What Women Need

I heard a little girl speaking to her mother on the elevator asking why she had to go to her classmate’s birthday party even though it wasn’t her friend.

Her mother said, “We need to be kind to everyone in our class not just our friends. We need to think about how we want friends at our birthday party so we do the same for others. We need to be…”

DING. The elevator door opened to their floor and I didn’t catch the end of her statement. I wanted to chase after the woman and squeeze her frail and tired body.

I started creating a whole list of things in my head  that “We need to be” particularly as women. Need is often a dirty word, but let’s give need the power back just for a minute.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past 10 years around groups of women. I was in a sorority in college and my coaching team is predominantly female. I’ve met and befriended women from all over the world and I have grown such a deep respect and admiration for women who are fighting the good fight. I am in several online communities in the digital world that promote women traveling, exercising, writing, and pretty much owning their personal passions.

I love women who are standing up for what they believe in, especially when it isn’t something that everyone believes in. We need more women like that.

I believe in strong  women, feminism and women having a voice.

So, here it is.

I don’t hate men. I love men. I was raised by an incredible man, grew up with two wonderful guys as my older brothers and I am currently in love with one of the good ones.

But, I, in fact am a woman. And I have a voice. A voice I can proudly articulate.

Today is International Women’s Day and I am beyond grateful that I have a voice because many women still don’t.

On an episode of Magic Lessons with Elizabeth GIlbert  she said, “To be criticized is the tax that you pay for having a public voice. To be rejected is the tax that you pay for having a public voice. There is a very simple way to make sure that you are never criticized and never rejected and that is to never have a public voice.”

So, today, I want to write a message of hope, a bit of a mini-manifesto; for young women, old women, working women, children, students, prostitutes, artists, or anyone who identifies as female.

Individually, it is hard to be everything we want to be but together we can be. Together we are what we need.

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WCW: Emily Millman

It’s the last month of 2018 and I have some catching up to do with my #WCW series. So for the month of December I am going to feature a new woman crush of mine every week! The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

Meet Emily.

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I know it’s not Wednesday but it is this very special lady’s birthday, so I thought what better time to celebrate her? Some may say I saved the best for last. Emily and I met through a travel Facebook group and after getting to know each other fitness came up and I asked her if she wanted to join my virtual bootcamp. She said she already had the program but that didn’t mean she couldn’t get involved with us! I was excited to have her energy and sass in our groups.

Over the last two years, I have mentored and coached Emily,  first on her fitness journey and now on both her fitness journey and her business. She is passionate, coachable, reliable, and a fiercely loyal friend. She is an awesome business partner. Despite me living on the other side of the pond, we have managed to hang out a lot this year and she keeps me on my toes and achieving in our business. We talk about changing the world and how much we love food in the same conversation. She takes me as I am but also inspires me to be BETTER. Whenever someone new enters our business, I always say, “Find yourself an Emily.” I’ll let her take it from here.

  1. What do you think makes a woman worth “crushing” over?

I crush over women who live their values and beliefs while following their dreams and supporting other women to do the same!

  1. What do you do for a living? What is the most challenging part about it?

I wear a couple of different hats! My background is as a nurse— I’ve worked intensive care, stepdown, and the emergency department; specifically as a travel nurse for the past few years. The most challenging part about nursing in general is the sad state of the healthcare industry in the United States… I got into nursing to help people, and it’s both heartbreaking and exhausting to watch the corporate system chew patients up and spit them back out, over and over. Fortunately, that’s not my only job!

My passion lies in my “side hustle” (recently turned full time focus!), which is health and fitness coaching! My goal is to help as many people as possible learn how to care for themselves in order to prevent the plethora of chronic illnesses that my patients have inflicted upon themselves with years of poor lifestyle choices. The most challenging part of coaching is also one of the best parts— I’m on my own schedule with no boss! That means that I have to be dedicated and disciplined, especially with the less glamorous tasks that aren’t fun!

  1. Who are three women that you look up to and have inspired you the most in your career/life?

My mama! She’s built an incredibly successful and respected private driver education business without a college degree or support, while also serving her community in a variety of ways. You— I had no idea I could feel so fulfilled building a business from my laptop! Anyone else who’s slaying at whatever they do— I try not to idolize people in order to avoid playing the comparison game.

