Aspiration, Inspiration: GOOD + My Relationship With Wellness.

Aspiration, Inspiration: GOOD + My Relationship With Wellness.

Body Community Motivation + Inspiration WANT Women

I don’t often post about the events I do or the places I speak. I feel like, for me, it borders on self-indulgent and sets a precedent that I’ll write something about every event I do or place I speak. But I do like sharing with you the ones that spark something new inside me…the ones where I can sense a shift happening. The ones that offer up more than just a recap and some fun photos. The ones that blow my mind.

This weekend, I had the immense honor of speaking at The GOOD Festival, an all-day wellness festival in Philly for anyone wanting to live well and “make choices that are in alignment with their body, their career, and their lives.” Basically, the GOODfest focused on all of the things I love about the wellness industry: the community, the curiosity, and the small choices that end up making a big difference in the long run.

But I’ll tell you a secret: I don’t love everything. A couple years ago, I felt my relationship with the “wellness” community starting to shift. Because wellness was shifting as well. And I didn’t really like much of what I was seeing: elitism, ego, judgement, and a focus on the external WHATs instead of the internal WHYs. Leaders and “gurus” encouraginig spiritual bypass, the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with hard things, was becoming just as if not more common than encouraging spiritual growth.

I felt torn. The wellness world had introduced me to some of my very dearest friends, launched my career, and helped me realize my through line. Heck, if it hadn’t been for the wellness world, I would have never started sharing my writing publicly or be even close to the person I am today (fun fact: my first blogs and first freelance jobs circa 2008 were all in what’s now considered the wellness realm). I owed so much of who I was to the wellness community – and yet I felt like I was watching a genuine and loving best friend get lured in by a Mean Girls-esque squad of crystal-carrying, sage-burning, side-eyeing Regina Georges. All aspiration on the outside and very little inspiration on the inside.

It broke my heart.

~

I’ve been very vocal about ways I feel the wellness world can shift, and every single WANT Woman that’s been featured on the site or the podcast is a shining example of what wellness can be if we lean into the parts of us that make us unique and let them lead the way. Literally, every single one of them. 

But still. It’s so easy to get caught up in the parade and charade of the opposite end of the spectrum when you’re scrolling through Instagram or reading an article and then all of the sudden it’s 12:42am and you’re paralyzed by fear that you’re not only doing everything wrong, but that your idea of what leadership means in the wellness world is no longer relevant.


One of the reasons GOOD was such a reaffirming experience for me was that it reminded me why I fell in love with wellness in the first place. Wellness, after all, isn’t just about the “well.” It’s not just about the adjective – or rather, the noun we’ve created from the adjective.

It’s about the verb – the “LIVING” part of living well.

“Well” is subjective. We cannot possibly know if what works for one person will work for someone else.

 

But living? Living is action. Living is experience-oriented.
And living well is…well, it’s moving forward fearlessly into the you you know you’re meant to be.

 

The GOODfest team blew me (and everyone else there, ps) away with their thoughtfulness and attention to detail. They’d carefully curated the day to reflect their mission and their values, and it showed in not just every single speaker and sponsor, but in all 300+ people who chose to spend their day with us. Deep conversations happened within a matter of seconds – real, no-bs, walls-down conversations – and each time a speaker walked onstage it was like they were being greeted by a room full of old pals.

Speaking of the speakers – the SPEAKERS! Oh my god the speakers. Being a part of this group was a dream come true. Some people were old friends (Jessica Murnane, Katie Dalebout, Jordan Younger), some were new friends (Gianne Doherty, Kristin McGee, Cassandra Bodzak, Sara DiVello, Kimmie Smith), and some I met specifically because we were both speaking at the GOODfest and then one month later we were the best of travel buddies (hi, Talia Pollock). In an industry that can sometimes seem so cliquey and elite, the GOODfest was anything but. It revived my love for wellness; for how *I* view living well. Which is all about being proactive, not reactive, when it comes to how you want to feel. All-around. Mind, body, soul.


