Andrea Galbreath and I always talk about our highs and lows of our days, months and years. We are candid with each other about our struggles, businesses and dreams. Here is one of our conversations about her most recent trip to Las Vegas for Camp Do More. And yes… we are giggly and crazy that day. But it’s the truth…
Marie Riddle Walker, Founder of Livin Lime and Melinda Kim, Founder of Aspirely talk about the future and importance of video and women. Marie is involved in multiple and highly influential communities online such as Friends of Ricki and Social Media Girlfriends. She is sharing her insights with us after attending the Women in Video conference at the Mom2Summit last month!
Hi! This is Melinda Kim and these are my confessions and opinions!
Hey everyone, it’s Melinda Kim and this is my first mini-van confession! I can‘t stand people who think they are victims. I had the exact same conversation with my daughter today because she claims that she had bad behavior because so and so made me her this way, so and so made her this mad and so and so….
But the point is, nobody is in charge of your actions but yourself! I think we all know this, even as an adult, there’s always so much blame and so much resentment towards others. I just really want to get the message across that you in the end are the one who are really in charge of your own actions.
Think about what story you’re telling yourself, are you an overcomer or are you a victim? I sure hope you’re not a victim because if you tell yourself you are, you’re going to be.
But if you tell yourself that you’re an overcomer, you’re going to be looking at all that you have overcame. Then whatever you’re going through, it’s something that you can handle and get through. You are not a victim and you can choose a better path. So that’s my confession today, I don’t deal well with people who think they’re victims.
Melinda Kim, Founder for Aspirely.com chats with author, host, speaker and surfer Vidette Vanderweide about her heart dropping journey to discovery, reinvention and becoming a S.O.U.L Mama.
Melinda: I downloaded your book in my iPhone and I was really impressed with your writing because I really felt like you were telling my story. There was a point where you were in your car where you were dropping the kids off at school, and you broke down crying. You realized that this is not the life you had imagined and I personally went through the same thing. I felt like I chased “things” all my life and at one point, I also broke down and the only thing I could say to myself was, “I can’t”! I felt an overwhelming feeling of not wanting my life, and that was so scary!
Vidette: I talk about in Soul Mama that even prior to that moment, I’ve had these feelings of “something’s off”. I didn’t know what to do to understand those feelings. In today’s society, we live in a culture where we go to school, get a great job, get married…. But I find myself still saying, “Why isn’t this feeling good?” I went through many jobs, lived in 5 different cities. Like you were saying earlier, I was chasing stuff and checking things off my list. That pivotal day when I broke down, it was a normal day. Nothing unusual happened. I was just overcome with emotion, finally I said out loud, “I can’t believe this is my life.” There’s something to be said when we hear ourselves say something like that. I felt guilty, I had two beautiful boys and this great job. So I wondered why I wasn’t happy and thought something was wrong with me! I think that many women go through it but we just didn’t know what to do?
Melinda: I completely went through that journey and I haven’t had the guts to write or really talk about it in public. I felt at one point as if I had rejected my life. I’ve checked off all the “things” I was supposed to do and then wondered, “now what?”
Vidette: My message of reinvention comes at any given time when we come to a certain point in our lives. I find that I’ll always reinvent my life. It’s not about negating your husband or children. It’s simply taking a step back and re-evaluation what’s working and what’s not working in our lives. Reinvention is identifying which areas of our lives need to be leveled up. Then… when we stay in alignment with our purpose and understand what we really want to do instead of what we’re supposed to do.
Melinda: How did you sort it all out? A lot of women wouldn’t know what to do at that point. What did you do?
Vidette: I wish I could say that day made me change right away, but it didn’t. That whispers within me have been trying to speak to me for a very long time and I continued to ignore her. 4 months later is when my life fell down around me, and that’s when I talk about walking in on my husband with another woman. That’s when I realized that something REALLY needed to change and at that point, I didn’t know how to change things. I just started doing things and making decisions differently. That’s also when I started listening to my inner Soul Mama! After 4 years in that journey, I realized my process and journey. That’s what I teach now, I developed a tangible process so I can help other women get through this difficult journey.