  1. What is one topic you wish more women knew about on a global scale? Why?

Climate change. We need to get our act together, and quickly, if we want Earth to be around to host us much longer! There are SO many small changes that we can all make, and would have significant impact if everyone did their part!

  1. What advice do you give to women who feel that they are constantly surrounded by drama in their group of friends?

You are who you surround yourself with! I’m not saying drop the drama…. but maybe think about building yourself a new, drama-free circle that will support and empower you instead of stressing you out! I’ve found that I can impact the culture of my circle just leading by example— try it out! Disengage from the drama, and focus on positivity, it’s contagious.

  1. Do you believe being a strong woman with a passion for her career takes away from a woman’s ability to be a loving partner/mother/friend/sister?

Absolutely not— in fact I think that having passion for your career fills your cup to ENABLE you to be be a more loving partner/mother/friend/sister! You can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself, and I believe firmly that every individual needs their own “thing” separate from the closest people in their life.

  1. What is something you are really excited about currently in your own life?

If we’re going with the theory that excitement and anxiety are two sides of the same coin… going “full focus” with coaching! My husband enlisted in the army this year, and we’ve been separated since September while he’s been in training. In January, I’m picking up and moving myself and our pups to be close to him. As a travel nurse, finding an assignment shouldn’t be an issue, but apparently all of the hospitals near that army base are fully staffed, so I have the opportunity to focus on my business!

  1. Why is self love an important part of being a modern day woman?

There are SO many demands on you as a person today! It’s so easy to be torn apart by being pulled in a million different directions— practicing good self care in whatever way works for you is the only way to keep yourself whole!

  1. If you could have a lunch date with any woman on the planet, who would it be?

I don’t put many people up on a pedestal, to be honest! I’d be happy to have a lunch date with pretty much anyone who’s kind and interesting!

  1. How can anyone reading this keep up with you and what you’re doing in the future?

The best way to keep up with my adventures is on Instagram, @scrubs.squats.sass!

Bonus: What is one question you have for me?

I’m a lucky lady in the aspect that I get to pick your brain on the regular! A question for you…. would you rather never fly again, or have to sit with a very aggressive/mean/smelly seatmate who wouldn’t leave you alone for every single flight forever?

What a funny question. I would definitely choose the aggressive/men/smelly seatmate because I can’t imagine living in a world where I don’t fly! How would I see you? And my family? I could suck it up. Plus noise cancelling headphones would save my life. Traveling and new adventures is a passion we both share and one of our big goals in our business is to be able to spend substantial time in Bali in the future. Not to be dramatic, but to me, to travel is to live so a life without travel sounds pretty miserable to me.

Thank you for being you, Emily. It’s been a pleasure building our businesses together this year. I’ve seen you go through so much in your personal life and you never let it get you down. This woman right here wrote a letter to her husband at basic training every single day without fail even when we were on multiple vacations during that time. What.a.sweetie. I always knew that you would be an excellent coach and what do you know? I was right. I can’t wait to see what next year and the years to follow bring as I know this is only the beginning of something wonderful. Keep that sass, keep that hunger for excellence, keep that drive for preventative medicine, keep that goofiness, just keep being you because you are magic. Happy birthday my dear friend, the world is lucky to have you and so am I. You are definitely worth crushing over.

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Can you Thrive through the Holidays?

I wanted to write a holiday “survival”-esque blog post  based on the mental health check-in I did with my virtual wellness community. I saw a dramatic response that most people are struggling this time of year and not necessarily feeling merry and bright. So I took to the internet to see what others have done. Every article that I read for inspiration and research said how to “survive” the holidays. I understand that it is supposed to be a joyous time but also is a difficult time for a lot of people. But is that really the standard we want to set for ourselves? Merely surviving?

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There is often a battle happening inside of me. The darkness vs. the light. Usually the LIGHT wins. I’m not sure exactly what has programmed me to be this way but I know that my life and my holiday season is about much more than just surviving. Sometimes, some days, some seasons,  that is really all you can do. I completely understand that especially looking back to the days in my past I was full of grief and heartbreak. But I think to stay fixed in a mentality that surviving is what you are consistently doing is a serious disservice to yourself, others and our world as a whole.

