***This is the first in a series of interviews with Day Dream Believers.
I have known Mindy for years. She is married to my husband’s cousin and she has been a huge supporter of my books and my writing. She is also a daydream believer. As a health coach, she is the perfect candidate for my first interview. It’s a couple of weeks into the new year and some of us are already cheating on those New Year’s resolutions.
Five years ago Mindy left a long and successful career in Public Health to become a health coach. Here’s how she did it.
How did you get interested in Get Healthy For Life?
Short, fat and in my Fifties. That’s how I described myself. Okay, so I’m not fifty anymore. I’m sixty, and I’m no longer fat since losing fifty pounds, but I am still short.
I never had a weight problem throughout my childhood and young adult life. Then I turned forty. It was downhill from then on. I probably put on about 3-5 pounds a year and by the time I was fifty five, I was forty five pounds overweight. I wasn’t on any medications for high blood pressure or cholesterol, but my numbers were escalating. Losing weight felt impossible.
Just when I had given up hope of a more slender me, my cousin Susie called and told me about a program she had started. She knew I had been struggling with my weight and my poor self-image. I avoided mirrors at every turn and when I did look, I never lingered.
Five months later and 50 pounds lighter, I was a believer. Losing weight and getting healthy was easy and fun. Have I lost my mind along with the fifty pounds? No, I had a great health coach who taught me habits which include eating six small meals every 2-3 hours.
It has changed my life so immensely that I too have become a health coach and am now helping others. I’m still short but no longer fat. I wear a size 4-6 petite. I feel great, I linger at the mirror, and I’m okay with being short.
I guess I’m okay with being short, too. So tell me, what did you do before you became a life coach?
I have a master’s degree in Public Health and worked as the Deputy Director for HIV Counseling and Testing for the Massachusetts Department of Health (MDPH). In the late 1990’s, my teenage son, who has ADHD, took a nose dive in school and was exhibiting explosive behaviors. After two hospitalizations, two out of district placements, and a diagnosis of mood disorder, he stabilized and went to Blue Hills Regional Tech High School. He is now 27 and doing great.
At the same time as his recovery, I lost my job at (MDPH) because I missed too much work due to my son’s illness. Since I was in a management position, I was an employee at will and could be terminated without cause. I never should have left the union.
Because of my family’s experience, my career took a somewhat different path and I worked in Children’s Mental Health. I subsequently received a Graduate Certificate in Educational Therapy from Curry College. However, the funding ended for my position and that is when I joined my cousin in her business, Parenting Powers, as a Special Ed Parent Coach. This is the same cousin, Susie, who is now my health coach.
Then came 2008 and the economy crashed and burned. Parents no longer had cash flow to pay Fee for Service for our work. It was then that I became involved in the Take Shape for Life Program, and in early 2010 I became a health coach.
Your story is all too familiar. So many of us have suffered job losses during our careers. Our generation has lost the job security and unions our parents once had. The characters in my first novel, The Reverse Commute, were struggling with these very issues and I got some heat from critics who didn’t want to hear about it. One woman actually derided me for using that term, employee at will. But it’s all too real, isn’t it? We have double income families struggling to pay the bills and take care of the kids in a society that does an awful lot of talking about family values but doesn’t do much to support families. But enough of the soapbox, how does one get started in something like this? Was it financially difficult in the beginning? Did you need special training?
TSFL health coaches are a very diverse group of people who have a high school diploma, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree. They could be physicians, chiropractors, or nurses. It doesn’t matter what your background is, because as long as you care about the health (or lack thereof) of the American people, enjoy working with people, and are trainable and coachable, TSFL provides all the training. There are weekly Leadership calls, webinars, and weekly meetings with your mentor and team. There is also a Certification program you can either take live at the Annual TSFL Conference or online. You don’t have to become a “certified” health coach, but TSFL rewards those that do through their extremely generous compensation plan.
It doesn’t matter where you reside, because most of the training and support you receive is through technology; telephone, zoom calls, 3-way calls, Skype, etc.
TSFL also provides Regional Training Events. There will be one at the end of the month in Tarrytown, NY which I will be attending.
As to the question, was it financially difficult in the beginning, the answer is Yes and No. No because I was already unemployed and yes, because this wasn’t the type of work where I would receive a weekly salary and benefits.
My compensation is based on how many people I am helping get healthy and building my team. What I did have to do to grow my business was go out of my comfort zone and follow some of the steps listed in the book The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone. Some examples are: Take Risks, Believe That I Will Figure It Out, Focus On Now, Persist Until Successful.
What I have learned, and what I truly believe, is that without these attributes you will never be successful in life, work, and relationships.
Sounds like attributes an author can use too. I have one more question. I know you tried another career, as a stand up comedian. To quote a character in my upcoming third novel, I have come to realize every day is a learning experience, not all of them full of grace but useful in their own way. Time is not lost. Sometimes misspent, but never lost. I would imagine you learned a lot doing stand-up. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what you learned?
To be fair, being a stand-up comedienne is still one of my day dream believin’ goals. I did have one gig which was great. I couldn’t see the audience because of the lights, but they were laughing really hard. Every day is a learning experience. Everything that happens to me and my family is material for my next stand-up gig.