Melinda: And that’s perfect! So many other women would love that. I’ve had many conversations about that “initiation” point. Did you go to any mentors or friends you went to through your journey?
Vidette: I found mentors, because at that time, my friends and I would go out to dinners and I didn’t want to be the imperfect one. Everyone else’s lives seemed perfect. I found more comfort with people who didn’t know me. I found mentors who would specific help me with certain areas in my life. I needed to let go of a lot of toxic things in my life. I really started to spend money, time and invested in myself. I didn’t know what was wrong, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I needed help with next steps.
Someone gave me the advice of finding people who are doing what you want to do and go learn from them. So I found amazing mentors who’s been there and done that.
Melinda: So what advice would you give women who may not have the financial resources to hire coaches or mentors? What would you suggest?
Vidette: A few things come to mind. There’s a lot of people sharing beautiful valuable content online and workshops. There are a lot of resources and actually sometimes too much! But if you want it bad enough, you’ll find the resources. This may sound hard core but, just find the money because it’s worth it! Start out with the free stuff and get some self-help books. Choose the strategies that call to you and just start implementing them. Just choose 1 strategy and do things differently. Then when the opportunity comes, hire something to advance you further.
Great advice! Start with the free stuff… Definitely start with what strategies or resources that calls out to you because that’s your intuition talking to you. Once you start doing things differently, different opportunities will open up and your path will be changed forever.
Sonja Landis Tells All About Life, Legacy, Art and Books!
Melinda: Today, I’m going to have a Girl to girl chat with author, motivational speaker, mom, looser of keys and eater of carbs, Sonja Landis. We’re going to talk about her journey from being a single mom to being an artist, author to having celebrity clients.
Sonja: I was seeking funding the Painted Laugh when we met. I record children’s laugher and paint it as modern art. I did end up opening the gallery and it was a dream of mine that I wanted for so long. But once I opened it, I realized that it didn’t actually match who I was as a parent and what I wanted to do as a career. I learned a lot and was really emotionally attached to it. So when I decided to close it, it was heart wrenching. There was so much guilt because I thought it was what I wanted and now I’m not happy. After getting through the guilt and knowing that I did the right thing, I had a whole litany of projects that came my way that were better fitting and allow me to be the mom that I wanted to be. And now I can work in a way that is much more leveraged of my time and skills. Being a writer has allowing me to be more of who I am.
Melinda: You felt like you had to go through that process first in order to go to the next phase. If you had those opportunities prior to opening the art gallery, would you take those opportunities the same way?
Sonja: I don’t think so, I definitely believe in everything happening for a reason and in its own time frame. Had I not opened my gallery, I would have always had this longing and desire inside of me. But just because you have a dream and it comes true, it doesn’t mean it’s your dream forever. And so I learned a lot about flexibility and being open.
Melinda: And you’re brave enough change! I know a lot of women out there who may want to change but is paralyzed by fear.
Sonja: And yes, it’s hard to be open to change. You feel a sense of security and a sense of responsibility especially as a mom. It is hard to be brave but it’s much nobler to be brave. I think there’s more power in bravery than sitting idle to wonder, hope and wish. There’s a lot of power of achievement through that bravery. That’s an important aspect that I want to show my son. I want him to see that in me. Even if I’m scared, I always think about what I’d want him do, I’d want him to be brave, to move forward, to accept change roll with it and to be flexible to new possibilities.
Melinda: This is an Oprah AHA moment! This really resonates with me because I want moms to take that risk and take a chance. Their personal happiness is out that for them and if they’re content, that’s okay, but if they’re not, then there are ways to take action to make themselves happier!
