Interview with Danielle Pascente: Fitness guru + model

Hi hi!

How are you? How was the weekend? So good to have the extra day, no?

I am in San Diego right now at Coffee + Flowers, catching up a bit on the blog. It's been a crazy few weeks so even on vacay I need to do a bit of 'work' :). I am also just so excited to share this interview with you. 

Danielle is one of those babes who I saw SO MANY times before I 'met' her and put a face with the name. She's everywhere in the fitness world, so you've probably seen her gorgeous self and lean/fit bod. 

Crazy enough, her amazing sister called into a Almost 30 Podcast episode. The episode with our craziest caller yet (truly). If you want to listen, do so here.

We were also lucky enough to have had Danielle on the holiday episode talking about fitness. She's a REAL chick with an opinion, is down to earth and relatable. But during the episode she talked about how to stick with your routine, stay in the groove and the tips she uses during the holidays. I was OBSESSED with what she said about staying on track. It's so SIMPLE. 

She said, no matter what, I eat my own breakfast. 

DEAD.

So simple. She eats her normal protein shake, oatmeal, or whatever. Which sets her up for the day, balances the blood sugar and allows herself  a little wiggle room later if she needs it.

So this one is so good. Insights and tricks from one of the fittest babes there is, let me introduce you to Danielle Pascente!


Tell us a little about who you are, what you do:

I’m a personal trainer/sports model/health & fitness entrepreneur in Los Angeles.  I’ve been in the business for about 8 years now and am absolutely in LOVE with it.  I’m so passionate about health & wellness.  I grew up an athlete and played a variety of sports through the years.  I think fitness is just something that will always be a big part of my life.  I recently launched the first of my online training programs.  My goal is to be able to reach more people than just those I train in Los Angeles.  I’m creating workouts for people to do on the go, with little to no equipment.  I named my programs “Kick-Ass Training” because they will kick your ass but you will see results.  And who doesn’t like feeling like a total badass when they workout?    

What's a typical day in the life?

Everyday is so different for me it really depends on my schedule.  Some days I’m on an early photoshoot.  Other days I’m training clients.  It’s typically pretty packed though.  First thing I do when I wake up is drink warm lemon water (YES I REALLY DO BELIEVE IN THIS!)  To spare details, it gets things moving and alkalizes your system.  I usually take some time in the morning to post on social media outlets - workout of the day, motivational quote, something along those lines.  I’ll have breakfast and coffee while I’m answering e-mails, doing some content creation for my ebooks, and any other miscellaneous online work.  I will then do a workout from roughly 11 AM - 1 PM.  I don’t always have this much time BUT this is my ultimate favorite time to go if my schedule allows.  I’m fueled from breakfast and still fresh enough to be motivated.  I spend plenty of extra time stretching and foam rolling so this is why I like to take my time if I can. 

In the afternoon it ranges.  If I’m not training clients I may be going to a casting for a fitness related gig.  If I’m not doing either of those things, I am ALWAYS in work mode when it comes to my online business.  Lately that has taken an enormous amount of time (more than I ever thought possible).  I try to carve out at least 3-5 hours in the afternoon or at night to work on my online products or blog. 

I usually have an evening client so I will go train them around 5-7 PM ish.  I then come home and have dinner while un-winding a little bit.  Some days I like to totally power off and just read a book or watch a TV show.  Other days, I’m so stacked with online work that I just work straight through dinner.  I am adamant about ONE thing.  I make it a habit to be in my bedroom by 9 PM.  I’ll usually stretch or foam roll on the floor before getting into bed but I have my actual body in bed no later than 9:30 every single night.  I am a HUGE believer in a minimum of 7 hrs of sleep per night if not more.  This is just what I know my body requires to be able to function at 100%.  I try not to sacrifice this bed time unless its an emergency or if I’m celebrating a birthday or doing something social - then obviously I have to stretch it.  But if it’s just a regular day/night - I’m in bed by 9:00 usually.

If I have a photoshoot, this day looks very different.  I will typically have an earlier call time so I try to wake up extra early and go for a run just to get my body moving.  Photoshoots usually last anywhere from 5-10 hours.  They are long days so I don’t have a ton of energy when I get home, in which case I will just head to bed and unwind right away.  I lose motivation throughout the day, so I’ve never been good at doing workouts later in the day or at night.  This is why you will likely find me waking up at 4:30 AM if I have to vs doing it at 7 PM.


