After a health scare, Alison Middleton gave up her corporate life to start a small wellbeing consultancy that empowers men, women and children to be the healthiest versions of themselves.
What’s your story?
I had a burst appendix and it was a huge wake-up call for me. I was lucky to survive, and it got me thinking about what I really wanted to do with my life. I set out first to heal myself naturally which I did successfully with the help of functional medicine, and that was when I realised that I wanted my life to be around health and wellness and helping others. It didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of planning; being the main breadwinner in my family and having a high-level corporate job meant that I couldn’t just quit, so I had to be very patient and plot my escape! I enrolled in a Health Coaching Course, studied and fell in love with Clinical Hypnotherapy, taking courses at weekends and online.
In January 2017, after gaining my qualifications I resigned from my job. I couldn’t wait any longer! It was a big risk and very scary but my employer (luckily!) didn’t want to lose me and I was able to negotiate to do a 3-day week so able to transition gradually. I bought a small business in July 2017 and in July 2018 I said goodbye and thank you to my corporate life and went full time into it.
What excites you most about your industry?
The fact that the world is at long last waking up to the fact that we have a worldwide problem with health, with stress, depression, anxiety, obesity and chronic disease and mental health issues. Doctors receive hardly any training on diet and food. I think on average it is 45 minutes in 7 years of training but now people are starting to wake up and see that the food we eat and what we put into our bodies affects how we think, feel and act. I love being able to use my knowledge to help people make this link and become the best version of themselves. In my field, we can really make a difference and help people with physical and also mental health.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I moved to Hong Kong 8 years ago with my corporate role, Senior HR Manager with Baker & McKenzie law firm. It was only a secondment for 6 months and my husband and then 5-year-old son, Alex, came with me. We loved Hong Kong and I was asked to stay and the rest is history!!
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
It has to be Hong Kong – I just love the vibe, the way East meets West in all areas especially the world of health and wellbeing. The opportunities in the city to network, collaborate and to constantly grow and develop are unlike any other place I have been! It has been my home for the last 8 years and been such a great platform to really become who I am today!
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated. The world would be such a better place if we all operated from a place of love rather than fear and tolerance rather than judgement.
Who inspires you?
Anyone who goes about doing good in the world and is not looking for recognition or reward. They are truly inspirational and come from the heart and soul rather than from the ego and goes for what they want. That is how I want to be – I have a long way to go – but I am trying!!
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That this generation of children are likely not to live as long as their parents because of the health crisis and we have to do something about that and fast!
There is no such thing as failure – just lessons that we have to learn from and that really you can always find something good even in the most challenging and difficult circumstances and with the right mindset (and yes we can change our beliefs and behaviours) we can achieve whatever we set our mind to including healing ourselves.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing much really. Even all the hard times -and there have been quite a few with family illness challenges etc -have been for a reason to make me the person I am now. I suppose the one thing I just wish perhaps I had had a bit more self-belief in myself when I was younger. I wanted to apply for Cambridge University and got put off by one of my teachers and I regret not at least having a go but that is about it! I am all about not having regrets.
How do you unwind?
I love being out in nature, a walk in one of the parks, or sitting on one of the beautiful island beaches or back in the UK in my forest. I feel very at peace and at home there. I also love to explore the amazing variety of foods that Asia has to offer. My husband, son and I are real foodies and always can be found taking a cookery class together whenever we travel. I also equally happy and just love hanging out watching my son play football! It is the simple things in life, curling up with a good book and just being with family and friends that I feel most at peace.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Boracay! I love the fact that you don’t need to leave the beach for the whole time you are there. You can choose a location for as busy or as peaceful as you want it to be. I love the fact that you arrive, kick your shoes off and don’t need to put them back on again till it is time to leave. Absolute bliss!
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Biology of Belief by Dr Bruce Lipton – just shows how powerful our mindset is in achieving our goals and is fundamental to the work I do with the mind/body connection.
Can I have a second too? I have to put this one in as I would never have made it to Hong Kong -Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. Whenever I was scared about my decision to embark on the adventure to Hong Kong this just nudged me along in the right direction. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for this book!
Shameless plug for your business:
I have a small wellbeing consultancy that empowers men, women and children to be the healthiest versions of themselves they can be!! I work with corporates, going in and advising on health and wellbeing programmes and giving awareness talks and workshops on all health topics covering the mind, body and spirit. My background and experience in corporate life as a trainer gives me a great perspective as I’ve been there and lived that life. Working also with individual clients, I love using my hypnotherapy skills combined with my knowledge for nutrition and supplements to help people with permanent transformations, whether it is weight loss, public speaking, relationship issues, stopping smoking or wanting to change career.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.