7 things I learned about myself from Empower Summer Camp

Photo Credit IG: @jamespancoastphotos

Empower Summer Camp was so much more than I expected

Fit Approach Empower Summer Camp was sponsored by various companies listed in my post and I was hosted. There may be affiliate links in my post that I will be compensated. All the opinions are my own. My Full Disclosure policy 

Empower Summer Camp was two weeks ago, and I am just now sitting down to put together all my attempts at a recap.  I have written this post three times now, from three different perspectives.  It wasn’t until this morning that I realized why I haven’t pressed publish.

The other two posts were saying all the right things.  Highlight all the companies that spoiled us, which I am grateful for but a small part of what Empower Summer Camp was for me. Really it’s just a superficial perspective on an experience that has had more of an effect on me than I realized.

Empower Summer Camp taught me seven things

1. I need to chill!

Empower Summer Camp actually was an opportunity for me to reflect and realize why I have been so frustrated the last few months.  I need to chill!  That is a common theme this summer.  My need to relax keeps coming up.  Finally, it was brought to my attention at Empower Summer Camp.

I used to relax all the time maybe a little too much. Sit in the Word for hours, Go on mindless walks, or just sit idle binging on tv shows.  Within the last four years, I have gone from sedentary to active, but too much of anything is never a good thing.

It’s Okay to miss out!

I also need to relax and stop doing so much. Something that I learned at Empower Summer Camp and from my good friend Jque. Who enjoyed the moments of Empower Summer Camp on her terms. During summer camp as I busied myself trying to attend everything. She did the things that brought her heart joy, and you could visibly see her rest at the end of our camp experience.

Stop Living in FOMO mode

Me, on the other hand, tried to attend every event because you know FOMO.  I did get rest and to take some time to do things that I haven’t done in so long. Like crafts! I LOVE TO CRAFT!  You used to always find me crocheting, sewing, hot gluing something or adding some sparkle with glitter. I did it all!  My craft time has been non-existent in the last few years. I need to chill and do that more.

 

2. I need to learn alignment.

I need to learn alignment.  I can’t be all things to all people. I watched a Periscope (yes, like 3-4 years ago) with Priscilla Shirer doing a Q & A. Someone asked her, “How do you achieve balance?” paraphrasing her reply,

“I don’t! To balance you have to keep the scale even on both sides, which is impossible. I like to try to align myself. Setup the things that will work in my life and fit them in.”

I can’t do all the things

My intentions are to do “all the things”, go to all the events, be Mom of the year, trophy wife, upstanding Church member, achieve all the certs and still be available for the people I love and a sane contribution to society. Am I asking for too much?. Often, I fall short. I need to align the things in my life that work. And, I think I need to let a lot of self-made responsibilities go or put on hold till a later time.

I need to stop holding myself down

I’m tired, and I need room to breathe, walk in nature, spend time with loved ones, and hang out with friends. Currently, all of that time is limited, and I need to make alignment in my life so that I can have more. So, I am really assessing what I need. What’s holding me down or overwhelming me and if it’s needed in my life right now?

Photo Credit IG: @jamespancoastphotos

 

3. I need to listen better.

If I were an active listener, like Jamie King said, I would have realized sooner. Listening is something that I struggle with and practice daily as a trainer.  With my clients, I have to practice listening versus hearing.  I have hour-long conversations with them two to three times a week. I need to have something to relate to them week after week.  It’s part of my job to be an active listener.

When I come home, I sometimes turn off that skill, and I hear people. My family often have to tell me things time and time again because I wasn’t actively listening. Jamie’s camp story reminded me of my need to grow in this skill.

Photo Credit IG: @jamespancoastphotos

4. I need to share authentically.

Preferably, I share the positive and keep the negative to myself.  I don’t want to be the ranter on social media. It is not my intention to add to the chaos of this world, but that is not living authentically. It’s not Sunshine and Roses every day.

Filtering Myself

When I was 25 years old, I was diagnosed with High Anxiety and Depression.  Mental health is not uncommon in my family and no surprise to me.  Throughout the years, I have chosen various ways to combat the constant nag in my head, both healthy and unhealthy.  It was only when I was authentic, real, and honest have I felt my healthiest.  Somewhere between the presets of Instagram and the motivational quotes did I forget to post about real life.

Lost in the Fluff

Even my blog post that used to be so raw and real have been fluffed over.  It’s how I have been coping with my anxiety. Painting the picture I want to see.  It wasn’t until I attended Empower Summer Camp did I become aware of how I have changed over the years.