Whats a day for you food wise (details! and favorite products/foods)

Pre - breakfast

  • Warm water with lemon
  • Probiotic (love Garden of Life brand - you can buy it here)

Breakfast

  • Black coffee (strong) with splash of vanilla almond milk & cinnamon
  • Protein Oatmeal (my go to breakfast) - organic rolled oats heated with almond milk.  Add 1 scoop favorite protein powder (I like Quest Vanilla - you can buy it here).  Add 1 TBSP favorite nut butter (I like Justin's you can get it here).  The nut butter just melts into the oatmeal and it’s seriously HEAVENLY! 

Snack

  • If I’m hungry between breakfast/lunch which usually isn’t the case, but if I am - I’ll have a banana or handful of almonds/nuts.  

Lunch

  • Typically consists of grilled chicken or egg white omelettes with lots of greens/veggies.  I also love huge greens salads with quinoa and some sort protein.  I’m a firm believer in trying to get protein in with each meal.  I personally don’t like fish or red meat so I’m mostly eating chicken/ground turkey/eggs.

Snack

  • If I’m hungry between lunch/dinner i’ll usually have one of my favorite bars.  I love LaraBar and Kind Bars because the ingredients are BOMB!  Not a lot of extra shit inside.  I also love ThinkThin if you are needing some extra protein and a more filling bar!

Dinner

  • The exact same thing I have for lunch.  The only difference would be that I might sauté veggies or make it a hot meal.  Grilled asparagus in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.  Sometimes I’ll sauté a bunch of stuff in a pan and it turns out like stir fry.  I might add a sweet potato if I need some extra carbs or had a tough training day

Dessert

  • I have the biggest sweet tooth so I actually need to have something sweet every single day.  I don’t cut out full food groups - I think its ok to have good ingredient desserts in moderation.  Of course if you are the type to crush the whole bag or carton or whatever in one sitting - then maybe this rule isn’t going to work for you.  I love Lily’s dark chocolate chips.  Sometimes I’ll have a couple of rice cakes with Justin's nut butter and dark chocolate chips.  I also LOVE boom chicka pop (so addicting).  AND lastly, Halo Top ice cream birthday cake flavor (salivating as I write this).  These are my go to desserts.

What do your workouts look like?

I actually think the easiest way to answer this question is to say, go to my Instagram!  I post my workouts there almost every other day.  These workouts are typically what I do as well.  I love high intensity interval style training.  I also launched a treadmill training program in November and I’ve been loving mixing these workouts in daily.  Sometimes I will do a treadmill training workout paired with a HIIT circuit.  

I will always aim for 10-20 mins of cardio either before or after my workout (depends on my mood).  I love running and I love the stair master.  There’s just no better feeling after doing either of those for that extra burn.  I will sometimes do a split routine like lower body one day and upper body the next.  I’m CONSTANTLY changing it up though.  If I find a workout I really like, I will do that more often than others. 

I’ve been loving this Saturday class I go to so that’s been somewhat of a staple for me.  It’s called F45 Training.  The Saturday session is a full body workout with 27 stations.  You go through the 27 stations twice so it takes about 45 mins to an hour.  SUCH A GOOD WORKOUT and perfect way to start the weekend.

What made you pursue a career in fitness?

I was a competitive athlete my whole life, so I knew I wanted to do something in the sports/health/wellness industry.  I still knew fitness was going to be a huge part of my life, I just wasn’t sure in what capacity.  I kind of fell into sports modeling but pursued personal training and really had a passion for that. 

What's the best part about what you do:

Hands down seeing people get results! 

Seeing people create lifestyle changes and watching their progress.  I think the most priceless part about a job like this is you know you are changing people’s lives.  I get at least one message a day saying “thanks for doing what you do,” or “I’ve been doing your workouts for years and I feel amazing,” etc etc.  It never gets old to hear that someone is creating healthy habits and loving their life that way.  That is exactly why I do what I do - to help others.

In regards to sports modeling, I think the best part about that job is just being able to shoot with some incredible brands!  My 10 year old self would seriously have been peeing pants if she knew she was going to shoot with Nike, Adidas, Reebok, etc when she was older.  I love traveling to new places and shooting in cool locations.  Seeing an ad or campaign released is super rewarding too.  You know the work that went into it first hand and to be a part of that is an indescribable feeling.

What's the hardest part about what you do:

I think the hardest part is just the pressure to constantly be on top of your game. 

There’s no time for injuries, or being out of shape.  You just have to take such good care of your body to be in this industry.  You are a walking billboard.  People want to work with people who are fit (and that’s the bottom line). 

