WANTcast Episode 021: On Adrenaline Addiction + Forging Your Own Path with Jordan Younger of The Balanced Blonde

WANTcast Episode 021: On Adrenaline Addiction + Forging Your Own Path with Jordan Younger of The Balanced Blonde

the WANTcast

I always remind myself that no big choice I've made has failed me yet. - @balancedblondie Click To Tweet

Chances are, you’ve heard of Jordan Younger, akaThe Balanced Blonde.” Maybe it’s because of her best-selling book, Breaking Vegan. Maybe it’s because of her lifestyle blog that’s literally read by thousands of people worldwide weekly. Maybe it’s because of her adorable clothing line, or uber-popular social media channels…

…Or maybe it’s because you saw her on virtually every morning news circuit two years ago, when she “came out” to her readers saying her intense focus on healthy, vegan living had spiraled her into an eating disorder. One that had zero to do with veganism but everything to do with the way she was using the label to mask her unnatural obsession with eating as “pure” as possible. And one that, subsequently, made her the target of intense hate and even death threats from people convinced that she was speaking ill of the vegan community.

In reality, nothing could have been farther from the truth – or the real Jordan behind the news headlines and blog posts. Only 26 years old (as of today! Happy Birthday, Jordan!), Jordan’s transition from The Blonde Vegan (her former blog name) to The Balanced Blonde made her a wellness “It Girl” virtually overnight. She’s managed to navigate both the highest highs and lowest lows of being in the public eye with grace, humor, and integrity, all while unapologetically being, well, herself. She is bubbly like champagne, kind to the core, and just as enthusiastic about championing others’ success as she is when it comes to pursuing her own. She takes her work seriously but takes reactions in stride, and treats each person she meets like a new friend in the making. In a scene that’s becoming almost overly-saturated with a wellness-elite vibe, Jordan is a breath of fresh air and true authenticity.

After years of “knowing” each other from afar and running in so many of the same circles, Jordan and I finally got to met at the WANT Moving Forward Fearlessly event back in April. She crushed it (check out the recap here). And she’s become a cherished friend ever since.

WANT-April2016-211

What I love about Jordan is that she doesn’t apologize for being who she is, and she doesn’t tailor herself to fit other people’s liking. We share countless similarities – from our history with Orthorexia to our blogging backgrounds to our Libra birthdays – and I know I can always speak candidly to her about both the exciting moments and, well, b.s. that comes along with starting up your own purpose project from scratch.

The thing about Jordan is that while she’s gotten a lot of outward success in a relatively short amount of time, what impresses me the most about her is how completely transparent she is about her journey getting there, how she was feeling at the time, and how she currently navigates the extremes that come with both being a highly creative and driven person. It’s a lot easier to take risks and pivot when you’re lesser known or just starting out at whatever you’re doing, but once you’ve got all eyeballs all on you, it can be tough not only to take those risks in the fist place, but also manage the reactions of others you get in response to those risks. She’s able to laugh at herself, is incredible self-aware, and takes it all in stride without throwing out the sensitive parts of her that have made her so magnetic to so many people.

In this episode we talk about adrenaline addiction, the fear of success instead of fear of failure, finding the work style the works for you, how Jordan has learned to manage both the highs and lows of her business while staying true to herself, being a leader when you still feel like you’re learning, and forging your own journey even when it’s tempting to compare yourself to other people in your age range or career field. We also talk about some of her not-so-traditional health and spiritual adventures, the latter of which starts off with us laughing about it, but ends with a lesson all of us should remember about believing what we can’t see.

I can’t think of a more perfect, pragmatically positive person to kick off Season Two of the WANTcast.

WANT JORDAN:

Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Direct download

Show Notes:
The Balanced Blonde
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Snapchat
Breaking Vegan
E-book preorder
Jordan at WANT’s event in April
That time she was on Chelsea Handler’s Snapchat
Miranda Alcott
Orthorexia, Explained

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Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes, share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

the-balanced-blonde-quote

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The WANTcast Episode 019: On Becoming A Leader, Quarter-Life Crises, and Letting Love In w/ Emily Greener of I AM THAT GIRL

The WANTcast Episode 019: On Becoming A Leader, Quarter-Life Crises, and Letting Love In w/ Emily Greener of I AM THAT GIRL

Community the WANTcast

The end of August/beginning of September always symbolizes a fresh start to me – and this is the perfect episode to hopefully catapult you into whatever newness is in store for you in the season to come.

Emily Greener is the CEO and co-founder of I AM THAT GIRL, a global movement inspiring girls to be, love, and express who they are through education, content, and community. She’s been Emily and the IATG crew have taken their movement off-line into communities all over the world, motivating girls from SoCal to South Africa to live the lives they were meant to lead, judgement-free. For even more on Emily, you can check out her WANT Woman spotlight here.

