Let’s All Just Let It Flow

by Lance Ekum on · 32 comments

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” ~ John Muir

Today, it is an honor to share with you another interview with one of our regular readers here at the Jungle of Life – Stacey Shipman, whose blog, Let It Flow, is a source of much inspiration in the areas of health, wellness, and personal growth.  What I particularly like about Stacey is that she is not afraid to express her opinion, and often that leaves me with much to think about as I read the words she shares – both in her own blog posts, as well as in her well thought out comments she leaves here.  She writes from the heart, and isn’t afraid to open up and really share herself and her experiences.  A recent example is, Mind vs. Body: Never Give Up and Adventures in Rock Climbing.  Stop over and check out what she’s talking about!

And with that, please help me in welcoming Stacey here today!

I ask her the tough questions, and Stacey answers them with poise and grace…

1. Tell us a little bit about who “you” are (family, career, any special life experiences you’d like to share, etc.)

I am a Massachusetts native currently living 12 miles south of Boston with my husband Michael and my two “boys” – Mr. Bob and Habibi (our cats).  I spent 10 years as a market research professional before leaving the corporate world to start my own “thing”.   I specialize in making stress relief easy and practical.  I still very much use my market research skills and am grateful to have them.

Every experience is an opportunity to learn about myself, and some of my most memorable experiences include running marathons in Boston qualifying times, hiking and camping in the Grand Canyon, zip lining in the rain forest of Costa Rica and firewalking.  Each of those adventures helped me develop the belief that I can pretty much do anything I put my mind to.

Lance’s Commentary: You’ve had some very exciting experiences – firewalking, that one sounds painful!  The Grand Canyon trip – that one’s on my list of things to do.

2. How long have you been blogging, and what led you to start writing?

I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years, although blogging with purpose for almost 1.  I started blogging to:

1) Increase web presence for my business

2) Get my thoughts out.  I have a lot of information that can help people and I wanted to share it.  Now blogging helps fuel my programs, speaking topics and product ideas.

3. Health and wellness are a big part of your “story”.  Can you tell us about your journey?

My wellness journey started in college when I gained the freshman 15.  I was shopping for jeans one day and the Levi’s saleswoman said to me, “Let me get you a pair of our 550s, they are a little fuller through the hips.”  I started exercising 60 to 90 minutes, 5 to 7 days a week, and carried a calorie counter with me. I lost 30 lbs and ended up with mono.  The illness led me to seek out information so I could more effectively manage my weight and my health.  My passion was born.  I became an aerobics instructor and fitness trainer part time and in 2005 became a certified yoga instructor.

The journey hasn’t always been easy or healthy.  With the passion came the obsession.  I worked out 2 hours a day, and changed or declined plans in order to fit in a workout. When faced with fear provoking situations, I exercised to avoid it.  Only within the last couple of years did I realize this obsession was a problem.

I remain active daily and now I am more in tune with the needs of my body.  Sometimes I need a run and sometimes I need to relax.  That awareness has made all the difference in my health and well-being.  My experience coupled with education is the basis for my passion of helping others live life well, balanced and less stressed.

Lance’s Commentary: I love your honesty here Stacey.  It’s not always easy for any of us.  Hearing what others have been through to get where they are is not only inspirational, but gives hope.  Thank you for being so open about the journey you’ve been on.

4. You’ve made the switch from the corporate world to working for yourself.  What advice would you give someone looking to make this leap?

Based on my own experience:

  • Work on yourself first – I needed to figure out where my fear came from
  • Get rid of the F word – Failure.  It’s a learning experience, not a failure.
  • Be resilient – when you do “fail”, you have to pick yourself up and keep going.  Don’t get stuck in what went “wrong”. Learn from it!
  • Have patience – Probably the most challenging!  We all want immediate results.  Slow and steady…
  • Get support – Even if you are starting a business on your own (like me) there are support networks available – coaching, networking groups, friends, advisory boards.

Bonus:  Be flexible.  The only thing I know for sure is that change happens.  I am not in the same place I was 3 years ago or doing the same things.  I have done nothing but evolve and change – personally and professionally.  Allow it to happen, it’s actually very freeing!

5. One of the things I know you’re passionate about is yoga.  In a few sentences, can you tell us the real benefits we can achieve by adding yoga into our wellness activities?