However, I whole heartedly believe in balance - so I don’t go to crazy extremes!  I still live my life similar to that of an athlete.  You train hard.  You work hard.  You dedicate yourself to your career.  You take breaks when you need and eat to fuel your body!

What's one piece of advice you give to all your clients?

Be consistent!  It’s not always about giving 100% each session, but it’s about staying consistent.  A lot of my clients have rigorous schedules and travel a lot for work.  I’m a firm believer in getting workouts in on the go.  They can workout in their hotel room or hotel gym with one of my circuits.  Don’t skip weekends or holidays.  If you add up every weekend day and holiday throughout the year - you could be missing months of workouts.  I swear by the 80/20 rule.  Be mindful about eating good foods and getting workouts in 80% of the time.  The other 20% is for LIFE!  We all need to live it and it will inevitably get in the way at some point.

What's one thing you can't live without?

Ugh I HATE saying this but my phone.  I never ever thought I’d be that person but I am that person.  I’ve just transitioned heavily into the online business this year so it’s pretty crucial I have my phone at all times.  Don’t get me wrong, I definitely put it away or turn it on silent if I need to (at appropriate times), but for the most part I use my phone to create and post content multiple times a day so I always have it.  Coming in at a close second would be working out.  I love working out so GOD WILLING, I will be able to do that daily for years to come :) By the way, I have probably 10 other things.  It’s hard to pick just one.  My friends/family/husband.  I’ll just stop now……..before this becomes “20 things Danielle can’t live without.”

I loved your holiday tricks so much, can you please talk about how you stay on track during the holidays:

Aw thank you!  I love the holiday topic and have created a lot of accountability around this time of year leading into the holidays. I could go on forever about this one, but I think the easiest thing to do would be to attach my blog about staying on track during holidays/weekends/vacations.

If you have 30 minutes, what's the best thing to do workout wise?

Go to my Instagram and find a workout!!  They are all under 30 mins and you WILL feel amazing afterwards.  If you don’t want to go to my IG, I highly suggest just doing a HIIT type of workout.  Treadmill intervals, plyometrics, short rest periods, pushing to your max for those 20-30 mins.  I also have a treadmill workout program I just launched so if running on the treadmill is your thing, you will love this!  It’s a combination of treadmill/HIIT workouts ranging from 10 minutes to 40 minutes. 

You're also a model :) what's a beauty trick you swear by:

Washing my face every morning and every night.  Predictable…..I know!  But I swear this has been a game changer from my college self to my current self.  I used to go to bed with all my makeup on pretty much every night in my late teens early 20’s.  Now, no matter how late or early it is, I will do my full face cleansing routine.  

Favorite beauty product:

Clinique all about eyes de-puffing eye roller (this thing is freaking heavenly - you can get it here).  Put it in the refrigerator.  I swear it’s the best thing you will ever feel underneath your eyes and on your lid (especially if your having one of those days….you know…..little to no sleep).


Life mantra:

Take every risk.  Drop every fear. 


Favorite memory from 2016: 

Launching my first online program in November.  2016 was a HUGE growth year for me, so even though it was intense at times and I wanted to throw in the towel - that moment of knowing even one person bought my product was incredible!

What you're most looking forward to in 2017:

The continuation of launching my online products and being able to reach more people!  My husband also went “all in” on my business so we work together now and he’s been incredible!  It’s a pretty cool experience to work together and be able to build something you are both proud of.

Where can people connect with you?

Come visit my website: www.daniellepascente.com . 

You can join my mailing list where I send out e-mails every Wednesday with a FREE workout inside.  You can also get a free ebook with 10 fat burning exercises inside!  


Shop my favorites from Carbon 38

Tops:

Water bottles: 

Leggings:


So good right? Not only is this chick FIT, she's SMART, savvy and dedicated. 

GOOD PEOPLE.

I love to read these, and have a reminder that a) these people work their asses off to look that good b) it's possible to EAT and look good and c) models are people too (and they can be really cool!)

LOL but for real. Love this girl, can't wait til she is on Almost 30 in a few weeks!

Enjoy the tips my loves! Have the best week.

xo

Krista

Interview with Jen Glantz, author of, 'Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire)'

Guys!

I've got a dope, interesting, loving female for you to fall in love with today. Jen Glantz, of 'Bridesmaid for Hire'.

What started as a craiglist ad Jen has turned into a full blown empire. She's a professional bridesmaid, author, blogger, entrepenuer and all around badass.

