Hi, I'm Lisa! I'm so happy you're here!
I have always been a very happy child and adult. Care free, easy going, loves to listen and learn, active, creative and passionate. I’ve always been very strong-willed, meaning I had walls built up stories high in my brain. I never felt the need to open up about any problems I was dealing with, as I always wanted to handle it on my own. Or so I thought- turns out, I just didn’t want to inconvenience anyone else. I remember one day in the second grade, I wasn’t understanding the math worksheet (I mean- I still have a hard time understanding math). I was told I had to stay inside from recess if I didn’t finish it. I chose to sat there crying, instead of asking for any help with it. Years later in French class, our teacher always kept our journals at the front of the room. Whenever mine wasn’t there, my brain ticked and knew something in the routine was off. Instead of asking where it was, I would become extremely anxious and cry to myself instead of asking my teacher for help finding it. It would usually end up with my friend getting it for me. It was always on the teacher’s desk, and the world did NOT shatter like I assumed it would have.
This is a behaviour that continued throughout life. Anxiety over routine change, afraid to inconvenience others, and people please. It continued throughout the ownership of my first business, stress of college and of course- my eating disorder.
From as young as age 9, I was extremely aware of how my body looked. That included how I felt about parts of my body- what I liked and what I didn’t like. I have this clear vision of me in my bedroom at age 10, doing jumping jacks and sit ups in the mirror while wearing a two piece bathing suit. I remember age 11 when I would cry in the bathroom stall because I didn’t feel like my chest was big enough to be accepted by anyone. Yes…age 11. Age 14 I hit puberty, grew 5 inches and thinned out. This is when my friends labeled me with “the perfect body.” I didn’t think much of it, but I’m sure it flattered me.
I enjoyed my high school years, spending the weekends either with friends or competing at dance competitions. Competitive dancer, captain of the dance team and of course, part-time Baskin Robbins employee. My boss used to yell at me because I danced too much while working. Who doesn’t want to walk into a Baskin Robbins to find a girl dancing happily to the Hannah Montana soundtrack? I know I would! When customers would come in, I’d lean onto the ice cream counter and say “So, what’s the scoop?” Gosh they were lucky to have me.
Now, I’ve always been one to go against the grain. I’m very lucky to have been raised in a family where it was taught to ‘follow your heart’ instead of ‘follow the pack.’ However, the societal pressures taught me to go by the book. School, university, work for someone else, done. Well you see from my Baskin Robbins experience, I like to put a twist on things and need my independence. I knew I’ve always wanted to be my own boss. With my mom being a realtor and my dad owning multiple businesses, it was engraved in me. Fun fact: my dad quit his high-end corporate job when I was born so he could start his own business. People thought he was crazy. 3 daughters, house, nice car and you’re going to quit a well paying job to start your own business? He didn’t let them stop him. He is highly successful, and one of my biggest inspirations.
I applied for multiple universities, knowing damn-well that I did not have the grades to get accepted. But of course, I thought this is what I was supposed to do- right? I was rejected by all of them. Shocker. However, I was accepted into every single college I applied to! I began my college journey at Mohawk College studying Business. I couldn’t quite think of anything else to study. I called my dad crying on the second day. He asked “do you even want to be in that program?” I said no, and he told me to switch out of it. I began studying Health, Wellness and Fitness. Now, I did great on the wellness side of everything. Fitness? At that point…not so much. It was my first year of college and I was living off of Sucking Lemons coolers, gold fish and Mr. Noodles. However, the science side of everything really didn’t mesh well with me, and I realized this was not what I wanted to be doing. So after studying as hard as possible for my exams, failing them, and dealing with multiple panic attacks, I dropped out. In the back of my mind, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to own my own business. Society told me otherwise, and originally, I listened.
I’ll give you the short version of everything. Dropped out of college at age 19, spent my nights doing what I loved (teaching dance), moved into my first apartment with my sister at age 21, went back to school for a one year Business & Entrepreneurship course. Eating disorder started developing, money was tight, school was busy, things felt out of control, but at least I had control over my food and exercise intake- right?
I became sicker. I denied it. I graduated with honours for the first time in my life. I became sicker. I denied it. I co-opened a business one year later. I became sicker. I was rejected from the eating disorder program at my doctor’s office for being, and I quote ‘too sick. Heart rate is too low.’ 3 months later I found my own recovery coach, who has guided me to where I am today, and who I consider my hero.
*For my full eating disorder & recovery story: listen to Episode 23 of the Fruit and Flourishing Podcast- attached at bottom*
By this point, the stress of the business took over. My recovery went to the back burner. I lived every day for 3 years on autopilot, pretty much on the verge of a heart attack. Minimal sleep, zero self care, putting myself dead last, people pleasing at an all time high, hustling because I thought it was necessary, working 15 hour days, suffering with imposter syndrome, letting my relationships dwindle, you name it. Now, don’t get me wrong. As terrible as that sounds, I wouldn’t have traded those years for anything. I created something incredible, and I was living a big dream of mine that I was insanely proud of. I have memories from those years that will last a lifetime. I learned more than I could have imagined, and it’s led me to where I am today. It was a chapter in my book that I had to turn the page on, but it’s one of my favourite chapters yet.
Throughout my intuitive recovery, I began breaking down more walls of myself that I didn’t even know existed. From the help of my coach, myself and my support system, I began a healing process that would change my life forever. I began to blossom out of this shell that was shut so tightly. I began to open up, I began to put myself first, and I began to realize what I want in this world, and who I want to be. I discovered who is meant to be in my life, and who is not. I discovered the beauty of this world, the beauty of me, and the beauty of you. I began to make my trauma my purpose. My eating disorder tried to take my life away from me, and I did not let it, and I’m not going to let it. I’m going to use it for good. I’m going to show it who the louder voice in my head really is, and who has more strength.
Which has led me here. My journey isn’t over, but that’s why I call it a journey. It’s a long road filled with twists, turns, bumps, tough hills to climb and exciting hills to run down. My eating disorder has given me this passion to help others live their best, and only life. It has given me this passion to guide individuals to live a life they deserve to live, with a mind, body and soul that they life. My life chapters have led me to help others discover their true potential, and to help them realize they can do absolutely anything they want in this world. We are not here to live for other people. We are here to live this one and only beautiful life we have to the absolute fullest.
The Flourishing Space began with an Instagram, then a podcast. It has grown into a 1-1 coaching business for eating disorder recovery, confidence building, career & life choices, mental health and youth mental health. It has grown into workshops for youth mental health and confidence building. It has grown into guest speaking seminars to spread proper awareness around eating disorders, entrepreneurship, confidence and gratitude. I have, and continue to help individuals from as young as age 10 on their journeys through open and honest conversation, goal setting, action plans and more.
You choose how to handle your trauma. We can dwell in our sorrows, or we can show them who’s boss.
You’re reading this for a reason. You have one life to live. And you deserve to live a big one.
Let’s be a part of each other’s journeys. It’s time to flourish.