Compassion or Control?


Compassion or Control? Have you ever compassionately helped someone out of a bind and felt exhausted or depleted? Have you offered advice that wasn’t acted upon and felt angry? Have you given something that wasn’t utilized and felt used? Me, too! And I didn’t like it; not one bit. But it kept happening – over and over – and I had to start to look at the common denominator – me.

As I’ve ambled through my journey of self-discovery, I picked up a copy of Iyanla Vanzant’s “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up” (at my friend’s gentle encouragement), and boy, did she hit me with some zingers! When I got to the topic of compassion – which, I thought – by my continuous out-pouring of ‘help’ –  I would glide through – I was stopped in my tracks. It hit me like a ton of bricks – and I didn’t like that either, but the Truth was so loud that I could no longer ignore it.

Compassion, she says, is not helping others get out of their messes, but supporting them through their messes until they come out the other side. Helping someone do something they should be doing for themselves is not compassion, but a quest for power and control. Power??? Control??? Me??? Ummmmmm…yes. That was my (sad) Truth. Man, that Iyanla tells it straight!

But the more I read it, again and again, it started to make sense. If I was really acting with compassion, I would not be carrying their load and the responsibility for the fixing. Compassion doesn’t feel like that. Control sure does. She goes on to say that compassionate people do not take other’s power away. And isn’t that what I’m doing when I’m making the calls for you? Scheduling appointments for you? Paying the bills for you? Shoving my (unsolicited) solutions down your throat? Yep. I’ve taken on the role that believes ‘I know best and can do it better, and you should – and will – be grateful’ (which usually doesn’t happen).

“A compassionate person wants you, as a universal being, to realize your wholeness. Your wholeness has nothing to do with being nice, and a compassionate person recognizes that your journey to wholeness may not look nice. Compassionate people have the ability to nurture, comfort, and provide nourishment to others at various stages. They heal without making themselves sick”

Since I’ve been practicing the art (and it is an art because it takes lots & lots of practice) of compassion, I find myself more at ease; more able to discern where I end and you begin. I’m able to be truly compassionate and demonstrate empathy, and sometimes sympathy, while supporting others through their crises’. It allows me to be more loving and kind, and it allows them to stand on their own two feet and solve their own problems. In other words, I’m supporting them while they find their own power. And that’s something we can both feel good about!

Here are some tips I’ve used to help me discern between compassion and control:

  • Is this something they can/should be doing on their own?
  • If I do this, will it deplete or exhaust me in any of the following ways? Energy? Money? Time? Peace of mind?
  • If they don’t/won’t accept my help, can I be at peace about it?
  • What’s the worst that can happen if they do it on their own, even if they fail?
  • Can I let others fall down and learn their own lessons, or do I insist they avoid that pain at all cost and just let me handle it?

I think you get the gist. If letting people manage their own lives causes me any distress at all, it’s time for me to retreat. There’s a reason that the airlines suggest we put on our own masks before helping others with theirs.



Laura M Turley, LMT – After working over 30 years in various corporate roles, then managing the many challenges of middle age, Laura finds that she’s uniquely qualified to relate to – and address – the myriad issues facing individuals in this age group. Certain aches and pains that accompany growing older (and wiser!) are quite common but equally as significant are the increasing side effects of our habitual patterns, life stresses and the fact that we make little-to-no time for ourselves. Massage allows her to bridge the gap between your daily pressures & pains of life to a more healthful, pain-free existence – and it feels good, too!  Laura’s clients say that her knowledge – coupled with her compassionate approach – is what keeps them coming back.

Looking for an Internship?

We’re growing and would love to help you grow too!

Enliven Wellness Works is a workplace wellness company specializing in onsite wellness education, group fitness, health coaching, and massage therapy.

If you are seeking an internship, we are looking for an intern who will work directly with the company owner.

The position has flexible hours and offers the ability to work from dorm/home. Some time will be spent at the owners’ office in South St. Petersburg, running errands, and attending events throughout Tampa Bay.

