Photo Credit: The Women’s Movement Collaborative
First of all, having a local event so well aligned with my personal and business goals and dreams was SO cool. I feel like I always have to travel to experience events like this. Let’s face it, places like New York, California, and even Colorado and Texas seem to have thriving wellness entrepreneur communities.
That’s why finding brand new women in my local Raleigh area community to connect with was SO cool. If that’s all that happened this weekend it would have been a total win. I’m stoked to know there are so many amazing local women to collaborate and connect with in the world of women’s health!
Anyway, this was more than just a networking event for me. I learned some awesome lessons that not only apply to my own personal life and business goals, but have sparked a new fire for how I can serve my clients and my greater community.
So here are the top 10 lessons I learned from the Women’s Movement Collaborative. I hope they’ll inspire you to dig deeper into a few of these ideas yourself.
1. Say No to Say Yes
If you want to make space for some big Yes’s in your life (or “Hell Yes’s” as I like to call them), you need to say a LOT of no’s first. Mostly little no’s, but some big no’s too. By saying no to things that aren’t a complete yes, you make space in your life for what truly IS a yes for you.
If you want to have space to do the things you love, that bring you joy and bring purpose and meaning into your life, you have to get ruthless and start saying no to the things that suck joy out of your life, waste your time, and make you miserable when you’re doing them.
And I’m not saying that you can remove all challenges and annoyances from your life, but if you have the option to say no to something that you really don’t want to do, then you need to say NO!
2. Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
Too much of modern life is centered around avoiding discomfort. The more comfortable we get, the less we grow, and the less we discover who we truly are. If you’re always pursuing comfort, you’ll never know what you’re capable of. You’ll never know what matters to you when push comes to shove. You’ll never get to experience the joy that comes from accomplishing something that you had to push through fear or major discomfort to achieve.
Regularly putting yourself into situations that make you uncomfortable and that stretch you past your comfort zone brings amazing opportunities for growth and self-discovery. Seek out those opportunities to experience discomfort, whether that’s entering into a new relationship, trying a new training activity that scares you a little, or traveling to a new city.
3. Discomfort Does Not Equal Pain
While you’re seeking to experience discomfort, you need to recognize that you should not be seeking pain. As Brittany Lillegard and Sarah Scozzaro taught us this weekend, you need to stop chasing pain, or stop ignoring it when it’s happening. You need to learn the difference between discomfort and pain, and if you’re experiencing pain, the goal should be to find the root cause of the pain and take action towards healing that pain.
This applies to women who are pushing through pain in their workouts or looking at pain as a sign of progress in their fitness. It also applies to women who are experiencing pain in a relationship but are numbing it out instead of addressing the issue or leaving the relationship. There are so many areas in our life that we can ignore pain. It’s time to start recognizing pain as a sign that we need to make a change.
4. Self Care Isn’t Always Bubble Baths and Pedicures
Another great lesson from Brittany’s workshop was understanding the true meaning of self care. So often we look at self care as laying in a bubble bath with a glass of wine while reading a romance novel. I’m not opposed to any of those activities as a self care option, but we need to get real… a glass of wine isn’t going to heal the stress of a broken relationship, an overly full schedule, or a lack of friendship and community in your life.
Instead of using self care as a method of further numbing or ignoring pain, look at self care as a way to potentially eliminate the source of the pain you’re experiencing. Maybe that means having a tough conversation with a partner, saying no to additional responsibilities that are pushed onto you, or even asking someone for help.
These self care action steps can feel uncomfortable in the moment, but are what’s truly necessary to relieve the pain you’re experiencing on a regular basis.
Don’t use wine and dark chocolate to ignore feelings of loneliness, exhaustion, or frustration. Get to the true source of the issue, and come up with a self care activity that’s really going to nourish that area of your life.
5. Stop Judging Your Experiences and Choices
Many women really beat themselves up over the choices they make on a daily basis. I can’t even tell you how many women I work with have said they ate something “bad” or did something stupid. What’s worse is that 90% of the time they actually did their best in the situation, and yet are still blaming and shaming themselves for being a failure!