In this episode we talk about navigating major turning points in life (like quarter-life crises and your “Saturn Return,” which I’ve got links to read up on in the show notes), how to become a leader in whatever space you’re in whether it’s in work or in life, the power and scariness of going first, and of course, the chance meeting and turning-point moment that sparked the mass movement that is now I AM THAT GIRL.

Two super-powerful parts of this conversation in particular really struck a chord. The first is when Emily talks about how to hold space for others as a leader, and the moment when she realized that in order to be the leader she was striving to be, she would have to let go of some stuff first. The second? The mindset shift she experienced recently when it comes to success. We talk about the delicate balance between humility and recognizing your successes, and how she was able to find that happy medium and really let love in.

i am that girl

What I love about you guys, as WANTcast listeners and fellow WANT Women (and WANT men, too!) is that…it’s so cool, you are natural-born leaders. I see it in the comments on the site, in the emails, on social, when I meet you in person – you can’t ignore it. But just because you’re a leader, or you maybe don’t view yourself as a leader yet but WANT to be a leader, it doesn’t mean you’re immune to self-doubt, fears, or moments where nothing seems to make sense. If anything, you’re probably even more sensitive to those moments BECAUSE of that leadership chip in your brain and hear. This episode might be just what you need to help you be the leader you know you’ve been inside all along.

Connecting to others, whether strangers or friends you've known your whole life, is magic. - @thatgirlgreener Click To Tweet

Also, next episode will be the end of SEASON ONE of the WANTcast! I was thinking of doing something special and different – I know a lot of people have asked me how to start a podcast, or what my favorite things about doing a podcast are, or what I’ve learned – I don’t know, would you want to hear an episode like that? Let me know – email me at katie@womenagainstnegativetalk.com, or shoot me a comment on social, or drop me a line in the comments section of this post. I really want to do something cool for episode 20.

Alright, we’ll talk about that later. For now, let’s live in the moment. Episode 19. Enjoy – I think you’ll love it.

WANT Emily:

Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Download | Support the WANTcast by shopping on Amazon like you normally do

Show notes:
I AM THAT GIRL
Find a chapter
Start a chapter
IATG Facebook

IATG Instagram
IATG Twitter
Emily’s WANT Woman spotlight
Emily’s Instagram
Twitter
Saturn return 101
Astrologer Danielle Beinstein on the WANTcast
Emily’s DVF Award

Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes (the more reviews, the more Emily’s wisdom is spread), share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

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Seventeen-Point-Five: The Underestimation of our Unforeseen Strength.

Seventeen-Point-Five: The Underestimation of our Unforeseen Strength.

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power Work

Another day at the gym, another chance to fit in some resistance work. It was crowded on the floor, the weight rack reminding me of the produce shelves at Trader Joe’s Chelsea on Sunday evenings: picked over, plowed through, only a few choices left now that the “good ones” were gone. I was left with my own personal equivalent of bruised-up apples and overripe bananas and strange veggie combos that no one else wants to cook.

In fitness – specifically, resistance training – there are two main schools of thought: you lift light with high reps, or you lift heavy with less reps. For me, someone once told me along the way that lifting lower weights until fatigue was the way to go. Eight-to-ten-pounders it was, then. No more, rarely less. It maintains “lean muscle,” I was told. It burns what you don’t want and keeps what you do. 

Which technique was actually “better” or not is besides the point. If I’m being honest with myself (which I always try to do), I stuck with the advice I did because it was easy. I knew exactly what to expect. It was familiar. And even when I felt myself getting stronger, which I did every now and again, I shied away from the larger weights not because I feared I wouldn’t get “results” – but because I was scared I would be disappointed with myself if I couldn’t lift them to begin with.

Sighing at the lack of ten-pounders on the rack, I picked up the only option under sixty pounds available: 17.5. I had to look down to make sure I’d grabbed the right one. It can’t be, I thought. Why did I think this would be so insurmountably heavy?

~

We live within an epidemic of underestimating our strength. In this world, it’s become easy to be angry, easier to be cruel, even easier to be simply “nice,” than it is to speak up and live out.

Is it that we are culturally shamed into not showing strength? “Speaking up” is having a moment, thank goodness, but we’ve still got a long way to go until voicing our hearts is seen as a sign of courage, not a scarlet letter of deficiency. Is it we view the idea of “living the dream” as just that – a silly, unattainable dream that’s unworthy of a fight or our courage? Or is it that there’s so much else that’s a distraction in this world, too much else that’s over-stimulating and overpoweringly strong, that to add even an ounce of strength to the mix is almost too overwhelming to bear?

