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Six Things Learned In Six Years of Business

I started a private practice 6 years ago after getting fired from my first dietitian job. Yes, you read that right. I’ll explain. Nutrition is a second career for me, although I’ve been interested in health and wellness since I was a teenager and have worked in various capacities and “side gigs” for years while pursuing a pre-med biology degree and before eventually going back to school to get my master’s degree and license to practice nutrition.

I came out of my master’s program feeling pretty confident—I had secured a job in a reputable neurology/food allergy practice while interning and was excited to FINALLY make a legit career of helping people find true wellness and healing through nutrition! However, much to my disappointment, the practice I worked for did not support nutrition (like at all) and even a dietitian colleague said her patients would laugh at me if I brought up food sensitivities as a possibility for unresolved inflammation. They fired me because my views were different, and they did not see a future in an integrative or functional approach to the neurology or immunology/allergy fields. I was devastated and mortified. I’d been working since I was 14 and have never been fired or even reprimanded at a job.

So, I picked myself up, dusted myself off and Carolina Functional Nutrition was born! In the meantime, I also had an amazing opportunity to work for a new functional medicine clinic, which really solidified and legitimized my past experiences and training.

I can’t believe how my little business has grown up over the past 6 years, and I wouldn’t trade a single moment of the journey because I have learned so many valuable life lessons. Here’s a summary of what I’ve learned so far that might be applicable to anyone reading:

  1. There’s a saying that when you feel buried and in a dark place, you may be like a germinating seed waiting to break through the soil surface and sprout a new thing. Good things come from dark moments if you don’t cave to the pressure.

  2. The best time to work on your health was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. It’s never too late to make small changes or invest in getting help to feel better.

  3. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain. If your intuition tells you something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it and don’t be afraid to speak up, be persistent with requests for more testing, or to get a second, third or fourth opinion. Your symptoms are valid, and it’s not just “in your head.”

  4. Don’t tolerate dismissive, rushed, one-size-fits-all healthcare. I have learned both as a practitioner as well as a patient how important it is to feel heard and cared for.

  5. A negative attitude inhibits healing. The very few past clients who have left angry were those who had a negative expectation from the start and/or who couldn’t comprehend that I cared about helping them. I did not select this career based on financial compensation; I truly care about helping people to feel better and to feel empowered in supporting their long-term health and wellness.

  6. Be passionate about whatever you do, and you will succeed. Get laser focused on your health goals, and you will find answers.


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