If you start realizing that there are no good or bad emotions, that you’re not a bad person for not being perfect all the time, and that God can use every experience you have to grow and refine you, then you’ll be able to stop judging yourself and start trusting your ability to do your best in all situations.
Once you do your best, there’s nothing else you can do. You need to be willing to let “good enough” truly be enough. And even when you experience a negative emotion or you make a mistake, you’ll be able to give yourself the grace to move through that emotion or forgive yourself once you’ve sincerely apologized when your choice truly did hurt someone.
6. Knowing Your Why is Everything
There are three big reasons to know your Why. The first is that knowing your Why will help you reach your goals even when your motivation is completely gone. Women who don’t know their “why” usually don’t finish what they’ve set out to do, whether that’s to finish a marathon, write a book, or start a business. You’ll never do the work it takes to reach your dreams if you have no idea WHY you even care about that dream in the first place.
Second, knowing your Why really helps you shift through the B.S. You can’t do everything in life, despite the societal expectation for women to “do it all”, and knowing what’s truly important and valuable to you will help you say No with more ease, or rearrange your priorities when life gets overly hectic. Knowing your Why will help you prioritize what truly matters to you, so that you feel more aligned with the choices you make in all areas of your life.
Third, knowing your Why helps you determine what your true, deeper purpose is. My new friend Sarah Schall taught an amazing lecture about understanding our circle of influences, and deciding how we wanted to make an impact on the world. I was so inspired by how passionate she was in her personal area of influence, and I really believe that the more women tap into their own personal strengths, values, and purpose, the more they can focus on working towards goals that truly matter to them and make them feel deeply empowered.
7. Learn How You Respond To Fear
Exposing yourself to fear-inducing experiences (in a safe way of course) helps you learn what your personal response to fear is. While we were doing Parkour this weekend at WMC, I realized how little it takes to get my body feeling pretty fearful, and for my mind to immediately start thinking “I can’t do this” or “I hate this”. But choosing to “do it anyway” allowed me to see that I was capable of more than I gave myself credit for (and I didn’t really hate it!)
While I don’t really plan to spend a bunch of time training Parkour (again, priorities…) I can see how fear of failure really impairs my willingness to try new things, even in my business. Knowing that, I can practice feeling fear and then “doing it anyway”, knowing that I’ll either accomplish the task or learn a lesson about myself or life in general along the way.
This is similar to the “be comfortable with discomfort” lesson, but sometimes discomfort shows up as strong fear, and for me I’m much more fear adverse than discomfort adverse. As I continuously push through fear, I start to be more fearless in all areas of my life… with “fearless” being defined as the ability to feel fear and take confident action in the face of fear.
8. Ask For Help (Seriously!)
So many women struggle so much with asking for help, and I truly believe it’s the source of a lot of stress, relationship destruction, and unhappiness in our modern society. Women expect themselves to be able to handle anything and everything that life throws at them. We’re in a weird time where women are expected to take care of all the domestic duties, raise perfect children, AND crush their business goals at the same time. (Oh, and look hot while doing it.)
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. I truly believe we were created to rely on each other, to work together and collaborate rather than trying to do it all ourselves.
By asking for help, not only do we take the pressure off ourselves to do everything alone, but we give others the joy of being needed and being supportive. No woman is an island, and the more we become comfortable asking each other for help, and asking God for help, the less overwhelmed and inadequate we’ll feel in our daily lives.
As an aside, I personally realized that I need to continue asking for help in my business and personal mission. I’ve made some big steps in the past few weeks by getting an executive assistant/project manager and hiring a new business coach. But this weekend made me realize that I need to start seeking out other women in the field who have amazing knowledge to contribute to the work that I’m doing, and stop trying to be the expert in all areas that solves everybody’s problems on my own. It feels so good to know I don’t have to do it all to serve my community well!
9. Show Some Love To Your Pelvic Floor
This one’s a little more practical in nature, but I’ve become really interested in learning about pelvic floor health over the past few months due to some personal health challenges I’m working through. One incredibly important fact I’ve learned is that a tight pelvic floor is just as much of an issue as a loose one, and that a lot of physical symptoms can arise when you struggle to relax this vital muscle.
