Full Circle: Creating & Selling My First Business, Intrinsi


In this, my story about creating and selling what became Canada’s largest osteopathic clinic, I want to tell you about:

•       My mission to deliver ‘ah-ha’ moments that created understanding, inspired change and promoted healing

•       Planting the seeds for Create, Move, Nature, and Nourish

•       Honouring the call to say goodbye to it all.

This story began at the British School of Osteopathy in London. It’s where my husband and I met and studied for four years, both of us coming to osteopathy after previous degrees: I had received a degree in cultural studies from McGill University and Ed had a degree in Sport and Exercise Science from Exeter University. From there, after a bit of searching, I took a leap into teaching yoga, which led me to osteopathy.

In 2007 we set off for Calgary – a new frontier for osteopathy – to see what we could create in a year: if nothing much came of the experiment, we would at the very least have had an adventure and could return to England to settle there. Within just a short time, however, our practice was full and we happily stayed. What started as a temporary adventure became our lives.

The front entrance at Intrinsi

The front entrance at Intrinsi

The clinic we founded, Intrinsi, grew from its beginnings with just the two of us, to having a full team of osteopaths and full support staff. Somewhere along the way, we also found the time to get married and have a couple of gorgeous children (Nina and Jago)!

Healing (for me) was and is about creating ‘a-ha’ moments that give understanding about how you have become stuck or injured.   ‘A-ha’ moments create opportunities for you look past current issues and see how to reconnect with your innate wellness.   Healing is also about lifestyle.  I’ve come to see that we are inseparable from our environment; from nature; from the food we eat; from how we move. In health we are creative, integrated human beings.

The management and development of the clinic took hours of mental and emotional energy.  Some of it was exciting, some of it was hard work.  Knowing our mission, to deliver ‘a-ha’ moments helped shape our growth and gave us stamina as we put our heart and souls into Intrinsi.

A team picture at Halloween

A team picture at Halloween

But, just doing the hands on work treating people for their aches and pains wasn’t enough for me. 

I began to see the importance of nutrition, nature and movement as part of a whole wellness cycle. 

At the clinic I created opportunities for clients to take part in a 21 day sugar detox; I stocked our shelves with cookbooks, supplements, herbs and medicinal teas; I taught our team the basics of nutrition and supplementation.

My husband and I love physical movement.  He’s the kind of guy you’d find doing a spartan race.  I’m the kind of girl who dances and walks up mountains.  The next evolution of Intrinsi was to create a movement centre (which we continue to own and run).  This was a huge development for us.  It was the first of it’s kind in Canada and it’s a place in which we get to practice a workout style that is always interesting, fun and hard work.  It’s a martial art for every day movement.  

I did other fun things through the clinic that relate to my firm belief we should bring the outdoors inside… and get outdoors as much as possible:

My bees!

My bees!

•   We got beehives!  I organised for us to have 2 bee hives and for all our team to mentor under an experienced beekeeper. 

•   We had a community garden which our manager and I lovingly tended for a couple of years. 

•   We used eco friendly building and interior design materials and chose green power and got a living green plant wall inside the clinic. 

•   We got certified and signed up to every good local and supportive business practice we could find.  We did this because we saw it as our duty to show that business can be used as a force for good.  We joined REAP; we got B Corp certified; we became living wage leaders; we joined the local chamber of commerce.

Receiving our  B Local award  for Favourite Small Business of 2017

Receiving our B Local award for Favourite Small Business of 2017

Then, after nine years of running Intrinsi and living in Calgary we experienced loss.  My mother passed away unexpectedly.  A few months later staff members who felt like family let us know it was time for them to move on.  As they said their goodbyes I drove to work one day, a voice within screaming  - it’s time for you to take a break! 

Later that week I went to my life coach.  She took one look at me and said ’STOP!’ 

There were dreams I’d said no to at a personal cost.  Even though I was using the clinic as a vehicle to bring into existence many things that felt essential to me, it was time for me to do things on my own.

I had done good things.  But I was tired, sad and ready for change.

I told my benevolent life coach I couldn’t possibly take a break.  People needed me.  I had commitments. We had bills to pay! 

But, by the end of that session with her I agreed.  I needed to stop… Maybe just for a while. 

There were two things I needed to do:

•   I needed to write.  A story I’d started writing in my twenties still beckoned.

•   I needed a platform for my voice.  I couldn’t stretch Intrinsi any further.  It belonged as much to the people who worked there as to me.  I needed my own place to express, create and be as wild and bright as possible.  That’s where you are now.  That’s here: Lucypaget.com

To give me time to write and create new things we hired a lovely woman to take over the clinic marketing.  A few months later I told all my good clients I was taking a short break to be with the kids and do some writing. 

I quickly discovered that creative writing required two things I'd not appreciated: 

  1. Imagination rehabilitation and
  2. attention to craft

Writing my story into a novel was going to take more than a short break over the summer! 

Two physiotherapists expressed an interest in buying Intrinsi.  Were we ready to say goodbye to the business we’d grown; the business that gave us financial stability? 

After months of negotiations we came to an agreement.  In November, 2017 the clinic changed hands.   The day of signing we felt empty instead of elated.  We wondered if it was the right decision.  We loved Intrinsi.  What would the new owners do with it? 

After my mother died I remember standing in the forest looking up at the top of the trees.  I realised I was like the tallest tree.  I was the one at the top now.  There is no one in my female lineage above me.  I am the oldest child.  My grandmother and my mother have both passed.  In their passing there is an opportunity for me to step forwards.  This parallels Ed and my letting go of, and selling Intrinsi.  In leaving others can step forwards and lead.  My hope is that we have created space for others to do great things.   And of course, in letting go there is also the sometimes difficult piece of 'allowing'.  It's no longer my business.  It's not up to me what happens next.  

I don’t know yet if I’ll be successful with my novel.  I don’t know if I’ll be successful with this beautiful platform.  I hope so.  But I don’t know so. 

But I can tell you this:

For the years that have come before I have felt like I’ve been treading a parallel path to my true path.  I was doing good work but it wasn’t 100% Me

In recent writing I’ve had sparkling, lasting moments of deep joy.  I have found fictional characters who’s existence inspires me.  Occasionally I write pieces that fill me with wonder.  Is this life time that I have left going to be enough?  I have work to do.  I am excited to do it. 

As the poet Mary Oliver says “I did not give to anyone the responsibility for my life.  It is mine.  I made it.”