Today we have a guest post from a reader called Georgie, a chiropractor, wife and mum who has built her own health coaching practice.
I first met Georgie a few years ago when she reached out to me for financial coaching. We got on well…probably because she applies the same principles to her health and wellness coaching as I do to my financial coaching.
To be a good coach, you have to like people and understand them. Georgie walks the walk. She lives the principles she teaches. Her enthusiasm is infectious. She emphasises progress not perfection…working with what you have and getting better each day via The Aggregation of Marginal Gains.
In health coaching (as in personal finance) there is a huge difference between what works and what makes most money. Forget the latest gadget or app…what works is usually simple and timeless: applying expert knowledge through hard work and consistency.
I love how Georgie integrates nutrition with physical training. I reckon getting in great shape is ~2/3 diet and ~1/3 exercise. You can’t out-train a bad diet. This is like in personal finance: if your spending is out of control, you can’t earn your way to financial freedom.
That’s why, despite my instinctive frugality, I pay a coach to help me with my weight-training. They bring fresh perspective, expert knowledge and help with accountability. The value I get is >10x the cost I pay. Its both hilarious and tragic how much money people spend on crap and how little on their health, lifelong learning and self-development.
There are so many lessons in here…so enjoy this post from Georgie!
p.s. there are no stock photos here…it’s all Georgie in action (though the captions are 100% TEA 😉 )
Numbers were never my thing at school.
If I wasn’t copying my friend’s maths homework, I was skipping class all together.
Truth is, if something didn’t come easily to me back then, I wasn’t interested… and numbers fell into this category. So I shunned them.
That’s OK because it’s just maths right?
Ignoring numbers held me back in my financial life. Whilst more than happy to work weekends throughout my school life (I’ve never shied away from earning money), I was even happier to spend what I earned and more. My Dad’s “you can’t take it with you” attitude set me up for a “where has all my money gone?” meltdown many years later.
Ahhhh the meltdown. Inevitable, challenging and
snotty tearful, but also one of the best things that’s happened to me.
Before diving into that let me give you a little background on me. My name is Georgie Muir and I am a health coach, wife and mother.
To own the title of health coach has taken a lot of ego-battling and reality-checking. You see, my career began after a gruelling 4 years of training to become a chiropractor. After that, for several years this was my identity – Dr. Georgie Muir, chiropractor.
Prior to graduating, l had a plan – graduate, travel a bit, begin practice, work hard, earn good money, set up my own practice, earn better money, and ultimately live very well as Georgie the chiropractor.
Such a simple plan…
Cue…the Army boy.
Yes folks, I am indeed a military spouse.
And no, life did not go according to my lovely little plan!
To keep a long story short, since moving in together in 2011 we have lived in 6 different homes in 5 different countries. From sunny Shropshire to not-so-sunny Northern Ireland, to France, America and now (currently) Ankara, Turkey.
With every move came upheaval, a farewell to my lovingly built patient-base and local reputation and the steady income that came with that. Back to the drawing board to start all over again. Anyone in a service-based industry will understand just how hard that process is, and yet I did it, several times over. Why? Because, well, I was Georgie the chiropractor and that’s what I did!
I prided myself on my ability to create a thriving business wherever the Army took us. If job vacancies weren’t advertised, I contacted every local practice that was aligned with my philosophy on health and asked if they had room for one more.
When my husband was due to be deployed to Afghanistan (again), I didn’t just wish time away until he was home again. I passed language exams and jumped international business hurdles to live out a dream and spend that winter in a ski resort as a mobile chiropractic business across Les Trois Vallees in the French Alps. A very successful joint business venture with my best buddy – what a winter it was!
And then I built a reputation as a chiropractor across the UK – lots of travel, lots of different patients and practices, LOTS of insights! Wherever we went, I dug in, worked hard and created a chiropractic business to be proud of.
Until suddenly, I couldn’t.
In 2014 my husband got posted to work with the US Army for two years in the United States. Seeing the amazing opportunities this presented for travel, increased time together and more, I was all in. It then slowly became apparent that the roadblocks to me setting up practice in America were substantial – national board exams followed by state board exams followed by insurance complications, followed by blah blah blah.
The reality of military life as a spouse suddenly hit me pretty hard (cue tearful meltdown).
I found myself away from friends and family, without work, without personal income and in the midst of an epic identity crisis (if I wasn’t Georgie the chiropractor then who was I?!). All of this was topped off with a hefty tax bill and the sudden realisation of why people ‘save as they go’. And so the lessons began!
First came the brutal reality of my money situation – as in “where the hell has it all gone?!” After years of working hard and earning decent money I had diddly squat to show for it – no savings, no investments, not even that FIRE no-no of a flashy car. As for a pension plan? Pah! – don’t be ridiculous! Instead I found myself having to swallow my pride and ask my husband to cover my butt with the taxman.
For the first time in my adult life I was a kept woman…and I hated it! We’d always supposedly operated within a “what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine” mentality. Or so I thought.
When put to the test though, it became clear that in my mind there was a hidden clause of “…only when we’re both contributing“.
Overcoming my wild discomfort with this took a lot of reassurance, encouragement and what became the first phase of our marital finance chats that transformed the way we operate within our money.
Essentially this pause in my career led to a lot of soul searching:
How has this happened? What can I learn/change/do to move forward? And the real biggie, if I can’t be a chiropractor then what do I want to do?
So I started exploring.
On the money front, I started listening to financial podcasts, reading financial blogs and trawling through some incredibly
boring dry books. I needed a shift in my mindset around money.