Photo Credit IG: @jamespancoastphotos

Sharing my story at Camp

I was invited to Empower Summer Camp to speak in a group panel discussion.  The Fitapproach Dream Team wanted me to share my story.  I thought it was peculiar because I have never told my story. I didn’t know what they were expecting.  Before the “before” story, how did I get overweight?  What made me change my ways?  Or how did I get here today? And Why? or all of the above? They gave me lots of freedom to share my story.

Sharing is healing

No one has ever asked me to share my story.  I grew up in the ”Don’t ask, Don’t tell “ military home.   You don’t just solicit information about yourself for the sake of sharing.  Now that I am an adult, I have realized that my lack of sharing has been hindering my healing. Keeping it all bottled in is not healthy.

Photo Credit IG: @jamespancoastphotos

Amidst Inspiring Women at Empower Summer Camp

Tasha of Hip and Healthy Chick made that evidently clear with her story.  I was also inspired by Cam Lee to live your authentic self and be and do what you want to do in life.  Don’t let “what you’re supposed to do” hold you back.  It was such an inspiring experience to be in the company of these amazing women and share my story.

Photo Credit IG: @jamespancoastphotos

Authenticity Got Me Started

It’s also how I started this platform I shared the struggles of weight loss authentically. The highs and lows of my faith journey.  Baring my belly month after month showing that progress despite hard work can be slow. Sweaty unflattering selfies, poorly lit not as nutritional meals as I thought. I was unfiltered when I began living freely was liberating, and honestly, the draw of blogging (Influencing wasn’t even a term)..

Not sure when I began to hold back. Take it all in and hold the world on my shoulders, but that is when my anxiety began to show its evil head again.  Within the last five months, it has become an Achilles in most things that I do.

The Reality of Social Media

Why? Because Social Media has become my platform but not my life.

Being authentic in Social Media is hard.  There is an immediate response or rejection of your vulnerability.  You spill your heart out and two people like your post-Ouch! You share a motivational quote that you may or may not have posted to inspire yourself, and the crowd goes wild.  We don’t want to see the real unless it’s a real train wreck.  People are looking for the “good stuff”  a few rejected vulnerable post later you start giving the people what they want.  It’s what we are taught to do.

Being vulnerable in front of strangers

At Empower Summer Camp, I was really vulnerable. Like, I shared with a room of semi-strangers things I have only shared with close family and friends. I was sitting on “Stage” for an immediate response of approval.  And it was liberating! Despite the crowd’s reaction, my story was going to be out there, and people will either relate to me better or look at me differently.  Either way, it was exactly what I needed, and I have known this for the last two years.

Back Story:

Two years ago, when leaving Idea World Blogfest.  There was an epiphany at the airport to “Share your story,” which I immediately responded in hysterical tears. I am sure people-watchers thought I was crazy. They probably thought I was crazy. Hysterically crying at my gate over a random thought in my brain.  So, I wrote my first of over several versions of my story that day. Continuing to write, rewrite, tweak but never publish.  When I got the email from Fitapproach inviting me to share my story, I ignored it for about three days.  Never deleting it but always seeing it when I checked my inbox.

Getting Over Myself

Then three days later, I responded with full intentions on telling a version of my story without giving all the history.  I was honored to be thought of and asked without even knowing my story was other than I lost a lot of weight naturally, quickly. They never knew the Why? And How I got to a point where I needed to change my life?  Which I didn’t have to include.

I didn’t prepare for my story until the morning of the campfire.  I thought, “I know my story”, and then anxiety and nerves took over.  Tasha told me she even had a shirt with her takeaways, and then I was like,

“Oh crap! I probably should have prepared better”

Well, fast forward, because it was quite the blur and I did it!

Living life Authentically

I shared my story with the beautiful women and men (maybe man) who came to empower.  They didn’t “Boo”, they didn’t give me dirty looks, but they were actually inspired.  That’s when I realized, “I need to live authentically” why am I holding back and from whom?  Why do I care so much about other people’s opinion that I don’t even know? Why am I seeking a superficial “like”?

Photo Credit IG: @powercakes

5.  I need to meet new people

Do you follow the #SweatPink hashtag on Instagram? I do! And daily, I get a glimpse of active women being active in their communities, with their families, at their jobs, or their side hobby. It’s really encouraging to know other women are living a sweaty life.  But the 1:1 photo does not compare to the real-life connection when you get to meet these women.  They’re creativity! Energy! It cannot be replaced with a Social Media feed.

Amazing women attend Fitapproach events

I got to connect in person with women that I have never spoken to in real life. But, I feel like I know them.  These women are brilliant, go-getters, and the kind of people I want in my real life.  Empower Summer Camp left me seeking real-life connections with so many women. Even getting out more in my community. Other than the gym I am pretty much at home behind my computer. I learned that it needs to end and real life connections are valuable.

