I have been on quite an adventure!
In late 2014, I left my corporate finance job to start a business helping people make smart decisions with their money. I created my own unique job title – Financial Strategist & Lifestyle Optimist – and am loving this business I am building.
I have also been on an inner journey. The depression that I experienced as a teenager had snuck back into my life, but this time I was older, wiser and a little bit braver.
The decision to start a business came hand in hand with the decision to heal my mind, my body and my soul. While it might seem a bit irrational to tackle all these at the same time I’ve never been one to set reasonable goals.
The process of building a business and life is exhilarating but it can also be confusing and messy. Looking back from where I am today I can see the purpose in this struggle. It is an opportunity for growth, a path for us to transform into the person we want to be and live life on our own terms.
I know I am not alone on this journey
I remember very clearly one particular conversation with my wonderful family doctor. I had shared my icky feelings with her and she said to me – “Lisa, you are so not alone. I can’t tell you how many young women I see every day feeling the same way.”
I was both encouraged and saddened. How relieving to know I wasn’t crazy or imagining it all, but how heartbreaking to think there were so many other women experiencing similar pain.
Now that I am on the other side of that particular pain, I feel ready to share my story and the things I have learned. My hope is to help other young women who are looking to find light in their lives.
How I healed
When I decided to take responsibility for my life and my future, I began by envisioning the person I wanted to be. I knew that “future Lisa” valued her well-being and health in all aspects of life: physically, financially, and spiritually. I call this kind of holistic well-being “wellth”.
Then, I got to learning. I read books, listened to podcasts, worked with professionals, joined masterminds, and attended courses. I examined the habits I currently had and the ones I would need to develop. The path was by no means linear, but there was consistent progress.
Step by step, I slowly became her.
I became a Wellthy Girl!
What follows are the habits I developed that supported my personal transformation. I continue to practice them today – just like in yoga, I will never arrive at the destination, it’s the journey that shapes me.
I hope that by sharing these habits you might feel inspired to look at your own struggle as an opportunity for growth, and decide to become the woman you want to be!
In 2017, I’ll be sharing more about these habits and how you can incorporate them into your life on this blog. Don’t worry, I’ll still be talking a lot about money because that’s where my passion and skills lie …. we’re just widening the lens to include all aspects of wellth.
Take what helps you, leave what doesn’t… Everyone has their own path to follow. ♥
Habit #1 - Being
She practices mindfulness
The ability to pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment and without judgement is one of the most challenging - but rewarding - skills you can develop. In this “being” state-of-mind I was able to truly show up for my life with both hands on the steering wheel. For this reason, it is the foundation of all the other habits.
The opposite of mindfulness is living on automatic-pilot. While you might feel as though your mind is not doing anything, it is never idle. This “doing” state-of-mind can be dangerous because your mind is working in the background without your direction or intent.
Practicing mindfulness is how I cultivate a “being” state-of-mind. It allows me to be fully present and let go of automatic, emotional reactions. My favourite ways to formally practice are meditation and yoga.
Habit #2 - Optimizing
She thinks like an optimist
Optimistic people see possibilities instead of problems. They are grateful for what they have, anticipate pleasant experiences, cultivate positive thoughts and see challenges as opportunities for growth.
Thinking like an optimist also means accepting that you won’t achieve perfection - as a recovering perfectionist I know this all too well - and instead strive for balance. Some days you run 10K and eat salad, other days you watch 10 hours of Netflix and eat chocolate. And that’s okay.
In practice, optimizing is taking responsibility for designing your lifestyle in a way that supports your values. It’s envisioning the person you want to be, the life you want to live, and taking steps to make it happen.
As you read through the following habits, keep this idea of balance in mind. Small, consistent steps in the right direction are more impactful than making a drastic change that is short-lived.
Habit # 3 - Connecting
She surrounds herself with supportive people, and supports them in return
Even though I'm an introvert (needing time alone to re-energize), I recognize that my well-being is directly affected by the quality of relationships in my life. I can't do it all by myself and sometimes I need to ask for help. What I've learned from the difficult moments is the importance of community - when you surround yourself with people who are supportive, loving and inspiring, you can accomplish anything.
I’ve asked for lots of help on my journey. Some from professionals - a therapist, a naturopathic doctor, a business coach, a life coach - as well as from my family and friends. Over time I have created a wide network of people I can turn to when I need a boost.
It's important to remember to lift others up as well. In 2016, I co-founded a women’s meetup group as a way to extend the support I am receiving to others. I’d love to see you there so that I can support you too!
Join the Wellth club!
Like our Facebook page to stay in the loop on our monthly events.
Habit #4 - Nourishing
She cares for her body
In our fast-paced, achievement-oriented world we often neglect to care for our most precious asset - our body. A balanced diet and quality sleep are absolutely critical when it comes to our ability to thrive, and while this seems like common sense it isn’t always common practice.
In my days on Bay Street it wasn’t abnormal for me to go to bed after 1am and be back at the office before 8am, keeping myself fuelled with coffee and carbs to numb against the burnout. I thought pushing myself beyond my limits in this way was demonstrating an admirable work ethic but in the long run I was just making myself sick. Putting your physical health at risk is a high price to pay for financial success. It really isn’t necessary.
