A while back I had the pleasure of meeting Deepak Chopra at a media event. When I reflect on this once-in-a-lifetime interaction, it amazes me how far I've come personally and spiritually and how much his words of slowing down and taking time to breathe every day would become such a big part of my daily curriculum. Life truly wows me sometimes. Things really do come full circle. As a long-time magazine editor and writer for various outlets, I know I have been blessed to work in the industry that I have. So on to what happened...
Perhaps my wanting to go to this special event was two-fold: On a personal note, I had been going through my own spiritual journey since a health scare in 2013. Professionally, I wanted to learn more about his important messages on how to live happier and healthier. I've always loved yoga too so that was a no-brainer. But for some reason, as soon as I opened the invitation, I knew this wouldn't be your average media event where editors and writers mingle and talk shop or gossip about the latest cutbacks and how print is a lost art. This was going to be a life-changing experience for me so I took it as a sign I had to attend now matter what.
For those of you who don't know, Deepak Chopra is a world-renowned physician and expert in mind-body healing, and has written over 65 books including New York Times bestsellers. He has a huge following in every country, along with many celebrity clients, and is highly respected around the globe for his thought-provoking teachings about alternative medicine. I was excited.
We had to remove our shoes at the door when we got there. A tad unusual for a press event, but after all, it was the opening of the new Chopra Yoga Center in Toronto so it made perfect sense. And actually put everyone at ease.
Deepak entered from the back of the room and the applause erupted. Not surprisingly though, with hence his incredible allure. It was almost as if he had walked out on to Oprah's stage. He was wearing a nicely tailored suit and he stood in front of the table that was set out for him to sit at so he could be up close and personal with our small privileged group. He opened by asking us what we wanted to talk about, which spawned a few giggles from the crowd.
We wanted to hear his thoughts on life, love and happiness of course!
He spoke clearly and calmly and looked straight in people’s eyes as if to invoke some sort of trance. As we listened to his theories on the best lifestyle practices for brain health, and how important they are for busy parents, he said: “Every now and then, stop, and ask: ‘Am I aware? What am I aware of?” And the world will open up.” The audience was silent.
His words filled me with emotion and pride. I’ve made some changes in my life over the past 10 months that have made me a stronger, more self-aware person, too. And hearing him speak about this topic right there in front of me was the affirmation I needed that I’m on the right path.
We were also able to ask him some questions. I was up.
“What was the inspiration behind your book Super Brain?” I asked him excitedly.
What came next was not what I had expected. Deepak laughed. Laughed! (Well, maybe more of a chuckle but it was directed at my question particularly. He said simple and sweet, it was a great question because of the answer he was about to tell.
“It was inspired in the bathroom,” he chuckled.
Turns out he met his co-author Rudolph Tanzi, PhD. in the bathroom at a conference and they casually started talking about the brain and how it was the key to health, happiness and well-being. After a few hours of brainstorming (literally) they had decided to write a book together. Wow! Now, I knew people did a lot of thinking in the toilet, but this was crazy.
What else did I learn?
He said regular exercise, yoga, proper breathing techniques, sleep, meditating at least twice a day, and avoiding alcohol are all imperative to self-awareness. In other words, getting to know yourself inside and out is critical to being happy and healthy. This all made perfect sense to me.
But he also said that multi-tasking is the one skill you can’t make better with practice.
“If you’re doing everything at once you’re not doing anything at all.” This was my biggest takeaway.
I thought about this for a moment. It's so true. As women we try to do it all. We want to be superwoman 24-7. And we pride ourselves on our multi-tasking skills. In fact, it’s often our survival technique. But to my surprise, Deepak didn’t agree with this theory. He told us that women. and moms specifically, need to realize there’s more to the precious time we spend trying to get everything done.
“You need to meditate every day, and if you don’t have time, then you need to do it more,” he explained.
In other words, those of us who claim we don’t have enough time to do things for ourselves, are really the ones who need it the most. So true.
Take a few minutes from your hectic day to slow down. Find a quiet spot in your house or close your office door at lunch and do a 15-minute meditation. How does this make you feel? Are you ready to take on the rest of your day? Try to meditate once a day (preferably in the morning) as it will help clear your mind and relieve stress.
Whether you're an aspiring model, life coach, writer, designer, healer, photographer, make-up artist, nutritionist, marketer or trainer looking for clients—you're not going to further your career in this competitive landscape if you don't promote yourself or your work online.
