Meet the #motherhustlers: Amanda Malachesky

Functional Nutrition Coach Amanda Malachesky helps people who are confused and struggling with complex or chronic health complaints by finding their root causes and teaching them to listen to their bodies in a new way, so they can get back to living.

When her lifelong health issues took a sudden turn for the worse after the loss of her best friend to cancer, she had to unearth the root causes of her condition herself, because conventional medicine failed to offer anything useful.

She is the owner of Confluence Nutrition, a virtual Functional Nutrition Clinic, and works one-on-one and in online group programs to help people reclaim their powerful role at the helm of their own medical care so they can reclaim their life. She is trained as a Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner, a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, and an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She is also a Certified Massage Therapist.

When not helping clients, you can find Amanda unplugged in the remote corners of California, tracking animals and birds, playing music and singing with a band and choral group, and spending time with her husband and two beautiful kids.

 

Tell us about yourself, your business, and how you got started!

I’ve always been guided by an unseen hand and my inner compass. Every landmark change in my life has presented me with a choice:

Do I accept this gift, this signpost in my path, and take a leap?

Or do I ignore it, and keep going how it’s always been?

I challenge myself to remain open to this guidance. I especially like to invite it when I wander the stacks of a bookstore, asking myself, “What is the information I most need to find now?”

Twenty years ago, I randomly chose a book off the shelf in a Barnes & Noble store while visiting family.

It was called Poisoning Our Children: Surviving in a Toxic World, by Nancy Sokol Green. The author shared her journey with complex, chronic illness. Her doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her, her husband thought she was going crazy, and she nearly lost all hope of feeling better.

It turned out her body had become toxic, and she healed when she met a doctor who could help her unravel her case.

Her story moved me because it seemed so unfair: in her darkest moment, no one believed that her illness was real when she KNEW that something definable wasn’t right, even if no one else could see it.

I didn’t know then that I would be called to face this same challenge 20 years later, and that this challenge would define my future career. But finding this book was a signpost moment.

When my own mysterious and complex health problems emerged in my late 30s, I ALSO knew there was something really wrong, but my doctor couldn’t figure out what, except for a label that only marginally explained the daily discomfort and fear I was experiencing.

As I dove into learning about how to heal myself, it was powerfully plain to me that there was a profound need to provide the information I was learning to the public, and also provide the kind of help that I wish I had access to. It was truly a calling.

So I got trained and used myself as my own first client. This was the beginning of it all.

What inspired you to start your own business?

Besides my calling that was as unavoidable as anything, I have lived in an extremely rural and geographically isolated area in northern California for 15 years. For most of those years, I have been clear that if I wanted to make a professional income, I would need to create my own path and my own business. It’s not an option at this time for me to just “take a job” with an outside employer.

So when I learned about online coaching as a way to do this, I thought, “I can do that”. I’m still unraveling HOW to do it, but it’s the best way for me to do what I love, and to bring the message I have to share to the world, while also preserving my freedom and my rural lifestyle.

What struggles do you face when it comes to balancing your work and family and how do you deal with them?

Both my kids are in school full time, since last year, and this has allowed me to devote 6 hours a day to my career. (My youngest is in 1st grade this year.) But I still struggle with having enough time to devote to all the development I need to do, and it’s hard to stop working when my kids come home from school. I often don’t and keep working until dinner, and then I feel guilty because especially my younger child still wants to play with me. I’m also often quite tired at the end of the day, due to working hard AND some of my ongoing health issues.

To deal with this, I continue to work on stopping at 4 pm so I have an hour or so to hang out with my kids before I need to cook dinner. And then sometimes they help me cook dinner as well.

I also am fierce about my self-care. Daily walks, going to bed early, not using my screen after dinnertime, eating well, not skipping meals. I HAVE to take good care of myself. If I don’t, then I can’t do my work OR care for my family well.

I also don’t work on the weekends, unless the kids aren’t around. I work hard to reserve those days for my family and our community, which is very connected, active, and has a lot of events and gatherings. I’m sure this helps me stay healthy and happy as well.

What do you think is the secret to raising a healthy business and a healthy family?

Slow and steady win the race…in the beginning, I had a misguided perception of project creation and production. Now I map things out, and allow the space things need, to do them right. This isn’t so different with parenting and marriage. I’m playing a long game. I lay foundations, and build on them, rather than put out fires!

What is one piece of advice you could give to help other mompreneurs out?

Entrepreneurship is a wild road. There are so many ups and downs. Some people hit it right out of the gate, but most of us have to do some long, hard work to get where we want to go. I’m definitely not where I’d like to be yet, but the last 6 months I have been laying the foundation. You can’t skip this part. And I can see that it’s going to bloom. We need to trust in this and keep taking action and doing the real work. No shortcuts!

What words of encouragement do you have for your fellow mompreneurs?

The business we are creating is super important, but our family is even more important. When your kids or partner is sick, we often have to derail our own plans. But the business, in most cases, will wait. We either have to keep working with what we have or rearrange everything to make it work.

I truly feel that I’m a better person and better role model being a business owner. My kids get to see me working hard for something I believe in. They’re learning how hard it is to make money, and how you have to work for it. They get to see me being creative, dedicated, and challenged. But when my family needs me, I will put aside what I can temporarily, do what I can with what I’ve got, and come back to it when I can. And in most cases, it’s fine.

Do you have any great / inspiring stories from your own experience that you would like to share?

My family broke apart in tragedy when I was young…my parents both died in a small airplane accident when I was 9 years old. My brother and I went to live with relatives who didn’t treat us well. These intense challenges were very stressful, and probably have a role in the development of my health challenges.

But when life gives me lemons, I make lemonade. It hasn’t always been an easy road, and there have been many dark periods, and I have had to confront demons and negative thought patterns, and ugly ways of being that were reactions to my past that I had to rise from.

But this major event and all the other challenges have uniquely qualified me to do what I do. I have walked through fire and walked a long, lonely road, and that has given me the depth of experience and intimate understanding of pain and suffering that allows me to sit without discomfort with other people who are struggling.

I learn so much from each and every client, and I find that when they share their own suffering, the burden of it becomes a little less. I have had many such angels on my own path, and now I have emerged as a grounding rod for others.

I wouldn’t say that I would have consciously chosen this road, or that I’m glad these things happened, but they have made me who I am, and led to this life I live, with a beautiful family, and a business I’m passionate about, and for that, I’m profoundly grateful.

Any fun facts you want to share?

I can sing a mean version of Bill Withers’ Use Me on stage because I’m a #motherhustler

Where you can find Amanda:

Learn more about Amanda and her business over at Confluence Nutrition and hang out with her on Facebook and Twitter!

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