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IIN Conference 2017: Rachael Charbonneau's Recap


Last weekend, March 25 - 26, I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s annual conference in NYC. I graduated this past January 2017 from their year long Health Coaching program.


If you’re interested in the program, I wrote about my experience here. If you’re interested in becoming a Health Coach, send me a note, I'll answer any questions you have: rachael@wholisticbelly.com.


Every year, IIN puts on a conference free of charge for current students and alumni to attend. I’m originally from Upstate NY, and have a few friends in the City, so I used it as a good excuse to spend a long weekend in the city with one of my best girlfriends Christy, take The Class by Tayrn Toomy, eat some yummy healthy food creations from Juice Generation, Mulberry and Vine, and Brodo, and, of course, attend the conference and meet other Health Coaches.


I attended with the intention to meet other Health Coaches and absorb the energy conferences usually bring to keep me moving forward in this new business venture. I got that, and so much more. Everything about the event exceeded my expectations.


I actually don’t like calling this a business venture much, because at the core of my being the intention of this “business venture” is to help others take a hold of their health and digestive distress. I’m so sick of conventional doctors meeting with a patient for 10 minutes to have them leave with a script and no guidance on a diet and lifestyle change. In my practice, I sit with a client for an hour at a time and guide them on their journey to figure out what works for them. By getting to the root of the problem is how we collectively fix the health crisis we’ve been in. To me, that’s what health care should be. **End Rant**


At the IIN conference, we heard from Chris Guillebeau who spoke to us about his idea behind the Side Hustle School. He defined an Entrepreneur as “someone who will work 24 hours a day for themselves to avoid working 1 hour for someone else.”


UMMM, SO ACCURATE. And hilariously true. I can 100% relate.

A side hustle is not the same thing as a business project or a part-time job. Sometimes we need part-time jobs, but this is not a side hustle. A business project generally has long-term goals set, a business plan, money invested, and employees. A side hustle is something that has immediate goals, something you have full creative control over, and if you lost it, you wouldn’t be struggling to pay the bills because that’s what your full-time/day job is for. A side-hustle creates extra income to allow for more financial freedom.


I’ve always felt I wanted to do a “bunch of things that all add up,” to suffice for my income, and Chris’ talk gave me the permission for this to be okay.


Next we heard from Leslie James MD, who is an expert on hormones and woman’s health. It’s always so refreshing to hear an MD come to surface with an an integrative and preventative point of view. Instead of prescribing her patients hormone replacements, she gets to the bottom of why hormone imbalances are happening. She believes there are over 150 symptoms related to PMS. 150!!


In her patients, she looks at their diet, stress, exercise, and environment, and sometimes prescribes nature therapy, which is becoming increasingly popular in Japanese preventative care. Nature Therapy is basically a prescription to improve ones mental and physical wellbeing through outdoor activities.

We were Elizabeth DiAlto’s last talk of a few month tour titled “Untame Yourself.” She’s really an amazing public speaker. I have pages of notes I took from her keynote talk, most being little reminders of self-love. She breaks self-love down into 5 components: Self-Acceptance, Self-Respect, Self-Awareness, Self-Knowledge, and Self-Trust. Two of the biggest take aways that resonated with me were “You can change your mind” and “You are allowed to have standards, allowed to write your own story, and you do not have to accept what you’ve been given.” These are all things I know, but having the reminder in a room full of (mainly) self-empowered woman (and some men!) really felt good.


PR Expert Christina Gordon spoke to us about, well, all things PR! Being a Graphic Designer, I touch on a few of her list items daily, but it was nice to hear why it’s important to take certain PR steps for your business. Unfortunately, I cannot find her on the internet to provide a link. When I find it, I will edit and update this post!


Jonathon Fields came and spoke to us about finding and acting on what lights you up — your spark, and that “when you align your actions with your essence, you become a beacon and amplify your presence.” Doing what you love will fulfill you, and use that spark to go out and get it. His speech was a good reminder of my true value and mission. Ever since I launched my health coaching practice in January, the few clients I have had — I’ve felt that alignment, that spark, that others who love what they do often speak about.


Unfortunately, I had to miss the morning of Day 2 which included a talk by Andrew Weil, however, a woman filled me in and said it wasn’t too different from any of his videos or books he’s written, which are all inspirational, but it made me feel like I didn’t miss too much since I have been following him for some time now. IIN does do a replay of their conferences, so I’m hoping to catch his talk during one of those.


Two best friends, Ali and Michelle, founders of Soul Camp, an “adult sleep away camp for the soul” came on stage and spoke about making friends as adults. This sounds like a ridiculous topic, but it really isn’t! I’ve moved to four entirely different cities in the past five years, and agree this can be a hard thing to do as an adult.


Did you know that having friends or a community has the same lifespan impact on you as smoking? Yeah. Woah. Crazy, right? It’s important make sure you’re making friends, even as an adult. They are your support system.

The last lady we heard from was Manisha Thakor of Money Zen, encouraging us to get honest about our money. For some reason talking about finances and our financial situation is such a taboo. I know it is for me. She wants to break that mold, and for good reason. She encourages us to get clear on exact cashflow and get clear on our financial clutter. Both things I know, but have a hard time doing. It was a really good reminder.


Throughout the conference, we heard from Joshua Rosenthal, the founder of the school, and practiced coaching the people sitting next to us. I met a lot of new friends, including Joshua. That’s a story for another time! All I’ll say is that if you don’t make yourself known, people won’t know you exist. If you speak up and let them know you exist, something great just might come out of it. This concept was introduced by Christina Gordon, and became the theme of my weekend — and has now carried into my professional life.


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