Stand Tall in Your Story - Holly Pels

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This is a podcast episode titled, Stand Tall in Your Story - Holly Pels. The summary for this episode is: <p>This week you will hear Holly Pels' speech from Stand Tall in Your Story. Holly is the VP of Marketing at Casted, and today she shares her journey of being a mother. Tune in now to listen to Holly's inspiring words.</p>
Three keys to thriving
01:20 MIN
Speech by Holly Pels
08:24 MIN
This week's reflection questions
00:45 MIN

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Hi. I'm Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, host of the Badass Womens Council Podcast. I'm also the creator, founder, official dreamer- upper of a transformational experience called Rise and Thrive, a seven- month experience for seven career women to go through together. This culminates after seven months into a huge celebration called Stand Tall in Your Story, a night where we take these women's stories to the stage in full celebration with food, drinks, live music, a live audience and a virtual one, with each woman giving a seven minute TED- like talk where they share their story. These stories live on through video in this podcast for you to revisit, share with your team, your kids, your social media, because telling and sharing our stories is how we come together with true connection. And when we share these stories, we give others the courage and confidence to stand tall in their story. There's no mistake that the book that I'm launching in February of 2022 is called Write Your Own Story, and that the big annual celebration event is called Stand Tall in Your Story because, y'all, it's tough to stand tall in a story you didn't write. I mean, think about it. Actors tell other people's stories. Do you feel like sometimes you're just acting out your life and not living it fully, authentically, genuinely, the one that's writing it? Today's talk is with Holly Pels, VP of marketing with Casted, and Holly is going to talk about motherhood, but a little different take on motherhood. In fact, she talks about finding herself in motherhood. Maybe you're not a mom, but I want you to think about this idea of finding yourself. It's interesting. I just finished a coaching call just before recording this that has me thinking about this so much today. We have this expectation that we're always supposed to have it together, always be positive, always do the right things and, y'all, it's just not even possible physically, emotionally. It's just not possible, which is why I talk about the three keys to thriving in life and business are story, money and rhythm. Rhythm is the third one. Think about the visual representation of rhythm. It's up and down like a waveform that you would see advertised on a podcast like this one. Our lives have the ups and the downs, and that's okay. It's expected. It's the way we're supposed to be. It's the way we were built. On my coaching call before I jumped on here, she made the comment that she felt like sometimes she would take one step forward and two steps back, and I had to remind her that she's not moving backward. Just because we have ups and downs we're still moving forward. We're allowed to have those days that we're just done on our game. We're allowed to have those days where we just don't have it all together. Think you're going to really enjoy this talk from Holly. She's got great points to share, and she's funny. Here we go.