Yoga is a practice you need to experience yourself to truly understand. (5 or 10 minutes a day is all you need to realize benefits).   That said I’ve experienced the following benefits:  Peace of mind, less stress, less physical and emotional tension, a more positive way of thinking and living, a new perspective, greater confidence, greater strength and flexibility (both physically and mentally).

I’ll be writing more about yoga on my blog because I really believe in the practice.

Lance’s Commentary: Stay tuned to her website, Let It Flow, this will be good stuff!

6. What do you see as the real purpose of your blog (in other words, why do you write)?

I write because I have something to say and I write with the purpose of helping people think in a way they may not be used to.  Whether online or in person, I love to challenge people.  I don’t necessarily want people to agree with me. I do insist, however on mutual respect, especially when it comes to any differences.

Lance’s Commentary: I recall being challenged by you on more than one occasion.  And it’s all good!

7. Tell me one unexpected thing that has happened because of your blog.

The community of people I “met”.

8. If you had to pick one thing as your greatest achievement, what would it be (and why)?

I was recently asked about my proudest moments and I rattled off 5!  If I have to choose only one…

The risk I took when I quite my corporate job and the fact that nearly 3 years later I’m still going strong.

Lance’s Commentary: There is a definite risk in leaving something that is steady, for the unknown of being out on your own.  I commend you, Stacey, on making this leap, and congratulate you on the success you’ve experienced.  This is a great example to all of us on what is possible if we believe in ourselves!

9. You’ve done several pieces of work using both audio and video.  Can you tell us about this, it’s benefits, and what you’ve learned along the way?

  • My ultimate goal is to be a media personality – TV or radio – I enjoy both!
  • Allows me to share information to a wider audience.  I especially love interviewing other people.
  • Nice supplement to my writing and serve as a great creative outlet.
  • Great way to make business and professional contacts.  Looking forward to sharing more with a new website in 2009.
  • Great business marketing tool allowing you to showcase your expertise and abilities as a practitioner, speaker, etc.

Lance’s Commentary: Once you’re famous and have your own national TV show, remember you got your start right here!!  Okay, on a more serious note, you are dreaming big.  And what better way to achieve what you really want than to dream it, and then share it with others.  Go Stacey!

10. It’s good to separate from work – and do other activities.  What are your outlets?  What do these other activities add to your life?

I feel fortunate that I love wellness – as work and as a personal activity, but wellness aside….

I love jigsaw puzzles, watching Will Ferrell movies (affinity for Old School!), Latin and belly dancing, rock climbing, cooking, adventure travel, spending time at the arcade with my niece and nephew, and more recently taking stand up comedy classes.

My favorite activity is sitting on the deck or by the fire (depending on the season) sipping a glass of wine and have great conversation with my husband, Michael.  Or kicking his butt in backyard badminton!

Lance’s Commentary: The next time we’re in Boston, I’m coming over!  Since my wife likes to “beat” me at all things sports (my claim is that I let her win, but maybe that’s an exaggeration) – we’ll play men vs. women doubles badminton – that way I’ll have someone to commiserate with!  And we can close with a good Will Ferrell movie – I’m thinking “Kicking and Screaming”… which I might be doing after the badminton tournament!

Closing Thoughts: Stacey, it’s been a pleasure having you here today.  You did fabulous, and it’s been great to get to know you better!  You are a real source of inspiration, have a heart of gold, and have been a great addition to the wonderful community we have here.  Thank you, again, for sharing yourself with all of us!

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara Swafford - Blogging Without A Blog December 9, 2008 at 2:42 am

Hi Lance and Stacey – What a beautiful and insightful interview. I love how Stacey had faith in herself to quit the corporate world and venture out on her own. I also like how she shared to be patient when starting a business. From experience, I know this to be the truth. Success does not happen overnight.

Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog´s last blog post..NBOTW – I Think I Can, I Think I Can


suddenly slimmer December 9, 2008 at 8:17 am

After reading this post, I feel so low and shallow. So much to catch up, so many things I have to learn

suddenly slimmer´s last blog post..Wishes Flown Away


Evelyn Lim December 9, 2008 at 8:48 am

Stacey sure sounds very sporty like you, Lance!! I enjoy reading blogs that keep me inspired about being fit!! It’s tempting to sit here in front of my laptop all day but reading your blogs remind me to get off my butt and to stick to my regular exercise schedule! Firewalking is something that will be off my menu though!!

Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Whose Pain Is This?


Dot December 9, 2008 at 10:06 am

Lance, thanks for introducing us to Stacey and her blog. It’s one I hadn’t run across before. Stacey, it sounds like you certainly do have a lot to share with people, and I’m looking forward to reading more on your blog, when I get caught up with my blog reading, which I had to set aside for a while.

That’s a beautiful quotation from John Muir and says a lot of what I believe about the power of nature.

Dot´s last blog post..In Paxil I Trust


LifeMadeGreat | Juliet December 9, 2008 at 10:40 am


Great to see someone so passionate about so many different areas of life. Thank you for sharing Stacey! And thanks for a great interview Lance!


LifeMadeGreat | Juliet´s last blog post..Overcoming the Barriers of Introversion: What To Look For in a Life Coach?


Stacey / Create a Balance December 9, 2008 at 11:13 am

I became an instant fan of Stacey Shipman from the moment I read her blog and learned about her life passions. Her positive energy is contagious and her ability to connect to others is inspiring.

Stacey / Create a Balance´s last blog post..Why Focus on Life Balance?


Vered - MomGrind December 9, 2008 at 11:54 am

Resilience, Patience and Support. SO TRUE. Great interview, Lance. It’s a pleasure to get to know you better, Stacey.


Lance December 9, 2008 at 12:19 pm

@Barbara – Thanks – it was all Stacey!! Faith is a big thing when venturing out on your own – Stacey is a great example of this in action.

@Suddenly Slimmer – The thing is, Alia, we’re all at different spots in our life. And yet, we have the power within us – to change. If that’s what we need to do. There is so much for us all to learn out there. And that’s okay. The thing is, you acknowledge that there is much you don’t know – and in so doing – you’re poised well ahead of most. That’s a great first step!

@Evelyn – Who’s the sporty one – aren’t you getting all set to do some skiing? I’ll take it, though (it has a nice ring!) – and yes, Stacey fits that mold too! Now, you’re also reminding me to get up and do some exercise…soon! Firewalking – I really want to know more about this! Stacey?

@Dot – Stacey is pretty awesome, I think you’ll enjoy her writing very much!

@LifeMadeGreat | Juliet – Stacey touches upon the many areas of wellness – my first thought is the physical aspect – but there’s so much more to it. Check out her writing, where you’ll really see her passion shine through!

@Stacey/Create A Balance – It’s probably the name, right?? There was an instant connection! Stacey (the Shipman variety) is loads of positive energy – I feel that same thing reading her – not all that different from Stacey (the Create A Balance variety).

@Vered – Great points that Stacey makes about going out on her own. Thanks Vered!


Sagan December 9, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Great interview!

I love zip lining. And I think that many/most people who discover a real passion for health- or anything, for that matter- experience a point when they become obsessive about it. It’s good to recognize that and get back on track!


Laurie December 9, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Great interview Lance! I too want to do the Grand Canyon. I want to white water raft while I’m there. I could also go for the rainforest zip-line. Life is too short to not have some advetures. I think I’ll start that soon. (eeek)


Annette December 9, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Stacey is an inspiration! The quote at the beginning is beautiful :)………I’d like to bottle that feeling 🙂

Annette´s last blog post..I MADE IT!!!!!


Tom Volkar / Delightful Work December 9, 2008 at 2:22 pm

This interview is very refreshing and real. Nice work Lance and Stacey.

Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog post..Double Your Income Next Year


Jannie December 9, 2008 at 3:03 pm

I sure like what Stacey says about striking the F – Failure word from our vocabularies. There is no failure. There is only “not try.” And she sure embodies the meaning of not only try, but succedd!

Thanks, Lance.

Jannie´s last blog post..Ten Honest Things


Karl - Work Happy Now December 9, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Stacy sounds like a cool woman. She’s doing what I want to do, but not quite there yet. I’ve added her to my feedreader and hope to get some good tips on leaving the corporate world for my own business.

Karl – Work Happy Now´s last blog post..Day 8 of 30 – No Complaining


Stacey Shipman December 9, 2008 at 3:13 pm

@Lance- Thank you for highlighting me today! I feel overwhelmed by everyone’s comments… thank you for the opportunity!

