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Keely Grand Posts

A Journey to Being Incontinence Free

I’m a mom of two awesome, active boys who has suffered from incontinence for 7+ years. This is my story and my individual solution to fixing this issue that has plagued every run since October 2008.

At the end of May, I had TVT surgery for incontinence. For the last 7+ years I’ve lived in silent embarrassment whenever I’d run, teach class, coach, or play in the yard with my two boys.

I thought that I had done everything possible to fix or aid my leakage. When I was finally fed up, I went to see a Urogynecologist for help. After very little thought, I scheduled my surgery. I was sick of being wet. I was done dealing with it. After my surgery, the recovery was unlike anything I’d gone through. Having babies feels a million times more natural than having this surgery. It all heals in time and you do get your fitness back, slowly.

About 7 weeks post-op, I made the mistake of googling TVT surgery and recovery. I ended up reading horror stories! When I initially investigated the surgery, I was mainly looking to understand the procedure. After the surgery, I somehow ended up reading all of these horrific stories of the mesh becoming infected, detaching and dislodging into the uterine wall, or not even working, I freaked out. My doctor had warned me that there was a 1% risk of these things, but c’mon 1%?!

I soon became aware that this surgery was making waves that were crashing down on women who have already suffered. The worst thing I read was that the FDA moved the surgery from being medium risk to a HIGH RISK surgery. Why didn’t I know this before? Some other things that I came across were kegal balls, jade eggs, vaginal massages, physical therapy vaginal stimulation, AND Kim Anami! Kim Anami stopped me in my tracks! The things she can lift with her pelvic core muscles is jaw-dropping! As I attempted to get my body back in running form at weeks 6 and 7 week post, I wasn’t 100% fixed and I did wish I had found Anami before all of this. All that new information made the recovery even more difficult. However, because there is no turning back, I put the newfound knowledge aside.

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I ordered a pair of Dear Kates to take away the worry and any noticing of leakage on my runs. I’ve been told and also found out myself that Dear Kates are amazing! They feel great and you can’t notice if incontinence or your period is causing problems while you are being active, i.e. running, hopping, dancing, etc…

At 10 weeks post-surgery, I am getting my body back slowly and noticing an extremely little amount of incontinence. I used to spill over a Super Plus pad and now I use just a panty liner and am not even sure if I need it – that’s a great sign. However, due to the increasing number of horror articles and posts, I am not sure that I would recommend the surgery. I was terrified that I’d be the 1% and the 1% is scary! My job as a patient, is to continue to strengthen my pelvic core muscles and listen to my body on all other levels as I try to regain my strength and fitness.

My advice to anyone going through this, is to listen to your body. Try everything possible before you give a yes to surgery. In 2014, I had reached the point of trying everything that I was told do try. I didn’t know that in 2016 there were a few other options that could also help me. Exhaust all resources and then make the decision with a competent doctor. I feel extremely fortunate to have had Dr. Denman – her work is priceless.

 

 

 

 

 

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Baby Steps

IMG_4794Have you taken some time off due to injury, a busy life, a physical event, or a procedure? If so, what do you think the most important piece to starting back up is? Drumroll! Answer – Baby steps! Baby steps can be so hard to take. Our mind and some part(s) of our body are like, “Yeah, go for it! Let’s do this!” Then, other parts of your body scream at you to “STOP!”

My procedure/surgery was five days ago. The first two days I really didn’t want to move at all. The third day, I felt the incisions and they hurt by the end of the day – A LOT. Yesterday, I felt good and took it easy. Crawling on the ground to build train tracks with my little guy, was uncomfortable at times, but not awful. Today, I woke up feeling pretty awesome. The incisions are sore, but I can walk fairly normal.

About two weeks ago, one of my colleagues needed a sub for her class. She’s always willing to help me out, so I jumped at the chance to cover for her. I, naively, thought that I’d be just fine by the time the days of subbing approached. Last week, I practiced teaching with just verbal cues – not for the entire class, but most of it, so I thought I’d be just fine. The unfortunate part, is that the class I was subbing only had one familiar face in it. I tend to rely heavily on demonstrating and I feel like it all went smoothly, but I feel like I DO need to improve on my verbal cues. When you really can’t demonstrate, teaching fitness gets a bit more tricky.