My new friend Sarah Smith did some mini teachings about the importance of pelvic floor health, and how it impacts all women (not just those who have had a baby!) I believe if more women were aware of their pelvic floor function and how modern life can mess it up, the more strong and healthy we’d be across our entire lifetimes. I can’t wait to learn more about this topic and share more with all of you!
10. Stop Hiding Who You Are
This was the big take home message for me after this event. I’ve been struggling with the question of how much to incorporate faith into my future business plans. On one hand, I don’t want to turn away anyone who’s not a Jesus follower like I am, and I want to show God’s love to all people in any way that I can.
But on the other hand, I feel like the world of women’s health has become a minefield for Christian women to navigate.
Those of us who have strong belief in God have to decide if we’re okay following female leaders who are reading tarot cards, practicing witchcraft, encouraging extramarital sex and gender fluidity, divorcing their “best friend” husbands, and blaming Christianity for the suppression of women and promotion of unhealthy patriarchy.
I’ve noticed this culture springing up in the world of women’s health, and it’s starting to rub me the wrong way. Should I be okay with exposing myself to things that blatantly go against my personal belief in Jesus? Am I honoring God by following female leaders who openly admit to not believing in God?
I know I can’t be the only one who’s struggling with these questions right now.
This is something I’ve been seriously thinking about ever since I went to L.A. last April to talk about women’s health with one of my business idols Lara Briden. It was a great experience and I met some awe inspiring women at the various events of that weekend (seriously, Lara is beyond amazing and our joint event was really fun.)
But I still couldn’t help but wonder how my Christian girl friends would feel at an event where women were discussing shamanism and witchcraft and dropping F-bombs and other swear words without restraint.** Would they feel comfortable and welcome? Or would they feel conflict in their spirit about what kind of information and influence they were exposing themselves to?
This is a serious issue in the women’s health community that has been tugging at my heart for a long time now.
At best, Christian women aren’t even hearing about pelvic floor health, improving sexual pleasure and libido, building strength and physical capabilities, nourishing their fertility, and recognizing the inherent sacredness of the female body that was created in God’s image. At worst, Christianity is openly mocked and blamed for the state our country is in, especially when it comes to women’s rights, the treatment of marginalized groups, and even diet culture.
Yes, this stuff goes freakin’ DEEP. And I was so incredibly fired up to talk about these topics with other women of faith who are passionate about sharing their knowledge in a way that honors their belief in God as well.
It was so refreshing to talk to likeminded women about how God created women for physical endurance, sexual pleasure, and powerful purpose. It was such a relief to speak freely about the power of the Holy Spirit and real-world miracles and not think someone was going to think I was a total buffoon or worse, a “bible-thumping” bigot.
The coolest part was even when I was sharing my internal struggles regarding the direction of my business with non-Christian women at this event, they still encouraged me to not hide who I am and to not try to make everyone comfortable by eliminating the faith piece from the conversation.
The fact that these non-Christian women were so open-minded and supportive that they could tell me “yes, talk more about Jesus!” without any judgment was just so damn cool. And I’m really grateful to the women who started this movement for creating a safe space for ALL women at this event to share their experiences, challenges, and wisdom.
As you can see, I’m feeling super on fire for women’s health right now, and I’m so glad you’re here on this journey with me. I really can’t wait for you to see all the stuff I’ve got cooking for you, and I am so incredibly grateful for the experience I had this past weekend at the Women’s Movement Collective.
If nothing else, I know that all of us women are truly in this whole thing together, and we’re all just looking for a sense of purpose and meaning in the world… even if that purpose is simply to love others well.
I’m so excited to see where this path leads me, and I’d love to hear how this blog post resonates with you, so share your thoughts in the comments below!
**Important note: I’m seriously NOT judging women who engage in these alternative spiritual practices. It’s none of my business what someone’s spiritual beliefs are, or even the language they use. I’m not the religion/word police and I think women should feel safe expressing themselves however they want. And there are many brilliant women I absolutely adore who feel very comfortable using the F-word or pulling tarot cards. It’s just not the culture I want to build in my own personal community of women.