I do want to give you some tips and reminders to take care of yourself just a little bit more this holiday season. If that means survival for your circumstance then that is what you can call it. But as I was watching another episode of Red Table Talk (if you haven’t watched head to Facebook right now and get on it) with Kid Cudi on mental health and a few things stuck out to me. Jada Pinkett Smith shared that sometimes all you can do is lean on something that “keeps your head above water.” I totally agree. But you can’t live there. You can’t stay there. She also said in the episode, “testimony is so much more powerful than advice.” I agree. So here is my testimony.

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Joking. Kinda. Here’s more of what helps me thrive…

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WCW: Elle Deal

It’s the last month of 2018 and I have some catching up to do with my #WCW series. So for the month of December I am going to feature a new woman crush of mine every week! The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

Meet Lauren aka “Elle”

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Lauren and I met at our annual business conference in Nashville three years ago. From the moment I met Lauren I knew I wanted to be her friend. Her personality is infectious, her smile quite literally lights up the room and she has the insane talent of making best friends with everyone. We instantly clicked but as soon as we met I was off to Australia and Lauren was living in Pennsylvania at the time. Luckily, with the nature of our online business and our partnership with the same company, we still spent a lot of time together on video chats, business meetings, phone calls and of course, social media support.

 

Quickly I realized Lauren was not just an ordinary “work friend.” She is like a missing part of me. We bonded over the fact that we were both classroom teachers as our day jobs. We both were passionate teachers who really loved teaching but also couldn’t deny the flaws in the school system and the general dissatisfaction we had with pursuing a career in a classroom forever. Lauren called me while I was living in New Zealand and we had a really long discussion about her gut feeling she wanted to move to Florida. I encouraged her to take the risk, what’s the worst that could happen? She did and she flourished and I got the chance to visit her a couple times before she just recently moved on to her next adventure. I’ll let her take it from here.

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Getting Back on the Wagon

I am announcing this secret to the world again: There is NO WAGON.

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I made a post on Instagram about this and I got a lot of feedback so I just did an IGTV about it too! Why not throw in a blog post? In my post and my IGTV, I was relating this to fitness. This time of year Halloween- New Years people throw a giant blanket of excuses called “the holidays.” I can eat that… it’s the holidays. I don’t have to workout … it’s the holidays. I can drink five days a week…it’s the holidays. I don’t need to save money… it’s the holidays. And come January every decides they need to get back on that healthy wagon. But my secret is THERE IS NO WAGON. There is no wagon for health and fitness and there is no wagon for life. Ebbs and flows are natural. Last year around this time I wrote a blog about the concept of tilting, and told you that balance doesn’t really exist.

I am still singing the same tune. This concept is not to make excuses for poor choices around the holidays, but because being at peace with a life that is not linear is the most liberating gift you can give yourself this holiday season. Ups and downs are inevitable. Weight fluctuation is inevitable. You can’t go too far one way or the other without paying the consequences but veering off course a little bit each way is acceptable, normal, and just HUMAN for goodness sake. Instead of relating it all to health and fitness, I’ll show you an example of there being NO WAGON when it comes to your creative pursuits (in my case, my blog but for you it may be song writing, painting, jewelry making, or pole dancing.)

Every year since I have started my blog in 2013, I have started the next year thinking “This year is the YEAR! I am going to become and A+ blogger, I’ll write a blog at least once a week, reformat my website, include vlogs, master Pinterest, learn SEOs and knock it out of the park!” I’m reminded every year that: 

  1. That’s not why I started my blog
  2. I don’t do well with pressure, self inflicted or not
  3. I have a successful coaching business & my blog hasn’t ever been used to make me money..AND it doesn’t have to be
  4. It’s really hard to write soulfully every week on top of the other content I produce for my social media platforms
  5. My blog= my rules.

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Why you should TRY being a “Morning Workout person”

I wish I could workout in the morning like you.” I hear this ALL the time. I ain’t Superwoman and I’m definitely not NATURALLY a morning person. Homegirl STRUGGLES… just ask my boyfriend. I help support and align clients every single month with workout programs and nutrition plans. In our private fit-fam community we discuss the importance of scheduling your workout like an important meeting you have with someone else and STICKING TO IT. Personally, I find the BEST way to stick to a workout routine is to do it early in the morning. No, it doesn’t work for everyone but I think you should at least consider. Here’s why and how!

