Meghan Varner, a Health Coach and Physical Therapist, is 36 years old and has a passion for helping other women find resilience for energy to thrive in their life. Her passion comes from her own experience of finding resilience within herself to not give up in her search for healing from her own chronic illnesses. Her fascination with how the human body works and her desire to help others in pain led her to become a physical therapist. When her own health challenges made her step back from physical therapy in 2020, her desire to continue to help others find wellness led her to become a health coach and establish her own health coaching business in 2021, with her tagline “find resilience for wellness.”
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I grew up as an only child with a love for animals especially horses. I am blessed to have lived in the same city for most of my life with 2 loving parents. They continuously supported me through school and the many ups and downs I’ve had with my health along with my husband whom I met in college. I contribute much of my ability to find resilience to having this loving support. Growing up, I had a lot of physical therapy for joint injuries and 2 major back surgeries to stabilize my spine. It was not until after becoming a physical therapist and experiencing burnout multiple times that I learned I have a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and difficulty regulating my nervous system due to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. After experiencing burnout for the third time, I took a step back from working full time as a clinical physical therapist to focus on my own wellness. Taking a step back gave me time to reflect, recharge, and rediscover my purpose and passion to help others find wellness without burning myself out in the process.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say YES, go for it!”
My motivation to start my own business came from my passion to help others who are frustrated and overwhelmed looking for solutions for their health issues, like I once was. I wanted to give such individuals hope and guidance to find wellness. The more people I came in contact with, the more people I met who seemed to be looking for more energy, time to recharge, and passion for life again. They’d lost their passion and drive due to exhaustion, life demands, health challenges.
The idea to start my own business developed when I was completing my health coach training program. The program discussed the different options of employment as a health coach – working for another health professional, wellness center, hospital system, or working for yourself. From my experience as a physical therapist, I knew that working for someone else would come with productivity and/or caseload requirement expectations that can be very demanding and draining. So I decided founding my own health coaching business would be the best for my own wellbeing as I would be my own boss, setting my own hours, time off, and caseload volume. In saying “yes” to becoming an entrepreneur, I have been able to prioritize my own health. I will add that I am blessed to be able to say “yes” thanks to the support of my husband.
Tell us something about your initiative or current role. What is it about, and what impact are you trying to make?
As the founder, owner, bookkeeper, social media manager, and marketing agent of my business, I am trying to spread the word that you have the ability to thrive and live your passion while taking care of your own health. You have to learn how to delegate and most of all prioritize what is most important to get done in each moment of your day. So for me one day may be total rest from work spending time recharging in nature, napping, cooking, or meditating; or my day may be seeing clients, planning social media posts, marketing to local practitioners, or hosting a workshop. My mindset shifted from having to complete a long to-do list each day, to aiming to complete the top 3 important tasks for the day and sometimes just 1! I remind myself of a quote I heard during my health coach training: “you can do it all, just not at the same time.“
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
Throughout the ups and downs of my professional and personal journey, I have striven to be involved in some way with helping others find hope. When I was practicing as an outpatient physical therapist, I obtained my certification in myofascial trigger point dry needling in order to have another tool to help patients with chronic myofascial pain that was not responding well to other treatments. This certification spurred my interest in learning more about the sensitization of the nervous system in chronic pain and effect of mental and physical pain on the brain itself.
Even during times of poor health, I was driven by my passion to give hope to others who are looking for answers and healing. When I was unable to work in clinical practice, I volunteered as I was able with a nonprofit now called Bobby Jones CSF to raise awareness and funding for Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia. I also became involved with various chronic illness support groups. Since becoming a health coach, I have continued nonprofit volunteering working on the health advisory board of a local nonprofit called Hitting Cancer Below the Belt to raise awareness of colon cancer prevention and screening.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
Don’t give up when things get hard. Take a step back to reflect, reach out, and find direction when you feel frustrated and lost. It can be scary starting something all on your own, but you are not alone. There are others around you who share your vision and are able to help you. All you have to do is ask for help. Remember that we can each make a difference in the world by pursuing our passion and purpose.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women leadership today?
I am encouraged to see more women in leadership roles today compared to when I first entered the workforce 10 years ago. I believe that women as a whole bring an integrated and compassionate viewpoint to leadership. Women are more apt to see that work life and home life values are not segregated; rather they are intertwined as both are a part of who a person is. Seeing this helps women in leadership roles better understand how to support and guide others in the workplace.
What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
You are stronger, smarter, and braver than you know. It’s ok to be scared when taking that first step to start a new venture. It is so worth it though!