Not all girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. Some girls are made of adventure, fine beer, brains and no fear. -Steve Maraboli
Adventure! I want to talk about the feeling of adventure we have when you are outside active and moving. We can’t really talk about adventure, and how we get to it, without first talking about what keeps us from adventure, and that’s being stuck.
Can we agree that there are two kinds of stuck? Like a micro-stuck and a macro-stuck. Micro-stuck is where you can’t decide if your walls should be painted Ambassador Gray or New England Gray. Maybe, deciding which Netflix movie the whole crew is going to watch, then realizing you’ve watched, like, two hours of trailers trying to decide. Micro-stuck. It happens.
Then there is macro-stuck. Those are the really big life-stuck kinds of stucks. That’s where you are really, really sure that there is "this thing" that you want to do, but just can’t seem to grab hold of yourself and make it happen. A change in your life, a version of yourself that you’re aching to become but just can’t.
Following my own macro-stuck situations, I dug deep to determine what it is that got me out of those seemingly endless pits, and what I realized was: it was "movement." You know, exercise, activity, physical motion... movement was how I always got unstuck. When I realized that, it became my mission to change how women talk to each other, and themselves, about their bodies, their health, their hustle, and who they wannabe. I wanted the company to stand as a beacon to the next generation of girls, questioning whether they get to have--and crush--their own BIG dreams.
I created WANNABE. We designed functional protein blends to power the hustle. Each blend has Ayurvedic herbs, superfoods, supplements and power flowers to target a specific health aspect. WANNABE Glow, Gutsy, Blissed, Fit. These containers are my mission in a bottle. Later this year we will roll out our training programs and health retreats for women. We launched WANNABE Radio, our podcast to change the conversation. We talk about real bodies. Like, I interviewed the creator of VaGenie—a device that is essentially a video game for your vag. Yes. I said that right. And I’ve interviewed sexual health experts. Soon we’ll air interviews of experts on issues like suicide prevention and sleep, and conversations with people creating great products and experiences for women in fitness and health.
We also air these ridiculous segments every Friday called "Sweat Friends Work It Out." It took me so long to talk about them without blushing. One of my workout buddies and I debate topics like self-tanner train wrecks, working out in a sports bra sans t-shirt, and crotch sweat. It’s the real deal in body talk.
I hope that you tune in for these conversations. They are perfect cardio companions. If you rate and review WANNABE Radio on iTunes, or share on Facebook I will be eternally grateful and toast to your name with champagne.
A key feature of our products and podcast is that they provide a platform to change the conversation. What was mission critical to me was to change the lens on how we look at our bodies. I chose protein because it is the get-strong macronutrient. I didn’t want to stand in front of women and young girls and say: Starve yourself to be 10 lbs lighter and more loveable. I wanted to stand in front of them and shout BE STRONG AND GO CHASE DOWN YOUR NEXT YOU!
See, most of us have spent too many hours agonizing over the endless pursuit of thigh gap. And that holds us back. It distracts us. You cannot simultaneously hate and punish your body and love and care for your body. How we treat our bodies is, for better or worse, a mirror to how we treat our lives. Every time we chose something that makes our bodies feel good, every time we move to make our bodies feel good, we are showing up for ourselves. We are choosing ourselves.
The relationships that we have with ourselves are the most complicated relationships that we have. And we can all quickly spiral into that feeling awful about making an unhealthy choice and then feeling awful that you feel awful and on and on. It’s like those carnival mirrors, where it’s just endless reflections of inner anger. Can we, then, agree that making friends with our bodies is really important to everything else that we do? I mean, have any of you ever thought: Can I just like my body yet?
And, yes. The answer is yes. But it is a learning process. Because that’s not the story that we were told. I mean when I looked at the world of protein, it was all bodybuilding for men and an endless sea of weight loss for women. That’s why our company doesn’t focus on weight loss. This product is the high-five to the everyday female athlete. It’s an "I see you" product. And it’s why our proteins have functional ingredients: it’s about how your body FEELS.
We also need to be really mindful of the people and messages we expose ourselves to. You know that thing that people say: you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with? I believe that’s true. But what happens when we spend more time with Instagram than other human beings? Now, I love social media. What a game-changer it is for creating opportunities for female entrepreneurs. But it can also be soul-sucking. From the messaging, it’s really easy to equate healthy with skinny. To equate being radiant with being young. None of that is true.
We want to change the game here. We're committed to Real bodies.
- That means that we never Photoshop bodies. Never.
- We never use before and after photos.