The ideal candidate will be an organized self-starter with an interest and/or background in health and wellness. Must be good with computers and have excellent communication skills via email, phone and in-person. Bonus points if you have an eye for graphic design (professional skills not necessary) and enjoy writing or blogging.

Programs & Applications Experience Preferred:

Word, Excel, Power Point, Corel Draw, Google Apps (calendar, docs and surveys), iContact, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Equipment Required:

Computer (preferably laptop), phone and car.


For More Information:  Internships Available

If interested, please send your resume, qualifications and academic standards: Contact Us


Now Hiring – Registered Dietician

Enliven Wellness Works seeks Registered Dietician for contract work

Qualifications, Education and Experience:
Education: Bachelor’s Degree (four year college or university)
Experience: One to two years related experience
Certificates & Licenses: Active license in the appropriate state of practice as a Registered Dietician

Term: Contract Position – 8 hours a month separated into two 4 hour bi-weekly shifts.

Pay: $75 per hour


  • Maintains adherence to policy & procedure and to the ADA code of ethics.
  • Evaluates nutritional needs of clientele.
  • Interview clientele to obtain information regarding their dietary history, as well as food habits and preferences for guidance in planning the individual’s diet.
  • Maintains an updated diet manual and policy and procedure manual as well as current nutrition education materials.
  • Evaluates nutritional care and provides follow up for the care of clientele.
  • Evaluates P.O. intake for calorie count and makes recommendations to improve individuals’ nutritional status.
  • Seeks appropriate resources in difficult cases.

Please email your resume and cover letter to

The deadline for resume submission is August 10, 2013.

Welcome to the Enliven Team, Abigail Dougherty R.D.

Enliven Wellness is excited to announce the addition of a second Registered Dietitian to our team. Welcome Abigail Dougherty! We have thrilled to have your contagious energy and passion for health to share with our program participants.

Abigail headshotAbigail Dougherty – R.D. 

Abigail Dougherty is a registered and licensed dietitian. She focuses on helping people become their best selves through realistic lifestyle nutrition. Abigail believes that we are each unique individuals and there is no one size fits all nutrition plan.

Abigail feels her purpose is to spread the joy of living well and adapting a healthy lifestyle, the same way she changed her life – one simple step at a time. She knows first hand what it feels like to be overweight and to live an unhealthy and unhappy lifestyle.  With the help of her loving husband and finding the passion and inspiration from within – she decided to make simple  healthy lifestyle changes.

After researching nutrition and learning how food can be a beautiful form of medicine to the body, Abigail fell in love with nutrition and wanted to learn how to help others make the same changes she had made.  She wanted to help educate and inspire people to become their best selves and to learn how they can truly SHINE!  She enrolled back in school and 4 years later graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida. Go Gators!  She then continued her education at the University of Virginal Health System by completing a 1 year Dietetic Internship followed by passing the National Registered Dietitian Exam.  Abigail’s passion for life and nutrition shows in every area of her life.  Abigail believes that variety is the spice of life and the key to her spreading health and wellness in multiple different avenues. She works with  clients to make healthy lifestyle changes using both motivational counseling as well as real life situations – At the grocery store, out to eat and in the kitchen. Abigail is also an avid runner and is training for her second marathon, aspiring chef and lover of life!


Now Hiring – Wellness Specialist

Enliven Wellness Works is hiring for the position of Wellness Specialist to assist a local college’s Wellness Program. The Wellness Specialist will assist a local college’s Wellness Coordinator in performing technical and administrative tasks relating to the development, implementation, coordination, promotion, and evaluation of their employee wellness programs.

The position will assist with a variety of worksite wellness programs at different college locations in Pinellas County, FL.  This position requires independent judgment, creative thinking, and physical performance.

