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”

36300535_10156580802965452_7590561681508401152_n

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.

IMG_8837

Continue reading

To those trying to do good anyway 


To the ones trying to do good anyway:

The world is a scary place-especially in this place we congregate with strangers behind screens. 

It’s easy to get discouraged with the state of politics, the current state of the environment, racism, and inequalities across the globe. 

But when you look for them they are there. The people spreading light, creativity and joy. 

The single moms working hard and slaying motherhood with a sense of humor and a glass of wine. 

The millennials who might be eating overpriced avocado toast but they are also changing womens lives with nonprofits in Africa. 

The surfer dudes who started a nonprofit raising awareness for mental health and are making serious waves in spreading the light. 

The teachers who are up late at night making crafts, grading papers and worrying about their students and still getting criticized every day. 

The friends who would go to the ends of the earth to help someone they barely know.

The business owner who is helping hundreds of people get out of debt and create a life of freedom. 

The elderly woman who is protesting because she knows one voice can make a difference. 

The mothers who take care of their babies, even if their babies are 6’2 with a mortgage and 3 kids. 

The eating disorder survivor who instead of hiding their story in shame, shares about it publicly in hopes to save a girl like their former self.  

The college student who volunteers their time at the nursing home, despite getting a bad rep as a drunk idiot by most of society. 

Sometimes their voices are faint. They are the light spreaders. They don’t seek attention. They don’t want praise. But they do good anyway. 

When you spend your time finding what is wrong with the world, all your time will be spent. 

It may seem hard to find them at times, but I promise you, the world is full of them. And it’s our responsibility to make their voices louder than the sounds of hatred, darkness and ridicule. 

The negative aspects of society won’t ever go away but there will always be those who are trying to do good anyway. 

Cheers to you- despite all the voices in your head that tell you otherwise- it’s worth it. You’re making a difference. Our world needs people like you. When you are tired, rest. But don’t forget that the world won’t change with force and hatred. It changes with light. Shine bright and keep doing good anyway. 

The 2016 Collection: Finding Your Passion 

Finding Your Passion

img_5910


“The more I encourage others to take risks, take action and live the life of their dreams the more I continue to do it myself.”

“ Being healthy, active, busy, soaked in sunshine and helping other people as much as I can fills me up”

“No one has an idea and knows where it will take them, they just fight for that one idea and let it evolve naturally.”

“ ‘Being enslaved by the exigencies of life and by our constitution does not preclude the possibility that we can feel free. We experience freedom when we choose a path that provides us both meaning and pleasure.’ Although life itself is full with responsibilities (especially this whole adult gig) when we are choosing what life we make our own it is much easier to feel free and satisfied.”

“Never let someone else’s view of what you SHOULD do with your life steer you away from what you want to do with your life. Even if that means you are saying you don’t know what you want to do. Why is everyone so scared to admit they don’t know what will satisfy them in their career? Why can’t people just say they haven’t found it yet, but they are still actively searching? I respect someone who is constantly trying to better themselves, taking risks, making mistakes, pushing themselves to live a life that fills them with passion much more than someone who pretends to be satisfied by mediocrity.”

“Through The Power of Now I am realizing what all of my passions have in common. Writing, exercising, traveling, children, helping, talking; they all require all of your attention. They force you into the now. I could get lost in my mind FOREVER. I need extremely interactive outlets to channel my Being into being.”

“Creating a life that you love is a tiring roller coaster ride of grit, resilience, inner strength and determination. But loving the LIFE in you, bringing yourself to life, that all lies in the power of now. Our power is infinite but we must tap into ourselves and listen to our hearts, and remember to enjoy simply being. Adventures are by far my favorite thing, so I choose to make an adventure of now.”

“Cheers to having the courage and living the life you imagine and the humility to CHANGE THAT PLAN if it isn’t what you want anymore. Life is simply too short to do anything less. Make it count.”

“I love surrounding myself with good people, not people who have it all together, people who graciously accept not having it all together and always provide an open ear and open heart. I love inspiring(verb) people and I love inspiring(adjective) people. I love moving my body, connecting my mind, body and spirit and challenging myself to expand. People often talk about growth, but the most interesting part about growth for me is I haven’t gotten bigger, I have simply gotten closer to the voice inside my heart. My growth has expanded my mind and my perception but it has lead my back into myself. “What you choose to focus on becomes your reality.” I choose to focus on growth, happiness, adventures and most importantly helping others to do the same.”

“Listen to yourself and what makes you feel at home. If you haven’t found it, keep looking and keep your mind and heart open so when it arrives you won’t be too jaded, frustrated, or scared to find a different home.”

