
And we work hard. Most successful entrepreneurs put in more hours than you know.
Robyn and I have certainly had all the fun - holding meetings over manicures, making field trips to the newest matcha spot in town, getting to participate in awesome yoga festivals and more - but we also did a lot of work. Looking back, it’s really impressive how much we created and accomplished in the last few years.
Lesson #3: You may need to find a new definition of work / life balance (or as we like to say, work / life flow).
When I worked at a 9-5 job I was the queen of work/life balance. I did my job and put in my hours, but I also made my workouts and food a priority. I didn’t feel the need to check my email on evenings or weekends, unless I was in busy season, and it was easy for me to fully put work out of my mind during holidays and vacations.
These super clear boundaries became harder to hold once I shifted into the wellness entrepreneur land. Not only was I now doing something I was passionate about, which a lot of the time didn’t feel like work, but there was also social media which was beginning to blur the line between work and life even more.
From Robyn I learned that I would need to find a new work / life flow. On the days I was up early teaching yoga, I would need to give myself time during the day to relax, or take care of personal things. I would need to allow for and include time sharing on social media as part of my work for the day. And I would need to understand that no matter the structures and systems I put into place, there may be opportunities, events and deadlines that came up that would require me to adjust my schedule - maybe putting in a few more hours one week, knowing that a lighter time would come.
For the moments when work is on the heavier side, I’ve learned to practice gratitude. Instead of saying “I have to respond to all these Instagram DMs tonight” I learned to say “I get to respond to all these Instagram DMs tonight.”
I’ve also learned to acknowledge those moments when entrepreneurship allows you the flexibility or opportunities that you’d only dreamed of before.
Over the last 4 years I’ve had the opportunity to travel extensively (3 weeks in Hawaii, 5 weeks in California, multiple longer visits back home to Virginia and more), all while still doing my work. I’ve also been able to take trainings and workshops during the week, and fit in my work at night or on the weekend, or even from my phone on breaks.
Often we’re so busy that we blow by the good moments, and we focus on what’s broken within our businesses (and lives), instead of taking a moment to appreciate what we have. Finding gratitude for the good moments makes those more challenging moments feel a little less hard, and allows you to stay focused on the bigger picture.
Lesson #4: Birthing a book into the world is one of the most incredible + impactful things you can do as a teacher or leader with something to share.
A book (even an e-book or online program) is one of the most impactful things you can do as a coach or teacher as it allows you to help infinitely more people than you can :1. To this day, it blows my mind how many people have changed their diets and their lives from reading Go with Your Gut and/or Thin From Within.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would want to write a book. I dreaded 10 page papers in college - I couldn’t imagine writing a full manuscript!
But after supporting Robyn through the creation and launch of two books, I’ve realized how powerful, and how possible, writing a book is.
This experience has given me the push to want to write my own book someday (more on that below).
I know that writing and marketing a book is no small feat. It’s actually a HUGE accomplishment, way more than I ever could have imagined before experiencing this process first hand.
The author really does the work here. Not the publisher, not the editor. The author is the writer, the creative director, and the promoter. You can certainly hire people to help you with these things, but it’s your baby to nurture and your vision to see through to the end.
I’ve always loved books, but I now have a much greater appreciation for each and every book (especially cookbooks!) I see on the shelves of my bookstore and library. It’s important that we continue to support authors: show up to launch parties, buy and share copies of the book and acknowledge then as the work of art that they truly are.
Lesson #5: There is immense power in being seen, heard and your experience validated.
When I started working with Robyn she was 4½ months pregnant with her first child, so in addition to all of the business things I learned along the way, I also got to learn so much about a mindful approach to pregnancy and child rearing.
Robyn and her husband loosely follow something called the RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) Method (which you can read more about here). One of the most important tenets of RIE is treating a child like an aware person versus a baby who doesn’t understand anything. With RIE, you explain to children what’s going on (even with something as simple as picking them up) and when they’re having an emotional or physical experience, you talk to them. A big part of RIE is validating whatever the child is going through (“I see that you’re having a lot of feelings right now” if a child is having a tantrum) and sitting with them through their feelings, versus trying to FIX the situation immediately.