After putting all the equipment away and locking up the studio, I experienced some pretty extreme light headedness/vertigo. Not sure which one it is/was.  I’ve never really felt this before. I’ve experienced light headedness with getting up too quickly, but this time it was really weird. Like I wasn’t really attached to my body and I definitely felt like I was going to faint. Luckily, I didn’t and was able to walk slowly home. The lesson – baby steps! I was feeling so good, but somewhere in my body, wasn’t!

Remember, you’ll get to where you want to go, it just may take a few more steps than you originally thought.

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Bring the Family Closer by Running Across the Country

IMG_6001That’s us! Summer 2017 will be the most exciting one to date, as my husband and I will run 3,000+ miles from Boston to the Oregon Coast. It’s a feat that I have been dreaming about for years, high school is probably the first time the thought crossed my mind. However, the timing was never quite right. The timing still may not be right, but we are going to do it anyway.  My gut has been telling me to take the Oregon Trail – Rt. 20. It starts in Boston (where we are from) and ends in Oregon (where we live). There will be some additional navigating to avoid super busy roads, stay in the country, and to possibly avoid a ferry or not. Running across the country completions has been recorded by 252 people so far. So, we are definitely not the only ones but it’s an adventure that we just don’t want to wait any longer to do.

Not only do we want to run across the country, but we also want to share our “loves” along the way too. I dream of teaching fitness classes and juicing demos and my husband dreams of sharing his hardware hacking skills to kids along the way. Even though an audience for health & tech hangouts will be few and far between, there will be opportunities to share our work. Between blog posts, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube we will keep everyone informed on our progress and when the next health & tech hangout will be.

Coming along for the ride will be our two boys and my parents. Our boys love running and riding their bikes. My husband and I met running. As parents, we are so busy during the school year that we really want to dedicate some time to us as a family – a running family adventure seems like the perfect way. Being a fitness professional, my goal is to inspire wellness. My husband is an electrical engineer/hardware hacker who wants to inspire his community, both young and old, to wellness. So, this family adventure feels right. Every thread of my body screams for this adventure. We just need to do it right, for all of us.

Checklist:

  • Route: Southern or Northern? East or West? Leaning towards Rt. 20
  • Days of Journey: hoping to complete between 90-120 days
  • Mode of transportation/housing other than feet – tour bus
  • Travelers: My husband and I, two kids, and my parents
  • Have all technology ready to promote our health & tech hangouts
  • List of supplies:
    • shoes
    • juicer
    • Vitamix
    • Vega
    • Orgain Meal Replacement drink or something like it
    • Places to buy and how to keep fresh fruit and veggies
    • Bulk Nuts & Seeds
    • other food
    • water
    • clothes
    • sunscreen
    • baby wipes
    • bikes
    • Necessities for the kids
    • fun activities planned for the kids
    • ASTC Museum Membership (Children’s Museums)
    • Sponsors?
    • Media?
    • Tools to document journey

 

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Sitting Down

Sitting Down

Would you like a seat?
Take a seat why don’t you?
Have a seat.
It’s the proper thing to do.
I sit when I’m worn
I sit when I read
Or when a new day is just born
I sit to appreciate its need
I like to move
Swiftly through the space
Between me and you
To me, life is a race
But now, right now
I’m told to rest
My body is down and out
Perhaps waiting for the best.
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The Journey: Part 2

Dr. Denman is a young doctor, well she looks young. The first time I met her she immediately reminded me of a combination of two of my greatest friends and roomies from college, Meg & Mis. She was quick-witted, smart, confident, gentle, and equipped with the best sense of humor. I immediately felt like my “rocks” from college were with me in that room. After she explained what the surgery entails, she said “You can’t have sex for 6 weeks.” Then she smiled and said, “You have a 7 1/2 year-old and a 4 year-old, I’m sure you’re fine not having sex for 6 weeks.” I thought that was brilliant, because she made me laugh and she was right. I was definitely more concerned with not running for 6 weeks rather than not having sex for 6 weeks. Scheduling my surgery with Dr. Denman was a no brainer, since I felt like Meg & Mis were somehow in that room with me.