Living well is about being proactive, not reactive, when it comes to how you want to feel. - @katiehorwitch Click To Tweet

This post is obviously about the wellness world, but I think this disconnect between aspiration and inspiration applies across industries and even life stages. Maybe your thing is fashion. Maybe it’s academica. Maybe it’s music. Maybe you’re just starting a family, or have been single for a while, or are just about to graduate college or enter empty-nestville. There are so many opportunities for us to doubt that what we’re doing is right or where we are is where we’re supposed to be (yes, social media is a big way we can get triggered into self-doubt).

But what the GOODfest reminded me is that those people who seem to have everything perfectly manicured and are “too cool to care” are in the minority. WE are in the majority. Side by side. No one has it all figured out, but if we join forces in our curiosity, we can explore the options together.

And that’s what I love about wellness: I love the CONNECTION. The community. The willingness to open up and move forward fearlessly…on the same team. We might not know anywhere near everything, but each of us knows something – and when we all work together to both hear and be heard, we’ve got a whole damn lot of options on the table.

Thank you Kate, Jess, Jen, Sienna, Brea, and the rest of the GOOD team for creating a space for women to unlock themselves and fully exhale. To my fellow speakers, I adore every single one of you and am honored to have been in your presence.



When we all work together to both hear + be heard, we've got a whole lot of options on the table. - @katiehorwitch Click To Tweet


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FEAR/LESS: On Making Shift Happen + Moving Forward Fearlessly

FEAR/LESS: On Making Shift Happen + Moving Forward Fearlessly

Body Community Love Tips + Tools WANT Women Work

You know those hours, days, moments when everything seems to just click? Those times when all the shaky transitions, all the nights wondering what the f you’re really supposed to be doing with your life, all the instances in which you feel like too much or too little somehow meld together to remind you that you are just right, just the way you are?

That’s what this weekend was for me.

On Saturday, I had the immense pleasure of chilling beachside with fifty WANT Women from all over SoCal: eating delicious food, drinking wine and green juice, soaking up sunshine – and most importantly, diving in, digging deep, and discussing what it means to truly move forward fearlessly in life.

Yes, I was there to play hostess at the most perfect venue ever (Creative Visions Foundation out in Malibu – check out that view!), moderate a killer panel of power women (Lynn Chen of The Actor’s Diet, Jordan Younger of The Balanced Blonde, Audrey Bellis of StartupDTLA and WorthyWomen, and Rachelle Tratt of The Neshama Project), and hopefully be able to inspire at least one person by adding my own voice into the mix. What I didn’t expect was how each person attending would inspire me beyond measure, in ways I wasn’t even able to describe until I was sitting in silence in my PJs hours later, stunned by the impact.

Here were my five biggest lessons from the day:

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My relationship w/ you is a direct reflection of my relationship w/ myself - @audreybellis Click To Tweet
1) The relationships we have with each other are a direct reflection of the relationships we have with ourselves. Community builder extraordinaire and WorthyWomen founder Audrey said it best – our connections with others are intricately tied to the way we view ourselves. One of the all-time most popular posts on WANT is the Making Friends As An Adult piece, and I’m not too surprised why: we are starved for genuine, soul-stirring connection. The question is, if we’re all thinking the same thing, then why aren’t we all just finding each other and frolicking off into the land of besties – nay, soulies – somewhere?

Whether we’re fiercely independent or thrive in groups, it’s easy to blame others for the reasons why we’re not moving forward in our own lives. And on the flipside, the easy-to-grab focus on superficial gains and surface-level commonalities (we both like movies! we both like tacos! #bff) is leaving us starved for true connection even when we think we’ve got it. But at the root of it all is the relationship we have with ourselves. Are we honoring ourselves fully, both our highs and our lows? Do we respect our own choices and stand by ourselves through thick and thin? It’s nearly impossible for someone else to have your back if you don’t even have your own.

What was incredible about this weekend was that every single person in attendance came with a wide open heart, an eager mind, no filter, and no judgement. Very few of us knew each other going into the day, but somehow, as we gathered under the springtime sun and laughed/cried/empathized in unison, it felt like we’d all been strategically chosen to be together in that exact place at that exact time. And that’s the power of honoring who you are at your core: you’ll find others who honor it, too.

