Passion is the most important secret ingredient when it comes to building a career you love, and if you’re reading this, you’ve likely already got that part covered.
Maybe you changed your own life via a diet transformation and want to do the same for others. Maybe you were an anxious wreck before you discovered yoga and are now thinking about becoming a teacher. Or maybe you just jump out of bed every morning excited to get to spin class, make your favorite smoothie, and meditate, and you’re thinking, “Hey, what if I could apply this enthusiasm to my work life?”
This kind of drive is good place to start when it comes to working in wellness, but unfortunately, it’s not all avocado toast and super fun run clubs. (In fact, wellness entrepreneurs often end up sacrificing their own health to help others’, which you definitely don’t want to happen.)
To make sure helping others get healthy (in whatever way you’re dreaming up) is really the right career path for you, try asking yourself these extra questions before making your big move.
Are you a people person?
Most roles in this field—nutritionist, health coach, trainer, yoga teacher, acupuncturist, etc.— involve working with people. To add to that, the people you will be working with are often in a vulnerable place. They’re trying something new, they’re trying to solve problems, they’re trying to change their health and their lives. If talking to people from a place of empathy and patience even when you can’t relate or don’t totally understand where they’re coming from has never been your strong suit, this kind of role might not be right for you. If you’re the person everyone always comes to for advice about hard stuff, that’s probably a good sign. A caveat: There are other paths within wellness—like creating products or doing research—that don’t involve a lot of face time! Just be sure to ask yourself this question if you’re considering one that does.
Are you a self-starter?
It’s certainly possible to go into health and wellness and work for someone else. You could be a nutritionist in someone else’s practice, for instance, or at a hospital, or for a brand. However, the industry lends itself to working for yourself and many people choose that path (or end up on it even if they’d rather not be on it, since many of the positions, like as a trainer, for example, are set up as part-time freelance roles). If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and like to hustle, you’ll go far. If you’re the kind of person who would rather work for someone else than run the show and have a steady, stable paycheck, it may not be the best industry.
Are you flexible and okay with change?
Along the same lines, wellness is a new, dynamic industry and everything is always changing. If you’re starting out as a health coach, you’ve got to be okay with rolling with day-to-day opportunities that come up and clients coming and go. And the bigger picture is that what you can do is constantly changing, too. Just think: 90 percent of the boutique fitness studios and meditation spots you know and love didn’t exist 10 years ago. That’s good news for your job prospects, but it’s also important to acknowledge that the industry shifts in all directions and is constantly responding and adjusting to trends.
How do you feel about science?
This may seem silly, but hear us out. Many dolphin lovers go to school to become marine biologists only to discover it’s all about really complicated science, not just frolicking with Flipper. Similarly, you can preach about avocado without understanding the structure of healthy fats, but it’s much better if you do. In other words, you can be a wellness pro without loving science, but you can’t be great at your job without at least having an appreciation for health science and the ability to stay up on current research.
So, you asked yourself these questions and you’re definitely ready to jump start your wellness career?!