Success, Her Way. Interview with Judita Wignall

We are very excited about our new interview series: Success, Her Way. We are talking with women who are pursuing their own ideas of success. You’ll get personal insights on the paths they’ve chosen, how their definition of success has changed over the years, and what their habits of success these great women have. — Share it with your friends and colleagues if you find yourself inspired by it.

Today’s successful lady is Judita Wignall. Besides being a positively radiant person, she’s a health counselor, raw food chef, and cookbook author. She divides her time between LA, New York, and Costa Rica — that alone sounds like a pretty successful life to us. Read below to learn about her 4 habits of success, how great it felt to see her book on the shelves next to her favorite cookbooks and much more.

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Tell us a little where you are in your career and how you got there.

Judita Wignall: I’m a former commercial actress/model turned raw food chef and cookbook author. I originally got into raw foods over 7 years ago to look good in front of the camera, but soon it became an obsession and spawned into a full time job. I loved raw food so much I enrolled in culinary school, became a health coach, and got a book deal. I just finished writing my 3rd raw food recipe book, Raw and Simple Detox, which will be out in February next year. It’s been quite a journey. (Her other books are Going Raw and Raw and Simple. They are translated into German and other languages. –ed.)

What about your work and career do you enjoy the most?

I love that my message of health is changing lives. People are losing weight, feeling better, and feeling inspired to be their best selves. It’s so rewarding to get emails from my readers that my books have helped them so much. I also love working for myself. Everything I do is either in my kitchen or on my laptop, which gives me a ton of freedom to travel, but also to have quality time at home.

What is your personal definition of “success”? Has it changed over the years?

Success is doing work you love. Work that gets you bouncing out of bed every morning, that inspires creativity, cultivates happiness and validates your purpose in this world. Its taken me several years to get to the point where I can follow my heart and only work on projects that I’m passionate about. I used to think success was how much I had in the bank, but at the end of the day it’s never enough. It doesn’t satisfy your soul like pouring your heart out into a project, watching your ideas materialize or helping others.

Some people say success is achieved through a series of habits. What are your “habits of success”?

First, always be learning. I’m a total health junkie so I listen and read health podcasts, books and blogs daily. I need to stay on top of cutting edge nutrition for my work, but also for my own personal growth and enjoyment. Learning keeps our brain young and inspires new ideas.

Second, make a plan. Because I have to be my own boss and cheerleader, Every night I write out my schedule of everything I need to do for the next day. This keeps me on task and focused. If I wake up without it, I end up getting distracted by less important things. I also write out a weekly and monthly plan of deadlines and goals to be completed.

Third, don’t be a slave to email. Half of the emails I receive are from people asking me to do something for them. Things like contributing to a website, submitting recipes, reviewing or promoting products are fun, but time consuming. I got to the point where I’d spend my whole day doing things for other people and not have time to focus on my own work. Now I only check email in the morning. I pick the things I really want to do and allow myself permission to pass on the rest.

Last, but not least, be grateful. Along with my evening to do list, I also take time to write down three things I’m grateful for that day. Even if my day was horrible I still try to focus on the good things. Gratitude cultivates a positive mindset, reduces stress and boosts confidence. Smartphone apps like My Gratitude Journal are great for this exercise.

What were the more difficult steps you took on your path? Can you tell us more?

Switching gears from a successful commercial career to an undefined pursuit of holistic diet and lifestyle was tough. I had no idea what I was doing or how I could make money, but I knew in my heart this would be more gratifying. It took some time and effort as I grew into a proficient chef, instructor and coach to get to a place where I’m confident and making a living. Practice makes perfect, but also just putting yourself out there and admitting, “I might fail at this, but who cares!” is part of the process. If you believe in the message and purpose of the work, it will all come together and people will be attracted to what you have to say.

Are there any things you’d never compromise or sacrifice for your career?

Self care, time with my husband, friends and family. The only way I’m productive is if I’m balanced. That means good quality sleep, diet, exercise and strong relationships with those I love. When those things are in line, I can thrive with my career and conquer any challenge.

If you had to choose one moment of success that meant the most to you, which one would it be?

Seeing my book at Barnes and Nobles nestled in between my favorite raw chefs for the first time felt so good. To go from eating microwaved meals every day, to becoming a chef, to a published author was such a journey. It was the best feeling to see all that hard work in concrete form.

What’s the next project you’re looking forward to?

Last year I launched an online store called City & Sea Trading. I carry some of my favorite beauty products, supplements, home goods, and healthy gourmet foods you can’t really find anywhere else. This next year we’re going to start developing our own products, under the City & Sea brand, as well as ramp up the City & Sea Living blog with healthy lifestyle articles, videos, recipes, and interviews. I’m excited to see where things go and where life takes me next.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, Judita.