Wellness Specialist Job Description – $15 per hour/ 25 hours a week

Primary Responsibilities

  • Responsible for supporting the Wellness Coordinator in planning, promoting, and coordinating the Wellness program.
  • Assists with report preparation which includes gathering and compiling statistics; reviewing and analyzing data.
  • Assists with the preparation, distribution, and maintenance of publicity materials such as flyers, newsletters, and bulletin boards.
  • Tracks wellness program participation and completions
  • Communicates with local health and wellness related agencies.
  • Supports disease management and clinical intervention programs that are led by outside agencies.
  • Assists with wellness presentations and events at each campus.
  • Builds and maintains a relationship with fitness based instructors and participating employees.
  • Collaborates with the Wellness Advisory Board on wellness programming.
  • Provide top customer service to all employees by addressing employee concerns and inquiries in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Adheres to established guidelines for purpose of preventing/minimizing injuries and accidents.

Knowledge , Skills, and Abilities

  • Knowledge of health and wellness education.
  • Knowledge and understanding of health insurance programs and their relationship to wellness.
  • Knowledge of exercise science including kinesiology, exercise physiology, nutrition, health promotion and chronic disease management.
  • Skill in developing, organizing and delivering training and educational programs.
  • Skill in use of a variety of computer equipment and software.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with employees, managers, vendors and the public.
  • Ability to creatively plan and execute various health and wellness programs and activities.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects.
  • Ability to cultivate and maintain business relationships with vendors, corporations, government agencies, and employees.
  • Ability to interface with physicians, researchers, individuals, and other health professionals.
  • Ability to conduct special studies, analyze and report results as well as make recommendations.
  • Understanding and adherence to an integrated model of health, fitness, and well-being.

Minimum Qualifications

  • AS or AA, in Health, Fitness or wellness related degree required.
  • BS or BA, in Health, Fitness or wellness related degree preferred.
  • Experience in health promotion, recreation, fitness, and/or corporate wellness programs preferred.
  • Ability to work independently and within a team.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Excel, Word, Outlook, Windows, PowerPoint, and Internet usage.

Essential Physical Skills

  • Exerting up to 20 pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 10 pounds of force as frequently needed to move object.
  • Performance of duties require the occasional long distance walking, standing, bending, kneeling, stretching, pulling, pushing, and reaching.  This skill set would be in conjunction with the participation in wellness based events.

Working Conditions

  • Completes administrative work in office environment.
  • Participate in the occasional wellness based events and programs in outdoor environments.
  • Primarily Monday thru Friday with varying hours.  Flexibility is required with daily shifts due to varying program offerings.
  • Local travel, in personal vehicle, is required to various worksites.
  • Part-time, employee position.
  • Temporary position through December 2013 with hopes of contract renewal for 2014.

Please email your resume and cover letter to

The deadline for resume submission is July 22, 2013.

The Employee Health Debate: Cost vs. People

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There is a big debate these days about how involved employers should be in their employees’  health.

Should employers be concerned about the cost impact of poor health?

You know the old saying, “A company’s employees are its greatest asset”?

Well, doesn’t it make sense that employers would invest in keeping their “greatest asset” healthy, happy and optimally productive? Take a look at these numbers…

  • Obesity costs on average $1,351 annually/employee
  • Diabetes costs on average $1,176 annually/employee
  • High cholesterol on average costs $892 annually/employee
  • High stress  on average costs $764 annually/employee

Source: 2011 SHRM Foundation’s Effective Practice Guidelines Series, Promoting Employee Wellbeing

Employers who invest in wellness programs typically receive increased employee retention, attendance, and productivity in addition to the obvious health improvements which occur when a person implements healthier lifestyle practices.

It has been shown that medical costs improve by an average of $3.27 and absenteeism costs improve by an average of $2.73 for every dollar spent on wellness.  Source 

The flip side of the argument is that employees have a valid concern about their health status becoming grounds for limited opportunity in hiring, promotion, or even termination. As employers become more involved in employee health, the fears grow among work populations.