You may remeber her from being on the The Almost 30 Podcast a few weeks back, where she blew me away by her kindness, her warmth, and her hustle. This girl had a job she hated in NYC, got laid off, and made her dream life by working hard and following her gut.

I could go on FOREVER. 

But a good place to start would be here: 

Once you've listened, subsribed and rated The Almost 30 Podcast :) please enjoy my interview with the amazing Jen Glantz of Bridesmaid for Hire.


Can you please give readers a brief introduction to who you are - what you do :)

I'm Jen Glantz - hello, new friends!

I'm a dry-clean only kind of mess who pulls herself together behind a Forever21 dress and hair products from CVS.

But if you want me give you a verbal on my resume, I'd love to tell you that first I am a storyteller and then I am a professional bridesmaid. I'm the heart behind the blog, TheThingsILearnedFrom.com, the author of the book All My Friends are Engaged, and the proud founder of the business, Bridesmaid for Hire. 

I'm also a wanna-be contender for the world's fastest pizza eater and library book reader.

Can you tell us about the circumstances or situation that prompted bridesmaid for hire? I love this story!

All of my friends got engaged in our early twenties and I became the "always a bridesmaid" of the group.

One day, I had two friends ask me to be their bridesmaid. They weren't super close friends of mine, but before I could even bat my eyelashes or look away to roll my eyes, I said yes, of course. I came home, told my roommate, and she blurted out -

"Wow, Jen. You're becoming a professional bridesmaid."

At that moment, I was going broke from being a bridesmaid and I was going mad trying to piece together the reason why every single person I knew was smooching their prince charmings and the only thing I was smooching were American Express Bills.

This idea formed in my head that since I was "good" at being a bridesmaid and I had done it more times than I could count on one hand, maybe I could do it for strangers and...I don't know..get paid?

I did what any poetry major would probably do when they want to start a business, I turned to Craiglist. I wrote an ad offering my services to strangers as their bridesmaid for hire, shut down my computer screen, didn't tell anyone about this, and went to sleep. Two days later, the ad went viral, my inbox was filled with emails from brides-to-be, and my heart was beating toward a gigantic opportunity I created almost by pure accident.

Were there ever any times when you doubted yourself on your journey? 

Oh yes, of course. I'm human and I'm proud of that! But the doubt that hit me hard never stemmed from other people's remarks or hesitation to the business idea. A lot of people laughed in my face at first, and even now. I went on live TV plenty of times and had to answer to reporters who were calling me crazy and saying this business idea must be some kind of delayed April Fool's Joke. I always whole-heartedly believed in the idea and the need for a business like this to help brides during a very emotional and stressful time. A time when they may not have a strong or stable support system in their lives.

My doubt, I think, stemmed from the moments when I would look myself in the mirror and feel as though I wasn't smart enough, brave enough or even fierce enough to run a business on my own. I have moments like that all the time.

But do you want to know what I do in those moments? I slap myself across the face. Not literally. But with words. When I feel those things, I force myself to say them out loud and when I say them out loud, I usually whisper those things because I live in NYC and my walls are thin. I don't need the entire neighborhood of Murray Hill to know i'm having a "moment". Plus, those are rough and tough things for a person to say to themselves and usually they are said as words that mask what you're really feeling.

So then I scream, I scream so so so loudly that sometimes I hear the neighbors on the 26th floor of my building open and close the door to see if anything is okay, I scream, "Jen you are enough. You are everything you need to be. You are able to do and feel and fight more than you can even bare to imagine."

Maybe living in NYC for 5 years has made me think that talking to yourself out loud, on occasion, is an OK thing to do. But I'm telling you right now, I wouldn't be where I am or who I am without those motivational monologue pep-talks I give myself quite often.

What has been the reaction of your family and friends?

I'm grateful to have a mini, yet mighty, support system.

My family has always had my back and have always pinky-promised me to never give up on my wild dreams. My brother stepped in when I first started the business and helped me get to be something more than just an idea. My roommate, Kerri, and my two friends, who live in NYC, Jess and Sarah, have loved me and put up with me on my best days and on my nightmare days. I owe them the world - or at least access to a good therapist! 

Of course some people I know haven't been so kind to me about the business. I remember I was in Macys shopping for bridesmaid dresses for a friend's wedding with her other bridesmaids. One of the girl's said nasty things to me about my business and I literally dropped my arm-full of dresses and ran out of the store crying.

But I've learned that no matter who you are, what you are, or what you work day-in and day-out to become, there will be people who laugh in your face, smirk behind your back and try to tell you that you're not good enough.