What I loved most about my experience at OHSU was that every person I came in contact with was a woman – check-in, nurse, anesthesiologists, surgeons, assistants, etc… I felt so proud and comforted seeing all of these intelligent, capable, and kind women in this setting. When Dr. Denman met up with me before my surgery, she had the same demeanor and perhaps turned it on even more because she knew she was behind and I had been waiting around for awhile. Of course, if you know me, you know that I’d probably sit quietly for hours, waiting patiently. I listened to the conversations around me and watched the busy medical personnel rush around from patient to patient. I listened to caring, thoughtful words of the staff with various patients. I didn’t mind having to wait at all.

In preparing for this procedure, there are two things that worried me most – going under general anesthesia (I have a crazy weak stomach) and not being able to urinate after the procedure (needing a catheter). About 45 min before I went in to the operating room, this young, beautiful anesthesiologist told me that she wanted to just put me in a deep sleep but not go under general anesthesia. I was thrilled! Dr. Denman agreed and before I knew it I was being wheeled into the OR. I think I was talking to them when I fell asleep because I woke up talking to them. It felt really funny.

People have asked me why I don’t drink alcohol and I say things like, I’m not me when I drink, I make poor decisions, etc… That’s what most people like about alcohol, but I like being in control. When I was coming out of my “deep sleep” I really enjoyed the feeling and I noticed that I am really good at pretending I am ok. I can walk fine and communicate well but in reality, I am really trying to hide my not-in-control feeling. The nurses kept on saying “Wow. You are doing great. Wow. This is amazing. I’ve never seen anyone recover so quickly.” Feeling that good feeling, enjoying it, and also being able to “get by” that I was fine was another reminder that living substance-free is definitely for me.

One thing that I couldn’t fake was emptying my bladder. Luckily, I was able to empty my bladder completely earning applause from the staff and a “I’ve never seen that!” I was able to be released without waiting any longer or get catheterized. Upon discharge they gave me a prescription for Norco for the pain I’d most likely be feeling the next day. I told them I didn’t want it and I’d be just fine with Tylenol. My husband took it just in case.

This morning, Joe asked me what it felt like. Dr. Denman said that I’d feel like I got kicked in the groin really hard. I had asked if it would feel like I did after giving birth and she said “close.” I’d like to report that it doesn’t feel like either of those things. It feels like I got stabbed in the abdomen in two spots. It hurts, but I know I will be fine. I will only take Tylenol. I will continue to rest in my bed. Miles doesn’t have school today, so we will snuggle in bed, play Lego, play the “Marble Game,” watch the Peanuts Movie and read books.

The journey continues!

Thank you to all of my friends and readers for checking in!

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Journey to Be Incontinence-Free

Have you ever sneezed and then suddenly felt a spot of wetness down there? Or lost all motivation to jump rope for fear of unloading your bladder with each jump? Or maybe you really do want to play “Red Light, Green Light” with your kids, but it’s just too inconvenient to prepare? I think as mothers, we deal with it. We deal with a lot. This is just one more thing we slap a bandaid on and then continue on with our life. We make it work. However, if you pay close attention to what you are feeling inside, you will notice a little piece of you gets lost. That lost piece gets larger each time you can’t do something or if you hold back to prevent/stop/slow down the pee.

In 1 day I will be undergoing something that, I believe, will change my world. For the last 7 1/2 years I’ve been dealing with incontinence from giving birth to a 9lb baby boy who had a huge head and the cord wrapped around his foot. For hours I felt like he was just plain stuck. The labor did some damage. About 3 1/2 years later my second baby boy slid on out without me even noticing – this time with the help of an epidural. There are a ton of other crazy things that happened with both pregnancies, and so I’ve come to the conclusion – despite a pregnancy book that said “Women are built to have babies” – that I in fact was not built to have babies. I wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like I’m built to raise them, but not have them. 