The majority of our environment is artificial; banking on our arousal to keep us engaged. Oh look, a fancy restaurant! Oh look, a sample sale! Oh look! An ad telling me I must not be good enough as I am because I definitely need that cream to do away with my shortcomings! It might be fun (no hate; not knocking it till I try it), but even the new Pokémon GO iPhone game thing is worth questioning. What does it say about us that the game begins with a reminder to “stay alert” — not while we quench a thirst for information or knowledge, but feed a hunger to “catch” imaginary creatures, ps — lest we should bump into a light post, or a person, or a moving car, or an assailant? (this article on Forbes does a good job of summing up my feelings on that one – on the other hand, this one does a nice job of expressing how it might be able to help folks with depression, but it’s more about actually getting people outside than it is about what people do once they’re there.)

All any of this means is that when we get the chance to make our own decisions and decipher our own feelings, we’re way less likely to go for anything other than the easy way out. After all, the world is constantly coaxing us to spend our energy elsewhere. We will never cease to be tempted by the ease of the moment until we start investing in what it means to explore our own strength.

The true work doesn’t come in the ease and the fallback, it comes in the unfamiliar and the spaces outside of comfort zones:

Growth, whether it’s muscles or mindset, comes when you move forward fearlessly and pick up that weight, and maybe one day are surprised by the fact that picking it up wasn’t all as hard as you’d worked it up to be.

Fitness, to me, is not about a number of reps. It’s not about the perfect lunge, and it’s certainly not about the number of calories burnt per minute. Fitness is about realizing you’re stronger than you thought, you’re tougher than you realized, and you’re way more intricate than you ever could imagine. Fitness is about realizing that it’s okay to be both strong and soft, determined and delicate, in the gym and out of the gym – because life asks of you everything the gym does and more. Lifting a weight over and over might look impressive from the outside (how does she do so many reps?!), but you’re ultimately just waiting for the inevitable fatigue.

Choosing the safe bet – the anger, the fear, the perfunctory cheeriness, the popular viewpoint – might be easier to choose and more readily accepted from the outside, but ultimately, it’ll get old.

But choosing the more mindful option? The one that presents challenges no one can see? Now that is something. Now THAT is strength. It’s not about the way it looks, it’s about the way it feels.

It's not about the way it looks, it’s about the way it feels. Click To Tweet

And so picking up a seventeen-point-five pound weight, it meant so much more to me in that moment than just a few extra units of heavy metal. It made me ask: Where am I not upping the weight in my own life? Where am I settling for the ease, over and over again until I fatigue? And in what parts of my life am I not facing my own true strength?

I am not perfect. I stay silent when I long to speak up. I cower in the face of fear. I shrink myself to make others feel comfortable, and I overextend myself to protect others instead of protecting myself. I feel rage-bubbles bubble up inside, and I smile a sweet smile even when I’m betrayed. But I always go back and I pick up the weight, and remind myself that every ounce of metal and every moment of equanimity counts when it comes to building myself up into the woman I strive to be. When it comes to building the world into the world I want to see. We’ve got to start somewhere, and we can’t discount the power we have as individuals to shift the landscape.

So go ahead. Pick up the dumbbell and lift the weight. You might be surprised at the strength you’ve built – and the power that’s been locked inside, waiting for you to use it.

strength-women-against-negative-talk


WANT Yourself:
In the comments below, tell me one way you’ve impressed yourself with your own strength. Doesn’t matter what it is – all acts of strength are HUGE in the WANT playbook.

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Beside The Point: If I’m Confident, Why Do I Still Have Negative Self-Talk?

Beside The Point: If I’m Confident, Why Do I Still Have Negative Self-Talk?

Beside The Point Community Shift Of Power

Hi Katie,

I recently discovered your website through the Well/Away podcast you were featured in and I wanted to tell you that I am so inspired by what you are doing. In the last year or so, I have been very focused on self-exploration. I have been a yoga practitioner for 7+ years, (try to) maintain a steady meditation practice, and consider myself a pretty self-aware person.

However, over this past year, I have come to realize that I display a lot of negative self talk. I was actually quite surprised, when I looked, how negative my unconscious reactions were – and how much they affected the way I feel about myself and how I approach the world around me.

After poking around the site for a bit, I was struck by something that you said in your bio – you mention that you are a confident person, but still struggle with negative thoughts and self-doubt in a very real way. This was a bit of an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me. I consider myself a confident person – my confidence has led me to be successful professionally, personally, and socially. There is a lot I know I can do, no questions asked – and, yet, there are many things I automatically and unconsciously assume I can’t. To me, this seemed so counterintuitive.