And that's okay. You never ever have to listen to them.

What's hard about what you do?

It can be a challenge dealing with all different types of people.

Weddings, while they are rumored to be the best moment of your life, are often filled with drama and pressure and just headaches that Advil can't cure. I'm usually what brides use as their 5"7 version of Advil, so I deal with a lot of personalities and attitudes.

I fall in love, a little bit, with every single person I meet. I think that's why I love my job, even on days when most people would get agitated after dealing with three bridezillas in a row. I guess I believe people have mostly good in their hearts. I want to help them bring that out.

What's the best part of what you do?

Meeting people who hire me to change their life but without even realizing it - they change mine. I've had the chance to meet strangers from all over the world because of this job.

My life, my personality and my heart has evolved and changed in the past two years because of all of those people.

What's something you're really excited about right now?

Since I was a little babe, I dreamed of publishing a book. I published my first book as an e-book in 2013 - because close to 35 publishers told me I wasn't good enough or popular enough to write a book that would sell at a place like Barnes and Noble. I refused to give up and am excited to announce that my second book, Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire) comes out February 7th to bookstores everywhere - and Amazon. Simon and Schuster believed in me and they published it - after close to 20 other publishers pointed me to the exit door.

What do you think it is about you, that's made you so successful?

I think there's truly only one secret to success or to get what you want in this world. I'll tell you that secret but I beg that you believe me.


The secret is: don't you dare give up. Even when there's more reasons to give up than to go on - that just means you're almost there. Please hold on. Fight on. Figure out ways to fail over and over and over again. But then figure out ways to piece back together your game plan so it makes sense in ways you never imagined when you first started out.


So yes, that's my secret. I never gave up. If you viewed the list of people who told me I should - throughout my life - you'd be reading a list that's practically as long as the 7th Harry Potter Book.

What has been the most rewarding thing about being successful?

Accepting in my gut that anything is possible - as long as you're willing to work extremely and painfully hard.

Nothing long-lasting happens over night - not love, not forgiveness, not success.

What's your favorite topic to cover on your blog or when you write?

I love writing about the people who enter my world, even if they enter for only 20 minutes, because I met them on a park bench or at the table top of a bar in the east village, and they said something to me - a sentence or two - that forever changed my life.

I love telling those stories because they show the power strangers have over our lives.

What would you tell someone who is in their 20s, and feels like their career isn't fulfilling?

Here's something nobody else in your life will whisper in your ear: you were made to do more than one thing in your life.

When you're in school, you're hammered into picking one major and getting one degree so you can skip town and get one job. That's not what we were truly meant to do. We're humans and we're complex. We love more than one thing and we're not made to settle. Channel your instincts and find a hobby or a side hustle that makes your heart beat out of control - because it should. It always should.

What's one piece of advice you'd give YOUR 20 year old self?

Don't try to make everyone around you happy.

I take that back.

Focus on making yourself happy.

Our 20's seem to be the time when we're focusing on everyone else - because we have to.

We have to impress our boss so we can get paid and have a place to live. We have to impress our friends, because we start to realize how ruthlessly hard it is to make new ones.

We have to impress the person we're in a relationship with, because we far starting from scratch and downloading 8 dating apps.

What happens is that we lose ourselves or we don't ever get to know ourselves. My fear was that one day I'd wake up in my 30's with the wrong job, the wrong friends and the wrong guy.

I guess I learned if you don't want that to happen you have to really take inventory on yourself. Find out what you love - what you will never compromise on - and what you want to get out of this one chance you have at life. 

What's something related to your business that you didn't expect to happen, but that's been a challenge for you?

Balance.

There was a time when I was working full-time, building Bridesmaid for hire on the side, writing my second book, oh - and trying to date! For a while, I distanced myself from a social life just so I could work, work, work.

I think finding balance is a terribly hard thing to do. I think sometimes you need to give in to the extremes (too much work...too many nights spent on the couch binge watching a show with your roommate or spending the weekend laptop-free, biking Brooklyn with your boyfriend) to get you to realize that you can have both, you can have it all, if you just understand and embrace balance.

Do you have anyone on your team working with you?

Right now, I'm a one-woman show! I have a couple of gals that sometimes will work weddings with me and for me - but i'm managing this business all by myself.

What's been a project or piece that you've worked on that really stuck with you?

I'd say writing my second book was one of the most challenging projects i've ever done. I had two months to write the entire book and at the same time, I was laid-off from my full-time job.

