Today’s post is a bit of a personal one.
Whether you’ve been following along with my work for years or we’ve just been connected this week, I figure its time to get raw and real with you and tell you the story of how I found my calling and how I got to where I am as a women’s health coach and entrepreneur, while also giving credit to my mentors, and hopefully inspiring you to find mentors of your own – whether that’s me, or someone else who has positively influenced your life.
Even though our stories might not be similar, I believe as women we all share a common bond…
And that is to live authentically, live a life on purpose, and be a part of community. (Periods aren’t the only thing we have in common!)
There have been some amazing health warriors who have all played a supporting role in my coaching journey. Dr. Sara Gottfried, Dr. Jessica Drummond, Dr. Libby Weaver, Chris Kresser (the lone guy!), Dr. Nat Kringoudis and Dr. Aviva Romm to name a few!
Let’s rewind back to 2009, when all of this started for me.
I had just moved from Florida to New York City so I could enroll at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, to finally pursue this dream of helping people. I know, a little vague, but I was on a mission to change women’s lives – I just wasn’t sure exactly what that was going to look like. I think the bravery of being in my 20’s with nothing to lose and everything to gain was at play.
I was soooo determined to make this happen, and simultaneously soooo lost. Let me explain…
There is this thing called “Saturn Return”. Ever heard of it? No big deal if you haven’t, it’s not exactly mainstream, and I had never heard the term before becoming immersed in the woo woo wellness world.
Anyway, it’s this astrological phenomenon that happens in our mid to late 20’s that can be likened to a quarter life crisis – where you suddenly start questioning all that you’ve been doing, and in many cases decide that your current trajectory is not the one you actually want to be on.
The reason it is called a Saturn Return is because the planet Saturn takes approximately 29.5 years to orbit the sun, and return to the exact position it was in when you were born.
So, I was in the thick of my own Saturn Return when I up and moved to NYC with no plan and no job, but this indescribable desire to make huge shifts in my life. And girl, that is what I did.
Within the following year I completed IIN, I separated from my husband of seven years, I made an entirely new set of friends, I reconnected with the love of my life who I had known since I was 18, I transitioned out of my freelance commercial production career, and stepped into health coaching.
It was like Saturn Return on crack.
You and I both know that even small life changes can be terrifying, so you can imagine how insane this was for me. Looking back, I’d say 2010 brought me to my knees. It was the year that broke me open in countless ways.
I survived though. And I might even say I thrived. Because that’s what we women do right? This quote by Elizabeth Gilbert about sums it up…
Pushing through & the (s)heroes I encountered along the way
Thankfully things began to work out. I ever so slowly put myself out there and started getting clients. I remember how petrified I was of being seen, because when people see you, they can criticize you. Because for real, your life’s work equals your entire identity and putting that all on the line is scary stuff. Haters gonna hate, but I pushed through.
By early 2012 I was lucky enough to score the opportunity to do a one year training program with Dr. Sara Gottfried, a genius Harvard-trained integrative OBGYN who also happens to be hip and hilarious. Her course instilled the confidence I so desperately needed to really take my business to the next level, and I will be forever grateful for her one-of-a-kind wisdom and humor.
Then Dr. Jessica Drummond established the Integrative Women’s Health Institute and offered me a free spot in her one year women’s health coach certification program. (OMG what the____?!). I jumped at the chance to participate, and was blown away by all the cutting edge information in the course. It served me well over the coming years, and further helped me solidify my growth. I even got to speak at her first live event in 2019.
In late 2015 I enrolled in Chris Kresser’s ADAPT training program. I legitimately stalked his website leading up to the launch of this program, only to find out it wasn’t open to health coaches. 🙁
Of course that wasn’t going to stop me – I made my case, and they let me in! This program challenged me on a whole new level, and there were a number of occasions where I had no idea what the heck they were even talking about! I still haven’t completely finished the coursework, but it has given me a ton of new knowledge, and I’m so glad I was persistent in my efforts to get accepted into the program.
Over the years, I’ve gone on to do countless other training programs in nutrition, testing, gut and vaginal microbiome health and SO MUCH MORE!
Behind every successful woman is a tribe of sisters
I mentioned some other people at the beginning of this post, who have all helped shape my career, even though some of them are literally on the other side of the planet.
I remember watching Dr. Libby’s TED Talk almost three years ago and then furiously typing out a blog post ode to her, because I was so immediately in love with her message! I even said something about wanting to make out with her. Haha! And would ya know, she reached out to me shortly after, we became friends, and met up a few times in NYC when she was here for work!
Nat Kringoudis contacted me over eight years ago, and we immediately hit it off. We’ve been friends ever since, and went on to host a podcast together called The Period Party. We recorded over 150 episodes together and it’s been downloaded millions of times! And we finally met IRL in 2016 when she visited the US for the first time.