Holly Pels: I've always heard that you lose yourself in motherhood, that you become someone's mom and, suddenly, it's hard to find the person you were before. It's not exactly the case for me. My daughter, Lucy, actually helped me find myself. I've never been super confident in who I am. If you know me, you know that I'm a lifelong people pleaser and I've spent most of my life limiting myself, at least outwardly, to be the most agreeable, happy, positive, buttoned- up version of me. Because other versions of me, maybe the more vulnerable sides, always seem to make people uncomfortable. And I know, I have lots of people in my life who love every bit of me, some of who are sitting in this room right now, laughing, because they are thinking," Oh, I have seen the other sides of Holly." But I've also had a lot of moments in my life, both personally and professionally, where I put myself out there. I was vulnerable, direct, opinionated and told that I'm too emotional, pushy, temperamental. And for whatever reason, those are the moments and the people that stick out in my life. They've reinforced this idea in my head that people only like me, care about me, respect me if I am this positive, agreeable, buttoned- up version of me. But motherhood, even the journey to get there, is one of the most vulnerable things I've ever been through. And let's be honest, it never lets you be the buttoned- up version of yourself, right? Because anybody with a kid knows, it's hard. Even the process to get pregnant was extremely difficult. I lost my first three pregnancies early on and I quickly realized people don't talk about pregnancy loss. Like, we just don't do it. And if you think about it, society kind of sets us up for them because all the while you're going through this, the world just expects you to go on as if nothing else is happening, work, life, friends. They expect you to roll with the punches, never letting any of it show through and just keep moving on. At times that's really lonely and soul- crushing to carry the weight of your everyday life and then go through these two- week waits, scrutinized pregnancy tests every single morning, and then, ultimately, suffering disappointment, only to do it all over again, month after month after month. And all the while this is going on, I needed to be the most happy, agreeable, positive, optimistic version of myself because that's the version of me that made people the most comfortable. I even had a friend tell me to stop talking about it because it was depressing. And I hear them, note taken, happy, positive Holly reappears. I don't want to make anybody uncomfortable. But when I did get pregnant with Lucy, I kind of internalized that and my anxiety magnified. For the longest time, I didn't really want to talk about it because I feared every single day that I would lose her, that my body couldn't do this, that there was something wrong with me and that I didn't deserve the baby. I didn't always feel like I could be open about it or that I could let it impact my day- to- day life or, God forbid, your work because that would be messy, uncomfortable, bad for business and because people expect pregnancy to be the happiest time in your life, not one of the most stressful. There is a silver lining here, obviously. As the months went on, I did get more comfortable being pregnant and, honestly, I got stronger, stronger because I realized I had a life to protect, to care for, and I needed to protect her at all costs. But that meant I needed to take care of me, and I needed to stop prioritizing other people's opinions, expectations, comfort over my own. If there was ever a time to prioritize Holly, it was when I was growing a human. When she did get here, my fear and anxiety of something happening kind of just disappeared. I went from being very fearful and anxious to what motherhood would be like to very chill, almost serene. And let me be clear, I was still dealing with the realities of postpartum and new mom life. It's hard, it's draining and you are, literally, giving all of yourself to this tiny human. But it's also incredible. Motherhood has been one of the greatest joys in my life. My daughter, Lucy, gave me a new perspective, her perspective. Because while I might doubt myself, my abilities, who I am, she loves me for all that I am, even what I can't see. To her, I'm comfort, I'm joy, I'm safety, I'm hilarious. She doesn't see my insecurities. She doesn't know that I've struggled with who I am and who I want to be. She just sees someone who loves and cares for her, and I want her to always think of me that way. But in order for that to happen, I need to see myself that way and I need to take care of myself because the greatest thing I can do for my daughter is to continue leaning into my confidence as a woman, a mother, a wife, a friend, a marketer, a leader. Doing that will show her everything she can be. You can show her that she doesn't need to change herself to fit the mold of others. That all of her, the good, the bad, the ugly, is important and worthy of love. Finding myself in motherhood doesn't mean that all I am as a mother and that motherhood has somehow fulfilled or fixed me. It means that motherhood gave me the strength to lean into myself and into who I want to be so that I can be a good role model for my daughter. For the past two years, I've spent time doing that, to leaning into the things that I want to do, to leaning into things that make me happy and confident. Sometimes that means I get to be opinionated and direct and wear my vulnerability on my sleeve. And let me just tell you, being vulnerable is a super power. It's helped me grow so much personally and professionally over this time. I left a job I kind of hated to go work at a growing startup, as you just heard, shortly after Lucy was born, and I know that sounds crazy. A newborn, startup doesn't mix, but it's a decision that's made me happy every single day. I've gotten to spend time leaning into discovering who I am as a mom and, spoiler alert, Lucy says I'm the best mom around. I've re- evaluated relationships and commitments in my life, and I've leaned harder into those that lifts me up and fulfill me and away from those that just no longer serve me. Maybe most importantly, I have spent time prioritizing me, like investing my time and energy into this program at a time in my life when it would've been so easy to say it did not feel like the right time. I know that the stronger I am and the braver I am about leaning into exactly the person I am, instead of who other people think I should be, the more I can show Lucy that she can always be all of herself, even if it makes other people uncomfortable. I have this very vivid memory from maternity leave, where I was pushing Lucy around Kohl's and I saw this big plush Lucy van Pelt. And since my Lucy also has the initials LVP, I obviously had to buy it. As I was bending down to get the doll, I saw this cute little book, Be Kind, Be Brave, Be You. So I thought," Oh, how fun. Let's get this to go along with the doll." At the time of purchasing it, I had no idea that this little children's book would resonate with me, or that it would kind of become important to me as a mother, yes, but also as a woman who was growing and learning to love all of who she is. It's now a book I read to Lucy every night before bed, even when she doesn't want me to, I force it on her because, well, I want Lucy to continue hearing these words and believing them. I also want Holly to continue hearing these words and believing them because if I believe them, it will be much easier to show Lucy how to live them out. I tell you the story because I want to leave you with the very simple last line of the book with the hopes that it can be a great reminder for you, even as adults, that the best thing you can do for you is to lean into every bit of who you are. Take this to heart." The best thing to do is be the kindest and bravest most wonderful you."

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Okay, reflection questions from today's episode. Holly talks about vulnerability is a superpower so two reflection questions for you today. One, what will it take for you to show more vulnerability in your life, at work and at home? Things like asking for what you need, sharing your feelings. The second question is, do you work in an environment where you feel safe to feel vulnerable and to share some of your concerns and your ups and your downs? If not, what will it take for you to help create more of that environment for you and your team? Thanks so much for being here. Make it a great day. When I work with my clients, I want them to discover their unique personal story. So they can then stand tall in that story and live a life full of soul and emotions and their natural curiosity about their unique gifts, talents and abilities so they can live a thriving life. Because our brains are hardwired for stories, and our brain wants us to thrive so I help my clients tap into that. I also have a sponsor for this podcast called Storybook, which is a unique and innovative platform that helps you bring your company's stories to life by tapping into the emotional flow and the natural curiosity that we have about your products and services. So check them out. You can go to my website, wethrive. live, click on the Stand Tall on your Story link and see the kind of work they're doing for us. Or go to their site, cantaloupe. tv, and there's hundreds of stories there that they've created that you can experience. Check them out. We're so grateful to work with them and for them to sponsor the podcast. And please join the online community at badasswomenscouncil. community, where we can continue the conversation and you can meet other badass high achievers like you. Thanks so much. Make it a great day. If you liked the music for the podcast, go to iTunes, Spotify, wherever you listen to your music and look up Cameron Hession Clouds. You can download the full song there. He's got some other stuff out there as well and, y'all, he's my son. It'd be great if you'd go and download some of his stuff.


This week you will hear Holly Pels' speech from Stand Tall in Your Story. Holly is the VP of Marketing at Casted, and today she shares her journey of being a mother. Tune in now to listen to Holly's inspiring words.

Today's Host

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Rebecca Fleetwood Hession


Today's Guests

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Holly Pels

|VP of Marketing, Casted