On the flip side, fad diets and being overly-restrictive aren’t helpful either. For five years I followed a vegan diet as a way to feel like I was being healthy, but I didn’t make sure I was getting the nutrients I needed. As I said before, it’s all about finding balance.
Habit #5 - Moving
She exercises regularly, and enjoys it
“I should have skipped that workout” said no one, ever*. Exercise is good for us both mentally and physically, and the lack of it - specifically all the sitting we are doing - is literally killing us.
Much like nourishing our body, we know exercise is good for us but it can be really difficult to stick with it beyond the first few weeks of January. If you’re in this boat, you might ask yourself what’s your motivation for exercise? If you’re focused on an outcome, like losing weight, then yeah, your motivation will fade pretty quickly.
I found I started to actually look forward to exercising when I focused on the process, going to classes that I enjoyed and doing it with friends. I ditched my gym membership and now work out at least three times a week, doing yoga, pilates, bootcamps and running. It’s my grown-up version of recess!
*Except maybe someone who injured herself. Don't push it too hard! 🙂
Habit #6 - Pampering
She makes time for self-care
Taking care of yourself feels good and makes you shine even brighter. The opposite of exercise, which pushes you out of your physical comfort zone, pampering is the time you spend nurturing comfort. Some people call this “self-care”.
It can be difficult to make time for yourself in between all the things you’d like to do and people you’d like to spend time with. You might even feel guilty about setting aside this time for yourself and wonder how much is the right amount. I also struggled with these thoughts, and I eventually realized that I was less effective in my life when I allowed myself to get run down. On the flip side, when I made time for things like bubble baths and massages I found I had more energy to get things done.
There’s no set amount of “me time” that’s right for everyone. Your intuition will guide you in the right direction. If you’re feeling resentful of your to-do list and other people in your life it’s a good sign that you’re not making enough time for yourself.
Habit #7 - Creating
She explores her artistic side
As humans we have a natural urge to express ourselves creatively. Sadly, I shut down this part of myself in my twenties to focus on making money and that was a huge mistake. I felt like I was trapped in a little box with no time for play or fun.
My first venture into creating happened by accident. I called up a girlfriend to see if she wanted to hang out on a Friday night and she told me that she had plans to go to Michael’s for supplies for a night of crafting. I was intrigued and tagged along with her. That night, as we painted pots and bedazzled candles, I re-connected with a joy that I hadn’t experienced since high school.
There are limitless way to be creative, from arts and crafts to music to writing poetry. For me, Instagram is a great outlet for creative expression. I have also jumped head first into the adult colouring craze and even created my own line of colouring sheets!
Habit #8 - Inspiring
She surrounds herself with beautiful things that bring her joy
There are beautiful things inside you that are just begging to be expressed externally. When you’re feeling unhappy, however, it’s normal to express that instead by wearing dark colours, not caring about how you present yourself, or thinking of style as pointless.
For me, this showed up not only in my mostly black wardrobe but also in my home. It was two years before I hung any pictures on the walls and I took little interest in creating spaces that excited me. As I started to take better care of myself and nurture the positive feelings within me, I noticed that I also started to pick more colourful clothes and wanted to fill our home with things that spark joy.
Don’t get me wrong - I’m not saying that buying fancy clothes and designer furniture will make you feel happier. I believe that our external world is a reflection of our internal world, and when you begin to make changes within you’ll start to see your world in a whole new way. There is beauty everywhere, and you can choose to create it for yourself.
Habit # 9 - Financing
She manages her money like she means it
Money is a powerful tool, and its relationship with happiness is misunderstood by many people. We do need a certain amount of money to reach a baseline level of happiness - enough to cover our physical and safety needs.
Beyond that, having money in and of itself does not meaningfully impact our level of happiness; it’s when we align our spending with our values that we feel secure, peaceful and free. Achieving this alignment requires commitment and intention.
I have always been fascinated by money and creating wealth, though I haven’t always been great at managing it myself. Deciding to become a financial planner took courage because it required me to admit my shortcomings in personal finance - super difficult for me as a CPA.
Once I did, however, I created space for me to shift my mindset. I went from having a mindset of fear (feeling overwhelmed and avoiding dealing with it) to one of love (accepting my flaws and seeing it as an opportunity to learn). It was a miracle for me, and I just love helping other people experience this shift themselves!
Ready to get started?
You have everything you need to begin right now, where you are, with what you have.
Start with a plan. I’ll show you how.
There you have it! These nine habits have helped me become the Wellthy Girl I am today. While I am so proud of who I am I also acknowledge that there will always be room for growth. This is a journey that will last a lifetime.
Since starting this healing journey I have met a lot of amazing women who tell me they wish they could do what I’m doing – living life on my own terms. For some that means starting a business, for others it means going for a promotion or finding a new job, moving to a new city, dealing with a health issue or building new relationships.
Whatever the lifestyle change they’re looking for, they’re struggling to make it happen. And I get it – making real, lasting change is haaaaard. I can’t give you a magic solution, but I can tell you this: I believe the key to lasting change lies in small, incremental change. It’s in the habits we cultivate over time.
My own journey to developing these nine habits certainly hasn’t been easy, and will continue to have ups and downs. But it has absolutely been worth it.
What habits do you have that support your wellth? Tell me in the comments below!!