WHY EUSTRESSIN'?: MONIQUE MEERTENS
College is a great time meet new people and make friends that will last a lifetime. There are other relationships where you know someone, you speak to them in class and at parties, but you don’t really know much about them. Then after you graduate you connect on similar interest and wonder why you never got to learn more about one another sooner.
That pretty much sums up the connection between Monique and myself. We are both products of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Class of 2009) and although we knew of each other during undergrad, we didn’t really get to know each other until a few years after graduating.
HEY MO, WHY EUSTRESSIN’?
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING/ HOW LONG?
I’m a brand strategist, holistic health coach and personal trainer for entrepreneurs and influencers in pursuit of health, wealth and happiness. I discovered my passion for connecting influencers and entrepreneurs with brands that want to sponsor them in 2009 while building Swagger.NYC. I discovered my passion for health and interest in the impact nutrition has on our overall well-being in 2008 when my Aunt passed away from ovarian cancer.
DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IN YOUR PROFESSION?
Mental health, or should I say, mental well-being is at the core of my desire to bridge the gap between physical, financial and spiritual success for my clients. I believe that our mental health has a significant impact on every choice we make, from the food we decide to eat, to the people we spend time with, to the thoughts we let preoccupy our mind. As an entrepreneur, I’ve experienced extreme periods of stress, depression and anxiety. At first, these symptoms manifested because I felt like I was one of the few people exploring entrepreneurship. Now these symptoms persist because I feel like I can’t keep up with everyone else’s entrepreneurial ventures. The core trigger for both of these phases has been comparison, and I know that it’s a challenge that other entrepreneurs can get caught up in as well. Through my experiences, I’ve learned how paralyzing these symptoms can be, and that for any entrepreneur to achieve success, finding holistic balance, which includes mental wellness, is absolutely essential. My goal as an entrepreneur, is to bring holistic wellness to the forefront of my client’s business strategies. The fact is that your business is a reflection of you, and if you aren’t well, it is going to be extremely challenging for your business to thrive. The more we have conversations about our fears and the thoughts that prevent us from achieving personal and professional success, the more we will see entrepreneurial success across the board and be able to support a thriving community of entrepreneurs.
WHAT UNIQUE CHALLENGES DO YOU ENCOUNTER SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR JOB THAT HAS AN IMPACT ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH THAT OTHERS MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT?
My job is driven by the strength of my ability to maintain quality relationships with my clients. However, a significant trigger to my anxiety happens to be focused on social interaction. There are many times when I feel like I don’t have enough bandwidth to engage with anyone, especially when the relationship transitions from superficial to substantive and consistent. If I could manage to just court new clients, sell ideas and keep it moving, I’d be rich! However, more times than not, I have to see my ideas through, which leads to performance anxiety, thinking that my work isn’t good enough and a feeling paralyzed, unable to take action.
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT YOU SHOULD ALSO CONSIDER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH WHEN TAKING ON DAY-TO-DAY ACTIVITIES?
I’ve always said that my life has a pattern that flows in concentric circles, like the rings of a tree, consistently expanding in circumference, but always encountering the same roadblocks or ridges at different degrees along the way. I knew and know that I have two options: continue to walk along this path and brush off my setbacks as “coincidence” or make a drastic change. For me, addressing my own mental health, with a professional, is the drastic change that I need, which means paying closer attention to my day-to-day activities and actively choosing to go right, and stay the course at every point where I want to go left and stay within my comfort zone. I literally have to remind myself of this everyday though. My habits, driven by fear and desire to hide, are incredibly powerful and cause me to wake up with no recollection of my goals or ambition because stress, anxiety and depression are the first emotions to kick in gear. I share this to say that maintaining mental wellness is a practice that I’m cognizant of daily, but still find challenging to put into action. So, while considering my personal mental health is step one, it’s absolutely crucial that I put my awareness into action with every step I take, and that I constantly remind myself that every step counts!
HOW DO YOU MANAGE THOSE STRESSORS ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
I pray, meditate, take a walk and vent if necessary. I’m thankful that at this point I can realize that these symptoms are simply trying to steal my opportunities for success. We all have our biggest cheerleader and worst nemesis inside of our heads. I do my best to give my cheerleader the megaphone as much as possible and remind myself that I’VE GOT THIS, because WHO GONNA STOP ME? The only person that can is me, and I for one am tired of getting in my own way.
HOW DOES BEING MENTALLY HEALTHY HELP IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK OR ON THE JOB?
Being mentally healthy provides me the mental space to think, and create. I have a tattoo that says “Thinking Is My Career” and I truly believe that. For me, there is no greater feeling than being able to ideate a creative solution on the spot or right on time. However, if my thoughts are focused on anxiety and stressors, I don’t have room for my positive creative thoughts to come through. Additionally, I find it challenging and distracting to work around others. My last three jobs have placed me in open office spaces which are extremely distracting and provide opportunity for me to absorb the energy of those around me. It’s usually way too much noise for me to be my most productive self.
WHAT DOES EUSTRESS LOOK LIKE FOR YOU AT WORK? AT HOME/AWAY FROM WORK?
I have to admit that I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, especially when it comes to creating. When I’m able to channel this into accomplishing my goals and delivering a result that satisfies my clients, it’s extremely motivating. Additionally, I have a unique relationship with my computer and what I’ve taught myself to create using it. When I get into the zone of creating and making magic happen with my fingertips, it’s a feeling that is euphoric and reminds me that God is working through me to get it done. That for me is Eustress. The positive feeling that accompanies doing good, especially when it seemed challenging or unlikely that I would be able to accomplish my goal.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD TELL SOMEONE JUST STARTING IN YOUR PROFESSION OR A YOUNG PERSON WHO ASPIRES TO BE THE PROFESSIONAL THAT YOU ARE?
Marketing and coaching are both highly saturated industries. There is so much opportunity to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. If you are considering pursing either of these careers, please remember that your vibe attracts your tribe and that your tribe is out there waiting for you! Don’t try to get every client. Take the time to figure out your unique selling proposition and build your brand and business around what makes you, you! Trust and believe that you will attract your core clients and that you may even find opportunities to partner with other coaches to provide your unique service to their clients!
ANY OTHER INFORMATION YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT YOU AND WHAT YOU'RE UP TO?
Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in increasing your personal and professional health, wealth and happiness! I believe in accepting clients on a sliding scale, and am happy to come to an arrangement that works for you if you are serious about committing to your own success!
HOW CAN PEOPLE CONTACT YOU FOR MORE INFORMATION?
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