As stated in the New England Journal of Medicine’s perspective on The Ethics of Not Hiring Smokers,  twenty-nine U.S. states have passed legislation prohibiting employers from refusing to hire job candidates because they smoke, but 21 states have no such restrictions. In addition, there is no federal law and only a handful of cities and one state (Michigan) law which protects obese individuals from discrimination. And even these apply to obese people in general, not necessarily related to employment. Citizens Medical Center in Victoria, Texas has instituted a policy which requires that all employees have a body mass index of less than 35 according to a story by CBS Houston.

Do people who are in less than optimal health have rights to gainful employment and opportunity? Of course they do!

Do employers have the right to staff their businesses with people who are full of vitality, energy and can ultimately contribute to the company mission and vision. Of course they do!

My personal take on the issue: employers need to be involved in employee health, but for the right reasons. Not because they need to control costs…or else. But rather to inspire their employees to be the best that they can be for themselves, their loved ones and their company.

Employee wellness can get buried under health mandates, insurance premiums and other things which scare employees into thinking that their jobs are at risk.

Or, wellness initiatives can be a wonderful way to support your team and inspire them towards new levels of productivity which will help your company thrive in ways that no ROI study could ever calculate.

When you make your wellness programming goal, that of helping your people, the real return on investment begins.

Jen headshot 2013Jennifer Oppelt is the President and Founder of Enliven Wellness Works, a company specializing in workplace wellness and personal wellness based in St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay FL. She is a licensed massage therapist in the state of FL (MA37357), a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Health Coach program and a Certified Workplace Wellness Specialist and Program Manager through the National Wellness Institute . She is happily married and a mother to two children, Alchemy and Ashton. Jennifer loves spending time with family, cooking real food, fitness and is an advocate of sustainable living.

Seeking Wellness Professionals

Are you a health and wellness professional with a private practice or small business in the St. Petersburg, Clearwater or Tampa area?

Enliven Wellness Works is looking for the best massage therapists, personal trainers, health coaches, life coaches, nutritionists, yoga instructors, acupuncturists (or any other healing practice or modality that focuses on personal wellness) to join our team.

Enliven Wellness Works has been a leader in the workplace wellness business in Tampa Bay since 2010, and now expanding to provide our clients with personal wellness services!

Currently, we are working on a new system via our website where customers will be able to purchase services and packages as well as schedule appointments online. These services would be performed in the clients home or your studio, depending on the service and practitioner. In addition, any personal wellness team members may also be considered for workplace wellness jobs as the need arises.

In addition, we are interested in networking with spas, wellness centers and fitness or yoga studios (in the Tampabay Area) who would like to be listed as one of our preferred establishments. At this time, merely looking for reciprocal referral relationships for our workplace wellness services. A win, win for everyone!

Only the best need apply! We will be vetting all interested practitioners to ensure high quality referrals for our clients.

Interested?  Email us at See below for more information on what to include in your email.

Personal Wellness Practitioners: Please email with your bio, resume and a little blurb about why you think you would be a great addition to the Enliven Wellness team!

We are looking for:

  • Licensed Massage Therapists
  • Health Coaches and Life Coaches
  • Personal Trainers or other Fitness Instructors
  • Yoga Instructors
  • Accupunturists
  • Energy Workers
  • Fertility, prenatal, birth or postpartum specialists – Doulas, Midwives, Childbirth Educators, Lactation Consultants, Heath Coaches and fitness professionals that specialize in this field, Fertility or Prenatal Massage Specialists, etc.

Wellness Establishments: Please email with your location, services provided and a little blurb about how you think we can help promote each other.

We are looking for:

  • Spas
  • Yoga Studios
  • Fitness Studios (Pilates, CrossFit, Spin studios, etc.)
  • Wellness Centers

Once we obtain a group of interested parties, we will plan a  meeting where all details will be shared with the group.  This will give us a chance to get to know each other. Please email us at if you are interested in being a part of this exciting expansion!