All entrepreneurs struggle from time to time to figure out WHO THEY ARE. Don't worry, I've been there too!
More and more companies today are outsourcing creative services and have found that hiring third-party professionals is the way to go. Why? Because there's usually no overhead, lower risk, and contracts can be long or short-term.
Over the years, a lot of new business owners have asked me how they can stay fresh and top of mind when everyone it seems is selling their services too. In fact, as you read this, your favourite inspiration and business icons are tweeting, posting, blogging and uploading right now!
Perhaps it's because when I was the editor of a popular women's fitness magazine, I worked with a lot of models—and also mentored tons of aspiring writers and editors on how to get published. But since then the world has changed, and almost everyone is an "expert" in their field. I too find it difficult to keep up sometimes, but it's crucial as a business person and master of your own domain to stay curious about how you can further your knowledge to become the best at what you love to do. So if you're not already—you better get online!
Here are some quick tips that have helped me:
1. BE SEARCHABLE
The more you pop up on Google searches and social networking sites--the more exposure you'll get--the more your name will get traction in people's feeds--and the more memorable you'll remain. In fact, I just spoke to a colleague in the mainstream modelling world who now urges potential clients to check out his talent's profiles and pictures online instead of waiting to see traditional composite (comp) cards at auditions. And same goes for creative agencies that hire designers, writers, web developers, content specialists, production, art directors etc. they insist on seeing online portfolios and landing pages before they even consider you.
2. BE VISIBLE
If you don't have clear and consistent personal branding and a recognizable website, blog, and social media feed, you may also be overlooked. If you aren't a creative person and don't know the first thing about design or creating a brand that best represents you, hire a professional or offer a trade for services. It's important to create and promote a look and feel that resonates with your clients and will keep them coming back.
3. STAY ACTIVE
Post it! Don't be shy—you're trying to showcase your work people! How else are you going to get some buzz out there? Social media hotspots such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest among others are extremely important tools for individuals wanting to market themselves. If you're not on at least two or three of these sites, I'd say you're going to be out of luck. Of course, word of mouth still works in some industries, however if you want to expand your clientele and make more money today, you need to be social. Sure, it can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but trust me... posting informative, inspirational or amazing portfolio pieces once a day will keep you out there. Praise from clients is also crucial. Always ask for a testimonial or review for your product or service with each new happy client. Also make sure your official bio is up-to-date on your website and offer a "media bio" if necessary in your industry. If your business changes focus or you implement a new direction—make sure you tell your clients and fan base online.
4. FIND A MENTOR
Like anything, allowing yourself to become vulnerable at times in your personal or professional life can actually improve your situation. It may seem like taking two steps forward, and three back, but it is monumental to the bigger picture. I look back on my own business journey and all the ups and downs—even a move to a new country—and often I felt overwhelmed and overworked and like I wanted to throw the towel in. Especially when I decided to branch out and officially develop my own publishing and consulting business after sporadically freelancing for years.
I had no team, no consultants, no one to lean on at 2 a.m. when I was confused about how to do something on the back-end of my website (yes I still do all my website updates myself). I also decided to self-publish my book with no agent and no manager—and I've gotten all my press to date myself. But it's tough. I still worry every day that my lucky streak will run out or there's someone else out there who will come along and take my clients or potential clients. But don't fret, these thoughts are very normal!
Remember, it's smart to know how to manage these aspects of your own business from day one anyways. Don't just delegate (if you have the money that is, which most start-up business owners don't) because this is your brand and your passion, so you should be in control. Because learning from your mistakes is one of the best things you can do. Also, a good piece of advice is to find a mentor or someone you look up to from a business aspect or who works in the industry you are hoping to break into. Most people will be open-minded to share their experience. And if they're not, do you really want to be like them?
A good mentor will be there for you through the trials and tribulations and hopefully long after you've made your first million!
Remember, staying competitive means setting up shop where your fans are. I hope this post motivates you to stay on top of your business goals and go after your dreams. If you have any questions about how I can mentor you in these or any other area such as; what the press is looking for, writing, getting published, or marketing and communications--or if you would like me to speak at your school, conference, team-building event, meetup or on a call, please contact me. I also offer private consultation calls in the areas of personal branding, social media, content creation etc. You just have to take the first step. Good luck!