@Barbara – Faith and support- belief in yourself is an absolute must, and that external support, specifically from my husband was critical as well. He believes in me, too and knowing someone is there is critical too!

@Suddenly Slimmer – that’s the beauty of “let it flow”. Life comes with ups and downs…believe me, some days it’s hard for me to flow (but Lance didn’t ask me about my “bad days”! Lance said it best – we’re all in different places…and the beauty of that is we can learn from each other. Different places doesn’t necessarily mean further ahead! Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

@Evelyn Lim – My goal is to inspire people to more than fitness. Wellness and well-being is so much more. Firewalking wasn’t so bad, come on keep it on your list!

@Dot – Thank you and I look forward to having you join the Let it Flow community. There are some new to me blogs here today that I look forward to reading more about, too! And I agree, there is a lot of power in nature.

@LifeMadeGreat – Thank you for reading!

@Stacey – I think it is the name…I don’t often find women who spell Stacey like we do! Thank you, thank you…and I love where you are going, too. We all inspire each other, I believe!

@Vered – thank you…those three words so often forgotten. Or so it seems.

@Sagan – moderation is key, isn’t it? You’re right, it’s not just exercise that we become obsessed with. I’m heading to Jamaica next week for more zip-lining!

@Laurie – for me adventure = excitement…but I had to start with small adventures and work my way up! Go for it and then let me know how it goes. 🙂

@Annette – I felt the same way about the quote – Lance picked a good one and I’m a big fan of nature. Thank you for reading today.

@Tom – Thank you – one of the things I worked on long and hard over the past three years was “being real”. Corporate turned me into someone I “should” be. What an awful feeling.

Stacey Shipman´s last blog post..Back to Your Senses Sunday: Do You Let the Weather Stop You?


Stacey Shipman December 9, 2008 at 3:16 pm

@Jannie – The F word is a killer and a hard one to take away…Sometimes it comes back, and then I need help remembering what to do with the experience!

@Karl – thanks for adding me to your feedreader. I love the name Work Happy Now – why not, right? Athough admittedly, going out on your own isn’t all sunny days! You just have more “control” over how things unfold…

Stacey Shipman´s last blog post..Back to Your Senses Sunday: Do You Let the Weather Stop You?


brandi December 9, 2008 at 4:20 pm

first, thank you SO MUCH for your kind words on my blog. Knowing that John’s story is getting out there and touching people is healing for me.

second, I love this!! I so love reading about other bloggers and what advice they have, what their experiences are, etc.

brandi´s last blog post..in the end, all we have is each other


Daphne December 9, 2008 at 4:42 pm

This was a very inspiring interview, Lance and Stacey. I liked the way Lance left a commentary in several places – made the whole post come alive. And of course Stacey herself was so honest and frank that it’s endearing even for someone like me who doesn’t know her at all. Great going!

And the Grand Canyon is on my list too!

Daphne´s last blog post..Why Are We So Attached To Desired Outcomes?


Audra Krell December 9, 2008 at 6:39 pm

Great, inspirational interview! I enjoyed this very much. It never fails to amaze me, that often things that we think are “good” like exercising, can easily become an addiction and an obsession. I’m so glad you faced your fears and I’m sure you are the healthiest you have ever been. Congratulations!

Audra Krell´s last blog post..Teamwork Works for Me


Mike King December 9, 2008 at 9:09 pm

Great interview and as usual, Stacey you have continued to impress. I like how you’ve highlighted the wonderful comments and added your own personal experience to some of the comments as well Lance.


Lance December 9, 2008 at 9:15 pm

@Stacey Shipman – Stacey, you’ve been an awesome addition here today – thank you!!

@Brandi – Your welcome, and again, I’m sorry for your loss Brandi. And, I’m glad you enjoyed the interview here today – it was a lot of fun to do (getting to know Stacey was pretty cool)!

@Daphne – I really had so much I wanted to say to all of Stacey’s responses – doing that right after each answer seemed like a great place. I think it did work well too – glad you enjoyed that addition! And, yes, Stacey’s honesty was really quite refreshing – one of the many things I really appreciate about her. So, maybe I’ll see you at the Grand Canyon then!!