This doesn’t just apply to children - all of us are humans that want to be seen and heard, and have our experiences validated, and often the most compassionate, supportive thing you can do for someone is to sit with them through their feelings. Approaching my coaching and personal relationships with this lense has not only allowed me to be a better leader, teacher, daughter, sister and friend, but it’s also improved my communication and problem solving ability. Instead of immediately trying to fix a situation (with others and also with myself), I now find myself first validating what’s actually going on.
Lesson #6: There is no there.
Oh my goodness, this lesson continues to come up again and again and again.
There’s a misconception that once you hit a certain goal - a number on the scale, a certain amount of income, a number of followers or subscribers or clients - you’ll feel whole. You’ll feel like you’ve made it.
What I’ve learned from Robyn is that’s not the case - there is no there. Not with your business, your relationship, your weight, your health, your healing.
We may never feel like we’ve got it all figured out or accomplished, and that’s okay! Life is meant to be lived with new lessons and insights around each corner. If we had it all figured out, what would be the point?
There are periods of life that are calmer, that are filled with more health and happiness and ease, and there are waves of hardship and challenges. In any moment you can remind yourself that it’s all just a phase, and everything is temporary - the joy and the pain will all pass. There is no there and it’s all part of this wild ride called life.
Lesson #7: I am a really special human with so much to offer this world.
In June, Robyn and I had a special evening together - we were in DC after her website photoshoot and had just eaten our dinner outside (her: veggie burger with fries, me: packed meal because I was still on my SIBO healing protocol) while watching the sunset. We went back to the hotel room and I did a tarot spread and put her in a few yoga poses with adjustments.
She said something to me that really hit me, something like “Emily, you have a lot of special skills.”
And in that moment I felt it.
Like many people, I’ve struggled with my self worth for pretty much my entire life. Never feeling cool enough, pretty enough, good enough, which entrepreneurship has highlighted a million times over.
Especially in a day and age where so many health coaches exist, where we have social media and can compare our businesses and lives to others at any hour of the day, it can be easy to think “Who am I to do this work? What do I have to offer that’s different or special?”
And I think I had been stuck in that cycle for awhile, hiding behind my YHY admin work, feeling that this was the only place I could be valuable and needed. I realized I’d been attaching my worth to the value I added to YHY.
But in that moment something shifted. She was right. I AM special. I DO have so many useful skills. And I DO have SO much to offer the world.
And guess what? So do YOU.
So with that I’ll share a bit more what’s next for me.
Here’s what I have on the docket for the next few months:
Continue to do the work I love - Almost 5 years later, I’m still passionate about coaching and teaching and I want to do MORE of it in the next phase of my business. I keep hearing the phrase “do the work” and that’s what I plan to do. Fully step into this role as a full time coach and teach more, coach more and immerse myself in the work. I’ll also be teaching more yoga, offering UHP and tarot sessions and hosting high vibe events in NYC.
Launch a podcast! - I’ve loved podcasts since the beginning. I remember listening on my giant MP3 player (this was pre iPod days) and loving being able to learn and connect with the hosts and their guests. I’ve wanted to launch one almost as long, and it’s really going to happen this year! Beyond the idea, I’ve finally started the practical steps to getting a podcast up and running and it’s super exciting - stay tuned!
Write a book! - Like I mentioned above, I never thought I’d be one to want to write a book. Multiple page essays and term papers always scared me in school. But that changed over the last few years as I supported Robyn in her book process, and I saw how much impact a book can have (not to mention how much it benefits you as a coach or expert). My book will not be a cookbook - it will be more in the personal development / spiritual side of things. I’m not sure when or how it will get published, but I do have an outline and I’m looking forward to carving out more time to work on the actual writing itself.
Plan a move - At the beginning of this year it became clear to me that my time in NYC was coming to an end. I moved here almost 6 years ago, and while there's SO much I love about the city, there's also so much that feels misaligned with what I want for my future. So a big thing for me the next few months is decided where my next home will be, and then actually making that move. It’s terrifying and exciting all at the same time!
As I mentioned, I’ll be opening up more space for coaching in my schedule. I’d love to chat with you if you’re interested in working 1:1 with me, see link below for details! I currently have 1 spot open to start in October, and will begin enrolling for November and December once that fills!
Learn more about working 1:1 with me + apply here: Coaching with Emily
Thank you everyone who’s been a part of the YHY world the last 4 years. Thank you Robyn for being one of my biggest teachers, and closest friends. And thank you to YOU for reading this reflection.
Here’s to the next adventure!