Stephanie was born in Gisborne and grew up at the idyllic Lawson Lodge Country Estate at Macedon, in country Victoria. Stephanie’ love of running started at the age of five and through her competitive streak and drive has competed in a number of prestigious events. A kind and nurturing person from an early age, the direction Stephanie has taken with her career and business, came about from her own issues related to food and ‘gut health’.
Stephanie is an athlete, award winning nurse (surgical specialities 5 years) and wellness speaker. Stephanie is dedicated to helping people improve their overall health and well-being and has started her business kindofmind.com.au, running events so her guests can have the tools to make healthy lifestyle choices.
How was growing up at Lawson’s Lodge?
Growing up there, was an absolute highlight in my life so far. I was born in Gisborne bush hospital and was a true country girl up until we moved to Essendon in 2001 to start at Lowther Hall Anglican grammar school. While I lived on the property, it was a deer farm. I often helped my dad and uncle to feed and take care of all the animals, this is possibly where my love of helping and looking after others really began.
When did your love of running begin?
I have competed as a sprinter since I was 5. I’m no Olympian but this doesn’t mean I don’t give it my all and try my hardest in every race and training session. I have always had a competitive streak, always wanting to try my best at everything I do and athletics is no exception. I love training, I have a great group of friends who I run with and we understand each other, only they can relate to getting up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning for a two hour intense training session. They understand that being healthy, the importance of exercise and keeping fit, is what makes us feel vibrant.
You graduated only four years ago, but you seem to have packed a lot into that relatively short time?
Yes, I graduated as a Nurse in 2013, and started working at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. At twenty one this was a confronting environment to step into. I looked after a lot of very unwell patients. I soon realised that I did have something special, my communication skills helped me to build therapeutic relationships with my patients and their families. I really enjoyed learning about the different types of cancer and what journey this disease was about to take them on.
I have also traveled to Africa to volunteer as a nurse. Little did I know they would place me in the midwifery and pediatrics ward in a remote village. I assisted with the delivery of around 20 babies to which I had no experience.
Returning from Africa I started working at The Alfred Hospital as I felt I wanted to specialise in surgical nursing and the Alfred is renowned to be the biggest and best teaching hospital in Melbourne. I am now a clinical nurse specialist in the field of surgical nursing and have been nominated for a Nursing Excellence award in patient focused care.
You already had a successful career as a nurse, what was the catalyst for starting your business Kind of Mind?
I often have this thought! I know I’m a good nurse and I really enjoy what I do. I regularly think to myself, why don’t I just stick with nursing and remove all the extra stress that comes with a business.
Growing up I was always a ball of energy, having a go at anything that came my way. As a teenager in year 11 and 12, I was “healthy” with no diagnosed health concerns. However, I was always feeling lethargic, spaced out, occasionally depressed and had constant digestive issues. My confidence began to fade, I couldn’t exercise without requiring a sleep after it. My athletics was being affected, as any race would result in extreme digestive upset, stopping me from getting to my next race.
This was when my mum realised something wasn’t right and took me to a naturopath. The naturopath started to teach me about the importance of our gut health and the food we eat. Having these gut issues forced me to understand more about food and the effect it has on the body. I am passionate now to share this knowledge that I have acquired, with others.
When I attend wellness events, and listen to inspiring professionals, I feel whole and revived. I want others to experience this too. Combined with being so close to nature and fresh air, at Macedon, I get a sense of clarity and peace. I want everyone to feel this way.
I want people to realise how good they can feel, if they eat well and make the right lifestyle choices. I have learnt from friends and family that they think eating nourishing food can be difficult. I want to change this mentality! This is what I am passionate about and it is why Kindofmind.com.au is so important to me.
You are driven by a passion to help others improve their overall health and well-being, is this something you always had?
Growing up I have always had a passion for helping people and I always will. Whether it is as a nurse in a hospital, or as a wellness entrepreneur educating people on how to live a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Self-love and respect are the most attractive qualities a person can have. I really want my guests to leave my events having the tools to confidently make healthy lifestyle choices.
It sounds like you really know what you want to do? Has that always been the case?
I spoke with my mother about this particular question because in my mind I have always wanted to help others but I wasn’t sure if that was always the case. My mum’s response was, “you’ve always been a kind nurturing person wanting to help everyone, including animals.” Nursing has enabled me to do this, but through my personal experiences with my digestive health, I have developed an even stronger passion for health and wellness. If this business is a success and my events help my guests as I intend them to, I can see this venture as something I would love to do forever.
Who was your biggest support?
Being a busy person with work, athletics and Kind of Mind, I have needed a strong, honest support network to keep me sane. My parents have been fantastic throughout my whole life, always supporting me and giving me advice. My two closest female friends are living interstate. One, my cousin who lives in QLD has been an amazing support. She has been sick and unable to work, therefore has dedicated a lot time towards my ‘Day of Wellness’. Along with my parents, partner Jack, Sophia and Amy, I have a strong support network who have enabled me to continue juggling my commitments and as much as possible, avoid meltdowns. Individually they all have special, unique talents and have taught me so much throughout my life time.
A negative characteristic of mine is not wanting to ask for help. I don’t like putting people out and making them do more work. I have slowly learnt that I can’t do it all myself and I need to use my communication skills to ask for help when I need.
Therefore, I would say to all women out there, don’t be afraid to ask for help, use your family and friends, they love you and want to see you succeed.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to have more confidence and believe in my abilities so that when things become difficult I can stick it out. Also, to take opportunities when they arise. I was always scared of failing, I still am on occasion but now I know that I can learn from my mistakes.
Whilst taking opportunities when they arise is important, I think learning to say no is even more important. I’ve only recently learnt that saying no to someone else is saying yes to yourself. I have lived my whole life trying to please everyone else and make sure everyone else is happy.
Once starting my new business, I quickly learnt that this attitude was going to burn me out and I needed to focus on what I really wanted and prioritise my time.
As my grandpa always told me ‘you stay home, you get nothing’.
You can check out Stephanie’s Website Kind of Mind
or follow Kind of Mind Facebook Page or Instagram account
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