“I think people spend too much time worrying about finding their “passion” and not enough time feeling it out. When you do a job or an activity that you are good at and that brings you happiness, you feel joy. You feel flow. You feel satisfied. You feel on top of the world. DO THINGS and if they feel good, keep them. When they don’t make you feel good, don’t do them again.”

“I am learning to let go of my over analytical mind and accept that finding your passion in life is not a direct flight. We are human beings. Passion evolves as your life evolves and life is a measure of your ability to adapt your behaviors and actions to match your ideals for success and happiness.”

“But here is the thing, although we think we matter a lot, in the scheme of things we matter very little. Some people use this as an excuse to live on a small scale. I view it as the opposite. I use this fact to propel me forward into my future with as much passion, action, adventure and chutzpah as humanly possible. In the end, the only one who knows if you lived the life you are capable of is you.”

“If you haven’t stopped and asked yourself these questions in a while (or maybe ever) please do it now. When do you feel the most like yourself? How often do you do that activity? Does your work incorporate what makes you feel flow? When is the last time you went for an adventure? What is the most beneficial thing you can do with the next hour of your time? Are you living a life that suits you ? Are you experiencing flow more than you are experiencing hardships and pain?”

“Many people don’t take the time to figure out what they actually want, that’s why they never get it.”

“Don’t give up and do not be stagnant. Unless you are bursting with pride and happiness about the life you are creating, you gotta find what is missing by trying something new.”

Bah, Humbug: How to Cope with Holidays Abroad

This is the part they don’t talk about. Quit your job, travel the world, you will have the best adventures, change your life and find yourself. But what about the hard stuff? Moving across the world can’t always be easy… Missing weddings, holidays, birthdays, and all of the silly days in between is not easy. Sure, you are the one who chose to leave but that doesn’t mean you don’t miss the people who you left behind. It doesn’t mean that half the stories out of your mouth aren’t about your family, this one time in college or the adorable photos you just got of your niece in the Nutcracker. The travel blogs and instagrams you idolize may not show photos of them tearing up in the middle of the street because they just want to go home. Or the feeling when all of your family is together and you are sick in bed. As usual, I am committed to being raw and sharing all parts of my adventures with you, so here is the truth behind never being home for the holidays.

Moving abroad to Thailand and Australia and being able to teach and adventure in both places have been the most rewarding experiences of my life but that is not to say they haven’t had their fair share of lonely moments as well. Yes, you will feel homesick. Yes, you will get sick of being the face on the Facetime screen, so close and yet so far from being involved in all the memories happening at home without you. The holidays make it especially difficult so I wanted to send some encouragement to my fellow expats, travelers, or anyone who can’t make it where they consider “home” this holiday season. This is the most wonderful time of the year, but like all good things, that puts a hell of a lot of pressure on you to feel merry and bright. Here is how I survive the holidays:

Bring traditions with you– If you are far away from home, find a way to decorate and spread a little Christmas or Hanukkah cheer. Watch your favorite Christmas movies, bake your Grandma’s famous recipe and make sure to share it with the people you’ve met or love abroad. Sharing our traditions with others makes them special for a whole new set of people. Luckily, I am a teacher so I always get free reign to teach my students all about American culture and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

untitled-design

Continue reading

Positive Pain

Pain is such a powerful emotion and one that fueled the beginnings of my passion for writing. Like many of us, creativity was something I always had as a child. I always loved to tell stories to my dolls, about my dolls and I could create alternate universes that I would get lost in for hours. I loved to read stories and then once I developed the ability to write I loved to write them, too. It wasn’t until I lost my best friend Corey in high school that I realized what a therapeutic experience writing was for me and I truly can’t comprehend what my grief process would have been like without this incredible outlet. For the past year I feel as if my blog and the stories I have crafted have given you a very uplifting and positive voice, one that I constantly strive for. I have mentioned before but I feel obligated to again, positive people are not happy all the time.

I repeat, I am not happy all the time. In the past few weeks I have been overcome with stress, anxiety and a multitude of confusing feelings. Instead of stifling them I realize that the only thing more powerful than an uplifting and motivational piece is a stone cold honest one. Usually, when I admit my struggles that is what people connect to. It’s almost as if by acknowledging my own pain I give others the right to feel theirs.

