Kelly and I were fortunate to sit down with Jennifer Schwytzer of Kindfulness Coaching to hear about her journey from Healthcare to her own coaching business, while battling bad news after bad news... First, I would like to send a giant thank you to Jen for being so upfront and honest about her journey. I think amny of us can relate to the road to entreprenuership being a crazy one. Here is an excerpt:
I have had over 15 years, 16 years, something like that in the mental health and social work field. I'm a licensed social worker in the state of New York and I am continuing to work as a therapist to just hone in on continued skills and learning. I love learning and I love new strategies and techniques and so having my certification and my licensure is really important for me to keep even as a coach. So I'm continuing to do therapy as well.
It's a lot and I experienced burnout in the in the hospital setting, and it's just so difficult- you don't even know you're falling into it. You are just helping and helping and helping. You're always putting yourself last. And I was experiencing that without even realizing it. It took something like huge happening for me to take that step back and be like, OK, wow, this isn't right for me anymore. This isn't in alignment with where I want to be, what I want to do…I gotta get out of here before, like, I just fall over and collapse because it's just so, so hard.
How long were you doing this before that moment happened?
I was in my last role before leaving the hospital setting for two years. Continuing to be in that- it's just like a cycle. You wake up, you go to work, you do what you're supposed to, you come home, and it just starts all over again. I didn't realize how much of an effect that was having on my life. Until you take that step back and you're like, oh, wow. I need to do something about this. During the pandemic, it was March 2020.
My husband and I, you know, we're both-we're not out of work, but we're out of the physical offices. We're home and things just got very different for us. I think a lot of people fell into these strange routines of like how the new normal was my husband and I were also going through in vitro fertilization at the time that got shut down because of the pandemic.
All of these things…
Yeah, all of these things just started like, you know, coming together and we were we were just kind of struggling and then it was either May or June, my husband's in his early 40s, and he had some side pain one day. And he's like “I think I’ve got to the hospital.” So, I'm like, sure, whatever. You know, I drop him off at the front door at the hospital. Thinking that, OK, I'll see you later. I'll come to pick you up at the end of the day.
And he was taken to strong where he suffered a cardiac arrest.
Ohh my gosh…
He's in his early 40s and had a cardiac arrest. He was on life support for 21 days and he went into heart failure. We were having these discussions, you know, at the hospital during COVID, where I'm only allowed to be there 4 hours a day. So, I played my cards because I worked at the hospital. I'm like, wearing my badge in there. I'm, like, doing everything I can to be there to advocate for him, because he wasn't very lucid during this time. I'm obviously still trying to work half from home, half from the hospital.
And I realized I can't do this. I can't fill out all of this paperwork and worried about my boss calling me every day- When are you coming back? What are you doing? You know, where are you? This is not important to me. I didn't want to lose my job, but at that point I was like, I don't care if I lose my job, this is my family.
It made me just take a step back. And think about what's important to me and why is this important to me. And that event shaped my transition that helped me to dig into personal development while he was in the hospital. I was like, I need to get my **** together so that I can help him. And so I, you know, leaned into some really amazing supportive people who introduced me to personal development and I started looking like, OK, I need to get my life together. Not that things were falling apart, but I was losing part of who I am because of all this burnout, and because of the stress and anxiety of just the work that I do. I was losing myself and to get myself back, it helped me to show up for my husband in ways I never could imagine. And so that personal development started my journey to coaching.
My whole body is tingling like crazy.
I am fighting not crying.
I'm about to cry, and if I'm about to cry, yeah. Kelly's normally already a sobbing mass. I can't even imagine. I'm trying to wrap my head around so many different parts of that story, that was like 2 minutes long.
So, February 2020, you're living your best life trying to have a baby and months later, your husband is on life support…
Yeah, we had actually found out on that Wednesday before he went into the hospital that our IVF cycle did not take, he went into the hospital on a Friday, had the cardiac arrest on a Sunday. All within the same week, and it was like…
Oh my God…
OK, well this is a lot to deal with and how am I going to deal with all this? Plus, it’s a pandemic and I'm somebody, I don't know about other women, but my husband takes care of all the bills, all of the household stuff, like everything. I got a shut off notice for my electric cause I didn't know what I'm paying. But I had to figure out a lot really quick. And it was just so overwhelming. Like, if I don't like I said, get my shit together like ohh this is gonna fall apart like I have to be the person that holds this all together. And how do I do that?
Before we answer all those questions, how is your husband today?
He is good, he is good today. I mean when we were in the hospital, they were talking about heart transplants- like artificial heart- They were talking about all of these, like wild and crazy things that I couldn't even wrap my head around.
Doesn't that just happen on TV?
Exactly, yeah, exactly. And thankfully, a new Doctor came on to service, and he was like this is not happening. He changed around his meds and my husband's heart failure is right now, controlled only on medications with no crazy intervention. So that's good. He does still have some like lingering physical effects. He had a lot of mental health effects afterwards, so that was definitely….
21 days on life support.
So that was definitely a lot to manage.
In a pandemic where people like dying of COVID in hospital and you can't come see him.
And you guys are?
We are so much stronger.
Because of it though. I'm sure it's broken a lot of people. Like you said, like there was stuff before that. So, it's like the buildup and none of those things are little.
So you're an expert, like an effing expert.
Screw that you opened in 2020. It seems like that's a PhD. Nothing really makes us speechless.
I love when we get to interview people that we don't know that. Well, because moments like this get to happen. Thank you for sharing that.
Fast forward like a couple months from there. What happened then?
When my husband came home from the hospital and we're talking about, you know, future life. And I was like “I think I wanna be a life coach.” He's like, cool. I think you'd be great. And I was like, “OK, I want to go to this school… and he's like, sure, how much does it cost? I tell him and he’s OK, and it was cool, like it was just like that.
Like, I'm going to do this and then I started this program. It's anywhere from like six months to a year- Well, let’s get going on this and get it done. I…you know… life gets in the way. We went through another round of IVF and it failed again. And it was like, why am I doing this? I hate life. I hate, you know, I don't want to do this anymore. Why am I trying to better myself?
Pity party me. So, I stopped doing my coaching.
Then I went to a conference in Dallas with my coaching program and I was like, OK well, maybe this will give me like a kick in the ass to keep going. Well, it was. THE kick in the ass I needed. I met some amazing coaches who were just like me, afraid. Like, I don't think I'm gonna be able to do this. I'm not good enough. And they're like, Jenny, you meet with people every day. You're a therapist like you do this all the time. And I was like, oh, yeah, good point. I guess I do. It was just that little bit of a push I needed. I took a year to finish the program, but I did and I'm so happy I did. I met some amazing people along the way, and I really believe this is what I was meant to do. I wasn't meant to work in a in a hospital. I wasn't meant to work for anybody else, that's for sure.
None of us were.
I'm right where I'm supposed to be. I’m a firm believer that this happened for a reason.
I try and like see the positive and try to see that all this happened because of something else, and I'm going to embrace it, and I'm going to just keep moving forward.
Well then… I am not crying…
This is a great example of how life works in crazy ways, and I think that a lot of us didn’t quite expect to end up where we are. Where did you think you’d end up? And how did your path take you?
Hear more of Jennifer’s story- subscribe to Getting Real with BOSSY on your favorite podcast provider, or realbossypod.podbean.com. Real, raw, honest
Be bold, be brave, be the boss. @bossyroc