If you asked me "what I wanted to be" 5-15 years ago, I probably had a new answer for each month. Surgeon, massage therapist, physiotherapist, nurse, nurse practitioner, dietician, chiropractor, health policy analyst, and health program planner have all made it on my long list of career ideas. Though my ideas have been scattered, they have all generally fallen under a common theme that is health and helping others--an interest that clearly started at a young age-->
Sometimes it’s a challenge for me to relate to others because I’m SO interested in and passionate about health and wellness. Example A (among 51 others) is that I’m probably the only high school teenager ever who has brought a thermal mug of herbal tea to a party...
As a teen I volunteered regularly at the G.B.H.S. hospital in Owen Sound and was a student liaison for Grey Bruce Public Health. All of that said, it wasn't a surprise that I went on to study something in the field of health after high school.
In spring of 2016, I finished my Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at Queen's University with a major in Health Studies [I also did a minor in World Language Studies--since languages and travelling is another one of my passions--therefore I can say "Hello, how are you?" at minimum in 5 languages other than English--> French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Irish Gaelic].
In the Health Studies program at Queen’s University I gained a comprehensive understanding of the physical, social, political, and economical determinants of health. My degree also left me with many useful skills--in research, critical thinking, health promotion, and health program planning and implementation.
Leaving Queen's, I didn't have a clear vision of what I wanted to do next. At a crossroads in my career, I made myself a list of reasons why, among my other options, opening a plant-based cafe was my best option:
1. I’m passionate about food ... I got that passion from my mamma who is a cookbook-buying addict. There are so many in her collection that they can be coordinated by colour!
2. I’m passionate about alternative approaches to health. I'm sure you've heard of the Hippocrates phrase: "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". I'm a total believer in that!
3. I’ve got a lust for learning new things about food and health and owning a healthy food business would give me reason to stay on top of the newest health/food topics.
4. They always say you should follow your passions; if you're doing something you love it won't feel like work (and I don't think I can make much of a living off of travelling so this is the next best bet :D)
5. Our bodies feel awesome when we eat wholesome foods; I want people to feel awesome :D
6. I don't think a lot of people realize how delicious plant based food can be, and I can show them...
7. While I’m passionate about public health and improving health policy, policy change is a long process and I want to be able to take action now. I hope to later on become involved in policies related to health (e.g. school policies) as I become more involved in the community of Owen Sound.
8. In all of my cafe exploration over the years, I've done a lot of unintentional research...Opening a cafe, I'll be able to combine my favourite things about my favourite plant-based food places into 1 place of plant-based awesomeness!!
9. I have always loved the city of Owen Sound but I've often thought they could use more quick, healthy, and veg-friendly options.
10. I want a job that will keep me on my toes.
11. Entrepreneurship is in my DNA with over half of my family members owning their own small businesses.
12. I have extra serious work-ethic, why not put my hard-core perfectionism and hard work into my own business?
13. I feel that I'm in need of an adventure. I expect that Sprout will be a HUGE adventure with many challenges and hopefully a lot of gratifying experiences too.
14. Last but not least, why shouldn't I seize any opportunity to push myself out of my comfort-zone?!!
Overall, I'm excited that, by addressing the convenience of healthy food choices, Sprout cafe can make healthy eating more enjoyable and less stressful. I’m a little bit nervous, but I'm 100% excited to see what this business adventure brings in 2017…
Speaking of new adventures, I'd love to leave you with some some quotes I like about embracing new opportunities:
"In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety"
-- Abraham Maslow
“Maybe, if you put your disbelief aside, roll up your sleeves, take some risks, and totally go for it, you’ll wake up one day and realize you’re living the kind of life you used to be jealous”
--Jen Sincero, author of You are a Badass
“Nobody who ever accomplished anything big or new or worth raising a celebratory fist in the air did it from their comfort zone. They risked ridicule and failure and sometimes even death.”
-- also Jen Sincero
"Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want"
I hope we can all seize the new year together in our own ways!
All the best in 2017 :)