We’ve all heard the “follow your passion” advice as a career change strategy.
Goji Fitness founder, Emma Galland did just that. And I’m so excited to introduce her here as our very first featured second breaker.
Emma and I were colleagues some years ago at PwC. I was pleasantly surprised when she announced a major change in her life a few months ago.
I caught up with her recently and we talked about her career change journey. Emma’s story is so inspiring to hear. She has such passion for what she’s doing now, and a profound desire to help others lead healthier lives.
Here’s Emma in her own words.
Please introduce yourself. What’s your career change all about?
I’ve been a full-time wellness entrepreneur since May 2013.
My wellness company, Goji Fitness LLC, helps individuals and groups of people turn around their health and transform their lives one step at a time, starting with making dietary and lifestyle changes which will lead to bigger changes in their careers, relationships, exercise routine and even spirituality.
I recently launched a nutrition mix—called Zenberry Green and Zenberry Blue—to palliate the lack of quality plant-based nutrition in the US market. It is the best, if I may say so, and made with the best raw, vegan, organic and/or wild-crafted and non-GMO ingredients to unleash the superhuman in each of us.
In addition, I’m also a Master Trainer at the innovative AQUA Studio NY, the first underwater cycling studio in the country. I develop new class formats, recruit and train our AQUA trainers, and work to create a transformative exercise experience for people.
What did you do before this?
I was a director at PwC within the Health Industry Advisory Services group. I was a management consultant for this company for 13 years. I loved it. It had taken me around the world, starting with PwC in Sweden, then PwC Switzerland, and finally PwC US.
How did you get started with your new career?
I got started on my new career progressively over 18 years but made the jump and left corporate America in May 2013.
My interest in fitness, nutrition, wellness and helping others started when I was 19. Over the years, I have accumulated certifications in the field of sports coaching, fitness, and nutrition. I started teaching fitness classes for major gyms, during my own time. I then expanded to nutritional counseling and created fitness challenge and detox group programs.
Over many years, my hobby developed and evolved into a successful wellness profession, alongside a very rewarding and successful career as a management consultant.
Looking back, following my passion as a hobby prepared me for my second act. —Emma Galland
The catalyst for finally making the jump and fully committing to my passion was the year-end discussion about my future at PwC and building a business case for making partner. My heart wasn’t into it and I started to feel dishonest towards myself and the people I worked with.
I had also just launched a new product (Zenberry) in the US market at that time. If it was to grow, I would need to focus on it with all my time and energy.
Was the decision to change your career easy for you to make? What was your biggest fear?
It was surprisingly easy because I was completely in sync with my heart’s deepest desires. Staying at PwC would have been the harder decision to make because it would have gone against the flow and my desires. I would have been unhappy.
I never doubted my decision to move on to my second act because I felt so happy thinking about it. My biggest fear was not about money. My biggest fear was to be unfulfilled if I did not make the jump.
What is/was your biggest challenge in making this career change?
What I find the most challenging is not having a mentor, a team or other people to rely on with expertise or advice—like one may have in a big corporate structure such as PwC. I am a one-woman-show for now and I worry about making a mistake as an entrepreneur. There are so much legal and regulatory things to know about when operating a business. The learning curve is very steep!
I am the sole decision maker, with all the risks, uncertainties, and the excitement that running a business entails. At times, I really feel the absence of a team behind me, which is such a big thing in consulting. It worries me that I am my own business’ limiting factor, in a way. That is a little scary.
How are you handling/addressing your biggest challenge?
I am networking and reaching out to other entrepreneurs, investing in my education, and networking in new professional associations. I have also contracted third party help on specific topics. My partner in life is also now a member of and a decision maker in our business; we share the responsibility and risk.
I keep learning and expanding my network. This is how I’m managing my biggest fear of limitation, and of not thinking big enough for the business.
What advice would you give to anybody thinking of pursuing a second act?
Start with your health. Preparing for a second act stems from optimum health which brings mental clarity, emotional stability, confident behavior, and physical endurance for that life-changing move.
First, become the healthiest version of yourself as possible. Change your eating habits, your lifestyle. Establish a robust self-care routine. Overcome any addictions, health issues, sleep disorder, pains, and aches—anything that makes you physically and mentally vulnerable. Transitioning to a second act requires a LOT of energy so good habits are in order, not just hard work.
Once your health is in order, put your personal finances in order. I recommend the book “On My Own Two Feet” by Harvard graduate and Certified Financial Analyst Manisha Thakor for interesting insights on the matter.
Then prepare your 10, 5, 1-3 years business plan, plan your transition and execute your plan.
Emma, thanks so much for opening up and sharing your inspiring story with me and our fellow Second Breakers. I wish you continuing success and health in your second act!
(Photos by Matthew Pecora)