P.S. Also don't forget to Sign Up for my upcoming e-zine to get your free online inspiration and more tips like these!
One of the reasons I started this blog was to address specific questions that I've gotten over the years from readers who are still looking for the "inside scoop" on how to get ahead in the fitness industry. Things such as:
How do I take the first step in the fitness world? What kind of jobs are there in the industry? What's the secret to losing weight? How can I land a magazine cover? How am I going to balance training with my family? or Do you think I'll ever look like so-and-so?
Well, my friends, the truth is that there is not one simple answer that suits everyone's needs. Take it from me, it all depends on what your ultimate goals are, how you plan to achieve them, by when, and what's your desired outcome. Maybe you want to get a six-pack back after baby, your doctor is advising that you need to strengthen after surgery, or perhaps you want to lose a few pounds for your wedding, enter a fitness contest for the very first time, or train for a marathon.
But are your goals realistic? That's the million-dollar question! Well, whatever your motivation to get back to fitness, one thing's for sure, it takes two things to make it happen: DEDICATION and A PLAN. Are you ready to take on fitness?
We all have different reasons for focusing on our health. What are yours? Send me your questions and my plan is to address every single one — and if I can't through my own experience, I will go to the best people in the industry to find out for you. Because the more people we can help get back to fitness, the better. Are you in?
You'd think that because I've worked in the health and fitness industry for over 10 years that I'd be full-on into my workout routine 24-7. Well, think again. I find it tough to fit it in too! After altering career paths, changing houses, two kids, and dealing with a killer commute everyday, I'll admit my training regimen hasn't been up to snuff lately. Yikes!....... So there's no time like the present to get back on schedule — No more excuses!
4 tips to help you get into the swing of things:
1. Stop procrastinating! Working out and eating healthy are essentials to a good life. You have no one else to blame if you're not getting to the gym. Do your own groceries? Buy clean. Spend too much time at the shops or online? Pour that time into a workout or prepare your meals for the week. Don't allow your friends and family to have more energy than you.
2. Find a workout partner. If you're flying solo, no problem! Take up a Yoga or Pilates class with a friend or go for a fast walk three times a week with a neighbour.
3. Set a specific time to work out and stick to it. After the kids are in bed, after the lunches are made, after homework is done, after you've checked your email. Instead of watching the finals of your favourite reality show, DVR it and watch another time. Believe me, you'll probably lose interest anyways which means more time to exercise.
4. Have fun! Need I say more? If it's not fun then it's not going to last.
Do you ever wish there was a secret pill or magic potion that could strip you of those last few pounds with the snap of a finger? Something that could give you perfect curves in a flash?
Or a beautiful new look, femininity galore, legs to die for, and amazing muscle definition, oh yeah, by tomorrow?
Think of the increased confidence you’d have if this were only true. Imagine, instant change without picking up a weight, changing your schedule, or eating wholesome foods. Sound too good to be true? Well, it is!
We all wish for fast “no-brainer” solutions to our diet and training dilemmas at some point in our lives. I bet, most of us can agree that it’s tough making it to the gym in between classes or when you’re away on business — and it’s equally rough trying to swing by the health food store when you’re late for an appointment or picking the kids up from school. Just trying to make the right meal choices for ourselves (let alone our families) is difficult enough when junk food is so accessible on our way home from work.
But the great thing is that there are numerous resources out there to help us out.
We all dream of having the perfect body, but yet at the same time, we want to get there without putting in any effort at all. But it’s not going to happen overnight — so enjoy the journey and reap the benefits in the end.
We have to prioritize the activities in our life. Here's how:
Make healthy meals and exercise part of your daily regimen. Drink lots of water and get enough sleep. I'm working on these things myself and it is a tough road to change direction at this point in our lives. But we can do it because the truth is that everything in life is a work in progress.
“Work” being the operative word.
Stay strong. Stay healthy. Stay fit.
As a professional writer and editor who has dedicated my entire career to helping others achieve their health and fitness goals, I couldn't resist creating a special place where I could share a little bit about where I've come from, where I'm going, and how I can hopefully inspire you to lead a healthier and happier life.