My parents always have worked incredibly hard to provide everything we needed in life and more. My mother’s career survived three children and a significant ‘pause’ to look after us when younger. Their entrepreneurial, hard-working, ‘you can do it’ spirit has always inspired me and is the root of my perseverance and self-belief. Yet somehow, amid that provision, I developed an ‘easy-some, easy-go’ attitude to money.
So, I made a conscious decision (a vital point in all major life shifts), to change my ways and for the first time ever, take full ownership of my financial planning. This meant getting to grips with numbers – cue spreadsheets of income and expenses, automated savings and an exploration into investing.
It also meant hiring TEA for financial coaching and the nudge I needed when I got completely stuck in ‘paralysis by analysis’ of my investment options.
Sometimes a simple question from someone detached from the emotion of it all is just what you need to see your next step clearly. This is one of the (many) superpowers of getting coaching.
Me…biased? Perhaps. But it’s the BS detecting, clarity creating, accountability of working one-to-one with a coach that makes it such a smart investment.
Now back to the money. Having a growing emergency fund made me feel more empowered and made us realise we really were in this together. It also made me starkly aware of how we were spending it.
We stopped ‘yes’ being the automatic response to all social invitations and started Riding The No Train: “no thank you” became the default response unless the invitation was a “hell yeah!”.
There also were other
spending cuts lifestyle adjustments but I was determined to continue practising what I preached – that to live well, we must eat well, move well and think well.
As a chiropractor I’d seen first hand a huge difference in recovery rates, energy levels, and the ability to sustain good function and health between those who looked after themselves and those who didn’t. It was an eye-opener and a real motivator.
But suddenly the expensive health clubs and classes felt uncomfortable and had to go.
So I had to get creative. I drew on the fundamentals of what a healthy frame needs (strength, mobility and varying endurance capacities) and looked at how I could incorporate those into my leaner financial model.
I started realising that Youtube, a couple of weights and a pair of trainers offered access to pretty much everything you need to get started.
Walks and runs became a sort of meditation for me. I learnt that you can ALWAYS find a way to gift your body what it needs so long as you’re willing to just try! And home workouts were my go-to before I built up the courage to brave the free but scary army gym full of
One area in life that I refuse to compromise on, even after my financial awakening, is food. I am a firm believer that if you want vibrant health, you have to provide your body with the raw materials it needs to make that happen. Good ingredients – good end product. Rubbish ingredients…well, you get the picture.
So investing in natural food is a daily commitment for me and my family.
And no, for the frugal amongst you, that doesn’t have to be vastly expensive – there are resources galore for healthy eating on a budget. Start to gift your body what it needs (whilst nursing your frugality at the same time)!
Eventually, post-meltdown, I got to a point where I started exploring business options that would work within our lifestyle AND fulfil me.
I may not have been able to work as a chiropractor, but I wanted to keep doing what I loved most – inspire people to lead a vibrant, healthy life they love.
This led to me starting a business via my blog ‘Chasing Lobsters‘ (remember The World is Your Lobster!) where I simply modelled the efforts I made to look after myself and find joy in my days. And then, people started reaching out to me for guidance… the first whispers of my coaching business.
Whilst the business has evolved over time, the essence remains the same. I help people find consistency in the habits and behaviours that support them in feeling great, loving their bodies and enjoying life (even if the rest of their world is in chaos…yes, all very familiar for me).
Clients often come to me expecting that I’ll throw THE new exercise programme at them. They think that all they need is ‘the correct’ plan, and it will all fall into place – they’ll show up consistently, say goodbye to the start-stop cycle of yesteryear and suddenly see the results they’ve always wanted.
Sorry folks – it just doesn’t work that way. There is not just one right way to exercise. I believe there is YOUR right way for YOUR personality in the current circumstances YOU are in.
It requires exploration, adaptability and understanding of your real needs at this point in your life. Discovering your path and then building consistency with powerful, clear and, above all else, kind motivations that pull you towards your goals is a huge part of the work I do with my clients.
This is because fundamentally, health is like personal finance – if you are not showing up to do the work consistently, making regular deposits into your health “account”, then you’re missing the opportunity to live your best life.
And so the meltdown led to Chasing Lobsters – one of my greatest creations (except of course my 7 month old son Maxwell). From that has grown a thriving Coaching business that I adore more than anything I’ve done before. See – I told you the meltdown was worth it!
My business now travels with me and my family, it provides me the opportunity to connect and inspire everyday, and thankfully provides me with the financial rewards that now get consciously funnelled into various pockets of savings and investments.
Whilst a lot of this is probably sounding (and feeling) like I’m blowing my own trumpet, the truth is: yes, I kind of am. I’m proud of how I’ve created a business I love. It would have been far easier to have sat back, rested upon my husbands relatively secure income and bid farewell to my career aspirations.
I know that isn’t for me and would have been a disaster! So instead I was determined to find my independence. Pursuing my own passions, my own health and fitness goals was key within this.
Military life is challenging. It has some wonderful perks but with that comes a lot of instability, change and at times, loneliness.
But it’s those unsettling realities of life as a military wife that forced me out of my comfort zone, revealed some of my
flaws areas for growth and ultimately led to something greater than staying comfy ever would have.
So yes, my hand was forced, but thankfully so, because from that has grown a business I love, the financial stability that I craved and a whole horizon of opportunity ahead of me.
If you would like to talk to Georgie about health & wellness coaching, email her on firstname.lastname@example.org