Luckily for me, I have learned and have crafted a lifestyle where I am constantly surrounding myself by positivity and agents for change. I surround myself with good people, motivating podcasts, inspirational books, the life-altering practice of yoga and now I am dabbling in meditation as well. In one my favorite podcasts Magic Lessons by the goddess Elizabeth Gilbert, I was single handedly talked out of my negative thought spiral by one quote from her, “The definition of responsibility is the ability to respond. The definition of responsibility is not how many hours you put into the work week but how well as a human being you are able to respond to life.” I sat there with a gaping mouth and  I dragged my index finger along my phone screen and played it again. Ms. Gilbert? Are you speaking straight to me? I replayed this quote six times until I wrote it safely in the quote section on my notepad and digested the relevance and the power in the simple statement. I am still digesting it’s power.

I am a worrier. I always have been and I am slowly learning that I don’t always have to be. I am a woman. I am a Gemini. I have ADHD and anxiety. I live life intentionally by the seat of my pants. I quit my job and move to foreign countries with my backpack and a dream. I believe so deeply in that fact that life will work out and the universe will send me in the right direction but that doesn’t stop the amount of time I spend worrying. My mind is moving and thinking at every moment of everyday.When I’m not teaching, I’m grading papers, researching lesson plans, creating materials or working on my business, talking to clients, working on my blog, helping people discover their goals, running challenges, reading personal development books, writing notes, creating goal charts, researching travel destinations, reading blogs, stalking puppies and/or food instagrams, are you tired yet? I haven’t even touched on my social life. The funny part is that my whole life I have chose to do this to myself. Since I know I run a million miles an hour, I think I can do a million things and I genuinely want to do them all. But I also can make myself crazy with stress and anxiety and to be honest the past few weeks, I have been fighting so hard to stay away from the constant pile of worries that are piling up in my brain.

14233547_10206917522241344_1113772170_o

Continue reading

Hey #Girlboss, is that you?

I have wanted to be a teacher my entire life. I used to set up my dolls and my brothers Ninja Turtles and teach them for hours. I remember never wanting to come downstairs from my playroom. I was the boss of the playroom and my imaginary classroom and I liked it that way. My mom came up one day and walked in on my class she said “Now Susannah, don’t be bossy students won’t respond to that.. Teach with your heart. They can feel it and then they will know who is boss.”

This time last year I was teaching full time in the public school system in New York. I got a long term subbing position in the inner city of my hometown and I remember feeling stressed, emotionally drained, under appreciated by my students, parents and administration. I felt like I couldn’t use my creativity in my curriculum and everything I was doing was being scrutinized. I was teaching to a test and left school many days crying. I have no idea how people stay positive and keep their sanity teaching in America the way the school system is now.

When I started coaching I had no idea what this hobby would turn into. I did it as a way to hold myself accountable to my own goals and inspire others plus make some money to cover my hefty student loan bills. Once I got more involved in the company, experienced the positivity and inspiration it has brought to my life and career and experienced the feeling of appreciation and gratification for the hard work and effort I put in. I quickly saw that this business fit with my personality and what I want from a career and from life. I felt that #girlboss coming out. I’ve made incredible friends through coaching and reconnected to people from all different parts of my life. I’m changing people’s lives and my own. Through personal development I have gained passion for being an entrepreneur and the courage to stand up for what I believe in. I am blessed to be living in Australia pursuing my teaching career in adult education and also building my coaching business. Traveling and being an entrepreneur have both opened my eyes to following MY path even if it’s not the path I expected.  “A #girlboss is someone who’s in charge of her own life. She gets what she wants because she works for it…You’re a fighter-you know when to throw punches and when to roll with them”

Continue reading

Be More…

I wrote this blog post a few days ago. I usually write/edit  my posts for at least 2 or 3 days depending on the subject matter. My message is even more important now that I have received terribly heartbreaking news today that another one of my friends from WVU has passed away far too young. Brad Fagula, you were a hilarious and loving spirit who always knew how to have fun. You were a great friend to so many and I truly can’t believe you are gone. I still think my sentiments for this blog post are very pertinent to my feelings but the sense of urgency for gratitude has increased tenfold. When you go to sleep you never know what or who will be there when you wake up. All we have is right now. Memories and love truly do go on long after a physical body leaves this earth but I pray that my WVU family, Brad’s family and all of those affected by losing someone they love too soon, find peace and strength in this hard time. Our time is the greatest tool and the greatest gift we can give to those we love. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I hope it adds a smile and some inspiration to your day. ❤ RIP Brad

564332_2905585803513_690197930_n

This morning I am reflecting on how many people have reached out to me in the past few months whether it was about my piece about Corey, a blog post about my crazy traveling life or a fitness related post I have had friends from near and far tell me that they connected to my story, my words or were inspired by my attitude or positivity in some way. Some of these friends consistently like my posts, share or comment on them, but some of them I had no idea even read my blog or appreciated my work. It was eye opening to realize that just because someone is inspired by you does not mean you know it. Just like people hide pain and struggle, we often don’t publicize things that affect us positively. This is not a bad thing. There are many aspects of my life I leave off of social media even though as a writer and an online health and fitness coach it is part of my job to share my journey, we all live the majority of our lives outside the cyberworld.

