I established my first business in 1990 when I was in third year of university. The big recession was on the horizon and jobs were scarce. As the first generation of university attendees in my family, there was no savings for school – my parents helped where they could, but I always had two or three jobs while at studying. Summer break was coming so I was casting around for a full-time job to supplement my part-time work and I spied an ad in the local paper – “Researcher needed.” The lovely senior researchers at the local District Health Council were willing to hire me; all I needed was a GST number. Yes, it was THAT long ago.

Eileen and Judith became my first business mentors – they believed in my abilities as a researcher, writer and facilitator, and under their wing, I did all kinds of things I never thought I’d be able to do. Self-employment was the safe harbour for me during the 1990s recession, and became my way forward upon graduation and for almost my entire career thus far.

Fast forward to today and I now realize that after 28 years in business, I know a thing or two about staying on track. In some ways, this believe is embedded in the approach I take to all my coaching initiatives, and it rests on a notion called the “social determinants of health.”

Big title, but for our purposes, I’ll call it “A Businesswoman’s Path to Health.” To my mind, it points to the need for inclusive balance in how you approach your work. What I mean by this is: what is it that you need in order to stay on track in all parts of your life?

As I start this conversation with you, I would suggest a few buckets that I’ll start with: business savvy (focusing on working both on and in your business as needed for you); personal financial savvy (household budgeting and saving for future needs like retirement, your kids schooling or annual vacations, whatever is on your horizon); attention to your health (time for self-care and to tend to your important relationships); and attention to your spiritual self (whatever that looks like for you).

I welcome your thoughts on this topic – what does your path to health look like? Have I missed any big bucket? And in the coming months, as time permits, I’ll explore a bit about each of the buckets I’ve outlined here. I hope you’ll join me as I go exploring.

Trudy Chapman is President of Chapman Coaching Inc. She is an executive and life coach in Ottawa, ON.