One of my favorite things to do in life is run. Running is my best friend. I’ve cried, laughed, worked through relationship stuff, worked out professional struggles, and have been struck by stop-in-my-tracks awe over the surrounding beauty on many occasions while running over the last 20+ years. On top of running, I am also a personal trainer, fitness instructor, high school running coach, and mom to two amazing, happy, smart, ACTIVE boys. My life is filled with physical activity. I am not one to just sit around, unless I’m writing a blog post, planning workouts, or lesson planning for my Life Skills class. I never stop moving, much like my two boys. This activity also means that I’ve gone through a lot of laundry and pads over the years.

I’ve tried everything from diet (thinking that maybe my hormones were out-of-whack), to physical therapy, to even taking a ton of pelvic core and post-natal personal training workshops. I’m now vegan and have balanced hormones, don’t drink alcohol, have a really strong core, and have worked my body in every way known to help incontinence, yet I still have this problem. So, my next step? I perfected my coping strategies for incontinence: I basically don’t drink any water during the day, which is not good, if I know I have to be active in the afternoon (coaching or fitness class), bring extra pads wherever I go, the treadmill is less impact so if I don’t feel like dealing with being soaking wet I usually head there, change my stride from the hips/glutes when needed to avoid excessive leakage (which leads to injury I found), and lately I’ve been opting out of physical play with my boys so I don’t have to deal with it. 

The last one is what got me to call up the doctor. I’ve ALWAYS been physically active with my boys. We were always playing some sort of game that involved running, jumping, tagging, tackling, etc… I got so sick of having to change my clothes, that I just stopped. Plus, my boys got older and bigger, so I had to be even more active with them. But, after sitting in a lecture with the author of “Boys Alive” I realized that boys need physical play with their parents. It’s how they work things out. Also, before I know it, they are not going to want to run around with me. They are going to be off on their own adventures with their buddies in a matter of time and I am missing out on the present – this precious and short-lived time together. I have done everything I possibly can do decrease my symptoms, but nothing has worked. Now it is time to make something happen.

Three weeks ago I called to make an appointment with an OB I’d never met, at a hospital I’d never been to before. I was a long-time patient at UCSF and I had started incontinence care there, but we moved and I dropped my health needs. So, exactly two years later I found myself on the phone giving my information to someone new and suddenly they had a cancelation for the very next day. Was the universe speaking to me? On Thursday morning, I woke up and raced to get myself ready and to my appointment – early! I arrived and was seen straightaway and within 30 min I had my surgery scheduled. I couldn’t believe it. Years of trying different things and completely unsure about taking this step, and it happened so naturally and quickly. 

The tools used are smaller, but the procedure is the same as it’s been for the last 10+ years. They will be using mesh as a sling and inserting it under the urethra. The sling will support the urethra and help keep it closed – especially in those unexpected times of a cough or sneeze! There’s a 1% risk of it not working, getting an infection, making it worse, and/or making it work too good. I can’t run or lift more than 5lbs for 6 weeks. For that bond that I will regain with my boys, I think it’s worth the 1% risks and the time spent recovering. 

I’m looking forward to worry-free running, when I can race down a hill and not do the biggest kegal exercise ever, or sneak attack my boys in a game of tickle tag, or put on a surge in a race and not have to change my stride to avoid leakage, or race my boys around our yard without running in to get a pad first or changing pants later. It’s going to be good. I’m going to feel like a new person.

If you are like me and have been contemplating surgery for incontinence, follow me as I will be posting my recovery and road back to leakage-free physical activity!

Keely Grand – 

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Keely is a plant-powered wife, mother, runner, personal trainer, high school running coach, high school health/life skills teacher, and freelance writer who doesn’t drink alcohol and is all about that PMA – positive mental attitude. She has spent her entire life trying to make people happy and healthy, but getting her master’s degree in Health Communication, certification in Personal Training, and later a certification in Plant-Based Nutrition is what gave her the tools to be successful in that pursuit. Keely’s belief is that the only way to lead people to happy, healthy lives is to live a happy, healthy life. So, she truly walks the walk.

http://www.keelygrand.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Keely-Grand

https://twitter.com/KeelyGrand

https://www.instagram.com/krunner79/

 

 

 

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To Be A Coach in 2016

It’s spring in Portland, OR which means rain with peeks of sunshine. This season has been too wet, yet it hasn’t deterred any athletes – they all come back for more. Aside from personal training, coaching is the one thing that I dedicate so much time and brainpower to. It’s the job that pays the least, but is the most gratifying. There’s something about being around young people who are excited to learn and grow from what you are teaching them, that makes the process both fun and challenging. Each athlete is evolving into greater versions of themselves, but at different rates.

