“Throughout school through today, I have maintained a growth mindset, a gratitude practice, and had faith in my ability to create my own success. I coach many practitioners in business, and mindset is always a foundational piece that has been in place for me in order to succeed.”
Dr. Jolene Brighten is a naturopathic physician, leading expert in women’s health and Post-Birth Control Syndrome, best-selling author, international speaker, and clinical educator.
Laying the groundwork to become an ND
“As a child, I was always fascinated with natural and herbal remedies, and I witnessed the power of food as medicine. That was really the kind of medicine I was looking for. I wanted the ability to integrate nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, herbal medicine, and lifestyle therapies to be able to offer my people the most individualized medicine that would enable them to heal.
Prior to naturopathic medicine, I was pursuing my Master’s in nutrition science and was on track to go to UC Davis to get my PhD. What I came to recognize, was that while I had a lot of science under my belt, I was lacking a philosophy and an understanding of the body’s innate ability to heal. I realized that even if I produced the best research, it may never make it into clinical practice and actually change medicine in a way that benefited the patients. That’s what made me want to become a doctor and work one-on-one with patients. In naturopathic medicine I can read and implement the latest research in real time to provide my patients better care. Overtime, I’ve built a platform to educate more people about their body, while giving nutrition the respect it deserves and changing medicine for the better.”
NUNM as a springboard
“I chose NUNM because it was the oldest naturopathic medical college, and from what I could tell, was the most rooted in naturopathic philosophy, which is what I was looking for.
While I was a student, I started my own website, producing articles and freelance writing wherever I could. I tend to look ahead of trends and borrow from other industries in terms of their innovations in order to shape the direction of my own company. I often laugh about how I was studying social media advertising while I was studying for my board exams. You won’t find many doctors who love learning about business as much as they do about medicine. As a student I recognized that if we, as naturopathic doctors, were going to be able to make a positive impact in people’s lives then we had to step out of the communities already familiar with us and start reaching a larger community.
Throughout school through today, I have maintained a growth mindset, a gratitude practice, and had faith in my ability to create my own success. I coach many practitioners in business, and mindset is always a foundational piece that has been in place for me in order to succeed.
After graduation I established a practice in California. I rapidly filled my practice and found myself with a six month new patient waiting list in less than a year. This forced me to get creative and to bring in other clinicians who could support patients on their journey. I built an integrative team and in very little time found myself being asked to speak on numerous podcasts, stages, and workshops. I also authored my first book, Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth, which was inspired by my own experiences as a mother and from my work with patients. I went on to publish my second book, Beyond the Pill, which is aimed at supporting women in addressing the root cause of their hormone imbalance and detailing how to stay safe on birth control and transition off successfully. I had become known as “the doctor who believed women’s birth control stories” and because of it, had more patients requesting to work with me than I had time in the day. Recognizing women needed this information that I could make a positive global impact, I have dedicated much of my career to providing education through books, speaking, social media, and clinician mentorship.”
Finding fulfillment as an ND
“After building and scaling three clinics and authoring two books, I now work on a global level as an international speaker and have been blessed to speak alongside many influential people, including Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein, Dr. Izabella Wentz, Dr. Alan Christianson, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, Dave Asprey, JJ Virgin, Dr. Anthony Youn, Kara Goldin, and Robbe Richman. In my practice, I’ve had integrative residents, and I now work exclusively with high profile clients. I’ve collaborated on projects with change makers such as Deepak Choprah, Dr. Mark Hyman, and Danielle LaPorte. I’ve been featured in several documentaries including The Human Longevity Project, Broken Brain 2, The Thyroid Secret, Love is Medicine, and Digestion SOS.
What I like the most about being a naturopathic doctor is the ability to integrate any tool that my patient needs, and to leverage the therapeutic order to serve my patients best. I’m passionate about the advancements in women’s medicine and the ability to integrate new research as it becomes available. I enjoy educating patients and clinicians.”
Advice for aspiring NDs
“If you’re considering naturopathic medicine, I would advise you to shadow naturopathic doctors in your area to try to get a feel and sense of the practice of medicine. Knowing not all doctors practice the same, you will want to shadow several doctors and see what appeals to you. That might mean looking for a doctor that has an endocrine focus vs a gastroenterology focus. My other advice is to think about what your ideal life would look like. Spend some time journaling about what it is you want your life to look like. Understand how being a naturopathic doctor fits into that and get really clear on what your why is. Medical school is no joke, and is going to demand a lot out of you. If you don’t know your why, it’s going to be hard to stay motivated. Hook into your why and be clear on what you want your life to look like.
I’ve always asked for help and looked to others when I know something is not my strength. I have also avoided relationships with people who have limiting beliefs, especially around success and money, which I think is very important. If you’re surrounding yourself with people who don’t believe in you or are shaming you because you’re aiming to have a successful practice, you’re going to find yourself bogged down by their own mindset issues. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, who are more successful than you, and always ask for help.
Also know there are no overnight successes. Everything takes work. You have to be willing to work at it and be the dumbest person in the room in order to learn. There have been so many experts who have said, ‘your success will be defined by the five closest people you keep in your life,’ and I find that to be true time and again. Ensure you are surrounded by people who have already done what you want to do. Recognize that when you go to medical school, you’re not going to learn how to run a business. Those are going to be the skills that you have to cultivate or you have to hire out for. I have a fantastic team that supports me. I’ve hired business coaches and mentors who have supported me over the years. Get help when you need it.”
Learn more about Dr. Brighten