Aviva Romm and I met in 2015, and also had an immediate soul sister connection. She is a legend in the field of women’s health and midwifery. I legit stalked this woman (notice a trend here? You gotta be tenacious when it comes to getting what you want in this life), and followed her work religiously! She’s been a guest teacher on the Women’s Hormone Health Certification Program in the past, and I am forever grateful for her wisdom and guidance over the years!
I could go on and on! I’ve gotten to know and love Dr. Lara Briden, Dr. Carrie Jones, Lisa Hendrickson-Jack, Dr. Jolene Brighten, Dr. Cleopatra Kamperveen, Aimee Raupp, Dr. Stephanie Estima, Dr. Mariza Snyder, Dr. Felice Gersh, Angela Heap and many more.
Shoot! I even got to be in Abby Epstein’s and Ricki Lake’s latest documentary The Business of Birth Control after many years of working to help them get the film off the ground.
I feel extremely lucky to call all these ladies my friends and colleagues!
So what’s the point of me sharing all this with you?
Well, first I think it is important to recognize those who came before me, and whose work allows me to do what I do.
Women supporting women is a big deal for me because I know how crucial it is that we all help one another – especially when it comes to our own health and living a fulfilling, abundant life.
And second, I’ve got two pieces of advice that I want you to take away from my story…
#1 If you think you have a higher calling, my advice is this: Don’t overthink it, just focus on what you want to say and do in this moment, and the people who are meant to hear your message will hear it.
There is no roadmap – you just have to start and you’ll figure out the rest as you go. Trust me when I tell you that there is NO right moment to start anything in life. Sure, there are better moments than others – I’m a Virgo and a planner so I get this – but there is no better time than NOW. I promise 🙂
#2 Mentors and teachers come in many forms. And they will show up at the exact right times on the journey. Seize the opportunity to build relationships with them.
I was at an event last week and this woman on stage was telling a story about meeting Oprah, and actually getting her producer’s phone number. Oprah really liked her and wanted to have her on her show. She subsequently LOST the phone number. Not kidding. I’m pretty sure when she said that the entire audience let out an audible gasp. The regret in her voice was palpable. My advice? DON’T lose Oprah’s phone number! Well, don’t lose anyone’s phone number, because you never know who will have a major influence in your life and on your business.
Today, I might be that influence/mentor/catalyst for you.
If you’re feeling the fire to make a difference, register for the Women’s Hormone Health Self-Study Training program today. Enrollemnt is open until Friday, February 17th!
31 thoughts on “How I became a women’s health coach and why it’s important to you”
Nicole, thank you for writing this post. I am exactly where you were in 2010 and needed to read this. I have a burning fire in me to transform and “handle my current shit”. Thank you for inspiring and stilling me with both hope and courage. I pray you continue to blossom in every thing you do and that one day, I too will be a testimony just like you.
Thank you a bunch for this post! I just finished my certification as a Nutritional Therapy Consultant, and I would love to go on to become a certified women’s health coach as well. (I have suffered with PCOS and hormonal imbalances, so women’s health is definitely my passion.) Would you recommend the Integrative Women’s Health Institute for this career path? I’ve also looked into Chris Kresser’s courses as well. I would love to be able to interpret lab results and just generally do more for my female clients, and I’m just wondering the best next step to take in this regard! Thank you for your advice!
I literally stumbled upon this while goggling” how to become a women’s health coach”. Your story is so inspiring. I wanted to be a GYN ever since I was 12 years old (yes 12yrs old I know a little strange lol) I never knew why but I was always good at speaking with women about their health. So I went to college and studied BIO for 3 yrs and then had my son (who is now 8yrs). I feel like its my time to get back in the game and become the womens health coach I am supposed to be. Can you assist me on where to begin. Being that I am 34 yrs old now I don’t think medical school to become a GYN is in the picture anymore.
Thanks for a fantastic article, I just stumbled across it when googling ‘become a women’s health coach’ and now I can’t wait to follow you and listen to your podcast! I definitely feel I have a higher calling in life and I’m 28 years old so the Saturn Return definitely spoke to me! I’m at the start of my journey, I hope my Saturn return ends up
as successful as yours. I look forward to learning more from you!
Hi Ellie!! Thank you soooo much for your kind words. I am really excited to see how your path unfolds. xoxo
I’m so grateful to have you in my life and as a mentor. This is so empowering! And I can’t wait to the next phase! Love you <3 Fernanda
Woohoo!!! I am psyched for the next 5 months with you too. Can’t wait to see how your business grows. xoxo
I have followed you for a number of years, and your success story is quite impressive Nicole. I am very keen to watch the video series. Thanks, Rita
YAY!! Super stoked for you to watch the video series too Rita. xoxo
Ah Nicole!! Thank you for telling your story so honestly. I am a little older than you, but am seriously considering a move to a more sustainable and rewarding career. Signed up for your video series, and can’t wait to watch. xo
Hey Jean! Wonderful news. Switching careers saved my health and sanity, so I get where you are coming from. Can’t wait to hear your feedback on the series. xo
I had never heard of Saturn Return before your email and can’t believe how spot on it is! It pretty much describes my life right now as I’m leaving what I considered to be my dream job in journalism to pursue a health coaching certification and further studies in nutrition. Thanks so much for sharing your story…it is very reassuring to that you have found so many amazing mentors and so much guidance along the way. xoxo
Hey there Kathryn, your story is so similar to mine. I actually started in journalism and switched to film and TV production. Love love that you are following your passion and switching things up in your life. I have no doubt that you will love this new journey!
