(This was my March 19, 2012 guest blog post as part of the StartUP Canada National Tour on Entrepreneurship which launched in Halifax, NS on March 19. To see this and more posts, visit http://www.startupcan.ca/category/spotlight/.)

 

I think we can agree that being an entrepreneur isn’t what you’d call “easy”! It takes passion, courage, perseverance, belief, supportive people around you (both personally and professionally), and an unwavering commitment to your VISION! Sure, we all slip on occasion, but we get back up and get back to the work at hand.

I am fueled by a passion for helping people create what I call “Whole-Life Wellness” based on the following beliefs:

  • You OWN your Wellness and are your own BEST advocate
  • You need to be PROACTIVE when it comes to your Health and Wellness
  • Each area of your life impacts all the others, so a WHOLE LIFE approach is needed
  • Atlantic Canada, and Nova Scotia specifically, has some concerning health statistics and We CAN Do Better!

When I launched my business as a Wellness Coach and Navigator at Lighthouse Wellness Strategies in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2009, I knew of a few other Coaches and only one other Wellness Coach. Since that time, we have begun pulling together the Coaching community in Atlantic Canada and have over forty members in Nova Scotia alone – how the landscape has changed already!

In my experience, trends in Health and Wellness tend to flow from West to East in Canada, so awareness and support of Coaching (and Wellness Coaching, specifically) has been gradually progressing eastward. So, while this field is fairly well-established in cities like Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto, it is fairly ‘new’ in Atlantic Canada.

Therefore, when I began my business, I realized my marketing challenge involved three levels of education:

  • What Coaching is
  • What Wellness Coaching is and how it benefits individuals and organizations
  • What makes me unique as a Wellness Coach – in other words, “Why Me?”

From my 20+ years of business experience in various industries, my business education, and my experience growing up with seven people living on a disability income due to chronic illnesses in my family, I’ve learned two key things:

  • Well PEOPLE do Better – more choices, more employment opportunities, less stress, better financial opportunities, etc.
  • Well ORGANIZATIONS do Better – less employee absenteeism and ‘presenteeism’, more engaged workforce, higher productivity, lower training costs, greater sustainability and competitiveness, etc.

My passion for promoting Wellness beginning in Atlantic Canada (then spreading to Western Canada and then internationally) applies to both individuals and organizations. Helping individuals provides a direct benefit to families, the community, local businesses, etc. Helping businesses directly benefits our economy which supports our infrastructure and again benefits communities, families, and the individual. It works both ways.

Businesses in Atlantic Canada are starting to realize that addressing Employee Health and Wellness is no longer a ‘nice thing to do’, it is a competitive necessity! With our aging population, increases in incidents of chronic disease, and a younger generation which places great value on balance and meaningful employment, those organizations that ‘get it’ and invest in the “Whole-Life Wellness” of their staff are reaping the benefits through an impressive ROI! The next wave of support needed is for benefits providers to cover Wellness Coaching as they do other health-supporting services.

Particularly with our escalating healthcare crisis, the need for new and innovative ways to address the health of our citizens and workforce continues to grow, and Wellness Coaching is positioned to be a significant part of the solution to this challenge!

While Wellness Coaching may be fairly new in Atlantic Canada, there is a strong and growing need for this service and entrepreneurs are well-positioned to respond quickly and innovatively in this emerging industry.

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Gail Godreau is the owner of Lighthouse Wellness Strategies and provides 1-on-1 and Small-Group Coaching, Workshops, and Presentations. Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Lighthouse Wellness Strategies can serve clients throughout Canada and internationally. Visit www.lighthousewellness.ca for more information or to schedule a free consultation.