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Say yes to what's actually happening instead of waiting for what isn't. - @mslynnchen Click To Tweet
2) Say yes to what’s actually happening instead of waiting for what isn’t. As I’ve described before, I am a recovering people-pleaser and a current emotional sponge. I’ve craved permission, validation, someone telling me that the path I’m on is right/admirable/acceptable/okay. I’ve doubted myself into inaction too many times to count and internalized it to the point of paralysis. I’ve missed opportunities because I was waiting for a sign, not realizing that signs don’t just pop up if you’re not open to finding them.

Lynn got super raw this weekend and talked about her career, her attempt to get pregnant, her father’s death – and at the core of it all, landed on the invaluable piece of wisdom that we need to say yes to what is actually going on in our lives instead of sitting around preparing for something that isn’t. We toil away prepping our bodies for a season, we put off projects because of what might happen six months down the line, we don’t go on that date because we’re moving and they’re here and oh my god how would it ever work so why even bother? There are way, way too many instances for each of us, in our own unique ways, that we put our lives on hold and wait for that “Okay, all clear!” from the universe. Instead of waiting for those signs, we could be spending that time actually making shit happen. When we do this, it turns out, everything seems to fall into place. Even though we had no clue what that “everything” would even look like.

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It doesn't have to be sunshine+rainbows, but you've got to know you'll be okay - @balancedblondie Click To Tweet
3) Sometimes positivity isn’t even about seeing a silver lining – it’s about knowing deep down in your core that you’ll be okay. When Jordan was being viciously attacked online (trust me when I say it’s horrible stuff), she didn’t mask her feelings in mantras and she didn’t not internalize what was going on. As she shared with us, sure, some of the comments were/are laughable – but many were downright frightening and a threat to her safety. It would have been easy to rip her blog off of the internet or go AWOL – but she knew in her heart she was meant for more than that. And with a lot of help and a lot of self-awareness, she was able to continually remind herself, Yes, I will be okay.

Maybe you haven’t dealt with bullying or death threats like Jordan unfortunately has, but I’ll bet money on the fact that you’ve had something not go as planned. Maybe not go your way at all. Hell, maybe you’ve hit what’s felt like a personal rock bottom. If I have learned anything from the women (and men) I’ve met through WANT, it’s that nothing is ever insurmountable. Not saying it’s easy, and not saying it’s automatic. But that knowing, that sense that you will be okay, no matter what happens – that is the kind of potent positivity that gets you to the other side.

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If there is something that lights you up, GO DO IT. No one will do it for you. - @neshamaproject Click To Tweet
4) You are the only one who can make your life happen. No, not a mentor. No, not a romantic partner. Nope, not a friend, not a family member – no one else can make your life happen but you. The biggest tragedy is inaction – putting out that spark of a flame we all have inside us instead of fanning it and making it blaze.

The reason I love Rachelle is that through incredibly tough times, she’s always come back to her intuition. As she told us, we’re all intuitive beings – yet sometimes we get distracted and ignore that pull in our gut and heart to do the thing that makes us feel absolutely iridescent. The “have-tos” and “shoulds” come in and dance with the Ghost Worries and they screw us over, convincing us that the pull we feel is less than worthwhile. Other people have a pull, the have-to-should-dancers say. Who do you think you are taking up space and following yours? The Ghost Worries chime in, telling us it’s too risky, too dangerous. If we take a cue from someone else, it’s a whole lot safer. If we take that cue, then it’s not on us.