Photo Credit IG: @jamespancoastphotos

6. I need to walk in my purpose

Ronora Lodge and Retreat were located on a Native American reservation.   The grounds were sacred, and quite a few of us had different experiences.  I had a moment where six butterflies encircled me.  Butterflies have always been my thing since I was a little girl. I was even a butterfly in my Second-grade play. I also have six butterfly tattoos, I’ve had since my 18th birthday.

Well, I shared my experience with the women Deej, who is one of the owners of Ronora Lodge and Retreat and the heart and soul of the facility. She also said there was a connection to our experiences in nature.

“You’re a woman of transformation. You were put on this earth to help people transform.” Deej said without even knowing my story.

The Confirmation I needed

That was the confirmation that I already had but knew I needed.  Why I am where I am today, it has nothing to do with me but everything to do with my purpose on this earth.  So many people seek to know what their purpose is in life. I was one of those people, but getting to walk daily in what I was called to do is a very empowering, comforting feeling.  I left the weekend with so much joy and peace that has kept me for the last two weeks.

Photo Credit IG: @jamespancoastphotos

7. I need to meet up with the Sweat Pink Fam yearly and probably more

Empower Summer Camp was so much more than I expected.  I thought I was going in the woods to get eaten alive by bugs and hang out with some familiar faces of my Sweat Pink crew. Maybe Paddle Board (which I didn’t and I am mad at myself for not doing it).

I didn’t know that it was the emotional and physical reset I needed to hopefully take me through the rest of the year.  Every time I get with the women of Fitapproach, I grow.  It’s always a pivotal step on my journey. I am grateful I attended and am now going camping again for my sisters birthday next week.  Being in nature and unplugging is so needed in this world.  It’s something I will be infusing more in my life.

Photo Credit IG: @powercakes

Will I see you there next time?

I plan on going to Empower Summer Camp 2020 in Roanoake, VA.  If you’re like who I used to be and you always intend to go to the conferences but never execute. DO IT!

If you need to start saving now, do that! If you need to find, reliable childcare, pray and start working on it. Whatever your excuse was this year for not attending. Don’t let it be your excuse next year!

Not everything you attend has to be about growing your business, making money, or achieving more in your career. Sometimes you need a soul reboot and regardless of what you beliefs are from reading other attendees recaps. Empower Summer Camp is the self-care you need! So, I hope to see you next year at the Adult Empower Summer Camp. You can get on the newsletter for more info from clicking the link here

Can’t forget our Sponsors

In my past post, I highlighted all the wonderfulness that was made possible because of our amazing sponsors. From food, coffee breaks, crafternoons, kick-butt workouts, delicious eats, and happy hour treats.  We were spoiled the entire weekends from the Sponsors.

I can’t thank @NowFoodOfficials for everything from toiletries to delicious smoothie bowls, kick-butt workout and post-workout fuel. Or Aftershokz for keeping us motivated with music with the Air Shokz (sidenote: did you know they have free shipping on ALL orders…just sayin’).  Bob’s Red Mill had gave us a great Oatmeal breakfast to start our day. Grass fed coffee for that morning get up and go with their ready to drink butter coffee.

Takeya for keeping us hydrated and our water icy cold.  Goodr had us looking cool with lightweight sunglasses that are perfect for active people.  Happy Hour was amazing because of our Great Lakes Collagen Friends, Suja Juice and Jade Matcha Leaf.

 

Have you ever been to adult summer camp? Have you learned something about yourself recently?

10 Comments on “7 things I learned about myself from Empower Summer Camp”

  1. This was such a great recap – I feel like I was actually there! I really hope that I can go to the camp next year in Virginia. There really is nothing better than a weekend in the presence of amazing women.

  2. Love that word about alignment! I have never liked the word ‘balance’ when it comes to life, so thank you for that note! And coming from Priscilla, it has to be good, LOL.
    My heart was SO torn to not be there this year. It just did not work out, but I am SO planning to be there next year, Lord willing!
    Thank you for sharing your experience from the heart and for the ways you have seen yourself grow and how you want to keep growing!
    <3

  3. This looked like such an incredible experience and something I would love to do one day! Of course, there’s that FOMO coming through, right?

    I would be totally intimidated by all the amazing people who were there, but so many people had such an incredible time and got so much out of it. I’m so glad you were able to be there.

  4. Your take on the weekend is great! I know I left feeling, yes, empowered! I have a tendency to get intimidated by groups of women. I’m always the odd one out. With this group, I felt like I found my ‘people’, women who get me, who are fit and healthy. I was struck by how nice everyone was. Yes, I’m going back next year. My soul needs it! <3

  5. I am STILL learning how to listen – and I am so honored that you shared YOUR story with us. Listening to your story was so inspiring – I keep thinking to myself – GET OVER YOURSELF, girl. Thanks for being so amazing.

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