So you a book…
Sonja: My first book is called My Master’s Degree is Useless… I came up with the title because it was the way I was feeling at the time. It was during the recession when I’ve gotten a Master’s degree. It was pushing me to a career path that didn’t fulfill me or make me happy. It was over qualifying me for some positions that I would have really enjoyed and wanted to get into. But because I had an elevated degree, it was pushing me toward something I didn’t want to pursue and it was holding me back from things I was really interested in. The other aspect of that was I had gotten a Master’s degree and the world was changing. There was so much technology, social media and entrepreneurism that was really evolving and I wasn’t set up for that with my degree. And I paid a lot of money for that degree but I wasn’t prepared to be an entrepreneur and to live the kind of fulfilling life that I wanted. I had a really unique life and made some really great decisions and some enormous mistakes along the way. I feel like I can help people by encourage them to pursue their own dreams and destiny. I want to point out my flaws and mistakes in a funny way so they can feel that if she can do it, so can I. The mistake you make yesterday doesn’t carry on when you move forward. So I can tell them my mistakes and flaws to give them encouragement.
Melinda: So you’re also a life coach, I’ve spoken with you briefly about this because I’ve always been skeptical of life coaches. There are so many experts out there, how do you know if someone is really for you. Since they’re seeking help, they’re desperate and are willing the pay the price. What is the best advice for them to have them get a coach that’s right for them?
Sonja: It definitely depends on the person’s specific goals and what they looking for. It could be for personal development, build a business or they want to inspire and build communities. There so many different goals so it’ll depend on who speaks to them the most. For me when I was in search for a coach, I wanted someone who had a business sense as well as personal development because I’m a single mom and head of household. So for me, not only did I want to be fulfilled but I also have a child I needed to provide for. Having that business aspect in a coach was very important to me. Part of my book does say that you can build your life doing what you love and make money at it. But you can’t just affirm it, cross your fingers and hope for the best. You really have to put some business principles behind it.
Melinda: That’s what leads you to your next book… Which is Nothing But Net, She’s the contributing author in chapter 23!
Sonja: It hit the bestselling list in 5 different categories including for entrepreneurial.
Melinda: So what inspires you?
Sonja: I’m inspired by humor, I love it when people make me laugh and when I make others laugh so that’s something that’s so true to me. It’s really a brand new thing because it’s come out of my writing. Another thing that really inspires me is bravery and creativity. I think they go hand in hand. Anytime you get bravery and creativity together, I’m really inspired by that. For example, like when people think outside the box in little things they do such as creating different ways to perform random acts of kindness.
Melinda: What legacy do you want to leave behind?
I want to people to know that I did just the best that I could with what I had and that I didn’t waste any of my days or my time and talents being afraid or looking back too much. I’m raising my son so I really want him to be brave and want him to pursue things with an open heart, mind and be flexible. I want that for him so much. The only way to do it is to demonstrated it and not just tell him. I want to have made people laugh and them knowing that I laughed all the time and did what I loved.
Melinda: Now giving the same circumstance and situation, what is your imagined life?
Sonja: Now, it would be to continue to write and I have several books in the works. So I definitely want to keep writing and pursuing that. I want to get into public speaking and especially speaking with young women to inspire them to not get stuck into all things they should do but just to be more aware about their options and take the time to listen to their own heart and do what they want to do.
Linda Bertch, widowed mother of four, teacher by trade but has turned her passion for baking into a business. But what’s more incredible about her is her story of perseverence and how she used baking to save her sanity.
How did you get started?
Linda: As a mom of 4 kids, I would bake for all their birthday parties. Then my friends would see it and would want me to do theirs. Even though I enjoyed doing this for other people, I started to really enjoy and it turned into a passion and a calling. I prayed to God to please use my cookies and cupcakes to bless others. Even though I wouldn’t know how. I had faith that He was going to do something amazing. I made a batch of pink ribbon cookies for a friend running for the Susan G Komen race and sold all the cookies for $200. That’s when I knew that could turn into a business. That’s also when I started baking for cancer patients. I knew that was part of my calling.
Melinda: So that is really a labor of love, you are just giving! I love that. Last year, I heard about your husband who passed away unexpectedly, with 4 children, how are you handling it all?
