When Janna Scharfenberg completed her internships in medical practices and hospitals during her medical studies, she was shocked by how much everything was focused on recovery and how little time was available with the patients. For example, the 32-year-old took the decision to become an independent entrepreneur as an expert in health, nutrition and physical activity.
Interview: Mathias Morgenthaler
Mrs Scharfenberg, you have been in your medical training for ten years, but then you decided not to pursue a career as a doctor …
JANNA SCHARFENBERG: … that's not how I see it – you can not only make a career in a job, but even more by building something that has a personal signature.
But it is rather unusual for a doctor to say goodbye to a job as a self-employed person, so soon after graduation. What did you do to do that?
I have to go for a while. I was interested in the human body, its organs and its functioning at a young age. And because I did a lot of sport, food was also an important topic. After my high school, it was clear to me to study medicine and to be able to do something later to help people stay healthy. The fact that I had to wait three years for my approval did not discourage me. The first three years of study were very interesting and much more practical than I had dreamed. But during the first internships in general practices and hospitals I started to doubt: everything was very focused on repair, it was about finding therapies for symptoms. Whether the deeper cause was found and how the personal responsibility of the patients was concerned was almost never a problem. I was surprised that important aspects such as nutrition, prevention or salutogenesis, ie health care, were completely omitted.
Is that why you were considering stopping?
There was something second important: the working conditions of the doctors shocked me. They had very little time for the patients, worked under high pressure and had gigantic turnout times. I realized that if I wanted to make a career in this system, it certainly was not healthy for me and probably not for those whose health I wanted to receive. When I still did not know if I had to complain now or just had to stop studying, I had a third idea: finishing the study and then building my own, which better matched my ideas. I did not know what that might be, but that perspective motivated me to be the first in my class to graduate and study traditional Indian medicine at another university. I had many years of experience with yoga, even as a teacher, and was therefore interested in this direction. After completing the studies, I wanted to get to know the world of work a bit and I worked in a great team in the Hirslanden headache center in Zurich.
But actually it attracted you as a self-employed person.
Yes, I had given lectures and set up an advisory service for yoga teachers and after a short employee activity decided to concentrate on their own employees. I was in a good starting position and confidently, but a bit strange, it just felt like a slap on the door to the traditional work world.
Why did you choose the risky option instead of the well-paid job?
That corresponds to my nature. I want to be inspired by what I do, and move a lot – doing something that is okay is not enough for me. It was also valuable that my environment encouraged me in my project: my parents are self-employed, my former partner and the man of today, and in my network in Zurich they pursue many of their own projects instead of work, they do not really do it. satisfied. I was lucky to start without a dry spell. I could not save myself from asking questions at a young age, so I constantly wore a dozen ideas that I did not have the time to do it. The fact that it went well from the start gave me confidence and peace. It was important for me to start as independently as possible. Our daughter was born at the beginning of 2017 and because I can offer many things online and independently of each location, I can take care of the needs of the family and organize my time in a flexible way.
What is your portfolio today?
I started with individual health advice about nutrition, exercise, yoga and relaxation. It is simply a matter of helping people to make their lives healthier, both the sick and healthy people. I also offer training courses and workshops for companies. I regularly give public lectures on behalf of for example Migros / Alnatura, offer training for naturopaths and yoga schools, blog and perform a podcast with 24,000 listeners per month. So with great passion I share my knowledge of holistic medicine, nutrition, yoga and health, always convinced that health is much more than the absence of disease.
24,000 podcast listeners, well-known customers after a short time, a successful online business … have you always been a good self-marketer?
No, not at all, that was an intense process. In the beginning I had to overcome myself, somewhere a small photo on the website aufzuschalten, it took many steps to the appearance of today. I could not have done that alone. When I started to investigate what life coaches and business coaches are doing and began to work with coaches, Aha experiences and quantum leaps began to rise. This is one of the very nice side effects of self-motivation: you do not escape yourself, the work remains relentlessly pointing to a mirror and asks you to learn and grow.
Do you earn as much as you would as a working doctor in the second year of your self-service?
My salary is already much better than in a paid position, but above all, the degree of freedom is much higher: I can be myself, do not have to play a role and do not wear a mask, can perform my core problems because it makes sense to me. This is much more important than earning a lot of money as quickly as possible. Now I have hired two female employees to be able to move more in the different fields. That is why I will learn a lot about leadership and structuring cooperation in the near future. And I also take the luxury of investing time in useless business, now writing my first book. There is still much to do, because many people know little about how they can stay healthy – and the doctors can only partially support them in the existing structures.
Which knowledge about a healthy life is too limited in your opinion?
Unfortunately, in many places the attitude dominates that doctors should heal us by giving us something that eliminates the pain. On the other hand, subjects such as nutrition and prevention still account for a very small proportion of medical students, so that many doctors do not have sufficient basic skills here. My attitude is: Health is the highest good, but not good for the consumer. Nobody can necessarily heal you, the responsibility is for a large part everyone. Health can be fun and easy. But we have to accept that there is a connection between body, mind and soul, and therefore it is often not enough to swallow something for the symptoms. Sometimes it takes a change in the way of life to make an improvement.
Contact and information:
www.in-good-health.com or [email protected]
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