“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!