Linda: Yeah, I get asked that quite a lot. I just do what I can with what I have. I take it day by day. The day that my husband passed away, God told me that I would be okay. He provided the community with all the support. The City of Irvine, church and even my clients all really came together and supported me with what they could!
Melinda: That’s so great to hear that! Especially in Orange County, sometimes we feel there’s a lack of community. We don’t always know our neighbors and people close their garage doors right after they get home. There’s a certain feel of coldness. Great that the community came together for you!
What are your hopes for the future?
Linda: I still hope to continue the baking and hope to open a bakery and hire disabled adults to help work.
Melinda: I think that would be really special!
So with everything you have gone through, if you were to write a book, what would it be about?
Linda: I think it would be about how God can use any ordinary person to do great things. And by just having one passion, it can lead you to so many journeys that can help you. Baking has been the best therapy with dealing with the grief and loss, I also use baking as a positive energy to bless other people.
Melinda: So not only is it helping you, but it’s helping others. It’s the saving grace of your life. This is definitely more than a passion. It’s very intertwined with your life, you are absolutely amazing!
Thank you so much for watching, we’ll see you next time!
Tien Vares Talks About Fear, Challenges and How She Overcame Them!
Behind the scenes: We’re talking about feelings
Melinda: When you were about to tell your family about opening a gym, how did you feel?
Tien: I felt nervous, I guess I felt nervous for myself. Can I really do this? This is off the charts and is it really possible for me to do this?
If you put your mindset to it, it’s possible.
Melinda: How did your family feel about your decision?
Tien: My husband was really excited and thought it was a great idea. He knew that I was having all the struggles while working at the other gym. He also knew what I wanted to do on my own.
Melinda: What kind of challenges did you face?
Tien: The transition of leaving one gym and opening up another. It seems like it was a great idea at first. And then there’s insurance, lawyers, operating agreements, business operations. Finding a location was harder than we thought.
We also had to bring in another partner and give up a part of the company. Now I wouldn’t know what we would do without the third partner. He’s a lawyer so it made sense. He saw a potential in Crossfit and was more than willing to be a part of it. I’m really grateful for bringing him on board.
Melinda: How is it all feeling at this moment?
Tien: It’s feeling great, I’m starting to figure out my schedule. At first, it was really hard because I was at the gym a lot and not enough time at home or with the kids. I’m trying to get that balance now. That’s why it’s key to have partners. It gives you flexibility. I think my advice for a working mom is to have great partners.
But there are stories where partnerships go awry, so the advice is to find a really good partner!
Melinda: How are you balancing everything?
Tien: It’s been challenging but it really helps to have a great husband. He cooks, cleans and does the laundry. And he really understands. But if I did have to cook, I would find ways. That’s one of the biggest challenges is to have the help at home.
Melinda: Definitely agree! Having support at home is very important…
So how much weight are you lifting in your picture!
At the time, that was 65 lbs. But now, I can do about 125 lbs. for 1 rep max. The goal with Crossfit is to get stronger. That’s my goal, it’s just to get stronger. It’s not about how I look, it’s more about performance. It’s performance based training.
Melinda: Finding the right fitness program that fits your lifestyle and personality is very important!
Find Out How this Mother of 2 and Owner of a CrossFit Gym do it all!
Melinda: Congratulations on being an ambassador for Lululemon. How did you become an ambassador for Lululemon?
Tien: I started a relationship with the Newport Beach store, invited them to the gym and did events with them. I applied for it on line and all the employees in the store vote. They pick 5-6 per year.
Melinda: What’s the difference between Crossfit and other fitness platforms out there?
Tien: One biggest difference is that everybody’s accountable. Everybody goes to the gym, it becomes a community and it’s more intimate. Everything is measured and timed so you see progress. You repeat workouts from 3 months ago and be able to visibly see improvement and progress. It’s high performance, intense, short workouts and measured, 4-20 minutes. You go in the gym, warm out, and you work out. Very time efficient.