But here’s the thing: that cue never comes. And even if it does, we’re not stepping into our own lives, we’re just assimilating to someone else’s. Rachelle’s words were a powerful reminder for me to claim my space, own my power, and step into my own light – because waiting for someone else to make it easier also means I’m putting myself on an endless hold.

fearless
'Fearless' is when the fear is less than the faith. - @katiehorwitch Click To Tweet
5) Fearless is when the fear is less than the faith. Okay, this one’s my own. If there is one huge lesson I’ve learned through my life, through WANT, and through orchestrating this past weekend’s festivities, it’s that “fearlessness” is NOT about being unafraid. Because if that was so, then there would literally be NO ONE out there who is truly fearless.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many things trigger that “fearful” part of my brain on the daily. Traffic that threatens missing a class I’m teaching. Interviews with people I admire. Tough conversations with Jeremy, friends, or my family. Financial worries, life purpose worries, I-said-the-wrong-thing-and-now-that-person-will-hate-me-forever worries. I’m an HSP – a Highly Sensitive Person – so I’ve found that I can either accept my fear or I can acquiesce to it.

I choose neither.

I respect my fears for what they’re trying to tell me. I honor them for their reminder of my values and goals. But I do not accept them as constants in my life, nor do I give in and let them take over.

Yes, I know I’ll always have things that make me afraid, but my fear barometer will always be changing.

And my definition of “fearless” is when my fear is less than my faith.

It always happens, I’ve learned. The faith will always outweigh the fear, eventually. It’s just that sometimes, we don’t give it the chance – I sure haven’t, at times.

Moving Forward Fearlessly, to me, is the act of pursuing that faith, even if it’s a small glimmer. It’s working towards those hours, days, and moments when everything seems to just click – the times when all the shaky transitions, all the nights wondering what the f you’re really supposed to be doing with your life, all the instances in which you feel like too much or too little somehow meld together and remind you that you are just right, just the way you are.

women against negative talk

HUGE thank you to M Café for the delicious lunch spread, Beaming for the juices and sweets, ONEHOPE Wine for the for-purpose Pinot, Sauv, and bubbly, Meghan Gallagher and Creative Visions Foundation for the most unbelievable space in the world and for making the process an ocean breeze, S.W. Basics/Pure Vida/Luna/Barnana/Philosophie for a swag bag that set the bar high – to Lynn, Jordan, Audrey, and Rachelle for shining your light and being the very best first WANT panel I could have ever wished for and completely blowing me away with every single word – and to YOU, the WANT peeps, for being the reason this community is as powerful as it is. I am eternally grateful.

All photos by the amazing Cortnee Loren Brown


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Girl Powered: My 5 Career AHA! Moments From This Weekend

Girl Powered: My 5 Career AHA! Moments From This Weekend

Community Tips + Tools Work

Those freakin’ Girl Scouts. They know just how to get you.

And no, I’m not talking about Thin Mints.

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I am maybe one of the biggest girl’s girls you’ll ever find. I live for uplifting other women, and forming sisterly bonds is a sacred act to me.

I had the kind of 48 hours this past weekend that left me breathless, and gave me five a-ha moments I know I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. Since you were all there with me in spirit, I knew that this week’s WANT post needed to bring that back around so it could maybe change your life, too.

I thought I was going just to speak on a panel. A panel with five other powerhouses, at the place for all biz-minded girl’s girls, The IPSOS Girls’ Lounge at SXSW.

Instead, I went and got my life changed for the better – on and off mic.

Here were my five biggest career AHA moments of the weekend – plus one extra for good luck:

katie horwitch1) True success is inclusive. The thing that blew me away most about everyone at The Girls Lounge was how open and down-to-earth they were. It was truly like talking to close girlfriends, aunts, cousins, sisters, etc. The breadth of success in the room every single day was nuts – we’re talking major VCs, CEOs, CMOs, experts in their field – it was like a real-life love-child of one of those 100-most-influential-women-in-business lists and one of those 30-under-30-up-and-coming-entrepreneurs lists.

And yet there was no ego or hierarchy. I realized that success doesn’t put you above anyone else – it allows you to connect with others on a very deep level. When you’re not trying to prove your worth or status, it’s really attractive to others. And moreover, fuels your own self-respect. No matter where you are in your career, if you’re inclusive and not exclusive, you’re already succeeding…even if you don’t realize it yet.
ipsos

2) Forget networking – focus on friend netting. I spent almost all of my time at The Girls Lounge because the women I was meeting were people I was bonding with on a very real level – about things that barely had to do with business. Like really does attract like.

