Nourish your body with whole foods: treating your body with kindness and respect is HUGE in determining your success. If you are eating foods that are processed or packaged then you are causing significant harm to your body. My lovely readers you only have one body, so give it some love and eat meals that nurture it!
Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.
As a part of this series I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. Elisabeth Wygant.
Elisabeth Wygant is a Doctor of Pharmacy, founder of Elisabeth Wygant Wellness, a virtual functional medicine practice and host of the Thrive Mama! Podcast. Her specialty is empowering busy working mamas feeling overwhelmed, fatigued and short on time, to be more present, gain work-life balance + lead healthier lifestyles. She utilizes her signature method, FLOURISH, to guide clients through mindset, personalized nutrition plans, tailored supplement support, nutrient panels, and so much more!
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?
Of course, I would love to share! The most impactful and life altering event for me was becoming a mother; it has shaped me into the woman I am today and changed my view of success as a measure of happiness. I am a mother of two little girls, and they are the world to me! Before I wore this hat, I was highly career-focused and was determined that being successful was bringing in that six figure salary. I was the pharmacist in charge at an incredibly busy independent pharmacy, and the expectations were set at an astronomically high bar. I would sacrifice my physical and mental health in order for me to be viewed by my employer as “hard-working” and “tough.” My perception of success was highly masculine in the very beginning because this is how I thought I had to behave in order for me to be considered valuable within the company. Even after I had given birth to my eldest daughter and went through a traumatic birth experience, I tried to convince myself that going back to work full-time and that being in a high stress environment was where I was meant to be and that I was not meant to stay at home with my baby! The other component to my drive to work until I was fatigued and not able to function in a way that was meaningful by the time, I got home to my family was the fact that we were riddled with my student loan debt! When I say riddled, I mean we’re talking upwards of $380,000! It’s an unfortunate “side effect” of higher education, but that’s a topic for another day.
I soon became pregnant with my youngest daughter a year later and after experiencing health issues and wearing my body down to a breaking point the first go around, decided that this time was going to be different. I planned to take a longer maternity leave to spend more time with my children so that I could get as much bonding time in as I possibly could. Everything was planned out beautifully and then my 3 months of maternity leave was stripped away and reduced to 6 weeks because of “costs.” It was like someone had pulled my heart out of my chest. I was completely distraught and my options for finding another place of employment were minimal in the area that we decided to make home. I had to accept what was given to me and try to move on, but at just 10 days old my youngest had to be admitted into a pediatric hospital because she became very ill. We were unsure if she would survive and all we could do was pray. Thankfully she is here with us today and absolutely thriving! That was probably the scariest situation I have ever been in. Shortly after I started work, I developed mastitis and was admitted to the hospital myself. At that point I began looking around the hospital room where I was alone and all I desired was to be with my family; so, I made a vow that things were going to change! I vowed that my health, both mental and physical, take precedence over any other aspect in my life so that I could be the best mother to my daughters and the best wife to my husband. I had literally sacrificed my body and my time for my career and I had had enough!
After I got home from the hospital my husband and I decided that the fastest way for us to be able to call the shots was to get out of student loan debt as quickly as possible! Guess, what!? We did! We paid off my student loans less than four years after graduating from pharmacy school; it was like a weight had been lifted off of our shoulders! Our last check was submitted in February 2020, and then we welcomed the pandemic. As difficult as this entire monumental shift in our culture has been, it was such an incredible time of introspection for the both of us. I was able to dive deep into my true passions in life and that was when I decided to invest in myself once again and start building my virtual functional medicine practice. During my time of introspection, I began noticing that from the very beginning I was unsettled about my career. This had a lot to do with the fact that people were being overprescribed medications and unknowingly suffering or becoming addicted to them. I also was able to take my health into my own hands and heal my body after years of health struggles postpartum through utilizing food as medicine and thought this is what I should be doing in my life. My purpose is to empower, enlighten, and educate women to put themselves first, and it all starts with our mindset and our nutrition! I also realized that my legacy is to give my daughters and other young ladies the ability to be valued for their femininity and for their strength and resilience and to stand up for themselves.
We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?
To me success was defined as the “American Dream,” all tied up in a pretty little bow and packaged perfectly to where you were home by 5 PM and sitting down to a homemade meal with your family. It consisted of making a six-figure salary and raising precious babies all while balancing a career, a home, and a family. There would be time for weekly cleaning of the entire home, staying on top of dishes and laundry, and going out with friends and family (in my spare time). This life looked like a woman who had herself together and could literally do everything all on her OWN. I defined success as a measure of what looked so beautiful externally, but internally I was a complete wreck! I had forgone much of my own true happiness for someone else to prosper. It wasn’t until I had my health crisis and went through those traumatic experiences with my girls that I changed the trajectory of my life.
How has your definition of success changed?
Success has changed for me in such a drastic and positive way since having my girls. I now view it as a measure of happiness! I will take into consideration whether or not a certain aspect in my life is serving me and if it is in alignment with my true self and future self. I also consider success to be an act of self-care and self-love. These terms encompass nourishing my body with real whole foods, allowing for movement, getting outside, and practicing gratitude and meditation. These key components of success provide me with the ability to have abundance of energy and be the best version of myself to better take care of the ones that I love (including myself) and my clients. You see, it is all cyclical: the practice of self-love, self-care, and happiness are all intertwined. To be happy you must embrace the real you, but also know that you must nurture yourself in order to awaken your happiness.
The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?
