When I signed up for the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program in the fall of 2012, I had no intention of becoming a practicing nutritionist or health coach.
To be fair, I hadn’t intended to become a reporter when I applied for journalism school years earlier, either. I knew I wanted to write and read things and that I liked paper and pens. I felt something pulling me towards journalism school, but working in a newsroom? Not for me. Still, my personal rule was to always follow my gut, no matter how crazy it seemed. I stuck with it.
Later, when I came across the CNE program and felt that familiar “Yes! This! Now!” feeling, I decided to heed the call based on a vague idea that it would give me something to write about. I signed up, learned to cook and develop healthy recipes and, through several dozen magical coincidences, now work here in the pink kitchen, on top of running my own show as a content developer for wellness professionals.
I spend my days writing about, reading about, photographing and cooking food. It’s my dream job, the one where my journalism and nutrition skills get to be best friends.
It’s a job I didn’t even know existed, because it didn’t. I made it up.
When trying to figure out how you can turn your passion into your day job, it’s tempting to rely on the well-worn paths: Becoming a dietitian. A yoga teacher. A personal trainer. You can plot it out on your five-year plan, you can explain it to people in a sentence or less. You can point to hundreds of people who’ve done the same thing and succeeded.
But what if you’re passionate about health and wellness, but those standard gigs just don’t feel right? What if you actually like your day job, or you have existing skills in a different field you don’t want to abandon? What if you feel pulled to do something, but aren’t sure where it will lead you?
3 Strategies To Combine Your Skills and Passion:
1. Your gut knows things you don’t.
Let’s face it: Your brain is a bit of a know-it-all. It probably likes to tell you that it’s well aware of where certain choices will lead you, thank you very much, because of logic and past examples and probability and such. Your brain probably wants you to march down one of those dusty, well-worn paths because it’s a heck of a lot easier to predict the end result. Your brain likes predicting end results.
But what if your brain doesn’t know the whole story? Maybe the job you were meant to have doesn’t even exist yet. Maybe taking this step will lead you to the next step, and your dream career is 10 steps down the line. Now that science has started respecting this “lower brain” in our stomachs, it might be time for you to start doing the same.
2. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Following your passion doesn’t have to mean a total career change.
If you’re passionate about health and wellness, but still want to keep your day job, there are tons of ways you can combine the two. Your CNE education can be your secret second weapon, the thing that sets you apart from the millions of other writers/lawyers/graphic designers/administrative assistants out there. Maybe you’ll use your new skills to make your existing office a healthier place to work. Maybe you’ll attract new clients with similar sensibilities. Maybe you’ll just be way better at your job now that you feel completely amazing.
3. You are unique. Your career can be, too.
Your career might not look like anybody else’s. That’s okay. It doesn’t have to. The world is changing, and your career probably won’t involve doing the exact same thing every day for 30 years. I don’t know what your future holds, but I know that trusting your gut is the first step towards getting there.
Parsley Avocado Mashup
By Jaclyn Desforges
1 cup fresh parsley
1 large avocado
1/4 cup tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
1 inch ginger root, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp tamari
Salt and cayenne to taste
Place all ingredients in the blender.
Blend until not-quite-smooth.
Serve with cut up veggies — or eat it with a spoon. I won’t judge.
Jaclyn Desforges helps nutritionists and other wellness professionals create attention-grabbing content so they can feel confident about promoting their businesses online. She’s also a Culinary Nutrition Expert and a teaching assistant in the Culinary Nutrition Expert program. You can learn more about her at jaclyndesforges.com or follow her on Twitter.