Dr Cheryl Kam is the Founder of Vibrant Life Academy and dedicates her time teaching others about Functional Medicine. She tells us how living as if you'll die next week is advice she loves, and how prioritising spiritual growth has helped her become a better leader.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
With some diligence and persistence and thankfully, some self-knowledge, I chose to study Medicine at King's College London. In the middle of med school, I found myself soul searching and even did a year at the Imperial Business School.
As an intern with the NHS, I quickly discovered hospital medicine was not for me and pursued a better lifestyle and fulfilling work as a private family physician. This turn led me to meet the patients, and hoards of chronic sub-health cases, falling through the cracks of conventional medicine and took me down a path I call history. I pursued a fellowship with the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine and found my true calling.
What kind of work does your role involve?
After 14 years of clinical experience, I was fired up to expand the impact of this work. I now dedicate my business running online courses teaching expert patients and practitioners how to apply functional medicine into their existing skillset and get rewarding incomes around this fulfilling work. I love every minute of it.
I am really in the business of human development. I teach, learn, coach, mentor and see a small number of patients. I also lead a team to help me carry out the work effectively and impactfully.
What gets you excited about your industry?
The wellness industry is dynamic and ever-changing. Post pandemic, it is changing even quicker than I had expected, and more people are awakening to the fact they need to look 'under the hood', where their health symptoms are concerned. I love that we now have the tools to be able to facilitate this discovery and awakening.
I also love how there are so many amazing people who want to change the health care terrain. These people are doing courageous things with their careers and life so they can make these changes.
I've done my best learning under naturopaths, nutritionists and expert patients (non-doctors) so, in my courses, there is no distinction whether you hold a medical degree or not. This is because I believe wellness and the concept of functional medicine can easily be understood by anyone, as long as they are willing to apply their hearts and minds to it. This makes for a vibrant discussion and cross-industry intelligence; making us all smarter for it.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Live as if you're going to die next week.
What, or who inspires you?
I don't compare my journey with anyone else. But I respect and try to learn from people I would consider fulfilled in both their professional and personal lives.
I am also incredibly inspired by the timeless biographies of saints, living and dead. Many of these saints lived in pure purpose and weren't tethered to the lifestyle and woes of the predominating culture of the time.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in the industry?
I network and discuss cases with my mentors and peers regularly and subscribe to various journals for key updates.
What was the most challenging project or assignment you've worked on?
I was a child of repeated domestic abuse. As much as I tried to forget it, it became apparent that my fears and false beliefs about myself were hindering my ability to achieve what I was called to, and parent the way I wanted to.
By prioritising my spiritual growth, I am now better able to lead others from a place of love and abundance, and usher others to seek the deeper help they need, beyond what I could ever have offered with a single medical degree.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I listen to music, have a cup of herbal tea, dance it off and spend time being silly with my young children.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
That everyone comes at it from a place of abundance, alliance and community. I'd wish that everyone could shed the false belief of scarcity which leads to selfishness and protecting one's turf, which ultimately brings harm to the very people and patients you started out wanting to change the world for.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
Untethered Soul, Michael A. Singer
The body keeps the score, Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
If you want to write, Brenda Ueland.
How should people connect with you?
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