A lot has happened in a decade.
Left: during my PhD. I quit my job to become a full-time student because I wanted to know if fibre does more than just clean your bowels out 💩. Totally legit. Quitting my job to answer an insane curiosity. My boss at the time didn't know the answer. And I was the source of technical information for the company. So if he didn't know, and I didn't know, and it looked like no one else in the world knew, there's only one thing to do: go find out yourself. I set out to look at the role of dietary fibre on controlling the release and absorption of polyphenols (kind of like antioxidants, but with range of different activities) during the digestive journey, and how processing may affect that. Not knowing how tricky this was going to be. No one had done it before because of the sheer complexity. Chemistry, microbiology, plant biology, physiology, anatomy... stuff I'm not innately good at from a place of boredom more than lack of brains. Leaving a fulltime job to become a fulltime student is no easy feat. I had bills. Big bills. Mortgage related bills. I sat with my dad & we worked out I could afford my bills with 100% of my stipend. Poor uni student. But I managed all my responsibilities.
Challenging is an understatement. I remember going to see my supervisors time and time again with my data that I had NO IDEA what it meant... They would/should know, right? Not quite. More times than we could count my data contradicted everything that we thought, what was published... I eventually turned to stain removal detergents, forensic artwork testing and cotton vs linen shirts to work out what was going on. Yeah thinking outside of the box. In the process, I put myself in time out - twice. Put my PhD on hold to get my head back. My grandma died a year in. I questioned the validity of what I was doing. I questioned the validity of myself. I technically "quit" - three times. But I don't quit in reality. My parents are not enablers of self-pity, selfishness or defeat. That's just how I'm hardwired. While I may not naturally be "good" at chemistry, my passion drove me. Drives me. To be good. To become good.
Passion drives me to good for a bigger purpose.
While I've never outgrown the curiousity stage of life that toddlers have, passion drives me. Passion to do good for a bigger purpose. Sure we found out that dietary fibre is more than just a bowel cleaner. And nutrients in fruits and veggies are not the same amount that we absorb in our bodies absorb. And that processing waste is not actually waste, but could be a high value healthifying ingredient. All cool technical discoveries. But this stemmed from an underlying desire to help EVERYONE (not just those who can afford to see a nutritionist or dietitian) improve their health, by improving our food supply AND decreasing food waste. Essentially get more out of the food we eat. Rather than just DO a job and have a career, I've always aimed to USE my job and career for a greater purpose. Do vs USE. There is a difference.
Rather than just DO a job and have a career, I've always aimed to USE my job and career for a greater purpose.
Career wise, I won: Assoc Professor, Research Fellowship, Tenured Lecturer. Every one with a PhD lives for this. To get a research fellowship. To get tenure. To become a Professor. Yeah... I did all by the age of 32. But I like research to be applied. To be used in the real world. I was headhunted for two national industry roles. Living the life. 4 cities. 😉.
Without aiming for it, I became the 1st food scientist to win the National Fresh Science Award. Basically I was named the leading young scientist and science communicator in Australia. Receiving that email, I couldn't believe it. Me? My research? Say what? I just look at waste and fibre... like for real?
I received the inaugural recipient of the Nutrition Society of Australia's Nutrition and Dietary Fibre Research Excellence award. Floored.
And then was named one of the top 20 Future Leaders in Food Innovation to watch. Humbled.
Truthfully - I don't aim for awards. Or likes. Or followers.
Purpose (and curiousity) is what drive me.
According to everyone, I was winning. Impressive.
But what you didn't know:
Deaf. Brain bleeding. Weekly injections. 16 tablets/day. Hearing after 20 mths, but a worn out body. Pneumonia. Collapsed lungs. ER.
Like for real: give me a break, life...
Watch the clip below for more details on this... it's not something you can articulate in writing... it's words that have to be spoken. And heard.
Like for real: give me a break, life...
Life gave me a break: Redundancy.
Out of the blue. With no backup plan.
While I knew it wasn't about me personally (my division had be sold to another company and my role became redundant), it was tough. I took it personally. For the first time, I had no plan. I was not in control.
I'll talk about that lesson another time.
Truthfully we're all fighting battles - of some description - but we've become experts at putting up a mask and pretending we've got it altogether. If pretending was an Olympic sport, I win gold medal. You probably shouldn't work when your brain is damaged... but I did. Or at the very least, you should at slow down and give yourself a break. But I didn't. For a title. For accolades. For others. To meet ridiculous self-imposed expectations. To my own detriment. I lost my value of who I was. I gave my value away to someone else. My assailant. My employer. My brand. My fears.
I held the facade together, while I was worked harder to keep my head working (in my case literally working). But you can't work when you can't breathe. Suffocation is not fun. Just don't.
And you definitely are NOT working when your division is sold and your role is not longer needed...
That's life. It's what you make of the curveballs thrown at you that counts.
Each win came with a twist.
Each win came with a twist.
I didn't realise that my value had mixed up with "what I do". I questioned "Why me? Where's God?" And God's been here showing me that greatness is not in status or titles. It's not in my personal brand or perceived reputation. It's not salary or what you own. It's not in what brand of clothes I wear or what university I study at. Greatness is courage to get up, again. No masks, authentic to me. There are times when rejection may actually be protection. Or realignment to the right purpose. And the right people.
You lose your power when you give your value away to another. Stop. Read that line. Again. (And tweet that).
Rejection may actually be protection or realignment.
You lose your power when you give your value away to another.
Right: Influencer to consumers, gov, food industry. All sectors, all foods, from paddock to 💩. I speak and I keynote. Here's the deal: I hated public speaking. Ask any of my teachers and they'll tell you speaking was definitely not my speciality. I would be so nervous, I'd literally shake. Today I still get nerves. But as a wise mentor told me, it's healthy - it shows you care and are focused. Last year, I started to be referred to as "a motivational speaker" - something I had not ever thought I was. I'm just Anneline: the glass is always full me (some liquid, some gas, completely full). But okay, if I can inspire someone to get back up again or think differently or do differently, mission accomplished.
2020 Highlight: Speaking at an International Women's day event to high school girls on What Greatness Really Means.
Don't lose yourself in the process.