I think of coaching Track & Field as a way to improve and inspire each athlete, individually. With big teams, that’s a difficult task. However, after a couple of weeks, you do get to know each athlete. I can tell very quickly, their temperaments, personalities, strengths, weaknesses, event capabilities, and commitment to their journey. When I first joined my high school track team, I was super shy but attacked the track. It was the one place that I felt alive and myself. I took workouts seriously, but I knew from the beginning that I was one of the few. I didn’t mind that truth. My teammates were awesome and every girl brought life to the team, regardless of their skill and seriousness with the sport.

Sports are so competitive these days and that competitiveness can discourage student-athletes from participating. I want all levels to join my team. I want the kid that’s never run a step, leaped in the air, or thrown a ball to be on my team. Because, the fact is, there are components to track and field that can be a part of us throughout our lives. Our jobs are not just to develop speed, strength, and skill. Our jobs are to also develop confidence, unity, and tenacity in our athletes and team. While, as coaches, we work so hard at those things we inevitably (if we are doing our jobs correctly) develop a level of trust at the same time. If the goal is to bring something great out of an athlete, then the trust does need to live in the athlete-coach relationship.

As coaches, it is our job to step-up and be a guide, be a role model. It comes from within. “What lies before us and what lies behind us are all small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen” – Henry David Thoreau

The other side of coaching often involves parents. I recently read an article by Steve Hanson, titled “What Makes A Nightmare Sports Parent — And What Makes a Great One.” The article was about an informal study over three decades, that was initiated by Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miler of Proactive Coaching. To sum it up, kids don’t want their parents to be their coaches, talk about the game/meet, or offer advice. They want their parents to be their parents. Students were asked: “What is your worst memory from playing youth and high school sports?” The most popular response: “The ride home from the games with my parents.” Athletes were also asked what their parents said that made them feel good? Again, the overwhelming response was: “I love to watch you play.” It is so simple. Athletes don’t want approval, instruction, critiques, or pressure from their parents. They want their parents to just enjoy watching them. They want the coaching to live with the coach and for their parents to just be parents.

Miller says, “Athletics is one of the best ways for young people to take risks and deal with failure because the consequences aren’t fatal, they aren’t permanent. We’re talking about a game. So they usually don’t want or need a parent to rescue them when something goes wrong. Once you as a parent are assured the team environment is a safe environment, release your child to the coach and to the game. That way all successes are theirs, all failures are theirs.”

As I enter another season as coach and my first season as parent with a son in Farm League baseball, I believe these are very wise words that all parents, can understand and appreciate.

Here’s to another season of sports! I hope all of us coaches, parents, and everyone in between can live out our roles to the best of our abilities.

 

-Coach Keely

 

 

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Hug Project

The HUG Project is definitely unleashing greatness. Everyone in a HUG Project has different projects, but each one of them is growing as a person and finding the best path for their personal health. One of my favorite days is Monday. To me, Monday means a fresh start. It’s a new week. A chance to make a change that maybe didn’t stick the previous week. On Monday, some of us focus on inspiration, some on creativity with movement and creativity with an art, and others focus on spreading the health movement to others through social media via a poem, article, book passage, artwork. The work HUGgers have done is truly inspiring.

My other favorite day is Friday, and Friday in all HUG Projects is to LET GO! How? Well, you get out a piece of paper and right down something that you want to get rid of, i.e. self doubt, anger, resentment, etc… then you either throw it away or burn it. This can be a challenging task, but I will say that it is healing. Given that today is Friday, let’s trash the things that are holding us back, preventing us from being our greatest selves. Post your step towards greatness and take notice of the pleasant shift that follows.

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Pen & Paper    Photo on 2016-02-05 at 15.02 #2  Write it down.Photo on 2016-02-05 at 15.03

 

Mine: “Don’t be afraid to write your books.Rejection comes with the territory.”

