When asked about the age of “The FlipSide,” my immediate response is 2 ½ years, reflecting its formal incorporation date. However, in retrospect, the truth is that this company has been in the making for more than 25 years!

I have been reluctant to make The FlipSide solely about me (or Rosana, for that matter), but the reality is that, unless you know us and each of our stories, The FlipSide will be just a “company” with a little human component.

So, it is time to share a bit of my story, and if you know just a little about me, I am ready to inject some humor into it!

Law School # 1

I have many flaws, but being disorganized or undisciplined is not one of them! If you ask any of my Elementary and High School friends, they will tell you that I wouldn’t agree to any plan unless I could check my “agenda”! I took that discipline to Law School, where I was (perhaps a little too much) military with my time. In the absence of cell phones (yes, I am THAT old), I would give very clear instructions in my house that I was “not available” for specific periods while I was studying, in case someone called. I was by no means perfect in keeping to my structure… and you would find me easily singing any Broadway show tune in the middle of my readings using my dad’s CD player (remember those?) in his study!

Master # 1

After I graduated, I took this structure to my Master’s at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. There, the structure changed (as it always does), and it had to be adapted to a new country and new friends. It was during this year that I also discovered that drinking coffee AND eating chocolate-covered coffee beans at the same time is NOT a great combo… that you can read a book while on the treadmill or elliptical but it is very hard to highlight any sections… that sleeping less than 6 hours is not the best idea when you have to be attentive in class… that eating a great salad followed by a Hershey’s cookies and mint bar was a total disaster, and finally, that having great friends to turn to when needed was something worth investing time in!

The Lawyer in Action and Law School and Master # 2

I returned to Venezuela to pursue my law career, joined an amazing law firm, worked the usual long hours, docketed as many hours as humanly possible, taught a Tax course at the University, got married, and had two amazing kids. Things looked great, and then in 1998, Venezuela took a turn. Safety became a constant source of concern, and with that in mind, in 2007 my husband and I decided to move countries… Canada opened its doors, and we took the opportunity without looking back for a second!

All of a sudden, we found ourselves in a new country (and we still love winter, if you are wondering), with no friends, and two kids aged 4 and 6… my job at a Bay Street law firm came with a price: I needed to get requalified in Ontario, and back then, the path to do so was not really clear. It was time to take my mastered organizational skills and put them to the test! They needed to be adjusted to this new reality.

I needed to reach billable hour goals, I enrolled in (another) Master’s in Osgoode as part of the path to get requalified, praying daily that it would work, commuted daily, and did everything else in between.  I then had to take 4 NCA  (National Committee on Accreditation, for those wondering) exams followed by the BAR exams.  And if you are wondering where my husband was during that time… well, he was doing the same thing but instead of in the law field, he was in the insurance field… talk about being busy!  Rep Soccer and Competitive gymnastics filled our nights and weekends with our kids and did I mention that to add to this equation I ran 7 marathons (terribly bad, but still…)?

My takeaways

But it was during these convoluted times that certain tools and techniques became my norm. Some of them I knew, some I had to perfect, some I had to learn, and some others were simply the result of intuition:

I was forced to keep strict use of my time, and I went to extreme measures to do so! Every minute of my day had a purpose. Was it perfect? Not by any means, but it helped.

I tried to pay some attention to my sleep, but at that time even getting full 6 hours was a luxury. I knew that sleeping was needed, I just didn’t know how or why it was so important.

Exercise was a must to keep my mind in check! The marathon training gave me a structure that allowed me to simply “do” rather than “think”. It also made me curious about things such as nutrition, which, by the way, I failed at many times… and is still a work in progress (I cannot count the amount of Gatorade that I drank and Gu Gels with caffeine that I ingested!…).

I built a new circle of friends that today remain a chosen family in this country and which ratified how important social connection is for our mental fitness.

I had to look for interesting ways of managing my stress, which remained sky-high during those years. I tried many things, some of which I still do (such as prayer and exercise) and others that didn’t work for me.

The beginning…again…

My story ends with a requalification that was completed 3 years after starting the process, a fun career as a lawyer in the mining industry (which I loved and still love), and of course, when the path seemed straightforward and finally calmed, I decided to certify as a Health and Nutrition Coach and founded The FlipSide with Rosana!

I changed the straight path of my law career (as straight as it can be in the mining industry) for the crazy and unstable world of entrepreneurship where, once again, my tools and techniques are being put constantly to the test, but this time, I have the knowledge and experience to make them work for me and, with The FlipSide, I hope they can work for you as well!

What is my approach to productivity and health? That is the topic of my next article! Stay tuned!