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Photography by: @thebrandingphotographer

WHY DO IT IN THE MORNING?

You immediately feel successful– Just like experts say making your bed in the morning is a habit that gives you an immediate  feeling of accomplishment, think about banging out 30-45 mins of an intense workout! You feel like a rockstar! That mindset is definitely going to benefit the rest of your day.

You’re in a better mood– Endorphins people. It’s no joke. It’s science. Working out has an “immediate positive benefit for your brain- increasing your mood and your concentration” Don’t  believe me? Take it from Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist and watch her epic TED talk about how exercise actually changes our brain. Why save that for after work when you’re just headed home to cook dinner & chill? Get those good vibes flowing in the morning!  

You don’t dread it all day– If I miss my morning workout for some reason, I know that I am going to spend the work day thinking about how I need to get my workout in. Maybe that’s just me? But I’ve talked to many friends and clients who agree. If you don’t do it in the morning it’s at the back of your head all day AND you are way more likely to skip it because things come up after work.. Happy hour, appointments, social activities, tending to your child/fur child/ husband/partner etc. For me, if I don’t do it in the morning it doesn’t get done!

More energy-Even though I need to wake up earlier to workout, I can tell a dramatic difference in my energy levels when I sleep in and don’t workout. I have more energy when I wake up earlier, sweat in my living room and then jump in the shower. If I go straight to work I feel frazzled and groggy in the morning and definitely not bouncing around my classroom like I am after crushing a 6 am workout.

Now the more important question…

HOW do I become a morning workout person?

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How to get the Perfect Body

I didn’t start my fitness journey to lose weight. I’ve never had an eating disorder. I’ve never felt like I had a true voice in the fitness community because of these two factors. That might sound dramatic to you, but if you’re in the fitness industry you know these are commonly the catalyst for change.

So if you’ve come here looking for the perfect body… SPOILER ALERT. It doesn’t exist. Our bodies are amorphous.

My body is pretty freakin’ incredible (SO IS YOURS.) But I’m 28 now, my metabolism ain’t what it used to be,  I get hungover from one glass of wine, the nail lady asks me if I want to wax my lip (ummm.. I don’t think I need to?) and here I am owning the shit out of being a millennial 20 something- with an online side hustle, an equal love for fitness and spirituality, a bad case of wanderlust and a not so traditional journey to a healthy life.

I am proud of my body. I have always had a pretty healthy relationship with my body but I definitely went through a phase in college with the thinner the better mentality. I restricted calories and did boat loads of cardio and thought that’s exactly what it meant to be healthy. I felt like I got judged for being “naturally skinny” and I was definitely influenced by the culture of criticism that women that age have regarding their body. I also abused my body with typical college antics, heavy drinking and late night pizza fests. I didn’t have a good sleep routine or really know why my exercise was such an important component of my life. 

Today I am proud of who I am. Yes, I can say openly that means I am proud of what I look like but mostly I am proud of what I feel like. This has not been an easy journey. No I didn’t want to lose weight but I did need to rework my relationship with food, exercise, alcohol and drugs and most importantly my mental health. This year I did the hardest 13 week workout program I have ever done and  I shared every step of the journey. Afterward I felt a bit of burn-out and started to question why I started this journey and what level of discipline and commitment I felt was the most suitable for my overall health and happiness. I think we should ALL constantly question ourselves in a few ways. Why am I doing this? Is it making me happy? Am I getting results? Am I enjoying my life? 

In June I was gifted an incredible secret location branding photoshoot by a fellow entrepreneur I met in an online blogging community. When I did this photoshoot I was not at my leanest and meanest. It was on the tail end of the 4 months I spent in limbo in America waiting for my visa for the U.K. to be approved.I traveled for 6 weeks straight. I celebrated life. I drank cocktails and ate donuts and I definitely had more than my fair share of treat meals. I won’t lie to you, I went from the physical best shape of my life after the 3 month intense program to a serious “YOLO” period (as I lovingly call it.)