Melinda: What got you started in Crossfit?
Tien: I’ve always been an avid runner. I had a girlfriend one day who suggested Crossfit to me. She suggested for me to be a personal trainer. I started looking into it. I was looking around to see what type of personal trainer I’d like to be. Since my girlfriend started doing Crossfit, I checked it out and I like the philosophy. So I just signed up for the certification. After the first day, I was so sore for a week and fell in love with it.
Melinda: So the key here is that you decided to get certified even though you’ve never done Crossfit before. It’s like applying for college without looking at the college! Good thing you love it.
Tien: Just like any other profession, it’s a crowded space. I wanted to do something unique that’s not too popular just yet.
Melinda: How did you go from certified to owning your own gym. I know it’s a long process, what were your key moments that sprung you forward?
Tien: One thing is definitely the start of it. I got certified, but I still had a lot of learning. I found a gym that offered a 16 week internship program. Twice a week I would go in, clean the gym, workout and shadow all the trainers there. That’s where I paid my dues! That’s where I got my education. It was worth it to have that type of education being surrounded by mentors and trainers.
Then, I create my own Bootcamp at the park. I started to bring my clients in the Crossfit gym and slowly built my clients from there. There’s where I decided to branch out and do my own thing. I felt that my philosophy was a bit different than the one I worked for. I wanted to cater to women and moms because they usually get intimidated by Crossfit. I wanted them to feel comfortable and not be scared or intimidated. Because most gyms are dominated by males, it was really scary for women to work out there.
I met my partner at a Crossfit gym, we did a stair climbing event together in LA, that’s where we bonded and realized we both wanted to open up a gym. So that was it.
My partner Jeff was willing to try different things and that’s what I wanted in a partner.
Melinda: What is your vision for you and the gym?
Tien: I just want a place where people can come in and try to see what Crossfit is all about. I wanted women to try it feeling comfortable. I’ve come to realize that Crossfit is not for everybody. And that’s okay. But as long as everyone comes and gives it a try, I’d love that. I found that if you have a competitive side to you, you’d really like it.
Melinda: So with everything you’ve gone through, if you were to write a book, what would you write about?
Tien: I think my book would be about being a mom and being able to balance everything, I’ve always worked, I put myself through school, I have 2 children and I have a very active social life. Having a really well balanced life is important. I’d want an encouraging book for women who are stuck and inspire them to go out there, try new things and meet new people.
Melinda: You wouldn’t know that you wanted to do this even 5 years ago. Your degree in college wasn’t in fitness so I think the people do find new passions all the time.
Tien: Life is not over just because you are a mom!
Melinda: Yes! Being able to do extraordinary things with kids is what inspires me. So Thank You!
After the initial interview, Becky and I talk about Instagram, Marketing Strategies and more advice from her to new photographers!
Becky Lew is a busy mom of 2 and a successful photographer with photos I believe should be featured with Anthropology! Just throwing it out there…
She is a beautiful person inside and out and even though I haven’t seen her in years, her warmth and smile made me feel so comfortable like I’m seeing an old friend. Perhaps that’s her gift as a photographer, she has the ability to bring families, couples and kids to trust her so they reveal their deepest emotions which is brought forward by her photos.
I’m really lucky to get a chance to sit and chat with her yesterday about photography, life and motherhood.
Melinda: When did you start taking interest in photography?
Becky: It’s so funny because when you don’t have the right equipment, you just will not be satisfied with what your work. When I took pictures of my kids or other people’s weddings, I realized the photographs never came out the way I had envisioned it. I got a really good camera from a friend, it took a really nice picture and I fell in love to it. So when the pictures came out and I saw what I wanted to see, that was how it first started for me. And ever since then, I haven’t been able to put my camera down.
Melinda: Have you always taken interest in the beauty of things or places? Was the camera just a tool for you to let your vision out? Have you always had those visions?