- And we committed—by committed, I mean I was bullheaded stubborn as hell—about showing all bodies, which means featuring women of color, women of various ages, and women with various body types.
So what’s any of this have to do with adventure? Everything. The idea is to stop spending minutes believing that thigh gap will fulfill you. Instead, fuel your body, move your body towards your life’s adventure.
This life is a fucking adventure. It’s an ADVENTURE. Do you remember when you started reading this blog post, like six hours ago, and I asked you to reflect on the feeling of adventure you have when you are moving outside? That curiosity about what’s to come as the trail curves. The excitement of the bounce back of the bike when you hit a small hill. The thrill of the wind crashing against your face and your face crashing against the wind. That sense of wonderment mixed with fear-be-damned I’m hurdling up and down this hill anyway. Moving outside puts that sense of adventure into sharp focus. And you are the masters of this adventure. So don’t leave that mindset when you leave the trail.
Because you can’t know ahead of time what’s actually going to happen. And if you charge ahead in your life with only one possible right outcome, you will be perpetually disappointed. You must LIVE as an ADVENTURER. You must stay curious. Be a life-long student, ready to learn from the missteps.
Do. It. Now.
Don’t wait for the adventure. Start now. I read a book years ago that detailed interviews of people around 100 years old. There was one interview entitled: Go see Paris. The woman had been a dancer and dreamed of seeing Paris since she was a young girl, you know the kind, she had photographs of the Eiffel Tower wallpapering her room and gets all glassy-eyed when she hears La Vie En Rose. She married young, had kids and pushed off Paris for “once they are older.” Well her kids got “older” and her husband got sick, so it became “when he gets better” - well, he didn’t get better, he passed away. And then SHE got sick and, spoiler alert, she never saw Paris. That interview has stuck in my mind for the last 15 years or so.
I, too, wanted to see Paris. But kids, job, money…all the usual suspects. I had a calendar entry to book tickets to Paris. And I clicked the snooze on that so many times that Outlook had to start over. It was, like, on the 500th week of reminders. So here’s the thing, when I created WANNABE I understood that this wasn’t just creating a company. This was creating a life. A life for me, for my family AND a life for any woman who wanted to consider a new way. I was cutting a path for me but my mission is to cut a new path for many.
So, I worked with a branding group in London. I took one of my sons to London for a series of meetings. And when the meetings were done, we took the train to Paris. Listen, when we got to the Louvre, I froze. It was one of the best moments of my life. I stood like a statue for what probably felt like an eternity to my kid. I openly wept. And eventually, my son was, like, "Eh, mom. A LOT of people are staring." But I had done IT. I showed up for myself. I showed up for a dream of mine. Oscar Wilde said, "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." And I hadn’t just existed. I hadn’t let the moment slip.
Don’t be the person who is too busy when you are young and too tired when you are old. I agree with Randy Komisar, who said, "The most dangerous risk of all: the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet that you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later."
That thing that is tugging at you, that next version of yourself, go do that thing, go be who you wannabe.
Maybe Tina Fey said it best, "You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the slide over thinking it. You have to go down the chute."
If you're from Grand Rapids, Michigan, you might know Melissa Werkman, co-founder of Moxie Wild? If you do, she’s the cherries, right? Well, she changed my life in a simple sentence on a local bike trail. She took me out on my first mountain biking excursion. I thought it meant we were going to bike along peacefully and look at hills. That is not what it means to mountain bike with Melissa Werkman. So, we’re staring down this cliff... let’s call it a cliff, I’m sure it was a cliff, and Melissa is telling me the stuff I need to know to not kill myself on a bike. And I’m like I didn’t even tell my children goodbye. I was terrified. My mind raced with excuses for why I had to leave immediately.
And then she said "the thing." Maybe one of the most transformative things anyone has ever said to me. She said: Look at where you want to go and let the bike follow. Look at where you want to go and let the bike follow.
With that, everything made sense. I had been riding wrong. I had always been so nervous about falling that I focused on the wrong thing. Most of the people who leave this life without charging towards their goals were, simply, too afraid to fail. In her book, Wild (a book that changed my course in life), Cheryl Strayed said, “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave.”
Ever since that mountain biking trip, I’ve lived differently. Sincerely. I’ve changed the course of my days, and life, so dramatically. It's bananas. I started looking where I wanted to go and letting the bike follow, letting success follow, letting the money follow, letting the security follow, letting everything else follow.
Don’t underestimate the power of the movement of your body. It can power you to who you wannabe.