Crumple it up.  Photo on 2016-02-05 at 15.03 #4

.Photo on 2016-02-05 at 15.03 #5  Throw it away!

 

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No Judgement

Sometimes it can be hard not to judge. Whether it be another kid being mean to your kid or meeting someone new or comparing yourself to others in a fitness class or group run. Most of that judgement comes from our own insecurities. Wouldn’t it be a harmonious way of living if we left the judgement at the door?

As a fitness trainer, coach and avid runner of 25 years, I can be self-conscious and pretty hard on myself when it comes to strength, speed, and looking the part. I think there is a line between wanting to be an inspiration and motivating factor in my clients eyes and becoming vein. For me, I have crossed the line a few times and trust me, it feels awful. Any time I cross the line, I end up losing the joy in what I am doing and I quickly rush back to the other side.

As I was examining my figure in the mirror the other day, I thought “I don’t judge my clients or athletes, so why am I about to judge myself?” Every body that walks into my life, I accept. I can’t recall ever thinking a negative thought about anyone that comes to me for fitness advice or training. It’s quite the opposite, actually. Inside, I get really excited. My brain bubbles over with information and strategy. I focus in on form and what I can do to help their body work better for them. I feel like my brain is going into some other crazy mode, they way you’d imagine a computer, computing.

My industry is intense, competitive, and very much based on looks and strength. In order for success, we have to be really smart and really fit. It can be a  hard thing… the really fit part. Fortunately, every client I’ve welcomed into my wellness circle has welcomed me on my super fit marathon training days, my injured-for-days days, and my just-gave-birth-to-a-9lb. baby days.

On those days when you are examining YOUR figure in the mirror, STOP. If you are nourishing your body with healthful foods, fitness, and soul-inspiring works, you need not examine your body any further. Surround yourself with people and things that make you feel inspired and empowered. I know that I’ve met someone or have been a part of something right, when I leave with a smile in my heart and on my face.

#nojudgement #beyourself

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Ellen DeGeneres

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I recently described myself as the Ellen Degeneres of personal training and coaching. Why? Well, maybe it’s my stunted social skills from being excruciatingly shy and anxious growing up and maybe it’s just who I am, but I am “not an intimidating drill instructor,” as someone put it last week. I’m goofy and nice, but a perfectionist in my skills and expectations at the same time. I smile, laugh, dance, and do frog jumps or donkey kicks alongside them as they sweat, push, and laugh too. I find a whole lot of joy in my work, like Ellen seems to in hers.

As a kid, my goal was to make people happy. As I grew and found a love for health & wellness, I decided to combine my love of making people happy with my love of health & wellness into a career. I may do several things: write, personal train, teach group exercise, and coach, but they all involve happiness and health.

Last year, I coached high school track and at the end of the season the AD made a comment that I wasn’t tough enough – in a strict, stern way. I took a second and thought, well no one missed a practice unless they were home sick or had a school event and the girls team, which only had five on the team, took 4th in state and everyone had their best season, so….  I think people think coaches and trainers should embody a certain persona in order for clients and athletes to achieve success. Well, I’m a firm believer that no one is going to go on that ride with me if I am not myself. I could pretended to be “hard” with no smile, but what kind of fun would that be?

Being myself, has had a positive effect on the kids I coach and the clients I train. If I can open up and be myself, they will too. They feel as though they are in a safe place and can open up as well and be honest with themselves, their bodies, their training, and me. If I come off too tough with an intense attitude, then a kid may not come to me if they are injured or not feeling well. Kids and clients will quit, not gain confidence, or end up injured. The possibilities are endless when everyone feels comfortable with each other.

In some respect, this idea of putting on a persona can translate to other fields as well. In my early 20’s I tried on that professional persona and it was awful for all parties involved. When I made the decision to let myself come out and play with my career, I was successful and devoured the work that I was getting.

So, I stand by my Ellen DeGeneres-style – it’s who I am. Any way, what’s  better than being able to be myself in the field that I choose to live and grow, in order to inspire those in my reach?

#beyou

 

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