@Audra – There is such a thing as “too much of a good thing”!! I was this way when I first started out down the road to a healthy lifestyle – in fact, if I recall correctly – my family called me obsessive! Of course, I didn’t see that at the time – I just saw me as being “gung ho” and really committed to a healthy lifestyle – when in reality, I was reaching a point where I just should have been committed!! Thank you, Audra!

@Mike – Stacey’s doing lots of thing right, isn’t she Mike! I think we can all learn something from her. It was fun to interject a bit of my musings along the way! And, Stacey and all the people who have left comments today are what really make this storyline come alive. Thanks for stopping by Mike!


workout mommy December 10, 2008 at 8:47 am

what a wonderful interview! I am definitely heading over to Stacey’s blog to read, thanks for introducing her to me!

workout mommy´s last blog post..Confession time


Maya December 10, 2008 at 11:25 am

Great interview Lance.
I came here yesterday morning and then went off to Stacey’s website – where I got lost 🙂

I am really grateful that Stacey talks about mindful fitness and wellness. I think a lot of people do not understand that fitness is not fitness unless it is mindful 🙂

And I think I like Stacey a lot already – jigsaw puzzles, rock climbing, time in the arcade and belly dancing – I think I would enjoy an evening with Stacey doing all the things I love! It is wonderful to know you Stacey – I look forward to talking more with you !

Maya´s last blog post..A Simple Happiness Equation: A Picture


Mark December 10, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Lance and Stacey, A fantastic post, nice to learn more about you Stacey! Lance great job with the commentary! 🙂


Marelisa December 10, 2008 at 5:47 pm

Hi Lance, Hi Stacey: It seems to me that Stacey is very focused, knows what she wants, and that she steadily moves in the direction of her goals. What a great approach to life! And stand up comedy, wow, that takes a lot of gumption 🙂

Marelisa´s last blog post..Fun, Whimsical Gift Ideas for Creative People


Lance December 10, 2008 at 7:54 pm

@Workout Mommy – Thanks! And, definitely check out Stacey’s blog – it’s an excellent source of information on wellness and inspiration!

@Maya – Thank you Maya! Lost at Stacey’s blog – I know why – there just so much good stuff there to get lost in!! And, Stacey really has some varied activities she enjoys – sounds like you have an affinity for the same ones – that’s very cool!! Me…I think I better stay away from the belly dancing! I’ll leave that to you two!!

@Mark – Thanks, Mark! The added commentary was really fun for me to add in!

@Marelisa – Hi Mare! I tend to agree – Stacey really has a great approach to life! The stand up comedy bit…that DOES take gumption! (I’m not ready for that one either!)


Jamie Simmerman December 10, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Did my tired eyes deceive me or did she say firewalking! Wow! That takes like Superman concentration or something, doesn’t it?

Great interview, Lance and Stacey, thanks!

Jamie Simmerman´s last blog post..Santa’s Surprise


Lance December 11, 2008 at 3:45 am

Jamie, your eyes do not deceive you! Firewalking!! In this case, Superwoman concentration – and I think Stacey may just have that!! Thanks, Jamie!


Stacey Shipman December 12, 2008 at 10:26 am

@brandi – Thank you for reading and I agree, it is nice to get to know people better this way!

@Daphne – thanks, I liked Lance’s commentary, too! The Grand Canyon is an incredible place!

@Audra – isn’t it true how the “good” can in fact become “bad”. Moderation is key! Yes, in fact I am the healthiest I’ve ever been. Thank you for reading the interview.

@Mike – Thank you!

@WorkoutMommy – I look forward to having you visit my blog – thanks for stopping by!

@Maya – let’s get together! I do not know many people who also enjoy all of those things! Nice to know you are out there!

@Marelisa- Stand up comedy does take gumption – It’s my 2nd go around due to a failed first attempt!

@Jamie – I don’t know if it’s superman concentration but concentration, focus and knowing when it’s right are key to a successful walk!


Arswino December 13, 2008 at 10:49 am

Lance, great job to you for carrying out this interview.
Stacey, thanks for sharing your wonderful experience.
I got a lot of positive things here, truly inspiration. Thanks again to you both.

Arswino´s last blog post..Bend, but Don’t Break


Lance December 13, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Arswino, thank you! Stacey is really an inspiration to me! Her words always make me question and think deeper. I encourage you to visit her site, she is an amazing person!


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