Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Felicia Vaughn. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Alright, Felicia thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. What do you think it takes to be successful?
For me, to be successful means I must ‘believe in God’. Over the course of building my company, Wonderfully Well™, I have learned that my success is incumbent upon my ability to know that God is with me and helping me build this company. Believing in God was at one point a difficult task while on my wellness journey; however, over the course of rebuilding myself, building books and building a company I have learned how real He is in my life, and I am learning to let go of my plans, trust His plans and let Him lead the way. As I put my faith in Him, allowing Him to lead requires that I listen for and learn His direction, specification, and instruction to build my best work – whether that includes books or a business.
LEAD – For me, to allow Him to lead means I surrender my plans and allow Him to create His masterpiece. Surrender is simply the act of letting go and going in God’s flow. This entrepreneurial journey is a new one for me so I have imagined scenarios of how this process is supposed to go, but until you travel down a specific road, you can only imagine what you will encounter along the way. Reality doesn’t set in until I begin to do what I like to call “stepping into the know”. As I step into the reality of each task, I learn something new and move forward down a road leading to my Promised Land. I know I will encounter situations and circumstances along the way that are too big for me to handle alone; thus, surrendering to God’s divine direction and design for the vision helps me minimize my messes. And to minimize my mess is to minimize my stress which can accompany doing anything for the first time. I manage my stress, so it doesn’t manage me; thus, allowing me to make the best decisions possible and this allows me to continue building, successfully.
LISTEN – Listening for His direction means I move forward when I am on solid ground regarding my decisions. I don’t guess about “next steps”; however, if by some chance I make a misstep because I’m not perfect and sometimes I do misstep, then it is a blessing for me to know that I can circle back to where the mistake was made and either correct it or learn from it and keep moving forward.
LEARN – Learning is a normal part of embarking on a foreign task that feels like moving into unknown territory, but when I recognize that I am not failing but learning I can let go of my fears and doubts about trying something new and move ahead to see what the outcome will be. All I am doing is exploring new frontier and learning as I go. Because I am learning, I have found the wisdom in going at His pace and I am learning His pace is slower than what I expected. Going at the world’s pace causes burnout. It is easy to get all wound up by the task of building anything and if I am not careful, rushing through the process can cause me to stress and inflict unnecessary wounds on myself, my family, my customers, my co-workers, and those I interact with in my community. Taking the time to slow down and rest is important. People who get all wound up can wound people and their stress never leads to success.
So believing in God is my secret sauce; however, He is really no secret for those who truly believe.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
My love for wellness grew out of my desire to be well, again, after experience a devastating unexplainable illness in 2017 and realizing that my health and the aging process were no joking matter. As I worked my way back to good health, with God’s help, I was given the gift of many experiences which taught me lessons about how to do the Wonderfully Well™ work needed to be well that I wanted to share with others.
On my wellness journey, one day I sensed the need to volunteer at a nursing home as a means of building empathy and understanding the vulnerability which accompanies aging. While visiting one of the residents I could see that she was visibly shaken, so I asked her, “What’s wrong?” She conveyed to me that her nurse had been harsh with her during bath-time. I asked her, “Why did your caregiver treat you this way?” She told me the caregiver had a fight with her husband that morning before she came to work and took it out on her. The caregiver failed to show care and compassion by bringing her stress from home to her job. This troubled me and because of my personal experience with burnout as a caregiver, I instinctively knew that when we are not well, we can lose our ability to show genuine love and care.
Wonderfully Well™ is bringing evidenced-based, fun, and creative online health and wellness coaching and courses to caring leaders and their caring workforces in Healthcare, Long-Term Care, Pastoral Care, Self Legal Care, Hair Care/Skin Care, and Customer Care because we believe these industries represent The Care-Givers.
By bridging the gap between the sacred and science we’re helping caring business leaders do business as best and not business as usual. What is business as best? It is to show care throughout an organization and to allow that care to emerge when interacting with customers because to CARE should not be RARE. Wonderfully Well™ is about doing the work to care for yourself so that you can effectively care for others. It’s not magic. It’s management – managing our work and play in a way that allows us to live our lives well and extend that good care to others.
I am most pleased with recently passing my board exams to become a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach. This designation is the highest qualification for health and wellness coaches.
We’d love to hear the story of how you built up your social media audience? Any advice for those just starting to build their social media presence?