Becky: I’m one of those people who treasure moments. Like “ohh I love this coffee and I’m treasuring it”. I’ve always wanted to capture a moment. For example, moments like your kid’s first step or when you’re going on a date or when you have yummy food. I just want to capture those moments. I always remembered my parents taking pictures all the time and the pictures don’t reflect necessarily what was going on. It doesn’t bring me back to that feeling. I’ve also wanted to capture a moment with the emotions behind it.
Melinda: So at what point did you decide to take the risk and start Becky Lew photography? Since this was a passion, it could have easily stayed as a hobby.
Becky: So, the funny thing is that I’ve never visualized myself to be a photographer. Literally for the first year, I was charging people for my photography but I still couldn’t tell people that I was a photographer. I cringed because I would go into sessions and have no idea what I was doing. I was nervous, scared, didn’t know if I could do it. How do I interact with these clients? Am I worthy? Are these pictures going turn out the way I want them to? And it’s really something that I journeyed through that year discovering if it was something I could do. So, after a year, with a lot of cheerleaders and good friends, I finally decided that this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. So it was definitely a journey. I didn’t just wake up one day and decided I was going to do Becky Lew photography. That wasn’t my goal, it was something I hoped for and just to have the confidence to call myself a photographer.
Something else that I also learned is that you really have to know your equipment. You have to be connected with your purpose and style.
Melinda: A lot of moms too have to go through that journey to get rid of self doubt and naysayers in order to decide that this is what they want to do.
So, here’s some advice I would give moms who’s trying to also be a photographer:
- Learn the equipment
- What inspires you? Babies, people? For me, I am in love with people and telling their stories. That’s what inspires me!
- Just keep doing it and don’t quit.
Melinda: What challenges have you faced?
Becky: I would be up until 2 in the morning learning Photoshop. I would be pouring over images after images. I would compare myself to others. One of the best advice I have is to stop comparing yourself. I know it’s hard because I still do it myself. You are comparing yourself with other’s perfect pictures and it just squashes with your creativity. Believe in who you are and what you’re called to do.
It’s not about how many people’s following you on Social Media. It’s about your journey and discovering what you are supposed to do. We are so concerned with what others are doing that we aren’t focusing on what we’re called to do.
Melinda: What has been the most rewarding thing for you?
Becky: One of the most rewarding things is to be able to connect with people and hear their stories. I love it when a couple comes to me and I hear their story and how they fell in love and being able to capture that on their special day. Creating something that they can look at when they are fighting or when they’re old. It’s one of the greatest gift is to capture those moments they can’t get back. Being able to savor the moments when they are vulnerable with me laughing and crying. They open themselves up to let me capture who they really are. I want to be able to share with them of what beauty I see within them.
Melinda: So what does your kids think about you and your work?
Becky: When I first started, they were really excited that I have a website! They are so proud of me for being able to take their photos and they really like it. They saw it unfold since it wasn’t like I’ve always wanted to be a photographer. So they see that mommy loves to do something and then now I’m doing it. And now that they see that their dreams are possible and that they can do it too!
I have amazing friends who walked through the journey with me when I cried and doubted my photos and when I thought there was no way I could do this. I think the biggest thing is my family, the sacrifices my husband has had to make. He’s been my rock, he stayed up with me until 2 or 3 in the morning while I was trying to figure things out. He was sitting next to me but it just takes that person to sit next to you supporting you.
Melinda: So inspired! And I hope everyone else is too! Don’t try to do this by yourself!
Becky: And there’s going to be naysayers, you’re going to have people who will question and make comments about what you’re trying to do. If you are called to do something, just do it. Do it with everything you have, pour everything into it. Just do it.
Melinda: I have posted some of your photos on fb.com/aspirely. You have to check out her photos because your photos should be on anthropology
Becky: There’s beauty in everyday. You wake up and you think what is today going to bring. You need to go out and find the beauty. Be able to capture something that someone may not see about themselves.
Melinda: Thank you so much for being here. She doesn’t do much video so this is definitely a treat!