Changing her career from events management to nutrition and wellbeing was the best thing Akcelina Cvijetic did.
It wasn’t always Akcelina’s ambition to be a nutritionist. She worked as a high-profile events organiser in her twenties but falling ill unexpectedly due to her stressful life at the time made her re-assess her goals.
“I’d just finished my first degree in linguistics when I fell seriously ill. The treatment I got was so appalling I lost a lot of weight and it took me such a long time to recover. I realized that I needed to take my wellbeing into my own hands. That’s when my interest in complementary health really started.”
Now she is an ‘Ultimate Wellbeing Specialist’ with a thriving Harley Street practice. “I offer people the ultimate wellbeing experience through nutrition, life coaching, hypnotherapy, TFT and NLP, which help address and resolve issues on a mental level, as well as balance emotions and the physical body.”
The secret to Akcelina’s approach, she says, is that it is multi-disciplinary. “Clients will go away with their diets improved, feeling positive, emotionally balanced, healthier on a physical level and, crucially, feeling empowered to tackle anything.”
So what inspired the career move? “Even though I loved the event management job I realized that I didn’t feel fulfilled," she says. "There was more to life than organizing glamorous events.”
She started to make steps in a new direction. “I used my nutritional and counseling knowledge in my job to give my clients and colleagues helpful health tips and a shoulder to cry on. They appreciated it and it felt very rewarding for me. At that point I knew I wanted to do more of it. My move into the world of wellbeing was a natural progression from that moment.”
Growing up in Yugoslavia, Akcelina was brought up with a leaning towards complementary medicine. “My mother was a nutritionist as well as a chemistry teacher and my grandmother was naturopath," she says. "But my illness was the real wake-up call.”
She completed her nutritional training in 2000 and hasn’t looked back since. “Then I trained in NLP, TFT, life coaching and hypnotherapy because I realized this was more valuable than nutrition alone. This combined approach helps me to delve into the root of the problem and provide a practical, long-term solution.”
The biggest hurdle was facing her fears head on. “I was fearful at times but once I learned the acronym for fear - false evidence which appears real - and when my clients were telling me how I helped them improve their health and different aspects of their life, I had a proof that I was in the right profession doing what I was meant to do."
As well as helping so many people through her profession, she also believes she helped herself by finding a vocation that she truly adores. “I’ve been practicing on Harley Street for five years now and I love my profession. I don’t even call it my profession, I call it my true calling. When somebody comes to me a broken spirit and I see them change and come alive and happy again, it is the most rewarding feeling.”
So what advice would she give to other women looking to embrace a career change? “You are designed to do some things well and some better than anyone else, these are the things you are gifted for. Find out what you’re good at and what you love to do. Take additional training if necessary and start working part time before you spread your wings and fly. Seize the opportunities that come your way and believe in yourself!”
My five-year plan is… to branch out into books, DVDs, CDs, retreats and present more international lectures and workshops.
The secret to my success is… hard work, coupled with my intuition to follow my dreams as well as my integrity, thorough approach and dedication to my clients.
My most rewarding career moments were… seeing my name on the door of my Harley Street practice and seeing my first health column published. I was so happy and felt a great sense of achievement.