Dr. Brene’ Brown in her book The Gifts of Imperfection discusses how people who live wholeheartedly have what is called slash careers. Meaning they wear more than one hat and one of those hats could be considered playful in nature. In addition to being Chief Care Officer of Wonderfully Well ™, I am also a self-published poet/author of the Words of Wellness™ Poetry series which includes both poetry books and poetry journals; thus, I am building a social media audience for my books and business, simultaneously.
I am sure there are many who might be able to relate to this. You might be a dentist and a comedian; thus, you have a social media account for your dentistry and one for your comedy. There are times this feels like a juggling act, and I’ll confess my audience is not super huge for either my business or my books. However, I know my purpose for both. So, for those who have two social media accounts, my advice is to know your purpose for both and see where they might intersect. This helps me create one post that can be used for two purposes since the topics revolve around wellness and this saves me time.
For example, the dentist might use his comedy in his dentistry to keep their patients calm; thus, they can create a singular message which could apply to both hats, so to speak, to minimize the need for creating multiple posts. Creating one message with two purposes is like killing two birds with one stone (i.e. I hate that analogy because I love birds, but it makes my point).
Wonderfully Well™ is about doing work which leads to wellness and Words of Wellness™ is about using words which espouse hope and healing for the purpose of improve well-being; thus, wellness is the bridge that binds my business and my books together.
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?
Fifteen years ago, one phone call changed my life forever. Dad called and asked could he and momma move in. Aging, they needed more help. As a busy mom, caring for kids, and parents while working and completing my Ph.D., I found myself juggling their needs and ignoring my own, eventually, resulting in burnout, compassion fatigue, AND a new determination to be well. My physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health crisis led to a spiritual awakening and new eyes to perceive that a pivot was pivotal to my health and well-being.
With no implementation of a wellness intervention, my daily routine led to both physical and emotional fatigue. Physical fatigue, which has its own challenges, can in many cases be witnessed by the naked eye, but matters of the heart are harder to perceive. Becoming unwell, not even I could detect the small changes in my behavior and attitude indicating compassion fatigue had become my reality. Soon, I became bitter and resentful of my caregiving duties and I grew weary with each passing day.
Then one day a rushing storm of one ailment after another hit, and I felt like Dorothy in the land of Oz. I had always been healthy; however, aging accompanied with a lack of showing myself good care led me to a foreign world that felt lonely and frightening. My troubles included back pains, my sciatic nerve came out of its socket (Childbirth pains were better!), sharp, jaw-dropping pains in my feet, and shock-like sensations throughout my body accompanied with numbness, carpal tunnel symptoms, high blood pressure, panic attacks, depression, anxiety, hyperthyroidism which caused massive weight loss (No, this weight loss was not good!), heart issues, insomnia, hair loss, and loss of appetite. Each new ailment brought with it the fear that I might never become well. I saw specialist after specialist as I desperately searched for a diagnosis and a cure. Loss in my health led me to lose my ability to work. Eventually, I lost the one thing which counted most. I lost my faith and hope that I would see better days; however, I would soon learn each loss came to teach me that what I had really lost was sight of myself. I needed to go on a rescue mission to find me, again. My blessing is that I didn’t travel this journey alone. God went with me because only He knew how to rescue me from myself for myself.
One day it was storming outside, and my youngest son said, “Momma, it looks like old habits are being washed away.” I heard that as prophecy. My old habits had to be washed away, and new habits had to be embraced to maintain the Wonderfully Well™ work needed to help me be as well as possible. I have had to pivot by learning how to manage my miracles by building healthy habits. These new habits have resulted in my thyroid levels returning to normal, being taken off my high blood pressure medicine, even though I continue to monitor my blood pressure, so far so good. My hair has grown back, and the sharp pains and numbness, I once felt, have gone.
Today, loving and caring for myself are a priority and I continue to pivot when my body identifies there’s a need. I am much better at listening and doing the Wonderfully Well™ work it takes to become my version of Wonderfully Well™ .
- Website: www.wonderfullywell.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wonderfully_well/?hl=en
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgCbBasnPamkVke4Y7RSiDA
- Other: Words of Wellness™ (poetry books, audiobooks and journals) Linktree to Audible, Amazon, Instagram and YouTube channel – https://linktr.ee/wordsofwellness3
Photos by Michelle Debenport Branding Photography & Jazzella McKeel with JNM Creative Agency