When I got the pictures back I started to pick out flaws and “softer bits.” Man..I used to have muscle there! I’ve had better abs. I just look the same I’m not making gains. Even though I love myself. Even though I know that my physical aesthetic has nothing to do with my actual health and strength and happiness. It is deeply ingrained in us to criticize our perception of our appearance and compare it to our former selves, our #bodygoals or just imaginary ideals we have constructed.  

But I quickly stopped and I looked at the strength. The confidence. The lack of makeup. The light in my eyes. It is not my goal or desire to be “stage ready” 365 days a year. It’s not my goal to ever be stage ready. These pictures have captured me doing things I love, being free from what I think I “should” look like for a photoshoot. And please don’t get offended, telling me I look great or you don’t see it. The point is we ALL see the flaws in ourselves that no one else would dream of picking out. We may start to pick them out but we also have the power to stop those thoughts dead in their tracks.

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Let’s Celebrate: International Self Care Day

In honor of International Self Care Day I am taking care of my soul the best way I know how. I haven’t felt quite like myself in months. My business partner and I had a video chat yesterday and as I opened up to her and we quickly realized what was missing for me. As I sat down on the train this morning ideas started pouring out of me and I realized that I haven’t written a “headspace” article in so long or really any blogs AT ALL! 

I won’t lie, for a writer, I suck at sticking to weekly blog posts. Why? I create content every single day for my social media. I create content to mentor my coaching team and in my wellness groups. I create lesson plans & writing activities for my classroom. I often justify not sitting down to write because I know I can’t spread myself too thin and I need to keep the main thing the main thing. I need to focus on tasks that push my business forward.

But I when I discuss mental health, self-care, self-love, and doing what you love- I am immediately drawn back to my words. If you are a writer you understand. If you are a dancer you understand. If you feel called to any creative expression, you understand. Simply put, when I don’t write, I don’t feel like myself. When I don’t feel like myself sometimes I don’t write. Sometimes the very thing that seems the most difficult is exactly what you need.

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WCW: Hannah Fitzpatrick

April and May have been CRAZY for me! Tons of travel, a new VISA for England(YAY, finally), and two weeks in Hawaii! The list goes on. Without further ado… here is my belated April #WCW. The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

Meet Hannah.

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Hannah and I met back in highschool in Upstate New York. I’m not even sure where? Maybe a field party. (LOL) But we always got along great and as we grew up realized we shared a common love for traveling. We had the chance to meet up when she came to visit me while I was living in Thailand and she was traveling through. We made so many memories that trip and realized how much our traveling, writer hearts had in common. I have watched her transition through many life milestones from afar (thanks social media) and always marvel at her ability to seem so incredibly present and grateful for the little things. I’ll let her take it from here.

  1. What do you think makes a woman worth “crushing” over?

I think any woman that is working to better herself is worth crushing over. Generally speaking, as a culture, we are all too quick to judge others. Even if it’s unintentional, sometimes we look at other females and whether it be out of jealousy or self righteousness, we think we’re somehow doing better. But at the end of the day, we all have struggles and I think every single woman that sets goals, small or large, and inspires other to do the same is worth crushing over.

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It’s All Over: The Final Obsession

FINAL WEEK Operation Obsessed (1)

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to finish the saga that was the 80 Day Obsession journey. In the last two months my world has been turned upside down and my blog definitely went to the back burner. But I’m here to reflect and finish out the Operation Obsessed journey with all of you.

80 fricken days of dedication went into this. I learned so much about myself, my strength and the power of sticking to a program…no.matter.what. It was a wild ride, 3 countries, 5 cities, a lot of vegetables… but I.DID.IT. No clue how many inches or pounds lost… those things don’t matter to me. I know,I know. How could she dedicate so much time and effort to this and not even care about the numbers? Well, I like to practice what I preach.  I gained strength, health & confidence in myself & journey. I learned how to totally let go of any misconceptions about how much I “could” or “should” eat. When you are working your body like an athlete you need to be fueling it like an athlete, and that means A LOT of food. The last three weeks were much harder than I anticipated. I found myself feeling “over it.” My visa situation was unraveling and I was so stressed. I cried a lot. I was working a full time nanny position and working my business. I was trying to hold it all together and I just wanted to give up. But I didn’t. Discipline and HAVING A SUPPORT SYSTEM, a PLAN, A GOAL- led me through even when all I wanted to do was chug bottles of wine and house boxes of donuts.

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