Interview #1:  “Live your life heart first.”

When I started diving further into Instagram had NO idea the incredible people I would meet along the way!  I was simply looking for fitness inspiration…but what I found was so much more!

After chatting with a friend about my new obsession with Instagram the idea was born to interview 52 inspirational women in 52 weeks!  I wanted to only interview “fitness” women but there is no way… there are far too many cool chicks out there to limit it just to personal trainers!

I thought if I was learning and growing from these women, so many others could too!  I wanted other people to understand that behind every inspirational story there was or sometimes still is a struggle and we can’t compare or page 1 with someone else’s page 100.  I wanted to hear how these women overcame their hardships and have created the lives they’re living now!  I wanted to know what keeps them going, how they push through hard times, what lights them up and what inspires them!  

So I embarked on a journey of asking total strangers if I could interview them. The response was amazing.  I have now spent several hours on the phone with people across the nation…many of whom I will be friends with for a very long time now!  It was amazing to me that every woman I talked to had the same self doubts, body issues, and frustrations.  Each woman had a different way of dealing with and moving through these feelings but it became more clear to me than ever we need to talk about this more.  We need to amplify the positive voices of our unique beauty and continue to embrace each and build each other up!

I have learned so much, been inspired beyond belief and have an even deeper conviction of spreading a message of body positivity and self-love.  I am even more determined than ever to guide people along their journey of better self care.  AND I am excited to take you on this journey of 52 in 52!  

My hope is that you find comfort in their daily actions, motivation behind their message, and strength in their perseverance.  My hope is that this doesn’t just end with me in 52 weeks.  I hope others are inspired to interview their OWN 52 in 52 and the message of self love and simply being better people in this world spreads.  

So let us begin with Interview #1 of 52: “Live your life heart first.”

I’d like to introduce you to Jessica.

As soon as she answered the phone it was like talking to an old friend from college.  Jessica, a native Californian, lives in San Francisco with her adoring husband and 2 dogs.  She’s worked in Human Resources for the last 8 years primarily with startups and tech companies.  “People are my thing” she said. And I could tell.  She is one of those people you know without a doubt was put on this earth to make a difference and help people!

It was an amazing time to talk to Jessica because I caught her right as she was taking a leap of faith and some time off her regular HR career path.  “There are only a few times in life were you can pull this off” she said referring to her decision to soul search.    

As we continued to talk, I learned that fitness wasn’t always a passion of hers. Aside from her passion for people, her life has been filled with creativity.  With a dance and theater background she’s always been drawn to the creative types (hence the allure of startups).  She said, “I think in circles. I try to tie things together and find out how things connect.”  She finds true joy in putting something that she loves out into the world and having that connect with someone.  Seeing how her message ties in with others!  

She’s intentional about her interactions and has no room for negativity.  This wisdom and clarity of what brings her joy came at a very early age.  Without getting into the fine details, she shared with me that when she was 11 years old she was told she had a very rare medical situation. Something that can not be fixed and she would live with it forever.  At 11 years old she was told that she may never live to see high school graduation.  And that anything over 15-18 years old would be “a bonus.”  

She shared with me that this year she turned 30 and somehow convinced her friends to do the Vegas ½ Marathon!  And this year was not easy….winds, rain, cold… miserable!  But nothing would stop her.  Not even a recently broken foot!

Listening to Jessica talk gave me chills.  She has fully embraced the beauty of living life to the fullest. “I love getting old!  I love wrinkles and I can’t wait to be old!”  She told me as she regaled celebrating her 30th with the Vegas race. “You know, there are so many different things that can ‘get us’” she said. I hadn’t ever thought of it like that.  There are so many things that can “get us” and so it only makes sense to live your life bright, bold and with intention! She had a very unique perspective at a very young age and ever since she has lived her life with her heart first.

She made me think of all the times I’ve said no to something out of fear or worry.  How I potentially missed out on something for fear of what other people would think or any negative response I would get.  I asked if she still struggles with any self-limiting beliefs or doubts. In her response I felt like I was reading my journal.  “I have a lot of loyalty towards others” and as a result sometimes the louder voices out there make it seem like our thoughts aren’t as valuable. Wow, how many times have you felt like that?  I know I have had that gut churning feeling of wanting to scream out loud but being afraid that no one would care for what I had to say.  She doesn’t know if she’ll ever be the loudest voice in the room but she does know she is here for a reason.

We could have talked for hours but to finish I asked 2 questions: What does your dream life look like and what 3 tips would you share with the woman who is reading this now?  

With a pause and a chuckle she said, “There would be wine!!”  And of course there would be the ocean.  She would travel to at least 1 new country a year and do something that brings people joy.  “That is what I’m supposed to do.” She would spend all of her time with her husband who loves and adores her as well as her friends who continue to blow her mind with how thoughtful and amazing the are.  And to top it off, all the women she loves in her life would live on the same block! :) She would be better at making time for herself.  “I live to serve so I have to make room for myself too so I’m not living in between the space of other people.”

What a powerful image.  I had never thought of the concept of “living in between the space of others.”  But like everything she had said before, she was spot on!  So frequently we simply allow ourselves “fall into place” and to take roles that don’t serve us or others around us. I was inspired by her honesty and the power behind her words.  

Finally her 3 “tips” or in her case I would say life lessons to write down, frame and look at every single day.  

  1. Being strong does not mean you lack emotion!  Its braver to be emotional. If you can feel something all the way through you are really strong!
  2. They may forget what you said but they’ll never forget the way you made them feel.  Just be aware of how you come across.  Be aware of YOU.  We don’t tell each other enough!
  3. Listen to the rhythms of your life.  Just like the ocean - it ebbs and flows. There are subtle reminders in life that there are moments to pull back and moments to go crashing to the shore. You can’t have one without the other!  

She might be pulling back now but it’s only to go crashing to the shore very soon!  

Jessica inspired me to live into my full potential.  She has a gentle and loving way way of honoring the people around her.  It only makes sense that she was born on Valentine’s Day because she truly lives with her heart first!  And while she might never be the loudest voice in the room, it is my belief that wherever her journey takes her, she will certainly be the one with the biggest impact. 



Thank you for taking the time to engage in my first interview of inspiring women!  Please feel free to share your comments, feelings and send this to a friend you think would benefit from reading this!  If you want me to interview someone you find incredibly inspiring, I would be truly honored to meet them! This is a journey that has no parameters or rules!  Let’s have fun with it and continue to spread the message of empowerment, love and kindness - to ourselves and others!

You can follow Jessica on Instagram @duckymonster