I’ve got to be honest: I don’t attend a lot of typical “networking” events. No, I don’t stay home and play Friends roulette** with a bowl of kettle corn in my lap (at least not every night), but my time and freedom are two of my most valuable assets. And it’s because most of the time, I don’t feel like my time is best spent faking-it-till-I-make-it on a purely superficial level. It reminds me of the times I would want to get “in” with the popular girls at school, but they ditched me once they found out I was, you know, human.

My boyfriend Jeremy is my same personality type, and is a whiz at what I used to think of as networking. One day, I commented, “You’re a genius at this! How do you work this magic of yours?” And that’s when he introduced me to the world of friend netting: viewing “business”-related conferences and events as a place to discover new friendships. Instead of focusing on talking to the “right” people or “enough” people, friend netting is about having those one or two really authentic conversations with people you feel like you’d actually hang out with in real life. Because, surprise – good people like to do business with other good people, not with their good business cards or resumes.amanda-decadenet

3) It’s okay to stay in and recharge – even if everyone else is out and about. SXSW is kind of like that week before you start college and all the events, organizations, and parties are happing simultaneously and at full-force. Imagine that, but bigger. Much, much bigger. There are panels, conferences, workshops, concerts, screenings, happy hours, dinners, and things I don’t even know how to start to describe going on until, like 3am.

When you find yourself in situations like this, when seemingly-everyone’s socializing and there’s seemingly opportunity everywhere, it’s so easy to pressure yourself into running around like a banshee (banshees that run) to attend every single point of interest and meet as many people as possible. I’ve fallen into that trap before, and was determined not to let it get the best of me this time around. Turns out, staying in, reflecting, and getting a full nine hours of sleep made it possible for me to bring my A-plus game to every interaction I had over the weekend.

When you take the best care of yourself for you, you can be your best self for others. Everyone is different; the trick is being honest with what kind of self care YOU need to bring your game-face to the world. You will meet who you are supposed to meet and be where you’re supposed to be.

Net-net, there’s nothing wrong with spending the night with a Whole Foods salad bar box on your bed and a Kevin James movie marathon on TV.
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4) Authenticity IS work-life balance. The very first question Amanda asked all of us was, “What is the one quality that makes you your most authentic self?” A deceptively tough question. What is it that makes Katie KATIE no matter where she goes or what she does? What is my personality’s through line?

My most authentic quality is that my soul is 72, but my spirit is 7. My authentic self is unbridled, deep-reaching enthusiasm. I’m playful on the outside, soulful on the inside. Young in my heart but old in my blood.

I’ve been told in many instances I “need” to tone down my enthusiasm or play it cool – but by navigating those instances and tapping into the nuances of why I’m the way I am, I’ve developed a life I love that feels balanced to me, at least at this point in time. I say yes to where I can be me and no to where I absolutely can’t.

Some people might define work-life balance by the external things: working a job and being a mom, having time for hobbies and taking care of your health, stuff like that. But what I realized this weekend is that no matter what your external looks like, if you’re acting from your authentic self at all times, your own personalized version of work-life balance will fall into place.dyllan-mcgee

5) Share and share alike – success isn’t built on being stingy. The mastermind behind this entire shindig? Shelley Zalis – one of the most well-respected women in business today. I got to bond with women I’ve admired for ages, meet new sources of inspiration, and friend-net all kinds of new, genuine friends. No matter how incredibly successful these women were, they were all open about their process, at the ready with advice, and took others’ words of wisdom to heart. Everyone had something to teach, and everyone had something to learn. The more externally “successful” the person, the more of an open book they were.