If I am confident and truly believe in myself, then why do I fall into negative talk patterns and question certain abilities? Even though I am still working through it, it is comforting to know that another innately confident person has dealt with (or is dealing with :)) this challenge.

Again, I think what you are doing is so fantastic and I am so inspired by it – it takes a lot of bravery and a lot of courage, and I think it’s wonderful.

-L.

confidence

First off, thank you so much for your kind words – I’m so glad you found WANT and have become a part of our community.

Oh, the paradox of the negative self-talking confident person.

As the WANT manifesto says, “Confidence is not synonymous with vanity.” But even if we don’t feel we’re being narcissistic or vain, there can still be this little voice inside us that tells us we are not allowed to have it all.

Grounded, inclusive confidence is a rarity these days. The confident female tropes we see in movies and on television usually come with a caveat – either the woman is perceived as selfish and snooty (see pretty much every boss lady on film), or more often, she’s a lovable mess behind the scenes. Confident in a crowd, self-depracating and stumbling behind the curtain, questioning her every move. The “mess” trope is to make the character relatable, of course – it’s the on-screen version of those “Stars – They’re Just Like Us!” articles we see in the tabloids. Oh look, so-and-so wears yoga leggings to run errands! No way, watch such-and-such balance two coffee cups while simultaneously walking her dog and answering the phone! Can you believe that, just like us, pop-star-of-the-moment eats burgers and gets ketchup on her shirt? 

So rare is the woman whose confidence has a firm back bone of kindness towards both others and herself. It’s only sometimes we see a character who is self-confident and self-respecting. Once in a blue moon is the “sweet, pretty girl” confident in her intelligence, her creative powers and yes, her looks as well. Every now and then is the leader of the pack shown as empathetic, gregarious, in a loving relationship, AND self-loving on top of that. We’re taught that to be relatable, we should show our underbellies, which way too often is mistaken for “finding what’s wrong and bonding over it.”

Using negativity as a bonding tactic can make the confident gal feel isolated. And that extends way beyond interpersonal conversations. We start to believe that self-confidence is a balancing act and too much would be overstepping our quota. We’re not allowed to be good at everything, and if we are, we definitely need to undermine ourselves about it. As confident women, we strive to be leaders – but how can we lead if we don’t belong? Because being the only positive in a sea of negativity means we’re the ones who are on the outside.

And so the negative self talk comes in. We question certain abilities and put limitations on certain successes. We fear that if we’re too confident – too “perfect,” as the world would have it – then we’ll be too much to handle. For others. And for ourselves.

There’s a quote I love by Marianne Williamson in her book A Return To Love that I repeat to myself often when those negative questions, doubts, and statements come flooding into my brain:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. -Marianne Williamson Click To Tweet

When I am feeling inadequate or unsure of myself, I ask one question of myself:

Do I believe this to be true because I don’t feel prepared, because I don’t feel on par, or because I don’t feel like I have permission?

If you’re feeling unprepared (say, for a new project), the answer is to seek out knowledge and experience. If you’re feeling that you’re sub-par to your own vision of yourself (say, you’re fatigued and sick all the time), the answer is to make proactive lifestyle changes to get you feeling good again.

The toughest question to answer is if you’re feeling like you don’t have permission to do what you want to do, be who you want to be, or feel how you want to feel.

It can feel like a sigh of relief to gain permission from someone else to do something or be something, because the ball isn’t entirely in our court. Someone else saw something in us and gave us the green light, so we don’t have to shoulder the entire responsibility or weight of the decision.

Waiting for permission is no way to live. Click To Tweet
Being what Jeremy calls a “big wide open heart” empathizing all over the place, I KNOW how tempting the urge can be to wait for someone else to be in on the decisions you make. Because if it’s a group effort, then it’s definitely not a selfish or ego-driven act.

The thing is, we so rarely get permission from others to be ourselves, nor is that really permission – it’s validation. It’s someone else saying “I bless you to do this or be that, because it’s what I deem acceptable and how I can guarantee my support.”

And so we must courageously move into our own greatness, despite others’ thoughts, and grant ourselves permission anyway.

But how?

By repetition. By feeling the fear of judgement, disconnection, loneliness, and moving forward anyway. It might feel awkward and your greatness might knock you off your feet. Keep going. Keep your kindness at the helm, your courage at the mast, and your heart at the forefront. When you come from a place of radical empathy and self-love, others can’t help but follow suit. Like Marianne says, As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Let your confidence shine in all areas of your life, L. You don’t have to be a “mess” and you don’t need to apologize. 
If you’re waiting for permission, it’s you who holds the key to the other side. 
Guarantee yourself your own support. Then move forward. Fearlessly.

If you're waiting for permission, it's you who holds the key to the other side. Click To Tweet

 



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