When I post something I hope to add value to your day, bring a smile to your face, encourage you to work out, try a new recipe, quit that job you hate, or stand up to someone who is making you feel inferior. I am humbled and inspired by how many people respond positively to my story and I urge you to never hesitate to tell the person who inspires you that you feel that way. One incredibly small gesture means more than you know, especially for those of us whose main aim is to help others. The world needs more of that.That being said I am constantly inspired by my coach and friend Amy for helping so many people start their own business and running a kick ass business of her own. She leads with her heart and never gives up on anyone. I am inspired by every single one of you who has reached out to me and told me that I have helped or am helping you in some way. It is not always easy to share my thoughts, but I do it anyway because of the tremendous amount of support and positive feedback I receive. I know it also takes your time and effort to reach out and that in itself is worthy of a “thank you.”

Continue reading

The Waiting Place

THE WAITING PLACE 

by Dr. Seuss

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night

or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.

Everyone is just waiting.

IMG_4537

I’ve loved Dr. Seuss since I was a young girl. I still do. I am fascinated by his ability to take imperative life lessons and weave them seamlessly and creatively into timeless children’s books. Hindsight is an incredible force and it is definitely one that is relied upon too heavily in our society. Why do we wait until people or experiences are gone to grasp their value? How many times have you heard the saying, “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” There is a lot of proven psychology behind the fact that we want what we can’t have. Pauline Wallin, Ph.D. summarized the three main factors as heightened attention, perceived scarcity and psychological reactance. Simply stated, we focus more on things we know we can’t have especially when we think there isn’t enough to go around and even more so if someone tells us we can’t have it. Human beings are creatures of habit whether we like to admit it or not. We complain about people, careers, parents, living situations but undoubtedly miss them when they are gone. When we look back, we realize it really wasn’t that bad and we see the memory with the rose colored lens of hindsight. Nostalgia has a funny way of making people funnier, food more delicious, weather more intense and good times more exciting. How do we transfer the power of nostalgia into right now? How do we actively appreciate life and the world around us each and every day? How do we escape the waiting place?

Once again, this is why I turn to writing. This is why I wish more people would turn to writing. When you force yourself to reflect about your circumstance 9/10 you reflect upon the good aspects of your life instead of the negative things. You can also find solace and strength for getting through situations that are undeniably difficult. It may not be the answer for everyone, but time and time again it proves to work for me. Now that I have finished my long-term substitute teaching position in the inner city and I am not in the day-to-day grind of feeling exhausted, under appreciated and down right depressed; I have gained hindsight and perspective. I knew that I would feel this way because I took the time to reflect and to look at it through the bigger picture while I was immersed in it. When it became too much to swallow, I realized I hadn’t taken the time to reflect and release with my words. Now I am blessed with the time to do so before I embark on my next exhilarating journey.

As a society and a generation, we are loosing the ability to look at situations through a broader scope and focus on the means to an end. I wanted to move to Australia and pursue my travels so that teaching opportunity was the most logical stepping-stone to get me there. It was hard, it was stressful, I cried a lot, but I got experience in a demographic I never thought I would and I touched the lives of young people who need more than anything a positive role model to believe in them. I had no idea I would ever teach that age level or outside of my certification area, but usually the best lessons I learned when we embrace uncertainty instead of running away from it.

Continue reading

Just Decide to Do It

IMG_7500

Over the long holiday weekend I spent a LOT of time in the car by myself driving all over the east coast to spend Memorial Day weekend with friends and family. Whenever I am in the car alone for hours upon hours, my mind darts in 100,000 different directions. Usually I call my whole phone book for my overdue catch up conversations, and no one answers but my mom (who I see everyday). So I go back to chugging ice coffee, blasting beats and mull over my next blog post in my head. I realized this weekend that I haven’t actually written those well-calculated road trip posts in far too long. I apologize for drifting away from my blog and I realize now as I write what clarity and satisfaction I glean from condensing my thoughts into words.

