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Career Journey – From IT to Health and Wellness

After working in the IT space for over 27 years and at the same large retail corporation for nearly 20, Patricia* knew it was time to make a change into a more meaningful career.

“It just wasn’t my passion anymore and I was getting tired of corporate America. The company treated me very good and I enjoyed working there for all those years, but I was ready for something else,” she explains.”For the last two or three years I had begun thinking, ‘If I wasn’t doing this, what else could I do? What would I want to be doing?’ I thought, it would just be so much more satisfying to do something that helped people.”

As thoughts of what her professional future might hold whirled around in her head, she thought something related to health and wellness would be a good place to start. However, she soon realized it would be difficult to navigate her way through the abundance of career options. That’s when she got in touch with career coach Kathleen Murray who was recommended to her by a friend who had attended one of Kathleen’s Project Leap trapeze classes.

“I knew that if I didn’t do something structured with a career coach, I would probably never make a change. I would just keep thinking about it, but I would never prioritize it or make a conscious effort. So I knew I needed someone to crack the whip and make me really focus on it,” Patricia recalls. “I reached out to her to have a consultation on what services she could provide and I just really connected with her. I was really happy to hear about what she could offer in terms of helping me decide what that next career option would be for me.”

Career exploration

After deciding on a 90-day program, the pair got to work on figuring out what options Patricia had in her desired field. Between their session every two weeks, Patricia worked through her assigned to-do lists. Kathleen got her to think about every aspect of the health and wellness space, brainstorming and researching every single career—from grocers at Whole Foods to beauticians at Aveda to Pilates instructors.

“She was thinking big picture, which was really helpful. I didn’t know if I wanted to work at somewhere like Aveda (salon/beauty) or do I want to start my own business, a juice shop or a healthy breakfast/lunch place? Do I want to focus on exercise and fitness?” Patricia recalls. “The one thing that was consistent with me was that I was really interested in nutrition and how it can affect people’s health and hearing about how people changing their diets can get them off prescription medication. In the United States, we have so much chronic disease with obesity and cancer and diabetes and how much the Western diet has influenced that. So I started to really zero in on nutrition and lifestyle for people to achieve their health and wellness goals.”

Discovering opportunities

Kathleen also provided Patricia with contacts in the health and wellness space, including a friend of hers who worked for Mayo Clinic. After speaking with him and hearing more about the field of health coaching, Patricia thought it was a perfect fit and began to research different schools.

“I was able to discover this health coaching career, which I found through research and Kathleen’s guidance and the people she connected me with. It was really eye-opening to see that there are big schools that offer master’s programs in health coaching,” she says. “It wasn’t too long after that I found the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the largest nutrition school in the world. It offered a one-year online program that would certify me as a health coach. I looked at the website and what they were selling, in terms of what your career would be, and the curriculum really interested me.”

Besides all the research and informational interviews with contacts in the field, Kathleen had her create an intention statement and a vision board.

“Throughout our three months working together, I refined the statement. She got me to post it on a vision board and put it up so I could see it every day,” she remembers. “The intention and the vision board and picturing yourself already in this happy place, with this new life and this new career is just a very powerful thing that I believe in 1,000%.”

Breaking through barriers

Despite finding a career she was excited about pursuing and figuring out the steps she needed to take to get there, Patricia was still reluctant to take the plunge.

“There was a point when I was thinking about taking the program at the institute, but I was hesitant. ‘How am I going to have time for this? I have a family, I’ve got a job, I’ve got kids, my kids are in sports – How am I going to find time for this?” she explains. “Kathleen just stopped me in my tracks and said, ‘Listen to yourself talk, listen to how you’re talking to yourself. You’re being negative. You will probably love this class so much that you’ll want to do it over other things in your life. You’ll have the kids do laundry or help with dinner once a week because you will enjoy it so much and it will be so rewarding for you.”

“It just completely changed the way I was thinking about it. I was like, ‘You’re right. What a great perspective.”

Kathleen’s positive attitude and refusal to allow any negative self-talk gave Patricia a newfound positive perspective and zest for the future.

Taking the leap

Armed with a positive outlook and a vision board that illustrated her bright future, Patricia enrolled in the health coach program at the Institute for Integrative Health.

“I was thrilled to go back to school. I feel like I’ve been kind of doing the same thing at work for the past 10 years so I was hungry to learn something new,” Patricia says.

Now graduated from the 12-month program, she is excited about all the possibilities as she begins her search for a job as a health coach. “The health coaching field is growing really rapidly and there are a ton of options out there. I have a health coaching client I am working with, so that has been great experience having my first client.”

“I knew that if I hadn’t worked with her, I probably wouldn’t have been any further along in my career change. It took her to help me to work through it and figure out what I wanted to do. It was an investment but it was definitely worthwhile.”

*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality

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About the Author Kristen Moran

Kristen is the editor and community manager at and the Noomii Career Blog. Kristen's desire to ask questions and share information with others led her to pursue journalism. While she has worked at various publications, covering everything from municipal politics to local restaurants, it was her love of self-improvement and sharing inspiration with others that made Noomii the perfect fit. Connect with Kristen on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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