Today’s Guest Post is written by Jen Haugen, RD, LD. She is a supermarket dietitian with Hy-Vee in Minnesota.
Courage, according to Merriam-Webster, is the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.
How do I define myself? I am a wife, mother and a registered dietitian – i.e. nutrition expert. I am a trailblazer, an innovator, a creative idea generator and a forever learner. I didn’t always have each of those qualities but my experiences I have sought out have pushed me to develop and evolve, and ultimately to grow.
Having courage has provided me with new opportunities more than I ever imagined. How can you get out and grow yourself too?
Get – If you want to get something, you have to put yourself out there. I did this when I graduated from college a semester early and wanted to preserve my knowledge before starting my internship. I wrote a proposal for a brand new position as a nutritionist in a supermarket – at that time unheard of having dietitians in supermarkets – and submitted it to the Austin Hy-Vee store director at the time. What happened next? I got the job and even though it was only for 10 months before my dietetic internship started, they were willing to take a chance on me which provided a tremendously valuable experience and a huge confidence boost. This innovation started the discussion to put more dietitians in stores.
Out – You must move out of your comfort zone if you want to grow. After my internship, I was offered a job as a relief clinical dietitian, which to most people isn’t a comfortable position because you get to learn many (I knew 17 at the time) different medical specialties to be able to cover other dietitians on their days off. Fear invoking and hard work? Yes. Built and broadened my knowledge base and skills? YES! I wouldn’t have traded that position for anything.
And – You are only limited in your current position if you think you are. What is the AND in your life that you can strive for? For me, the AND is media and nutrition communications. I dabbled in this in 2008 for the first time by making myself available to local public television (without media training). I decided to take the plunge and be a part of a Mayo Clinic DVD, not my best performance in front of a camera, but I learned a ton through the process. I wanted to make weekly television appearances a part of my supermarket position and I am now going on three years of solid segments each week on ABC 6 News. I also worked with a life coach to determine my life goals and priorities and made another dream come true a year ago by starting my blog, where I feature ways to help families grow food together, shop for food together, cook and eat together.
Grow – Make connections, dream about what you want to accomplish and then make it happen. When I was hired in my current position as a supermarket dietitian in 2008, my store director asked me “What is your dream to accomplish at this store if you get this job?” I told him I wanted a garden for kids on store property to help them learn how to grow their own food, cook with it and ultimately learn to love those fruits and vegetables. My vision came to life in spring of 2011 and has gained national attention for being the first of its kind. Here’s the full story of Sprouts.
I would love to know how this post inspired you and to have you visit my blog. How you define yourself now is what shapes your future. What can you do now to get out and grow?
Jen Haugen, RD, LD is a Down-to-Earth Dietitian who loves to write about practical ways for families to live healthier lives through the foods they grow together, shop for together, cook and eat together. You can follow her at her blog at http://JenHaugenRD.wordpress.com.