Of course, we all have a threshold and I’m not in any way advocating being without boundaries. The main point is: Success is built on collaborative generosity. We are all so uniquely different, and if we can help lift each other up, then that’s when we can make real change. As Shelley said on one of the panels – “If we’re all the same, then why does there need to be so many of us?” We can all fight for a collective cause, yet it’s the nuances we bring to the table that are actually going to change the world.shelley-zalis

Oh, and the Girl Scouts? Well, at the very end of our panel, a troop of Austin Girl Scouts hung around to chat. Out of the blue, one of them stopped me on my way out and exclaimed, “Ok, I just gotta say – you are, like, really beautiful! Really, really beautiful.”

Besides my heart melting right onto the floor (hello, emotional puddle of love), what struck me was how eager she was to compliment me. If she’s instinctively uplifting others at fourteen years old – imagine what she’ll be doing once she’s twenty. Or thirty. That, to me, was the biggest Aha! of them all: that change is happening right here, right now. The more we give, the more we get.
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WANT Yourself Action Plan:

In the comments below, tell me:
What is YOUR most authentic quality?

Heads up! Next week’s newsletter and post will be out on Wednesday to spice things up. If you’re not signed up, get on that right now by clicking here – would hate for you to miss out!

Cover photo and quote photo credit: Sara Christopher Photography
**Friends roulette: a game in which you pick a random season of Friends, then choose a random episode number. Then you watch it.


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You’re Invited: Join WANT at SXSW 2015!

You’re Invited: Join WANT at SXSW 2015!

Community

I’ve had a hankering to attend South By Southwest in Austin, Texas for years. The film fests! The music extravaganzas! The entrepreneurial spirit!

Little did I know that my very first trip to SXSW would be to speak there. And as a bona-fide WANT Warrior, you’re the first to be invited.

On March 14th 2015, I’ll be speaking on Amanda de Cadenet’s “Authenticity. For Real.” panel at the IPSOS Girls’ Lounge along with some truly incredible women.

Think Makers founder Dyllan McGee, Talk Stoop’s Cat Greenleaf, and Girls’ Lounge founder Shelley Zalis.

We’ll be talking confidence, self image, inspiration, motivation, and what it takes to be authentic (for real) in all areas of your life.

All this will go down from 4pm-5pm at the IPSOS Girls’ Lounge, the place at SXSW for like-minded women to ignite sparks that drive real change.

Down to hang? There’ll be a beauty bar, foot massages, confidence coaching sessions, workshops for female entrepreneurs, and more – plus a “She-J” spinning tunes while you relax and bond with a whole new gaggle of gal pals looking to connect with like-minded entrepreneurial spirits like you.

Full disclosure: When I was asked to speak on this panel – hosted by one of my all-time favorite conversation starters, by-the-by – I leapt at the chance (I’ve never been one to “play it cool” when things genuinely excite me). The power we have as women when we build each other up instead of tear each other down is so much stronger than we realize.

How incredible it is that, at one of the largest conferences/festivals in the entire country, there is this place that supports the power of our collective voice. The power of collaboration, not competition. To be gabbing with these four other powerhouses about how we can collectively change the world through authenticity and self-actualization gets my heart feeling all tingly inside.

Just so you know, I only promote and say yes to the brands, events, and causes I deeply believe in, in my heart of hearts – it’s just how I do things. This weekend is sure to be a life-changer for anyone who feels the need to make a difference in this world just by being themselves.

Heading to SXSW for the weekend and want to come join in the fun? Here’s everything you need to know:


WHAT:
Authenticity. For Real.
The Conversation with Amanda DeCadenet
featuring Stacy London, Katie Horwitch, Dylan McGee, and Stacy Nadeau

WHEN:
Saturday, March 14th 2015
4PM-5PM

WHERE:
SXSW Interactive
3rd Street & Trinity Street
Austin, Texas

JOIN IN!
Download the invitation by clicking through here
Don’t forget to come and say hi – I’d love to meet you!


ABOUT GIRLS’ LOUNGE: The Ipsos Girls’ Lounge is the go-to destination at the largest industry conferences in the advertising, marketing, media, research and technology spaces. We advocate for each other, support one another and ignite sparks that drive real change. For more, visit The Girls’ Lounge on Twitter, Instagram, or their website. See you on the 14th!

 


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