Since graduating from university, my job as a fitness journalist has allowed me to meet many interesting people from around the world. Now I'd like to share my unique experiences and the inside 'fitness' scoop with you! It's true, the fitness industry can be a big scary place if you're unfamiliar with what goes on in the gym, on the stage, or in front of the camera. So I'd like to share my experiences with you as someone who has led some of the top fitness magazines in the world and who is currently overseeing the marketing and communications function for one of the biggest multi-brand companies in the mind-body category. I also want to continue to help others reach their personal aspirations no matter what they are in life. Because if there's one thing I know about for sure — it's trying to balance work and play.
As a mother of two young boys, a busy 9-5er, freelance writer, blogger, yoga-junkie and wife, I could use a little motivation myself sometimes. So feel free to contact me anytime and subscribe to this blog so we can stay in touch. Let me know what you're up to and what you'd like to see here.
Until next time, stay fit!
No matter how much we want to deny it, as we get older, our bodies change. You may find your muscles are not responding to your usual sets and reps anymore, or you’re out of breath a lot faster after cardio workouts, or you don’t have as much get-up-and-go as you used to after long days at the office or playing with the kids. And then you notice the women in the gym are getting younger and younger... Ouch! Well I can relate.
Ever since I entered my thirties (ahem), I’ve had the undeniable urge to re-think my daily physical activity regimen and eating habits as well. Despite the fact that I still feel alright and think I still look alright – it doesn’t mean that my overall health and energy levels are the same as they used to be in my teens or early 20s. So what does this mean? It means the way we look after ourselves has to be updated too.
Let's face it, there’s so much more to life than dwelling on the fact that we’ve gotten another year older, or we don’t have the body we once used to. So raise your head up high and embrace what you have! Yes, things change, but it’s not all downhill from here. You just have to adapt to what life throws at you. Solution? Perhaps you should update your training logbook, or start one! Talk to a personal trainer to find out which exercises and how many pounds you should now be incorporating into your workout, or if you don’t already have one, get a gym membership – or go for a run!
Take a good look at yourself and evaluate where you think you need improvement: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or even sexually. Make a list and tackle each one in your time. But never rush. Your results will last longer. Remember, it’s never too late to adjust your lifestyle toward a healthier, happier you.
This past weekend was a real eye-opener for me. After a few stressful months and some personal health issues, my sister, mom and I decided to spend a weekend away at St. Anne's Spa. When we were finally able to clear our schedules at work and book, I couldn't wait to get there. We drove an hour and a half to east of Toronto just past Cobourg, Ontario. The weather was still brisk, yet we felt the warmth of the sun beam through the car windows. A sure sign that the next few days would be worth all the anticipation and saved pennies.
The reason for our brief getaway was to take some time to unwind and relax. And relax we did. In a matter of 48 hours I had experienced four r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g body treatments: A Thai massage (which I thought was amazing); a lush botanical resurfacing facial; invigorating back cleansing stone massage; and inspiring Reiki treatment to make sure all of my chakras were in tact. All four treatments were relaxing in their own way, but nothing short of rejuvenating. In fact, the entire spa weekend was nothing like I had ever experienced before. It was similar to a vacation-resort setting with hot tubs, pools, steam rooms, a gym and cardio room, dining area, complimentary Nicaraguan coffee (yum), snacks and beautiful grounds to explore. But the big surprise was that everyone walked around with their robe and slippers on (that's it). This took a little getting used to but we seemed to fit in quite nicely after oh... just a few minutes. We also enjoyed a yoga class to concentrate on the mind-body connection, and my mom attended a meditation session. Om.
We rented one of the off-site chalets (well it reminded me of a ski chalet anyways) that was located only a brief walk from the main house. We also made our way to the horse stables and the spa bakery on our way out. Just beautiful. What better way to enjoy some time away to concentrate on me? Nothing to worry about except to make sure we were on time for our next massage. Priceless.
During our stay I couldn't help but think of how valuable these types of mini vacations are to relieve the stresses of every day life. To think that a place such as this, with so much history and calmness, can actually transform you in a couple of days. I needed it, that's for sure! I'd definitely go back. In fact, perhaps we'll make it a bi-annual event
What do you do to relax? Do you take the time to get away from it all? Take a few moments to visualize your ultimate relaxation method. And if you can, plan a weekend away with the girls.
Kerrie Lee Brown is a sought-after health and lifestyle expert. She writes books, blogs and articles and is published all over the world. Kerrie Lee is also a heart-health survivor and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows sharing life-saving tips for women on how to listen to their bodies and slow down. Kerrie Lee is a mom and proud Canadian living in Denver, Colorado.