It's Wise Women Wednesday, each week I interview a woman that I believe is inspiring, living abundantly and following her passions. These are all women who live a life of abundance and bring creativity into the world.
Q. Who are you? What is your background?
A. I’m Whitney, and I’m a work in progress. You could play connect-the-dots with my background and end up with a pretty wild constellation. What started as a career in book publishing led to work in writing, marketing, nonprofit/arts management, and ultimately anything I could sink my teeth into that combined creativity, leadership, and the chance to learn something new. My constants have been teaching yoga, working with middle and high school youth in my small hometown of Lexington, NC, and trying to drum up a little magic everywhere I turn.
Q. What is your work?
A. Generally speaking, my work is communication. More specifically, that plays out through writing, editing, coaching, teaching yoga, and working with teenagers. It all boils down to communication. I believe this is my core gift.
Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. The launch of my own coaching business: “Grace, Wit & Wonder.” The name reflects my top three values: grace, a sense of humor, and curiosity.
I practice integrative health coaching, which is a fancy way of saying I take a holistic, or “whole person,” approach to health. The underlying idea is that every aspect of someone’s life ultimately relates back to her health, and that can mean something completely different to everybody and every body.
I’m drawn to working with women over 40 who want to make a positive change in some area of their lives to improve their overall well-being; to give women a safe, sacred space to rediscover themselves and create a deep sense of self-worth that empowers them to lead happy, healthy, harmonious lives.
I believe deeply in this work, and I’m eager to officially put the word out about it.
Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. This summer I waved goodbye to my full-time, corporate, fancy-title, 401K-friendly, every-two-week-paycheck job. It took every ounce of courage and soul searching (and then some, and then some more) to cut that cord. And it was worth it.
I thought I was living out my wildest dreams as an editorial director, creating digital web series and writing scripts for a few recognizable Hollywood names. Turns out I liked telling people about my job more than I liked doing the work.
Now I’m moving into the work I feel the universe has been nudging me toward all along, without someone else’s priorities competing for my time, attention and energy. It’s happening!
Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it? If not why not what's stopping you?
A. I want to be coaching and leading women from a place of love and gratitude, and I’m well on my way with “Grace, Wit & Wonder.”
Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. Go! See! Do! Get out and see as much of the world as you can. Also, depression is real, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and here’s how you can get yourself help.
Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Years ago, when I felt stuck making a major life decision and couldn’t get out of my own way, a friend gifted me these wise words inscribed in a decorative box. The box has since been passed along to another friend, but the words are still with me. This motto bluntly reminds me that 1) fear is temporary, and 2) the fear itself is almost always the worst part. I can’t know what’s on the other side of something unless I push past the fear, and I’m thankful every single time I do.
I also find comfort in the advice to “start where you are.” This is something I weave into my yoga classes, reminding folks that every single day our bodies are different from the day before. Our hearts and minds? Also different from yesterday. Things change, time pulls us in different directions. By starting wherever we are on any given day, we allow ourselves the space to be fully present in the here and now.
Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. Movement. When I’m in a creative rut, I have to get moving, get my blood flowing. Usually this means taking a walk and listening to a lively podcast that jolts me back into my creative self.
Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. “No” is a complete sentence. Say it with me! I’m on a personal mission to teach the overworked, people-pleasing women I know how to get more comfortable with this.
Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
A. King pigeon (eka pada rajakapotasana) all day long. As an INFJ, I find this pose deftly speaks my love language. It’s the asana equivalent to nesting.
Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. For years I’ve kept a running list of what would bring me joy. Two years ago that list of “things” became a list of experiences. This year it’s evolved from a list of experiences that would bring me joy into a list of things that do bring me joy, mostly on a daily basis. This helped me to realize I am right where I want to be in this season of my life. That’s my version of living a life of abundance.