This academician is now a successful entrepreneur and wellness trainer. Read her inspiring #PassionToPaycheck story below
More often than not, most health issues are related to emotional stress or people’s default reactions to certain situations. In today’s fast-paced world, most people are giving in to a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. Where some rely on shortcuts and quick-fixes to maintain their well-being, Sharoon Sunny went a step further, and found the right way to be healthy. Along with her Co-Founder Anthony Noel, she started MEnD, a wellness initiative that works on improving one’s overall lifestyle.
When you first meet her, you’ll peg her as a fresh-faced college graduate. But college happened nearly two decades ago! Currently, apart from being the mother of an incredible nine-year old, Sharoon is a Ph.D. scholar, digging deeper into her other passion– teaching writing. With a Masters in English Literature, and another one in Humanities, she takes pride in the fact that she loves learning.
A thrill-seeker and traveller at heart, she lived in the US for almost a decade, though Bangalore has always been home. She has taught literature for close to 15 years now, and has also taught writing to young aspiring authors, with her most recent stint at Christ University.
But six years ago, when her health took a beating, she decided to learn the basics of exercise and diet, and started working on getting stronger and healthier. “Learning has always been integral to my life, and I wanted to help others learn to live optimally and in a sustainable way. There is a science and an art to carving out ‘your’ well-being,” she explains. “Since body hacking was something I did for myself, I decided if I wanted to help others, I needed to certify myself in nutrition formally. I have since earned a certification from Stanford University in nutrition,” she adds.
You can’t keep a good thing to yourself they say. MEnD was founded in October 2017. “MEnD, of course, means that we are trying to mend the issues we have created for ourselves. It stresses the point that the individual (ME) is the actor in ‘END’ing the cycle of bad practices. The ‘n’ is small in the name because it signifies the fact that natural means are so integral to our methods that they are almost invisible,” Sharoon explains.
The abbreviation stands for the four pillars of methodology that they use - mental wellness, exercise, natural means, and diet. When Anthony, a good friend, discussed his health concerns with Sharoon, they decided to work together and fix it. “Anthony and I go back to high school. We’ve been friends, writers and ideators together over the years. He was convinced after his wellness transformation that MEnD needed to reach more people,” Sharoon says.
But choosing the road less travelled has never been easy. Sharoon presses on, “If you want to pursue your passion, make sure you have spent time studying, practicing and honing your skills. If you're not willing to keep learning constantly, then you better take that 9 to 5 job.”
Fitness today is more about body aesthetics and athleticism, which is fairly one-dimensional. Sharoon agrees, “At MEnD, we focus on bringing people to a point of equilibrium mentally, physically, and spiritually. We work with people to break the cycle of bad habits (example: stress eating, ulcers due to anxiety, etc.) through simple steps.” .
After having helped several people achieve their wellness goals, Sharoon believes that it is all about keeping things simple, “Wellness is hard work, not rocket science. For us, MEnD is about setting a standard in the wellness sector. We want to be known for keeping things simple and easy, and being consistent with our results. Our vision is to be a global standard for the wellness industry.”
However, the journey hasn’t been without obstacles. “Often times, people confuse a wellness coach with a nanny or big brother type person. Someone who will take responsibility for their actions, thus absolving them of accountability for their choices. This is in direct opposition to the objective of the MEnD programme, which is based on the principle of personal accountability. Our goal is to empower people,” she explains
When they started out, they estimated a few signups in Bangalore and Hyderabad. However, what has happened was that in less than six months, they gained clients in the GCC, the US, Canada, and India with more enquiries pouring in from other countries every day. Sharoon says, “For the moment, we are focusing on growing organically for at least 18 months. By then, we should have a set structure in place, and then we will look into the possibility of raising funds.”
MEnD happened organically and successfully, and the two of them are still in awe of how things have panned out. “There have been so many folks who’ve benefited from the programme that it was only a matter of time before it grew,” she signs off with a grin.