Ser*en*dip*i*tous an adjective meaning: occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
I wanted it so bad. I wanted nothing more in my life. Fuelled by the fire of the hellish pain from my own health journey. I was a woman on a mission to fulfill this burning desire to help others to not suffer the way I suffered with ill health. I would think if I could figure out how to correct my health, I could in turn help others. I had a purpose in life, and I wanted it bad.
After graduating from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, I was fortunate enough to spend two years to start my practice at a beautiful, true to grass roots Naturopathic Clinic in Yaletown. Learning my footing of how to create a practice, I realized Yaletown was not the right fit for me. I was starting to get whispers of Richmond, where I grew up.
But how could I possibly pick up and start my practice all over again, when I have invested two years. My mind was spinning. I decided it was the best decision. I left Yaletown, and began my new practice in a space in Richmond. Had I made the right decision? I felt deep in my gut I was meant to serve the city I grew up in and loved, but there was no way to be certain – it was a risk. However, as the saying goes, “Jump and the Parachute will come.”
The Universe proceeded to give me many clues that the decision was 100% correct. But, of course only after I took the leap. The universe is testing, are you committed to your feeling? Are you trusting? Yes to both, I will obey.
Soon after starting my practice in Richmond, I was learning how to market and make my name known in the community. One day I had an idea to run a gluten-free cooking class at Cookworks cook shop on Cambie +12th in Vancouver. I asked a fellow colleague and best friend to host with me, and she agreed! They would advertise their schedule in the Vancouver Sun, and great our names would be in every paper.
During the class, I would have one of my first powerful serendipitous encounters. We ran the class, and the class often has volunteers to help with dishes after the class. I chat with one of the women, who had never volunteered, but saw the class topic and decided it would be a fun class to attend. We meet, and chat, and she was incredibly gracious. Hands me her card, “Arlene Kroeker, a writer for the Richmond Review; with a column titled Food for Thought.”
What are the chances! The Parachute. Serendipity.
A few months later, I did call Arlene, and we became fast friends. Arlene and I collaborated on many events in Richmond together. We did a few gluten-free cooking classes at Trail Appliances. I also wrote an article titled “Healthy Habit” for the Richmond Review. We collaborated on a monthly talk series at Galloway’s Specialty Foods in Richmond. On different years, we were both nominated in different years for Ethel Tibbits awards. Arlene, even designed the look of our initial office at little Brio! Unlimited talent!
Around the same time frame, I received a very random call. When I was practicing in Yaletown, I was part of BNI, Business Networking International. It is a great organization, but I hated it. I always felt like a fish out of water. It had been a year or so since departing from BNI and I had moved my practice to Richmond, I receive a call from a former member of my chapter. She, having no knowledge that I had left my Yaltown practice, nor did she know I was now in Richmond. “Neetu, I was at a recent event and met a woman who is opening a spa in Richmond and looking for speakers. I thought you would be a perfect fit.”
The spa owner would be Barb Bell of Raintree Day Spa – in Richmond.
What are the chances…again! I had not heard of the spa, but a few months after the intro, I did end up calling Barb. We also collaborated many, many times. I did end up doing several talks at her gorgeous spa. I also practiced Bowen there for several months. Barb’s teas were what we served in our clinic. And we also became fast friends.
Unbeknownst to me, Barb and Arlene were also already friends, and the three of us are great friends to this day.
A random serendipitous call became a Parachute; Neetu you are in the right place!
There were so many powerful women I met along my early journey. Each and every one of them helped to profoundly shape my purpose to serve I so deeply connected to. Another powerful encounter came from my own intuitive hit. I out of the blue, reached out to Penny Allport, the original owner of Serendipity’s Backyard, a magical bookstore in Steveston. She also had a yoga space, and her and I also collaborated on many talks in her amazing space.
These events were all pre-Brio. My desire for a practice was not my end goal. What I wanted so badly was a clinic to call home and a place in Richmond, to host the vision of a clinic I had always held.
My then and current personal Naturopathic Doctor and his business partner Andy created a business program for Naturopathic Doctors. I enrolled in the course. They said, purchase the accounting Software QuickBooks as well as bring a laptop. I did both. Sat in the back row, as I always do. When it came time to load the software, the laptop wouldn’t support it. I asked Andy what to do, he said, “why don’t you go sit in the front row and Jeff will help you load it”.
I went up to the front, and for the first time met Jeff. Come to find out he practices in Richmond, and he heard about the course through Andy, his business advisor. I am not sure I would have met Jeff though the course, had my technical difficulties not occurred.
Parachutes all over the place. Prior to the course, I wasn’t aware of Dr. Lee practicing in Richmond. We began to complete our homework and assignments in a power group. We also took the course approximately four times! Realizing we worked well together, we decided to open a space together. And so began the birth of Brio.
I knew I wanted a clinic space around Ironwood. I didn’t know how, but I wanted it. Most suggested Steveston Village to me, because of the nature of the practice, everyone felt it would be received best there. It didn’t feel right in my gut, I knew Ironwood was the right feeling.
Dr. Sheena Sood, DDS, of Ironwood Dental is a family friend I grew up with. She is a powerful and busy businesswoman. However, she made time for lunch with me one day, and suggested, to think about a clinic across the street, where there was still only a pile of dirt; she said there may be a plaza and to call the name Amar Sandhu.
I did call, a meeting was set up and my mom and I met up with the late Amar Sandhu. He explained the ground floor lay out and the plan for Sandhill Plaza. He explained the cost of ground for units, and as a novice businesswoman, it just wasn’t in my budget. Disappointed, but we all knew it wasn’t a right fit. My mom handed Mr. Sandhu my dad’s business card. And we went on our way.
Even after that meeting whenever I drove by Ironwood, I would ALWAYS look at the dirt pile, soon to be plaza and think, “I will work there”.
Eventually the plaza came about and was open for business. In 2008, Mr. Sandhu calls my dad to tell him they have decided to open an upper level to the Plaza, which might be perfect for me. We went to look at the location, which was Unit #223 at Sandhills Plaza. When I walked into the unit my brain looked at it and thought how can this work?? But the feeling I got in my gut screamed YES.
Serendipitous meeting, upon serendipitous meeting. This is how Brio came to be. I always say life is like a video game. If there is something you want to create; follow the messages, follow the signs; follow the clues. You will be shown the path.
The decision to move my practice to Richmond was a huge risk; I was starting all over again, and initially not in a clinic and all on my own. It didn’t make sense, but to me in my gut it made perfect sense. This is the key, always to follow your feeling. Feel how it really feels, don’t listen to your brain. Your brain is often a liability. The feeling NEVER lies.
In life we rarely get the confirmation prior to taking a step out of our comfort zone. We get the confirmations after. Anything you want to create in your life requires commitment and the courage to take quantum leaps. Taking the step and then the magic occurs.
This is a story of my half of the Magic of Brio.
I would be honored to cordially invite you to our Anniversary to celebrate 10 years with us. We are re-creating Expo ’86, there will be Pavilions, there will be passports to stamp, and there will be food and prizes and a fun day to hang out at Brio! Please save the date for Saturday June 2nd, 2018 and click the link below to RSVP.
See you all there 🙂
In health, Dr. Neetu