What’s a Wellness Educator, Anyway?
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If you think about education… most of us immediately think about formal ways of study and university-delivered degrees.
For most of my life I was immersed in this kind of education. But the direction these formal degrees always point you into is to find a job, a role that someone-else defined. And not only does someone else define it- they have to approve you before you can step into it.
I wasn’t born an entrepreneur…and my own walk into owning and growing my own business wasn’t a straight and narrow one.
But through the twists and turns (and growing pains) of it all…I came to see that stepping into the role of a wellness educator was incredibly freeing and rewarding- precisely because I was able to make room for my own well-being and personal growth while I supported others.
And this required me to re-learn what this new way of offering value to the world could look like (and re-learning always begins with un-learning.)
One of the first things I had to UNlearn was that I had to have it all together in order to be of service to others. I had to “perfect” something in my own life, before I could “teach” it or lead another through the process of growth.
By re-defining for myself – through trial and error – what a true wellness leader is, I was able to see that old prerequisite of perfection no longer held true.
Here are the 4 main responsibilities of a true wellness educator/ leader/ mentor or guide:
Responsibility #1: To Create Safe Space for Personal Exploration
In one of Jim Carrey’s graduation speeches (he has a couple and they are really phenomenal to listen to)…he said, “The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency you have.”
The effect you have on others.
Before we really understand the tremendous benefit our presence has in another person’s life- we tend to try and prove our value by giving tons of information, feeling responsible to solve all their problems. Show we have something to offer by hosing them with materials.
I get it, I’ve been there and fell into that place time and time again as I learned how to truly step into this role of wellness educator and mentor….but the truth remains:
Your greatest source of value to those you are meant to serve is
- NOT the information you have (as good and solid and important as that may be)
- NOT the handouts (as useful and handy and helpful as they are)
- NOT the beautiful design, NOT the goody bags or bonuses, NOT the gorgeous website or beautifully designed course pages.
Your greatest value as a wellness educator is the SPACE you carve out for those you are serving to reconnect to themselves and care for themselves.
It will be the impact of your presence that gives them this space to feel safe, and seen and cared for while they are working with you.
This is why I chose to create a whole separate Advanced Educator Track of study in my Certification program- because learning how to step into that role as a wellness educator not only sets you apart from everyone else that is simply delivering information…it also enables incredible positive change to happen in the lives of those you serve- it’s the secret sauce of being incredible effective and it is something you can learn, hone and refine with training.
Responsibility #2: Offer a Framework of Growth
As a wellness educator another significant responsibility you have is to offer a framework for growth.
There are endless ways you can create a framework for growth – but when you identify an area of focus, create organization and flow around the study and exploration of that topic and help guide people through that process…you have provided for them the number one thing most ALL of us miss when we try to figure out things on our own.
Because when you stay stuck in your own head and try to help yourself grow into a new place of well-being or vitality— you often get stuck in a spiral of overwhelm. You get mired in the details of over-information. You have a hard time generating direction and momentum to see yourself through a process.
When you go through a process of deep learning and discovery with a wellness educator they show up with a framework that gives context and direction to the areas you will focus on. And when you can generate focus and momentum you experience true positive growth happening.
Responsibility 3: Bridge Abstract Information with Practical Tools and Strategies
Wellness educating can easily be misunderstood as simply information sharing. It’s far from that.
Yes, you need to be equipped with solid and smart information to share with those you are working with. But it is the pairing of this deeper understanding behind the WHY with the tools and strategies of the HOW that will set you apart.
When you focus your wellness educating responsibilities on how to bridge the gap between excellent information with practical tools of application, you will be delivering to your communities a way to experience well-being in their lives instead of just collecting head knowledge about it.
Responsibility #4: Encourage Others to Find Their Own Right Journeys Toward Wellness
Finally, a Wellness Educator’s job is not to be everything for everyone.
You don’t need to have the magic bullet prescription for everyone’s challenges or problems.
You don’t need to be an advice giver, therapist or doctor.
You aren’t in control of another person’s health journey…you are part of their inner team of support and you become for them an encourager, inspirer and mentor toward their own self-discovery of who they are, what they need, and how to best respond to their needs.
When we understand that the people we serve hold their own reigns on their lives, it releases us, as wellness educators, to joyfully give our gifts and allows those we serve to decide what to take and what to leave.
As you read through these 4 responsibilities, is this something that makes you feel excited, open, eager to explore more?
Pay close attention as well, to what voices come up when excitement and potential swell within you.
I’ll be sharing more about the voices that sometimes surface when we consider stepping forward into a direction in our lives that feels bigger and more aligned with what we truly want our lives to look like.
If you are like me, every time you feel yourself opening to new ideas or dreams, you will also have the part of you begin to rise up that wants to keep you safe (and by keeping you safe, many times, that means keeping you small).
So over the next couple weeks, we’ll explore those voices as well and see if we can make peace with those parts of ourselves as well. Because to do this life-giving work means ALL of you will need to move forward- even the well-intentioned but insecure, fear-based parts of you, too!
We aren’t asked to perfect ourselves before doing good in the world…but we will need to do the inner work needed to keep moving forward. But don’t worry…that’s where the gold lies!
If you aren’t signed up for the Teach! Mentor! Lead! series- do that now! I‘ll send you emails when new webinar trainings are released throughout the series.
Holding you and your dreams in great care,