It’s that time of year again (even though it’s barely begun). The Christmas festivities are over, you’ve set your new year’s resolutions and you’re re-assessing your life goals. You’re passionate about all things health and nutrition and might’ve toyed with the idea of a career change for quite some time now—but the thought of diving into something entirely new is freaking you the f*ck out. We totally get it.
In saying that, you’ve promised yourself that 2019 is going to be YOUR year—no ifs or buts. So if you’re looking for a little inspiration to help you finally take the plunge, you’ve come to the right place! Anna Mitsios is someone who’s making waves in the health and wellness space. She’s the founder of natural skincare brand, Edible Beauty, and made the decision to go back to uni to pursue her passion in naturopathy.
This move was sparked by her own health journey as a Type 1 diabetic. Since her diagnosis at the age of 18, Anna become intrigued with researching herbs, nutrition and lifestyle measures as a way to manage her condition. In 2013, she made a clean break from her career in finance and immersed herself into the wonderful world of nutrition and naturopathy and never looked back.
Here, we chat to Anna about how her university studies at ACNT have equipped her with the tools and knowledge she needed to run a successful business and what advice she has for others who are struggling to take a leap of faith themselves.
Tell us about your career thus far and how you made the switch from finance to naturopathy.
Upon finishing high school I was convinced that finance and economics would provide a “solid’ career path and options for a respectable corporate role. I excelled at mathematics at high school and felt this would allow me to pursue my analytical mindset. I chose to study Commerce with Marketing, Economics majors and an honours in Finance, not having much of an idea of my “true calling” at this time!
I worked in the industry from 2002 to 2012 and part-time in 2013 and 2014. I was frustrated and felt quite lost during my time in the banking world. I moved from a role in corporate finance to private equity and private banking, “searching” for meaning in my career. I felt frustrated by an inability to add true value on a day to day basis.
At the age of 18, I was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic. I was told by my first specialist at the time to stay away from all alternative therapies with a ten foot pole. As soon as I was diagnosed I did everything in my power to find a way to naturally manage my condition using herbs, diet, lifestyle to keep my sugars under control. I read hundreds of books and tried countless natural therapies from chelation, green juice fasting, hypnosis, various diets, weird and wonderful herbs, spiritual pursuits and the list goes on.
I developed an extreme love for herbs and natural therapies and their ability to impact our mindset, health and vitality. I had started to study nutrition a few years into my finance career and eventually got disillusioned with the corporate world and my inability to pursue my passion which was growing stronger every day.
What was your favourite part about your studies?
My absolute favourite part of my naturopathy studies was our clinical practice. Being able to “mix” herbal medicine, prescribe nutrition and lifestyle changes and assist others in making significant changes to their lives and health was empowering. I loved listening to clinical practice teachers describing their experience treating patients and providing practical tips on what worked and did not work in treatment protocols. I felt very supported to learn in this environment and this assisted me immensely once heading out to practice on my own.
How did your degree help you build your business and get you to where you are today?
Both degrees have helped me to get to where I am today. Firstly, my commerce degree provided me with the business acumen and analytical skills to plan, strategise and negotiate. My naturopathy qualification has provided me with an ability to connect and empathise with people and to truly understand their needs and pain points. It has allowed me to gain a scientific and in depth understanding of the body, systems and how we are interconnected. It has also provided me with perspective on life, allowing me to see the importance of prioritising and balancing all aspects of work, health, spirituality and play.
What advice do you have for others who may be interested in exploring a degree such as this?
I highly recommend speaking to students, graduates and teachers associated with the degree to gain an understanding of their perspective on it. I would also visualise being in a role linked to the degree and intuitively reflecting on whether this feels exciting and “right”.
There is always an element of doubting embarking on a new course or degree, however if the study is something you are passionate about there is no question that it should be pursued. We can try to intellectualise decisions to dive into study, trying to justify the amount of time and years that will be involved, the quote “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway”.
In your opinion, who is this best suited to and why would you recommend it?
I feel naturopathy is best suited to individuals who have a desire to assist others in making changes to the life and health using herbs, nutrition and lifestyle. It is equally suited to creative, analytical and “left-brained’ people. It is stimulating intellectually whilst also providing an outlet to be artistic. It is perfect for individuals who love being around people and who are driven by instilling positive change in others.
What skills has your degree equipped you with in the business world?
It has provided me with an ability to deal effectively with people, providing me with an understanding of what drives decisions and also how to relate and negotiate with others. It has also provided me with the commercial know how to make commercial decisions associated with product and service demand and pricing.
My biggest takeaway from my studies was that perseverance is critical to all success and that we must enjoy the journey along the way. Whilst the road to a qualification can appear arduous and long, there are so many benefits to taking time out to study. The people, knowledge and skills developed are priceless and whilst we may be always striving to “finish” our studies there are so many incredible experiences to enjoy along the way. Studying can at times feel relentless, however taking a step back to enjoy each moment and being patient to qualify is important.
As a naturopath, what is one thing you noticed people really struggle with?
One of the things that people do struggle with is change. Habits are ingrained into us and become unconscious patterns in our daily life. When we become aware of a lifestyle or emotional pattern that we need to change, it can be difficult to change this brand hard wiring. I love to teach people about the brain’s ability to rewire, create new pathways and change life-long habits which do not serve us. Changing our eating, lifestyle or emotional habits can be as easy as making a commitment to change, practicing the change and noticing the way the body changes once these new pathways and habits become part of our daily lives. Joe Dispenza’s teaching are incredible in helping to guide and process this change.
Your brand, Edible Beauty, is all about natural skincare made from organic ingredients. Why did you decide to focus on this?
The Edible Beauty range was created whilst I was working at a natural fertility clinic. I was recommending that in addition to changes to their food and lifestyle routines, my patients make changes to their personal care products. I was shocked to find that there were very few options available for skincare products that were “edible” and that were luxurious and therapeutic. As a result, I embarked on creating my own range of skincare products. Whilst there is a growing awareness of the need to use pure and organic ingredients on our skin, I was wanting to create a product range where the gold standard for purity was an “edible” ingredients list.
As a naturopath, what else interests you in the area of health and wellness other than natural skincare?
I am incredibly interested in brain plasticity and encouraging the body to heal by changing the way that our brain our is wired. Bruce Lipton is an incredible teacher on epi-genetics and the power of the sub-conscious mind. These teachings seem to be imperative in promoting the belief that our gene expression can be influenced by our environment and that thoughts and beliefs can change our reality.
What is the most rewarding thing about the career path you have chosen?
It is seeing the incredible impact that our skincare and philosophy can have on people’s lives. Being able to make a positive change to someone’s skin, health and vitality is something which drives me and excites me. I am incredibly thankful for the support that I have been provided in helping to spread the message on natural skincare and health and beauty from the “inside, out”.
Join ACNT’s next Open Day on Saturday 19th January to take the first step toward your career in health.