A Dream Come True: When Your Calling Finds You

Last year when I was in San Diego soaking in the final moments of the WELCOA conference after being honored as their Top Health Promotion Professional, I pulled out my journal.

I had one page left and decided to use it to list a few of my intentions and goals for the coming year. At the top of the page, I felt compelled to write this:


I closed the journal, returned home, and stowed it away in a drawer.

And then it happened.

I received a call from WELCOA in August of 2015 and was invited to speak at their 2016 summit in Orlando!

I hadn’t done anything intentional to “make it happen.” I hadn’t pushed for it. I wasn’t trying. I hadn’t even asked WELCOA if I could¬†present¬†or told them I was interested.¬†I had simply put my intention on paper.

And my calling found me.

I was asked to speak about eating in a way that was refreshing, non-prescriptive, and welcoming. I couldn’t believe my dream was becoming a reality.

I knew I needed to keep the message simple yet compelling.¬†I wanted to invite people to be curious about food and their bodies, not to judge them or “tell” them what to do.¬†One of my goals and life missions is to reframe the conversation around food to move away from fear, shame, guilt and judgement and toward¬†something that is inspiring, empowering, uplifting, positive, encouraging and supportive.

As I geared up for the presentation, my dad, who is one of my greatest mentors in business and life, sent me this image because he knows how significant the symbol of a butterfly has been to me lately.


I had to let that one soak in.

What if he was right?

What if it was true?

What if I was ready?

As I transitioned from, “I think I can/ Can I really?/ Why me?/ Who am I to do this?” to¬†“I’ve got this/ I can do it/ I was born for this!”¬†in the days leading up to the presentation, a sense of peace came over me.

Reading this passage from my devotional two days before my presentation was all the assurance I needed to know I would be given what I needed to do what I was called to do. I couldn’t help but feel as though the words had been written just for me:


I was humbled and encouraged by what I read.

“You have no reason to be afraid, Rachel.”

“I’ve got you.”

The morning of the presentation, I opened a gift and card from my husband, Bill, who knows my heart better than anyone. It was just the lift I needed to start the day. Another butterfly…and a pretty awesome card.

Bill gifts

It was as though everything and everyone around me was supporting me, lifting me up, and speaking truth to me.

In that moment, I knew I was ready.

As I approached the stage on Tuesday morning, my¬†eagerness¬†turned into an¬†adrenaline rush that flooded my body with a powerful surge of energy¬†I couldn’t explain. I could feel the¬†power of the dozens of people who were praying for me and wishing me well back in Baltimore and in that room.

For the next hour, I delivered a message of hope, encouragement and life to a room of nearly 400 of my peers and colleagues. We had the opportunity to connect, savor, laugh and be transformed by the truth about food.

What a privilege it was, a moment I will never forget.


I felt so alive. 








I truly felt like the best, most authentic version of myself and was aligned in every way with the core desired feelings I declared at the beginning of 2016.


When my time was up, I stepped down from the stage, realizing that what I had just done was a challenging but defining step along my journey.

I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of my family, friends, colleagues,¬†coworkers, the folks at the Institute for Integrative Health, and my church community.¬†Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you did to prepare me for this moment.

I’m so grateful.

Thank you to everyone at the conference¬†who was kind enough to offer words of affirmation to me¬†throughout the week. That is my #1 love language, so I was honored and humbled by the number of kind and thoughtful things people said. “Authentic,” “captivating,” “inspiring,” and “real.” Your words spoke to my heart and are what I aspire to do and who I strive¬†to be.

One of the questions that excited me most was whether or not I’ve ever considered giving a TED Talk. Yes! Yes, I have. It’s one of the items on my new goal list. I believe it will happen one day, so I will remain open.

I will continue to pursue what makes me feel most alive.

I will surround myself with people who lift me up and speak truth to me.

I will dream even bigger dreams and believe they are possible.

My calling will find me once again, just as yours will find you.

Trust that if you are called, you will be equipped.

All you have to do is be patient, be open and listen.

And be ready for your time to fly.

My WELCOA Moment: A Day I Will Never Forget

Each of us has days in our lives that we’ll remember forever.¬†

Tuesday, March 31st was one of those days for me.

In February, I found out that I had been named the Top Health Promotion Professional in the U.S. by the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA).

I was overjoyed and shocked when I got the news and am pretty sure I didn’t stop smiling for about a week!

welcoa plaque

Doing the work that I do¬†is rewarding in and of itself because I’m put in a position on an almost daily basis to impact people’s lives for the better and to give them hope that they can be well.

A super cool perk that was packaged with the award was a trip to San Diego to attend WELCOA’s annual summit, which brings together leaders in our field and serves as a source of inspiration, energy, and community each time I come.

On the second day of the summit, I had the privilege and opportunity of delivering an acceptance speech to nearly 400 of my peers, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

welcoa stage

I had spent several weeks working on what I wanted to say, crafting the words based on inspirations that came to me first thing in the morning, on a run, after conversations with my dad, and even in the midst of reflecting on what other speakers shared during the conference.

Our message was essentially the same: Tell your story. Stories are powerful.

As Ryan called me up on stage, I was so present to that moment and just took in everything I could.¬†You know¬†you’re doing what you’re meant to do when you feel so alive and excited you could burst with joy, and that is how I felt in this moment.

I was humbled by the kind words complete strangers, colleagues, and industry leaders shared with me afterwards. Several people commented that I should speak at a future WELCOA conference.

Wouldn’t that be the coolest?! ūüôā

I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude for being given this honor and so humbled that what I had to say meant something to and touched so many people.

Some people wait their whole lives to feel how I felt on Tuesday. 

At the beginning of this year, I declared that I wanted to FEEL five things:


The experience I had at the WELCOA Summit gave me the opportunity to feel all of them at once.

I felt so alive. 

I can hardly put into words how incredibly special and meaningful this experience has been for me.

It was a feeling, a moment, and a day that I will never forget, and for that, I am grateful.

Do you want to bring health and wellbeing to your workplace? If you want to learn more about how I can help, including leadership training and interactive health and nutrition workshops, contact me at rachel@silbs.com.

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