My emotions were all over the place and the idea of having to write close to 100,000 words in 60 days left me sleepless. I poured everything I had into writing that book and now when I read over the manuscript, I can't help but fall on the floor and flood myself with tears. I'm exposing a huge part of my heart to the world and while that's so scary it's also extremely therapeutic. 

You talk a lot about dating and being single in your posts. But now you're in a happy relationship (yay!) how does that affect what your work?

I've always had the goal of writing about what was currently going on in my life.

When I started my blog, 5 years ago, I wrote mainly about the struggle and the blahh of living at home in my parent's house while trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and snag a job that paid more than $8 an hour. Then I wrote about my perpetual singledom and being a constant bridesmaid. So I want that trend to continue. If I get married, have kids, move to the moon - I want to expose stories about what that's all really like in hopes that my readers can relate, laugh and realize that live is sometimes disgustingly beautiful.

What scares you?

Time. I'm scared of running out of time. That may be the best and the worst thing to be scared of. Best because it makes me get out of bed in the morning faster. Bad because sometimes I exhaust myself.

What's one of your life goals?

To become a motivational speaker for young women. That's my forever career goal. I just want to change people's lives using the hurt, mistakes and the love that i've hugged onto in my lifetime so far. 

What's next for you?

I wish I knew where or who i'll be in a year from now or even in a week from now. Life has this brilliantly delicate way of keeping us on our tipy toes, showing us that we can stand on them longer than we think, even when the pain sinks in and the temptation to fall over just seems so contently easy. I'm on my tipey toes - eager to find out what's truly next. 



Where can people connect with you?

Twitter + Instagram + Snapchat land: @jenglantz

Blog: thethingsilearnedfrom.com

Bridesmaid: bridesmaidforhire.com

Blog 

All My Friends are Engaged Book

Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire)

Bridesmaid for Hire


There are some SERIOUS nuggets in there, right? If you haven't already, definitely listen to the Podcast Episode, it's SO GOOD I was in tears at points.

Let me know what you think. I reasonated so much with the parts of doing your own thing, finding your own way and sticking true to who you are.

LOVED THIS.

So glad to introduce you to Jen :) Keep me posted on what resonates with YOU.

xo,

Krista

How to truly LIVE each day of your life: Interview with fulfillment coach and teacher, Jenna Starkey

Oh you! So glad you're here. 

How's the week? How was your weekend? I don't think I asked on Monday...

I was in Chicago for one of the best weddings ever.

Cassidy and Kory - two amazing and loving humans who brought the heat! With such a unique, fun and gorgeous way to celebrate their true love. I had the best time riding SOLO because Justin was in L.A. staying back for work. (BORING!) But he was missed.

ANYWAY. What did you do? Let me know!

Guys I have a really good serious of posts coming related to badass females. FOR REAL. I've always loved people that do their thing, boldly and passionately live their live and truly work each day to fulfill their lifes' mission and as a bonus help others find theirs.

I’m passionate about working to help people realize their potential and to connect with life in a stripped-down, meaningful way. Capitalizing on strengths and solving problems with a human-centered, creative approach is a recipe that fuels my most meaningful work, allowing me to give my best self to others.
— Jenna Starkey

As fate would have it - I was introduced to Jenna Starkey through the grapevine, and was SO IMPRESSED with this life she has built, as a fulfillment coach, who runs her own classes and workshops called 'Light it up' events. In Jenna's words:

"Light up events" were inspired by my love for collaborative discovery through activities focused on wellness and intellectual growth. I host workshops and activities in personal development, including topics like Enneagrams, Energy Healing, Design Thinking, Improv, and Life Coaching.

What I love about who she is, and what she does is that she works to help others, and has found something she is not only good at - but also passionate about, and she's followed that dream! 

Let's get to it.

Interview with the fabulous, badass female Jenna Starkey!


Tell us a little bit about you, who you are, and what you do

My name is Jenna Starkey and I am a fulfillment coach who supports people (mostly millennials) to start really living every day of their lives.

I work mostly with dreamers who are moving through life with a twinkle in their eye, not quite sure if their dreams are worth taking seriously. My work focuses on helping them realign with what makes their hearts sing so they can go big for what they want.

I grew up in Berkeley and currently live in my dream neighborhood, North Beach in San Francisco. It's where my parents met when they were exactly the age I am now, 27. I'm also endlessly captivated and enchanted by music. I believe it's the barometer of the soul, and has a way of communicating beyond what words can. 

Can you tell us what a fulfillment coach is?