The mind is an incredible instrument and machine, but the mind of a woman who is a teacher, writer, Gemini, and suffers from extreme ADHD; it is almost unfathomable for most. I have hundreds of “tabs open” every waking second of the day. My release is when I can verbalize those into a medium I dearly love and understand: words. When I was traveling I was so excited to share about my adventures and so disconnected from my once known world that it was easy to stay inspired and motivated to consistently post. I was going through so much change and writing was the best way to reflect and understand how I truly felt about those eye-opening experiences. The pace of life and my career in Thailand also allowed me the most precious gift of all: time. I had time to write and read, rewrite, reflect, recharge, and release. Now I am lucky if I have time to charge my phone. But without the release of writing my mind hasn’t fully been synthesizing my life and my experiences.Despite the lesson plans, special ed paperwork, work for my coaching business, certification online workshop, laundry, and the 85 other things on my to do list, I am pressing pause and spending time to remember, reflect and release.

Continue reading

Ode to The Slight Edge

IMG_6491

The past month has been nothing short of an eye opening experience. I have pursued two ventures that I honestly can’t say I saw coming; starting my own business in network marketing and becoming an elementary special education teacher in the inner city of Syracuse. Needless to say, I haven’t found the time to reflect through writing as much as I like to or grew accustomed to while living in Thailand. But no time like the present. Being a teacher in Thailand was the best job I ever had. Being a substitute teacher in America, in an extremely low SES inner city community, is far from the best job I ever had. Every day is a challenge, mentally, physically and emotionally. Luckily I am fortunate enough to have walked into an opportunity where I will now take over full time for a teacher who is on medical leave. It is exciting to have some consistency, build solid relationships with my students and get into the swing of normal classroom life. Except I am teaching a grade level and subject area I have no experience with. “Nothing like biting off more than you can chew and chewing anyway.” I am up for the challenge and despite the extreme differences from my teaching in Thailand, I still get to shape young minds and carve young hearts each and every day. That is something that will never get old.

On a positive note, I am feeling extremely inspired by my other professional decisions I have made the past few months. I feel so fortunate to be a part of such a positive group of like-minded individuals and have the opportunity to build my own business with the incredible platform of Beachbody, LLC to back me up. As a part of my training for being a coach I have incorporated personal development into my daily routine. I read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson (if you haven’t read it I highly recommend you do), which artfully describes the author’s rollercoaster ride from beachbum to millionaire to bankrupt and back again. He gives his key for success; in business, life, happiness,and health  which is the slight edge. “Little things that seem insignificant in the doing, yet when compounded over time yield very big results.”

For me this book and this new business venture came at the perfect crossroads of my life. I read a little each day for the past few weeks and the messages were woven into my brain, just as I have woven them into my writing. I am a very self-aware individual and as a writer and an emotional Gemini, I am always searching to understand myself better. I have realized lately that I always need to be challenged. “The wisest investment you can make is to invest in your own continuous learning and development.” I moved 8 hours away for undergrad, enrolled in a 5 year Master’s program where I did student teaching full time and went to grad school, got extremely involved in my sorority and took many leadership positions, and then decided to move to a third world country and teach. When I came home I knew I needed a new challenge. Something to work toward each and every day. I didn’t realize I was walking into two challenges with both my teaching and my coaching. “There is no treading water in life, no running in place because everything is in motion. If you’re not improving, enriching, building, unfolding- if you’re not adding assets to your personal and professional value every day- then you’re headed down the curve.” Diving straight into uncharted territory has forced me to push myself to become better. I wake up everyday at 5:30 am to work out and go to school all day then I come home and work on my business for a few hours until I go to bed. “The simple things that lead to success are all easy to do. But they’re just as easy not to do.” People always complain that they don’t have enough time, but really we all have enough time to accomplish our goals, it simply is a question of what is a priority in our life. I feel inspired by my reading and by my fellow coaches and teammates who have found such great success in the business. I feel inspired by my own intrinsic drive and my ongoing realization that whatever life hands me, I can and I will handle. My attitude is what determines my happiness and I am in control. “Success doesn’t lead to happiness- it’s the other way around.” It is amazing how quickly you can change your day by smiling at strangers, reaching out to tell others you appreciate them, laughing at confusion or lending a helping hand. “Be happy and the reason will appear.“ Our society has tricked us into the mentality of “I will be happy when…” but if my travels, my heartbreak, my grief and my triumphs have taught me anything; it is we must be happy now. We have to cherish every day. “There is no some day. There’s only today. When tomorrow comes, it will be another today; so will the next day. They all will. There is never anything but today.”

Continue reading