I get so inspired whenever I meet women following their heart and doing brave things to help the world. Women who are living their lives according to their own rules with a dream of leaving an impact. Their stories amaze me and they may inspire you as well.
I met Hannah over a year ago at an event. Her bravery as she stood up in front of a room full of hundreds of women and revealed her deepest vulnerabilities amazed me. Hannah is a woman of strength with the softest grace. Her work empowers you to live your best life and to find the joys in everyday magical moments. Her Joy Up programs are a safe place for hundreds of women and she delivers them at the most generous of prices: pay what you can. Read below to learn more about Hannah and how she helps bring joy into women’s lives, including her upcoming April Joy Up.
So much of what you speak and write about is centered around finding joy. What does joy mean to you and how did it become such a big focus for your work?
Two years ago I was working with women around changing their lives through food and thought. What I noticed was that everything was being overcomplicated. From “I am not loosing weight” to “I am not organized enough,” entire stories created around struggles of why people just couldn’t get from where they found themselves to the vision they had of where they wanted to be. The stories were draining, and the efforts were depleting them of hope that they would ever be good enough to achieve their intentions. Around the same time I started to make little shifts in my life that were amazingly simple but were changing the way I approached my day, like making my bed, drinking lemon water, dancing while folding laundry, meditating – some of the very basic fundamentals that are all about being present to where you are now.
During a conversation with a client who wanted to be more organized and productive I asked her what one small thing she could do to change how she felt each day. She started talking about buying a planner. I asked her how many planners she had owned in her whole life. Apparently quite a few, and yet, no planner was changing her life.
I suggested to her that once a week when she went to pick her son up from Nursery school she wear her favorite jeans, heels and put on a little make-up. That she treated herself like someone who felt joyful about who she was and move a bit out of her comfort zone, knowing the difference in how she felt from sweatpants to clingy jeans. In that joyful behavior I wanted her to notice how her productivity started to shift.
And from there the Joy Up was born.
You write so beautifully; there’s something so soft, delicate and calming about your writing voice, yet it’s also so brave in the things you reveal and teach to others. Where does this bravery come from?
Mmmm, what a blessing to hear those sweet words. I’m a bit shy with compliments to my writing as I face so much resistance to it. Every time I sit down to write I think I will never have any more words to say, or thoughts that are worth writing. That is sort of my process until I can shift my energy around to the place where creativity and words can flow through me.
What may seem brave is truly a deep need that I have to tell the truth, to share where I have been and the work I’ve done. There is also the creator inside of me who has a deep desire to see her work in life form, to see the written words become stories or letters or programs is soulfilling and joyful for me. As an introvert I have trouble speaking in person without a script, but find that my thoughts are communicated with honesty when I can write them first.
Bravery? No, it is me wanting you to know you are not alone. To inspire everyone who honors me by reading my words to know their truth and to radiate that truth.
It is just a wild wind this joy up. Warm air blowing in ways I imagined and reaching far past my imagination. We have had over 300 women unite in joy and a consistent 100 women remain on the forum we created to inspire and support on a daily basis. The joy up is a whisper in your ear that the life you are living now is beautiful and giving and profound. It is a shout in your ear when you are living outside of authenticity or living inside of fear. A women who joined the last joy up sent me a note, before we even started telling me that simply signing up for the joy up gave her the strength to leave an abusive marriage. She did and has been supported by a group of women who hold her up and make her feel like a goddess for simply being true to herself. This is what brings tears to my eyes, as I describe it now. The joy up is magical. It has become a collaboration, a feast of filling ourselves up with joyful moments and to take time to truly be where we are in order to feel more joy.
The 10 day joy up is being stretched into 30 this time. Each week will have a theme rather than each day. For busy women and mamas this felt right. I also wanted to spend more time in the unfolding of information, like a little gift to unwrap each day for 30 days. I wanted to spend more time with my tribe.
You are clearly doing work that is your life’s passion. Did you have any fears around following your passion? How did you move past those fears?
Yes. And yes. Fear and I have become quite close. When I am not feeling fear I know that I am holding back, not experiencing my edge. I embrace fear almost daily. I treat fear with patience and love. I talk to it. Fear holds so many answers that will shift us to love. Fear or love. We can’t be in love all the time, at least that doesn’t seem possible from where I sit now. Fear is always my pathway to more love. I am no stranger to failure, if I were fear would be my constant, I would not move from it. I try and take risk and I often fail. The love just comes and picks me right back up.
Those words are how I think of the work of changing lives. I always say I come in a gentle package but the work is powerful and often really freaking hard. Dancing in that mixture of gentle but powerful is how I believe women are changing the world. You cannot force anything, but if you approach things with gentleness the space that opens up for powerful change is great. In that space, in that gap, is where the beauty is created.
What important life lesson can you share with our readers that has helped you to live a life full of joy?
To join Hannah’s April Joy Up Click Here (it’s pay what you can!): APRIL JOY UP
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