"Fulfillment" coaching is a term that comes from the Coaches Training Institute, where I received my certification. It's a model of coaching I gravitated towards naturally and have found completely transformational in my own life. It's about having clients let go of preconceived rules and limitations in order to step into creating a life that's centered in what truly brings them alive. 

Can you tell us about how you got to the place you are today?

Did you always know you wanted to coach people or were there events that led you to pursue this career? 

I always knew I wanted to help people live meaningful and happy lives. I’ve always been enamored by how others see the world. My mom introduced to do a personality system called the Enneagram when I was about 11, and I became enthralled by the way the tool helped people articulate their view on the world. That way of understanding people is still my greatest passion.

My coaching journey really began a few years ago when I enrolled in a five week "Passion Program" to help me kick-start a passion project. I sat down that first day like a gitty school girl, knowing something huge was about to happen.

During the final presentation, I declared that I would be quitting my job at the end of the school year to start pursuing my love for personal development. Without a job in site or a plan ahead, I started networking my ass off to figure out what a career in "personal development" would look like. I met with people every single day and starting drawing connections between the people I felt aligned with. A dear friend introduced me to a classmate who was in the middle of her Coaching Credential at CTI and insisted I step in as a sample client. Within the first hour of the session, a light bulb went off, and in that instant I knew coaching was that “thing” I had been looking for all along.

Three months later, I enrolled at CTI and started doing whatever I could to pave a new path for myself.

Both my parents were horrified to learn that I was quitting my very stable Director position.

My mother hardly spoke to me for months because she was so scared. It was a very big risk indeed, and they were concerned. This experience with my parents was one of the most transformational periods in my life, because for the first time ever I was profoundly disconnected from my parents. I call what happened during those months, my time of "individuating" from my comfort zone.

I was finally trusting myself in a profound way, despite what the outside world was telling me.


Are there any defining moments in your life that made you as passionate about working with people to help them realize their potential?

There wasn't one defining moment, but there was a lifetime of arrows pointing in that direction. 

As a child, I always mixed up my words. I had a tendency to say the wrong thing. My most embarrassing moments as a child all had to do with miscommunication. I never felt like I could express myself in a way that made me truly feel seen, heard and validated. I always said the wrong thing in school plays, acting classes, presentations. To me it felt like I was the center of endless jokes and it crushed me.

When I got to college, my instinct landed me in a prestigious journalism school. Something in my gut told me that I needed to master communication. I wanted to be an expert at getting my message across, and I wanted to articulate what it was that other people were seeing and saying too. I didn't want to fall short when it came to expressing what needed to be expressed. I wanted my ideas to have merit.

In college, I started to realize that what I loved so much about effective communication was its ability to give people a voice. I was in awe of how saying something honest to an understanding friend gave people freedom to step into their full power. And I noticed that transmission all around me: in writing, music, storytelling, singing and sharing a good hug. Realizing potential in oneself all boiled down to connection and communication. 

I wanted to free others and support their full potential; to help people communicate openly so that they could be seen, heard and appreciated in the ways my inner child so desperately wanted to be. 

In order to be a coach, I would imagine that you have a very thorough understanding of yourself, so you can help others to navigate their lives, have you always been so self assured and confident?

Some people think I've always been confident because I am naturally spontaneous and carefree, but that's not the case. Growing up I was painfully aware of what others thought of me. I was paralyzed by fear to speak in public all through high school and college. Only recently have I been able to let myself fully be seen up on stage.

Feeling judgement has always been a painfully real struggle for me.

When I'm completely confident, I can let my family and friends grimace with embarrassment at whatever I'm doing. And that is no small task! When I say something silly or make a strange decision, confidence is about trusting myself no matter what those close to me think. That's my endless quest, in trusting my process and knowing I'm loved, despite the experiences other people have of me.


What would you say the biggest thing keeping people from realizing their full potential today is?

Letting the voices in our head dictate our life, and forgetting that we really, truly get to create our life in every single moment

What advice would you give to someone who wants to find true fulfillment in life?

Recognize that fulfillment comes from the quality of our attention. 

Embrace the preciousness of impermanence. 

Take the time to slow down and notice what your intuition is telling you. 

Take care of yourself the way you would a wide-eyed, innocent child. 

Marinate in the fact that you are enough the way you are right now. 

Don't wait for tomorrow to enjoy today. 
 


What do you think is the biggest mistake people make today related to achieving their dreams?

They wait for tomorrow.


