Burnout. It’s an all too familiar word in the modern world of work. In an ongoing race to make the next meeting, deadline or sales target, it’s easy to lose sight of life beyond work until overwhelming stress and exhaustion stops you in your tracks. For Anna Chan, her burnout moment was the reality check she needed to shift gears. It also happened to be the turning point in her life that propelled her down the path of entrepreneurship and starting her own business. Three years later, Anna is celebrating the launch of myMomentum, Vancouver’s first community wellness platform promoting healthy choices and intentional wellness activities.
Built on Anna’s interest and passion for fitness and wellness, having ventured as a spin instructor during her hiatus from years of working in China’s fast-paced tech start-up space, myMomentum places community at its core. The app unites like-minded individuals through online wellness challenges and on- and offline events, and supports local start-ups and small businesses alike in their growth journeys.
But myMomentum is a business that almost never was.
It was late 2017. Anna was 34 weeks pregnant and on the verge of giving up.
“I could see all the floating pieces – reward, community, energy, positive, events. They were all there and it was just so hard to bring it together,” says Anna.
“I was fully intentional just to shelve it. I had so much on my plate already. Then I met my two partners that I have now. I felt really frustrated for probably about 12 months, and it really changed when I met the right people. I felt like it wouldn’t come out otherwise, like it would just stay in my mind. Between Raf and Celine they helped bring the floating ideas together more cohesively, and it brought it out into a tech product specifically.”
Getting started was the first and hardest step, but the single action of taking the step makes all the difference. It did for Anna, as she encourages others to rethink the fear about uncertainty and readiness.
“You feel very vulnerable in your own idea; you don’t think it’s good enough. I felt very scared that the idea would never come to fruition and that I was just wasting my time, or that it was a ‘stupid idea’,” says Anna.
“Taking a big plunge in doing your own thing is like diving into the deep end. You just have to kind of go for it and you’re never going to be quite ready. Fear is very much how you perceive it, and that was the biggest lesson I learned.”
Working towards the launch of myMomentum in parallel with her pregnancy also put things into perspective.
“People would ask me if I was ready to be a mom and I would say no, but you have to just go for it because it’s coming anyway. [That’s why] I kind of loved being pregnant and starting a business at the same time because I found so many parallels. And the fears I had originally erased completely after my son was born because everything else I was fearful about wasn’t anything in comparison to this baby crying in your arms and you having no clue what to do.”
Every entrepreneur’s journey is different, Anna is the first to admit. But essentially overcoming perceptions of the “right” way to start, taking the first step, and bringing people with you for the ride are Anna’s tips for success.
“Growth is not linear. When I was constantly thinking that way I just got so frustrated, and once I let that idea go and just let that be where it is…it just becomes a better experience. I think me just hitting my head against the wall and getting so frustrated and finally giving up was the result of thinking that way,” says Anna.
“And I might have had the initial idea, but everything that’s been created since had not been just me at all – it’s been the team, and also the community through their feedback. For me, creating a seed of an idea or a concept, somehow bringing it to life, and then letting it grow through everybody else has been so awesome.”
Anna and her team are celebrating the recent launch of the myMomentum app, and in particular the Events tab that has proven popular with members looking to meet and connect with the wider health and wellness community. Packed with daily challenges, monthly meet-ups and a curated list of local events, myMomentum prompts a balanced lifestyle towards holistic health and wellness, and away from the burnout bridge that Anna once lived.
“I used to be that person where I would keep saying there’s just one more thing and I would keep working, and I took pride in my stamina. And now my tie is only so big – I have to be a mom 100 per-cent of the time, and now I have to really hustle smart, not hustle hard. I’m not the type of entrepreneur who will say you need to work 24/7, because if I did that now I couldn’t be a great mom, or a great leader, or a great wife. It’s so many moving parts and basically it’s just a village and you’re just motivating the whole village to keep going,” says Anna, resonant of the role and impact of myMomentum.
“I always loved the word momentum. I think for me it means a force or spark that ignites or accelerates the speed of something. I feel like that’s what we do – we bring pieces or elements of spark that can ignite people on their journey. It’s always positive, it’s always fun, there’s always a lot of energy, whether it’s in the app or in-person, and essentially these little tiny sparks add up to momentum. You have to have them before you have your own momentum.”
Find out more about myMomentum on their website itsmymomentum.com
myMomentum keeps members motivated to make healthy choices every day through wellness challenges and a rewards incentive program. The app delivers bite-sized challenges that fall into three buckets (Move, Nourish, Reflect) and are tied to a weekly theme.
The team shared their top 10 “Recharge” tips for achieving optimal productivity and work-life balance.
Take a moment out of our day to start your health and wellness journey today!
1. Press pause: Rarely do we get the chance to have a whole day off to recharge, so why not take advantage of the little opportunities in your schedule? Maybe it means not scheduling back to back meetings and calls, but taking a break in between to breathe, refocus, and recharge.
2. Be creative: Creative thinking is a great way to refresh your mind from its daily routine. Try and sit down with a blank piece of paper and a pen, and then express your state without using any words.
3. Choose matcha: Instead of your coffee, try a matcha latte instead. Less caffeine with more nutritious benefits!
4. Use your commute time to decompress: Instead of driving and fighting traffic, take the bus or train. Use that time to relax by reading or listening to music or a podcast before you take on your day.
5. Get a deep tissue massage: Skip going out and stay in for a bit of self-care. End your work week with a massage to let loose of all the stress that you’e holding in…both physically and mentally.
6. Get close to nature: Nature is one of the best medicines. When you’re in nature, you’re forced to live in the present so all your worries fall away. Find a way to get close to nature this weekend. We’re so lucky that Vancouver is surrounded by forests, mountains and oceans.
7. 10 slow breaths: Get energized and grounded with some deep breaths.
8. Sip and stroll: Turn coffee dates or meetings to talking while walking. Get your move on while getting things done!
9. Legs up a wall for 5 minutes: This restorative yoga pose helps relax your mind and body, relieve any stress and tension, and increase your blood circulation.
10. Have a No Screens Morning: Wait 15 minutes before checking your phone. Give your mind some peace before looking through your social notifications and emails. Everything can wait.