When I was sixteen, I was obsessed with nutrition. It was the 80s, and nutrition at that time was all about the evils of cholesterol. I recall stirring a pot of oatmeal (made from real oats!) for the boys I was babysitting, preaching to them about the dangers of cholesterol and what it did to your arteries, informing them that oat bran had recently been shown to lower cholesterol.
They were 5 and 3.
There’s a chance I overshot my audience.
But I wasn’t discouraged. Being the 80s, it was also fitness boom time. My mom had an 8-track of the Jane Fonda workout (yes, I am *that* old) so I would pull on my tights and legwarmers and get to work. The 20-Minute Workout was my daily afterschool routine. (Remember that? Three more, two more…)
I was fairly rubbish at most team sports, but a pretty good swimmer, so I became a lifeguard. In lifeguard training I learned all about CPR and hypothermia and the physiology of heart attacks. In my spare time, I continued to learn everything I could about nutrition. I spent a lot of energy trying to convince the rest of my family to stop eating cookies and french fries.
Looking back, it seems somewhat inevitable that I went into medicine.
Maybe you share my obsession? But perhaps, for various reasons, you didn’t follow a similar path to med school or other traditional health care field. Or maybe your interest came at a later life stage, once you already had an established career—after a health scare, perhaps? Maybe you’ve always been enthusiastic about health and wellness but were never sure how to make a living out of it.
Whatever the factors that shaped your path to this stage, the point is: you’re here now.
CHARTING YOUR COURSE
If you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you’re at least intrigued by the idea of turning your interest into something more. Maybe you’re in a soul-sucking office job. Maybe you’ve fantasized about ditching that job and pursuing your passion—truly pursuing it—all the way to a meaningful, satisfying (and profitable!) career in the booming wellness space.
Not sure which pathway to follow within the wellness industry? No problem. I’ve got a bunch of ideas for you.
There are the traditional routes, of course—like doctor, nurse, physiotherapist—but even if those don’t resonate with you, there are almost limitless possibilities otherwise. Wellness may be the perfect field for a creative career approach—you can create a “portfolio career” that combines any and all of your passions.
In fact, I know many people who have done just that.
A LITTLE INSPIRATION
Annabel is a very good friend who has been a long-time yoga instructor and author, who has also carved out a niche for herself speaking and writing about wellness, facilitating retreats and workshops…in addition to being a playwright whose musical is performing in several cities right now.
Deb is a journalist by training who, together with her entrepreneur husband, created a highly successful line of vitamins and supplements, then sold that business, and has recently launched Boomer Nutrition.
Susan, another good friend and fellow family doctor, after growing disillusioned with traditional practice shed her white coat and stethoscope and followed a path into life coaching, writing, and speaking. Oh, and professional flamenco dancing.
Lianne is a woman I know who trained as a nutritionist and then started a company called Sprout Right after her first daughter was born in 2003. She now works as a consultant and coach, specializing in infant and toddler nutrition, teaching Mommy Chef classes, and making media appearances as an expert in her field.
Alanna created her company, Good Night Sleep Site, after going through sleep struggles with her first child. She started by doing her own research but ultimately became a certified sleep consultant, and now consults and coaches parents and families on her area of expertise: healthy sleep!
Instead of following the typical path for dietitians (ie. working in a hospital or a clinic), Sarah, a Registered Dietitian, became a coach and consultant in the field of pediatric nutrition. She’s also a writer, speaker, blogger, and makes media appearances on the topic.
Casey, one of my oldest friends from high school, trained in chiropractic. Again, instead of merely practicing as a chiropractor, has opened a multidisciplinary wellness center, but she also teaches boot camps and fitness classes.
You’ll notice some of these career trajectories required formal education and training. But many didn’t. Have I got you thinking outside the box yet? Here, let me give you some more ideas.
In fairly random order, here are 50 possible careers in the health & wellness field:
- Yoga Instructor
- Social Worker
- Registered Dietitian
- Spa owner/operator
- Freelance Health Writer
- Physician (M.D.)
- Juice Bar Owner/Operator
- Personal Trainer
- Health Coach
- Ayurvedic Practitioner
- TCM practitioner
- Corporate wellness consultant
- Entrepreneur: creator of a health food line
- Holistic Nutritionist
- Make a line of vitamins/supplements
- Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.)
- Digestive coach
- Registered Massage Therapist
- Meditation coach
- Wellness speaker
- Designer of a line of yoga/fitness clothing
- Clinical Psychologist
- Occupational Therapist
- Health blogger
- Entrepreneur: healthy meal prep/delivery service
- Wellness Retreat Coordinator
- Personal trainer
- Life coach
- Sleep coach
- Art Therapist
- Stress coach
- Sport nutritionist
- Holistic nutritionist
- Child & family nutritionist
- Personal chef
- Mindfulness Teacher
- Pilates Instructor
In truth, there are way more options than I’ve listed here. But I’m hoping this list, and my stories, have got your juices flowing! (And please feel free to add any others in the comments below!)
If you enjoyed this article, and would love to learn more about the pathway to becoming a health coach…head over here next.