I'd love for you to share what "Light up events" are, which is how I came to know you!

"Light up events" were inspired by my love for collaborative discovery through activities focused on wellness and intellectual growth. 

I host workshops and activities in personal development, including topics like Enneagrams, energy healing, design thinking, and life coaching. They are my way of bringing like-minded people together to talk about the deep things in life that often don't get expressed.

In fact, these topics are often unwelcome. I wanted to give permission for people to GO THERE. 

I also love what happens when strangers and friends get together and learn new ways of being. There's this moment of epiphany that washes over people when they start to see new possibility. This is the "lighting up" I have always been after. Witnessing these moments is what gives my life purpose. 

The topics at the events are on things like energy work (my favorite) and design thinking (I actually took the design thinking course with IBM!) what other topics are on the schedule for this year and how do you pick them?

  1. Enneagram Crash Course 
  2. Design Thinking Our Lives
  3. Public Speaking Workshop (with my friend Eric Fettner of Out Educated)

These topics always find me! They manifest from conversations I have with peers, strangers, colleagues, clients and friends. Whatever burns in my belly means there's resonance, and therefore the ability to follow through. 


What is the enneagram? I've never heard of it! 


The Enneagram is a personality typing system that my mom introduced me to when I was young to help everyone in my family understand each other better (like most families, we struggled with that big time). 

The structure of the system is based around nine personality types with elements rooted in traditional teachings such as the Seven Deadly Sins and the Kaballah. In essence, each of the types is defined by a distinct motivation based around what has evolved to be nine basic vices/virtues.

I always find a way back to the Enneagram because of its dynamic nature.

Some may disagree with me, but I believe it doesn't put people in boxes.

The Enneagram recognizes that we are all connected, and just have default modes that propel our lives forward. The ultimate lesson in the Enneagram is to notice our blind spots, capitalize on our strengths and ground ourselves in the gifts of the other types which all live inside of us.

What's challenging for you in your work?

Staying the course of building a business.

My enthusiasm and curiosity can have their way with me if I don't create the right structure for myself. This means I have to lock in productive work dates with accountability buddies and find tools and systems that work for me. I've learned that I can be just as focused and productive as anyone else as long as I am willing to support myself through an iterative design. 

What's the greatest thing about what you do?

Being witness to what makes people’s lives sparkle above and below the surface.

Coaching is deeply rewarding for me because it’s my way of healing the world. My dad is a neurologist and my mom a nurse, so I feel connected to looking at coaching as a way to heal. For me it’s about working towards a full mental, physical and spiritual health.

I feel in complete flow by working towards this every day.

Who have been some of your mentors or biggest influences?

There are so many! Here are a few that jump out...

Annie Nogg, my own personal coach and CTI mentor. She has single handedly changed my life. I love her.

Anniemarie Estess, founder of 8count and 20rock, she is the reason I found coaching in the first place. She is a professional dancer, teacher and coach for millennials. I am constantly in awe of her positive energy, creativity and the overall quality of her work! I wouldn't be where I am without her. 

My dear friend Mary Kate (who introduced me to Annemarie), the most incredible, loving, funny, brilliant, living in full color human I've ever met. She has taught me how to live in my own lane in life, never give up on my dreams, and heal the world with radical love and unshakable compassion. She's also a soul-cycle instructor from San Francisco. If you want to experience her magic, take one of her classes

Believe it or not - my ex boyfriend Nick. He saw my potential when I couldn't so many years ago. I'm forever grateful for the belief he gave and continues to give me, even though we are marching down very different life paths.

Pema Chodron, the beloved author of When Things Fall Apart, Heart Advice for Difficult Times.

She taught me the meaning of the most important lesson I've ever learned, which is to appreciate "the preciousness of impermanence." 

What's your life mantra?

"Put yourself in the way of beauty." (Thank you Cheryl Strayed.)



What are you most grateful for?
 

Being aware of the jaw-dropping wonder of existence.

Where can people find and connect with you?

jennamstarkey.com  

jenna.m.starkey@gmail.com


Okay so. Wow, right?

I needed good book recommendations - BADLY, and these ones are life changers. I also love her life advice, and the things keeping people from realizing their true potential.

How true is that? I know a lot of it rings true for me personally. Hearing her journey, from corporate life as a Director, and moving towards her true passion is nothing sort of super INSPIRING. 

Man, being connected to babes like this is truly one of the best parts of having a blog. If you know anyone you'd like me to interview - let me know!

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Also let me read your blog posts this week! Link them!

xoxo

Krista