Maureen Ihle has always been dedicated to helping people, and yet it wasn’t until she enrolled at SWIHA that she realized that doing so was her life’s purpose (INSERT: www.blog.swiha.edu/life-coaching-corner-are-you-brave-enough-to-be-an-entrepreneur). Maureen shared that before she firmly found her path at SWIHA, she was struggling both personally and professionally. It took clearing away some of those personal cobwebs to ultimately see where her path was leading her.
“I was working at a job that was very unsatisfying. I had gained 30 pounds the year before I enrolled and was at my highest weight ever. I didn’t know where I was going in my life, and I certainly had no idea of how I was going to get there. I knew I needed to do something different with my life, and I knew I wanted to help people, so I started looking at psychology programs. I looked at a lot of programs at other schools, and nothing seemed to quite fit until I found the program at SWIHA. As soon as I saw the program, I knew that this is what I needed to be doing with my life. I am so passionate about life coaching and helping other people find their purpose.”
At that point, Maureen committed to the journey and ultimately graduated with a degree from the Mind-Body Transformational Psychology program with an emphasis in Holistic Nutrition and Hypnotherapy. The act of aligning with her path and honoring herself throughout the process has completely changed her life experience on a multitude of levels.
As Maureen tells it: “I am a totally different person than I was when I started at SWIHA. I have a self-confidence that didn’t exist before. I believe in what I am doing, and I believe in myself. I can’t imagine going through this program and NOT experiencing immense change. I love my life now. I love what I am doing both personally and professionally, and that is something that I have never said before.”
Of course, Maureen’s journey was not all smooth sailing. Maureen was diagnosed with breast cancer while studying at SWIHA. Rather than allowing this sudden revelation to steer her off course, Maureen chose to practice gratitude for the lessons and perspective that being ill provided her. “I ended up having a double mastectomy and reconstruction. While no one wants to get cancer, I can only be grateful that my surgeries went smooth… Grateful that I found the cancer myself when the scans didn’t see it… Grateful that I caught it early before it had a chance to move into my lymph nodes. I applied what I was learning in school to my own life, and I moved through the process with ease and grace.”
With this attitude, Maureen managed to overcome her diagnosis and is now showing up with even greater resilience and passion to one of her non-academic loves: fitness competitions. She is currently training for her next competition, which will take place this October. Between recovering from having cancer and studying, Maureen has seen a radical transformation in how she shows up in the world: “It is so hard to put into words the difference between who I was when I started the program and who I am now. My inner critic no longer runs my life. I am nicer, happier, more compassionate, and more confident. I am willing to stand in my light and own that. Because of SWIHA, I know that I’ve got this!”
Currently, Maureen works at a clinic as a massage therapist and has big dreams of starting her own private practice for health, wellness, and holistic nutrition coaching soon. She says, “I have a job at a fantastic clinic, and I love it. I plan on integrating massage with my wellness coaching business. I work with my clients to help them change what might seem to be small habits and behaviors that have a big impact on the quality of their lives. The program at SWIHA taught me that sometimes it’s the smallest changes that can have the biggest effects.” You can currently find a list of services which Maureen offers—including Life Coaching, Holistic Nutrition Consultations, Hypnotherapy Sessions, and Deep Tissue Massage—at her personal website, Inner Safari Coaching (INSERT: http://www.innersafaricoaching.com).
One of Maureen’s most important inspirations for diving into the world of entrepreneurship came from taking Melanie Albert’s Entrepreneurial Business Development class at SWIHA. “When I started that particular class, if you had asked me about marketing, I would have said, ‘I suck at marketing.’ I learned so much in this class, and once again, the feedback in this class was amazing. This class also got me to get my business cards and website and marketing plan all put together. Having feedback from someone who has done as much as Melanie has done was priceless.”
The result of all this, of course, is that Maureen is supremely confident and excited about what the future holds. “This program had such a profound impact on my life. I’m not sure that I have even scratched the surface of just how much I have changed (for the better) by going through this program. It really was life-altering for me. I’m so grateful and so thankful to the founders of the school, the instructors, the other students, and all the other people that helped to make this such a great experience.”
Maureen wanted to give the following advice to future SWIHA students:
“You can do it! This program gave me so much self-confidence and made me see that I CAN do this work. I have found my life's purpose, and so can you. It was by no means easy. There was a lot of homework and a lot of time spent studying, and it was so worth it. Remember that you only get out of something what you put into it. Put in the time, energy, and effort, and you will be greatly rewarded.”