After The Storm

InJewel LLC exists, in part, as a result of a perfect storm…you know, that combination of events which are not by themselves very serious, but occurring together produce an unfortunate situation.

When I entered graduate school to study areas of psychology that are a mouthful to say (check it out here if you don't believe me!), my intention was to get my master’s degree and enter the lucrative world of organizational consulting. I wanted to help organizations run more efficiently and effectively. I wanted to coach organizational leaders how to better manage and support employee performance with the intention to improve productivity and increase the bottom line.

During graduate school, I was given the opportunity to teach my own class, and it was that experience that solidified my decision to complete my doctoral training. Getting my PhD was a “smart decision” and could provide me with more flexibility and options upon graduation—I could be a consultant, an entrepreneur, or enter the world of academia…or all of the above! Teaching also proved to be a lot more FUN and rewarding than I had anticipated, and furthering my understanding of the principles of behavior analysis was an added, albeit “super-nerdy”, bonus.

Flash-forward to my early years in a tenure-track faculty position, and I found myself struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Really struggling.

I was at that point where I was not doing a good job to take care of myself on any level--physical, emotional, or mental (e.g., over-exercising, over-eating, working long hours, avoiding socializing, and avoiding interacting with friends and family).

Feelings of shame, guilt, anger, resentment, fear, and anxiety consumed me. I felt alone and overwhelmed, as though I was failing myself, my students, my friends, my family, my colleagues…

EVERYONE

At one point during my struggle, I reached my heaviest physical weight. Having suffered from body image issues, being at that weight was nothing short of awful for my psychological health—my self-confidence and general self-concept were quite poor.

Rock Bottom?

I was afraid to say anything—I was so sure every person would be disappointed that I couldn’t just “handle it” and “do it all”. It never occurred to me that someone might understand, that they might say, “Julie, it’s okay, how can I help?”

In a moment of desperate courage, I hired and blindly trust a personal trainer to help me get back on track. This PT did get me results, BUT I became overly obsessed with getting leaner and had severe body dysmorphia, and I found out that, likely due to the nutritional methods this PT recommended, my hormones became horribly imbalanced.

Even though I thought I had done something good for myself, and I thought I looked better (at the time), I found myself in a situation where my physical health was compromised, my psychological health was unable, and I was very “burnt out” with all things work-related. All I could think was:

everything WILL be better once I get tenure…everything HAS to get better once I get tenure…

In Spring 2014, I received tenure and was promoted. The ugly truth was that things didn’t get magically get better, I didn’t get the “break” I expected, and the pace didn’t slow. Changes happened. That is the simple reality within any organization.

At that point, I knew I was in a place where something had to change. Do I adapt, should I leave, or is there a way to make this work?

My personal training experience had already triggered me to take the initiative to learn about and study nutritional science, female hormones, proper training, and how these three things interact with one another. Had I not had that experience, I may not have discovered that I enjoyed weightlifting. I also probably wouldn't have decided to become certified as a nutrition coach or an advocate for living a healthy, more holistic lifestyle.

I likely would not have become so keenly aware of how much I had let myself become consumed by my work, or of how much my work and personal lives influenced one another and, individually and in combination, affect my overall wellbeing. As a result, I sought out my “tribe” on campus, other who share my interest in creating a campus and community culture of health, and I redirected my scholarly interests to better align with my personal passions (check out what we do in my Wellbeing and Behavioral Science Lab).

In the end, despite the struggles along the way, there is a silver lining. 

The perfect storm encouraged me to look inside, to search for my authentic self, my strength, my inner "jewel".

InJewel LLC provides me the opportunity to share my passion and offer a variety of coaching services. I get to work with individuals who feel “stuck” in their pursuit of personal and professional goals, leaders within organizations who want to cultivate a positive workplace culture, and other health, performance, and fitness coaches who want to refine their skills to support client goals.

~Julie


You’ll want to stay tuned...I plan to share more about the work I love and aspire to do!

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