What’s Your Story?

by Nicole Hodson, Executive Director, NANP

If you’re like me, you’re already thinking about the Thanksgiving holiday next week. You’re looking forward to the warmth of time with family and friends, and (of course) the delicious food.

In anticipation of the holiday, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to…

Gratitude and Stories

“Your gratitude determines your latitude.”

Great saying, right?!

Or… should the saying be the other way around? I mean, in many ways, WHAT you are grateful for is authentically a product of your perspective, your situation, your condition in life.

In other words, gratitude is shaped by your story.

Here’s what I mean, based on my own experiences. I spent my young childhood in pre-revolution Iran. And, while my dad was a bit of a Renaissance man having married a relatively outspoken American woman, he still had the ingrained perspective of a man raised in a patriarchal society.

Growing up in a country where women routinely covered themselves from head to toe (now a requirement), gave me an interesting perspective on what it means to be a woman.

That being said, when I count my blessings, they almost always include the ability to move about freely without a man to escort me, not having to cover myself top-to-bottom, getting to choose my own husband, having a rewarding career, and being able to freely speak my mind.

These may seem so obvious to you, but for me, they’re reasons to be grateful, not just on Thanksgiving, but EVERY single day!

My story shapes my perspective and that for which I’m grateful.

What About You?

How did you make your way to this moment? What happened that brought you here and how will it shape your today and tomorrow? How does your own story shape your perspective and determine your gratitude moments in life?

(By the way, it’s very on-trend these days to ask ourselves these questions exclusively for marketing purposes; to find our “WHY” to attract clients.)

But doesn’t it go deeper? Shouldn’t our stories be a way to communicate and connect better with our clients?

Many of us think we should be (only) great listeners and that healthy boundaries mean holistic nutrition professionals might be better off to keep our stories to ourselves.

If this describes you, then I want to encourage you to think differently.

Stories Define What Matters

Our 2020 HEALCon opening speaker is the perfect person to teach us all about why our stories matter…so darn much.

I am so proud and excited to announce (and introduce as our HEALCon opening keynote speaker!) Dr. Joel Carter. Dr. Carter is a palliative care physician, specializing in hospice care, and he has a very different perspective on the importance of story-sharing with our clients.

Dr. Carter believes in the power of the human journey and the integration of the symbols of hope and healing. Dr. Carter says the search for meaning and purpose in service of others, is made possible by the creative power of stories in defining what’s most important in the midst of life’s mystery.  Wow. This is big stuff.

What this means is that while listening to your clients’ stories is an important part of the practitioner relationship, according to Dr. Carter, it’s equally as important to share your own stories.

In fact, he believes that our clients hearing our stories can be healing to them.

During a recent conversation with Dr. Carter, he revealed to me some of the profound experiences he’s had with hospice patients as they shared stories between them. It was a remarkable conversation and I can’t wait for you to be a part of his interactive presentation at HEALCon 2020.

All The Things

As you head into the Thanksgiving holiday, I encourage you to be grateful for the big things, the little things and everything in between.

The hustle and bustle of next week (and the coming holiday weeks ahead) can be a busy, challenging and sometimes difficult time for many.

In your gratitude devotions, remember to thank those who make your life happy and wonderful. Even perfect strangers are deserving your thanks. (Last week I called my very tiny local grocery store manager to thank him for instituting an organic section in the produce department. From his reaction you’d have thought I just told him he won a million dollars!)

And while you’re enjoying time with your family and friends, know that we (your NANP family) are so very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your story.

With love & gratitude,


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