Hey Nicole, this was such a great email and message! I have been considering making the move to helping women with their hormones, and your message came at the most perfect time. I guess that’s what they call serendipity. 🙂
I believe that’s what they call it! Thanks so much for your comment and I’m excited you’re following your dreams 🙂
Really loved this post today. Something I needed to hear and remember. Thank you for that!
Thank you Holly! Big hugs!
Hi! You mentioned the ADAPT training program. It’s a year program and I’m considering enrolling. You said you weren’t finished yet, though (in this blog). Did you not get certified through them? How was your experience? I can’t find any reviews for ADAPT except on Chris Kresser’s website. Because his program is the most expensive one out there, it would be nice to see some reviews from people not on his website. Thoughts?
Ps. I loved reading your journey! Very inspiring.
great job Nicole and thanks for the video, i rely appreciate you…..love you
Your so welcome!! xoxox
I have been married for 4 years will be 5 years this year and know child and I had a painful miscarriage in December 2015 and ever since nothing don’t know what is wrong with my body……Thanks
Hi there Yemmy, unfortunately I can’t answer medical/health related questions on the blog, but you could check out my Know Your Flow group on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/knowyourflow/
There are lots of great women in the group who can offer advice and support. xoxox
Yay Nicole!!! I have to say that you have absolutely been a mentor for me even if you don’t know it! Meeting you and going on the Women’s Wellness Retreat in Costa Rica set me on a trajectory that’s changed my world! I have definitely been going through a major Saturn Return for the last 3 years, and now am feeling called to help women. SO excited for your video series, I just signed up!! Wishing you the best <3
Eva hi hi! Its so great to hear from you. I feel like the women’s wellness retreat was sooo long ago but it was a gathering of such amazing women that I’ll never forget it! I am sooo excited to hear all about your new trajectory girl. Really happy that you are working towards fulfilling your dreams. Big hugs to you!
Haven’t had a chance Rebecca, but when I check them out I’ll definitely let you know! 🙂
Hey Nicole, this post came at the exact right moment for me. I actually found out about you because I’m working with Olga Pontes:). I really connected with what you wrote, as if it was for me personally. I’m excited to hear what you have to share in your videos. I’m an Ayurvedic practitioner and Acupuncturist and I’m creating an online business, but I’m struggling. I have all this wonderful training and experience in Eastern Medicine, but I feel like I’m missing some critical piece in helping my clients because I’m not trained specifically as a health coach. And also the issue of putting myself out there, being seen as you say. Even with so much training, it still feels like never enough. In addition, the past five months have been the hardest of my life and have cracked me open in countless ways. I think your story is amazing and inspiring. The synchronicity of meeting the people and mentors you’ve met really gives me hope that it will all work out for me, too. Thanks for being a guiding light. xoxo.
Rachel, thank you so much for your comment here. I believe that timing is everything and am hopeful that my videos will help you move into a place of more confidence with your business. Business can very much be a feast or famine environment and its all about having the resilience to keep going even through those tough times! Big hugs!!
I’m excited to watch the video series. I just launched my Nutrition and Health coaching practice this year, and doing it all alone is challenging. I often wonder if I’m doing the right thing, if I’m showing up in the right places, and often get scared of sharing my story and putting myself out there. I even wonder if there is a market for my services out there, and if my business will ever take off. But I keep going anyways, because I truly believe in my work and the difference in can make in the lives of other women. I’m looking forward to learning tips from experienced health coaches like you Nicole.
Jimena!! Yessss!! You are continuing to show up and you’re doing the work, and that really counts for so much. I know exactly what its like to feel alone on this journey, and I feel that community can really help ease that burden. I believe in the work you’re doing and trust that you will find your stride and great success. xoxoxoox
“Saturn Return”, no kidding. I have never heard of this until this blog post. I’ll be turning 30 this spring (2017) and have recently completely abandoned my successful construction project management career, completed a diploma in natural nutrition and found the fix your period programs. I feel like everything is rapidly falling into place. I just cant get enough women’s health information. I start my nutrition practice in April and I’m SO in for apprenticing with you, Nicole. You’ve totally inspired me to focus on helping other women. You’re doing SUCH a great job. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
YAY YAY YAY!!! It sounds like you did a complete 180 right before your 30th birthday, just like I did 8 years ago. Good for you for following through on what you feel really passionate about lady. Proud of all you’ve accomplished already and would be thrilled to have you join the program xoxoxo