From Corporate CEO to High Profile Health Coach | Q&A with Samantha Jackson

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From Corporate CEO to High Profile Health Coach | Q&A with Samantha Jackson - 30 October 2018

From Corporate CEO to High Profile Health Coach | Q&A with Samantha Jackson

Samantha Jackson has lived a life of bravery. From surviving a life-threatening illness aged 15 and then going on to complete year 12 the same year, to rising through a successful corporate career to the height of CEO, without ever stepping foot on a university campus. Sam has transitioned from leading multi-million dollar corporate entities to coaching people in their health and nutrition. She has kept with the theme of bravery, enlisting Braveheart Mel Gibson himself as one of her most recent clients.

Here Samantha talks to us about transitioning from CEO to Health Coach, being truly healthy and working with Mel Gibson.

You have lived a life of bravery, from surviving a life-threatening illness to then being told that you would never live a 'normal' life. How did you find the strength to overcome these challenges?

I believe that to a great extent, our strength comes from within us. It’s the voice we choose to listen to inside our head. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we can, sometimes we tell ourselves that we can’t. Sometimes we believe we’re weak and other times our inner voice tells us we’re as tough as nails!  It’s all in our own heads and hearts, and that’s something I have always relied on. I choose to make the voices that tell me I’m tough, I’m strong, I’m capable and I’m ready for action much louder than the lonely voice of doubt.

You transitioned from leading multi-million dollar corporate entities to coaching people in health and nutrition. Why did you change direction?

I have always been ambitious and the goal of holding high-level positions in massive companies was society’s measure of success – and one that I conformed to for a long time. I kept chasing the next level, thinking ‘I’ll be settled when I reach Executive Manager. I’ll be happy when I get to COO. I’ll stay here when I get to CEO. When I got to the grand height of CEO I realised that I wasn’t actually helping anyone anymore. I couldn’t reach the people I actually wanted to work with as effectively as I wanted to from that level. 

It wasn’t until my husband and I were on a holiday around the US and Canada that I realised that I didn’t want to go back to work in those positions anymore. I wanted to be more hands-on with people where it really mattered. It took me a while to find my feet, but my passion for being in my own best health seemed to have been quite contagious through my corporate years. So Health Coaching became a natural progression into a business for me.  Nowadays I’ve ditched the grand titles and tend to work happily behind the scenes –  I’m happy for my clients to be the ones to make noise about what I do!

What does it mean to be truly healthy?

For me, health isn’t about your BMI and ticking boxes on charts. It’s also not just about the absence of disease. I believe that health, true health, is about your general sense of vitality, energy and wellbeing. If you are in your best health you have the energy to get through your day without gasping for a coffee and chocolate at 3 pm. You sleep well and wake up refreshed, ready to start your day (even if you have to do something you’re not really looking forward to). You’re mentally prepared to handle the ups and downs that your day throws at you, and when you look in the mirror someone that you like smiles back at you. Our health is our greatest capital asset, and one that we can leverage to not only increase our longevity but to actually live well for the longest time possible.

What do people often get wrong when focusing on their health?

The internet has a lot to answer for here! There are so many fad diets out there with promises of easy and rapid weight loss – it’s actually quite dangerous! One of the flags I like to wave the highest is around optimising body composition rather than causing arbitrary weight loss. For example, many 'diets' that promote rapid and easy weight loss work because they’re causing a person to lose muscle – particularly when single nutrient elimination is involved. Then when they stop that 'diet' all the weight (plus some!) comes back.

Instead, when we follow a lifestyle that increases muscle and reduces fat we will notice that the weight on the scales doesn’t change much but the centimetres tell a different story. When that is happening to your body it’s time to celebrate! I would love to see people ditch the diet and throw away the scales - find a sustainable, long-term way of eating and exercising that balances the blood sugar throughout the day, increases energy and assists in gaining or maintaining an optimal muscle/fat composition. 

No more diets, please!

Tell us about your work with Mel Gibson?

Firstly, I chose to listen to the voice in my head that told me I could help someone like him even though he has access to the world's best doctors, nutritionists and specialists at his fingertips! I decided to be confident and it definitely paid off! I then showed him how not to diet. I wrote a program for him that had him eating more and exercising less (but more effectively). His energy levels increased, his centimetres dropped significantly, he gained muscle and lost fat. At first, he was sceptical about achieving these outcomes but I knew he would accomplish them if he did what I asked him to do. Mel is an amazing man who decided to throw himself into an eight-week program with me wholeheartedly. He was fully invested and committed to changing his health and was 100% compliant – even when travelling or attending events. 

I can’t speak highly enough of his integrity throughout our time together. After the eight weeks, and him losing 27cm's just from his waist measurement alone, I’m pleased and privileged to say we’re still working on his health. I take a ‘continuous improvement’ view rather than a 'best practice' one. We’re still in touch daily, talking all things health, fitness and his general wellness.


Discover all about Samantha here.

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