WTF is a Lifestyle Consultant?

I don’t know about you, but as a kid, I always imagined that I would go through college, find a steady career, have kids and live happily ever after.  So when my post-college life started to progress in all sorts of directions, I wasn’t sure how to feel. Most of society dictates that you shouldn’t really switch career fields, let alone do it multiple times. I’m not an indecisive person; I have certainly enjoyed most everything I’ve done in my life, but change gradually kept happening and my career path kept evolving until I had seemingly been all over the place.

Let’s start at the beginning. Ten years ago, I followed my adolescent dream and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. This led to a design job where the company lunchroom was worse than a scene out of the movie “Mean Girls.” No, I’m not kidding. After feeling burnt out on witnessing so much fashion drama, I left design and began a job in retail management.

Because of my background and the fact that I admittedly don’t shut up, I excelled as a manager as well as a sales person. I was fortunate to be part of a team that operated as a well-oiled machine and I was loving it.

On the side, I also was working on my own fashion line, you know, just in time for the economy to take a royal nosedive and eventually that was that. The bright side though, was that I was learning to manage money and how to talk to business people. From there, I started working as a Visual Merchandising Manager. So it became my job to subliminally appeal to customers through presentation and styling. How a store looked was my responsibility and I LOVED it.

During this time, I started boxing after work almost every day and not only was I good at it, I LOVED IT! Are you starting to see the pattern here? Plus, I started learning about nutrition and I lost weight that I had been trying to lose for quite a while. Eventually, I got invited to teach boxing classes at the gym and I started to share my health journey with people who wanted to do the same. I wound up leaving fashion altogether and became a personal trainer because I felt a desire to do more to help people than just focus on clothing.

Later on, the fitness club I worked for was bought out and I had to get back into retail. However this time I landed in the “Home” sector (why not add another feather in my cap?). Now, instead of setting up clothing, I was setting up furniture and décor to create an environment.

Fast forward to last year and the birth of my daughter. When my family and I moved right before she was born, my company couldn’t transfer me (that’s a story for another blog post). So there I was, no more full-time income, but all of this experience and passion for so many things. While I was on maternity leave, I went to classes and got my real estate license—another feather I wanted in my cap.

Phew! Are you still with me?

If you asked me to name one thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life that would make me happy and not feel like work, I couldn’t do it. Not because I wouldn’t prefer that (my husband sure would too), but because I love so many things and I want to do it all.

Over time, I had conceptualized this idea of a business that would help change one’s lifestyle through health and fitness and then provide a makeover (let’s face it, the best part of watching the “The Biggest Loser” is the makeover). The makeover part could even include re-designing your living space or finding a new place to live. I could incorporate everything I loved and was good at, and help people along the way. People ask me all of the time about how to edit their wardrobe, how to improve their health, how the real estate market is doing, what to put in their home…why not combine all of my skillsets and make it a business?

My husband jokes that I’m finally living my dream because I have 100,000 roles to play and no day is the same. However, each day is certainly mine. I plan it how I want it and I work it, every day.

My point to sharing this is because I often was made to feel like I wasn’t “normal” because I couldn’t choose just one career path and live out my life on it. It took me a while but I have come to realize that I am a Jane-of-all-trades who is passionate about life in totality and I don’t need to apologize for that. Instead, I make it work for me.

I think a lot of us wind up so scared of financial distress or disrupting the status quo that we stay stuck in unfulfilling jobs. That can be paralyzing, especially if you’re not following your true passion(s). If there is one thing I’ve learned in my short life, it’s to be unapologetic but calculated in your moves and just go for it. Make life work for you, the way YOU want it to. I did, and will continue to until I discover what’s next. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

Melissa Oddo lives in Connecticut with her husband, Jeff, and her daughter, Olivia. She is a self-proclaimed "Jane-Of-All-Trades" who enjoys her professional career as a Lifestyle Consultant. When she isn't managing her business, she enjoys being outdoors, cooking, meeting new people, and a good Moscow Mule.