| SHARNA MCELLIGOTT |
I connected with Sharna a few years ago through Instagram, when we were both studying nutrition. I was really drawn to her and felt inspired by her positive attitude and outlook on life. I admire her for the same reasons she admires others, in her words: “it is so attractive watching women take control of their life and owning their situation.” She totally owns it! Not only has she created a life and environment for herself where she can survive, but one where she can truly thrive. You can’t help but feel empowered by Sharna- she’s a beautiful example of how being your own unique self and following YOUR passion, rather than following the crowd, leads to a loving and enjoyable life.
Sharna McElligott is a Vegan Cake Designer and the brains behind The Nourishing Baker. While studying Nutritional Medicine in Sydney in 2013 she fell ill with the chronic illness M.E/Myalgic Encephalopathy (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), which inspired her to create a business where she could work around her illness, instead of being bed bound. Pursuing her passion of making cute vegan and allergy friendly cakes and raw nourishing treats, she began selling her creations in Auckland in 2015. Continuing to follow her dreams, she recently opened her own her little healthy hub- The Nourished Eatery, serving up epic vegan food, which makes her heart beat faster and her eyes glow brighter.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO JUST GO FOR IT, AND START LIVING THE LIFE YOU LOVE? WAS THERE A TURNING POINT OR AN ‘A-HA’ MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU REALISED YOU NEEDED TO MAKE THE CHANGE?
1- To spend my days in bed falling into depression and grieving the life that was.
2- Take the plunge and build a business up around the illness where I could choose my own hours, rest when I need and be surrounded by people who actually get it.
I really want other sufferers to realise their life isn’t over once they are diagnosed with any type of illness. Although life is a daily struggle you can find happiness in nearly everything and If you want to live a life around your illness it is possible.
HOW IS YOUR LIFE DIFFERENT NOW AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
My life changed SO so much! I had to give up all exercise/work/study to allow my body a break to heal.
BUT being a high achiever, this wasn’t going to happen… For a couple of years I continued to exercise, study and was basically running my body deeper and deeper into the ground. After 10 minutes of exercise my body would flare up, leaving me bed bound the next day, not to mention memory loss, which made my studies impossible. I was receiving weekly vitamin infusions, trialing numerous drugs to help with the symptoms and attending many health appointments.
Enough was enough- none of these treatments aligned with my health views, so I quit everything cold turkey and moved cities with a dream in mind. To launch my business and open a cafe. No matter how ill, I was going to make this happen. I see this all in a positive way, and even though I struggle with nearly everything, I learnt how to become so mentally strong. I’m constantly giving myself pep talks all day…lol
WHAT WAS YOUR GREATEST FEAR OR BLOCK (EMOTIONAL, MENTAL OR PHYSICAL) THAT YOU HAD TO OVERCOME TO GET WHERE YOU ARE, AND HOW DID YOU BREAK THROUGH IT?
I don’t really fear a lot anymore… I’ve always been a firm believer in doing whatever I love, because the worst that can happen is it doesn’t work out, so then you learn from that and try something different. It’s so easy to live a life where you stay within your comfort zone but that’s not something I support. We are all worthy of our dream job, our dream holiday, dream man, etc, BUT its up to you to take the plunge and block out fear and turn these goals into a reality.
HOW DID OPENING UP AND ‘BEING AUTHENTICALLY YOU’ AFFECT THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU OR YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEM?
I keep my friends circle really small and I know they are all authentic people. Being ill daily, you really work out quickly who supports you deep down. I think it’s so easy to be your authentic self when you’re supported by people who want to see you thrive.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF?
I love that I’m strong enough to see the best in every situation.
I love that I’m resilient, genuine and have a passion to see others succeed.
WHERE DO YOU FIND BEAUTY AND INSPIRATION?
I adore people who really just make their dreams happen, no matter what obstacles gets in their way. I have found so many inspiring people on Instagram who I look to when I’m having an off day. I am so thankful to be surrounded by so many beautiful and loving people who check in daily to see how I’m doing. Having friends like that really motivates me to keep going. I also have connected with other ‘unwell people’ who aren’t letting their illness define them. My best friend Kurt suffers from stomach cancer but looking at all that he’s achieved you would never know. Its people like that who help put my life into perceptive. He’s the strongest person I know, and we thrive off each other.
WHEN LIFE GETS BUSY, OVERWHELMING AND THE NEGATIVITY STARTS TO CREEP IN, HOW DO YOU UNWIND AND ALLOW YOURSELF TO ‘JUST BE’?
Every day is so busy and overwhelming that it’s so easy to be negative. I let myself go through the emotions. If I want to cry, I cry. If I have a bad day, I let that day be ‘bad’, wake up the next day and own it. Life isn’t meant to be sunshine everyday and I think it’s healthy to realise that it’s ok to have bad days, just as it’s ok to have good days,
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE WANTING TO RECONNECT WITH THEIR OWN NATURAL WAY OF BEING AND FIND THE BEAUTY WITHIN THEMSELVES?
It is so attractive watching women take control of their life and owning their situation. My message to other woman is to just start, start today on your goals, dreams and passions. If you want to find beauty within yourself, work towards that goal. practice self love, practice complimenting others, just start.
My favourite quote is:
“The things that makes your heart beat faster and your eyes glow brighter, no matter if it’s hiking, swimming, yoga, gardening, painting, meditation, photography, going for walks, helping others- do that. Do it as often as you can. Because that is what life is about. Creating as many passionate, happy moments as possible. Don’t let anyone stop you from doing the things you love. Not even yourself.”
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE YOU?
All through high school I was bullied (no idea why), I never quite fit in. I hated school! It wasn’t until several years ago I realised I DON’T HAVE TO fit in, I don’t have to have the same goals and dreams, likes and dislikes as everyone else. It’s perfectly ok to be my own person, to not follow the crowd. I love being me. I’m small but so strong and passionate and I’ll never let anything/anyone get in my way. That feels good.
I love being me.