I’m pretty positive that this is my favorite question out of them all, it’s a juicy one for sure! Many of us had the opportunity during this time to reflect on the purpose of life and recognize that it is so fragile. There are a few key aspects that we as a society should tap into to become successful. The first being that success is defined as a measure of happiness, not a measure of money. You truly should be overcome with joy when you are embracing your life and the path that you’ve chosen. I know that this sounds too good to be true and that you need money in order to survive in this world, but when you operate in a space of alignment with your true self the money will follow. Another area of focus should continue to be on developing healthy lifestyles because you cannot expect success, whatever that may look like for you, to occur if you are not nourishing yourself in its entirety. This should include developing a morning/evening routine, eating whole foods, embracing the wilderness with open arms, allowing for movement in your day. Once you connect back to what I like to call the basics, things in your life will fall into place and your eyes will become wide open to all the possibilities within you.
What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.
This might sound like a bizarre answer, but The Great Resignation is one of the most positive aspects of the pandemic. People all over the world are taking their lives into their own hands and walking a path of faith rather than fear. I think during this time everyone has been awakened to their inner being and realized that life is so sacred and precious, that they should be accomplishing their goals sooner rather than later. I see people confidently stepping away from those stressful careers and into their own which is so beautiful! I also have recognized that many people are allowing for self-care and investing in their wellness and mindset which is huge in order to take those steps in becoming not only successful, but truly in alignment with who they are. I am so proud of those who are gaining those wins in self-improvement and encourage those who are unsure or haven’t given it a thought to begin considering the fact that you matter! Another beautiful outcome of the pandemic is that many families (whether that is the traditional family home, a tight knit group of friends, or otherwise) are becoming focused on spending quality time with one another. This is such a wonderful outcome because many of us have recognized how precious our family is, and we only are here for a limited time so this time should be spent in joy, laughter, and love with those that you love.
We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
Absolutely! When you are wanting to reevaluate your life and reclaim your vision of success here are some tips to keep in your back pocket!
- Find your joy! For me this was the major influencer in redefining my success because I found that my current career was making me someone I am not. I was so far away from my true self that it took over a year to find her again. It wasn’t until I discovered I was unhappy in my “dream job” that I knew it was time to take an inventory and pivot!
- Evaluate your habits: this feature of success is one where you really have to dive into the deep end and consider which habits are serving you. For example, if you are trying to develop a healthy bedtime routine and notice you are on your phone or watching tv until you fall asleep then those items need to be removed from a beneficial bedtime routine because they don’t serve a healthy habit to lead you to success.
- Nourish your body with whole foods: treating your body with kindness and respect is HUGE in determining your success. If you are eating foods that are processed or packaged then you are causing significant harm to your body. My lovely readers you only have one body, so give it some love and eat meals that nurture it!
- Develop a morning and evening routine: in order to set yourself up for success for the day ahead, I always like to recommend developing these two aspects into your life. This is because you are starting and ending your day with something that is non-negotiable and set aside specifically for you to fill your cup.
- Morning routine: start by waking up 15 minutes before you normally would and then gradually build up to one hour
How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?
My version of success will look different than someone else’s, but I believe the key feature is that happiness is of the utmost importance. Lives would improve in the sense that people are now able to live life in its true purpose. Whether that be a stay-at-home mom or dad, living off of the land, or building an empire, what is important to realize is that people must be able to look back on their lives and say they lived it fully and beautifully. I think that when people start to come from a place of love and compassion it has a trickledown effect and in turn would make our society shift from chaos to peace. Of course, I realize that there will still be unrest, but one small act of kindness could literally change someone’s life.
What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?
I think one of the biggest obstacles that is blocking people from redefining their success is comparing their current life to someone else’s. It is easy to do now especially with social media, but what isn’t shown are the steps it took to get there. You cannot compare your chapter one to someone’s chapter fifty! In order to overcome this obstacle, realize that you are exactly where you are meant to be and you have the power within you to make those changes. Also, do not hesitate to ask for guidance or help. It is when you do this you can recognize your resourcefulness! Another culprit is fear: fear of the unknown and fear of failure! You cannot let fear control your life and your decisions; you must act from a place of faith. If you follow your intuition and your heart you cannot be misguided. So, if you’re looking to change your life in a vastly different way then let faith be your light and walk within it. Your success will follow you once you take the first plunge! Fear of the unknown often involves lack of understanding or education. Surrounding yourself with people you can learn from, taking a class, or even simply visiting the library for good old-fashioned study can often remove the fear of understanding completely. Sometimes it involves risk, and sometimes that risk does involve failure, but this is part of the learning process, the growth process. The trick is to get back up, reflect on what went wrong, and try again.
Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?
To be honest I go to my mentors because they lead lives that I sincerely look up to. They are authentic and genuine in every aspect of their lives and that behavior is what I want to emulate. Many of my mentors are women who lead lives that incorporate a multifaceted approach to success, and we align with one another in what those key features are. I look up to these women because they have been in the entrepreneurial space for many years and I know that I can gain knowledge and wisdom from them. I also like to consider manifestation techniques as well as to delve into my mindset and my soul’s true passions and purpose.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.
Gosh, this is a tough question to answer because I have so many people I would love to meet and pick their brains! If I had to choose one person in the world to meet it would have to be again, Katrina Scott. She is a woman who I have looked up to since I was a teenager and she is transforming the health and fitness landscape!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Our fantastic readers can find me on IG and Facebook @elisabethwygantwellness or on my website www.biolaviehealth.com.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.