I have a fierce belief that we as women should support, empower and uplift one another in Life. We need each other! I see so many women empowering other women through life, business, actions, friendship, a facebook post & our fierce projects that I decided to highlight one woman each month and recognize her for her work in Empowering Women. This Series is called Women Empowering Women: Golden Rules. It’s fairly simple, I interview her with eleven vital questions and then list facts about her!
I am so fascinated by other women’s Golden Rules, aka, how they approach their day, their life and their legacy. It inspires me to not only share and teach my lessons, but to also see what other women are doing so I can learn from that too. Erin Brown and I first connected on facebook in the beginnings of Fierce Forward. She had her page and her mission and I had mine and we first established contact I do not know exactly when but I do know how, that we connected on Fierce Forward and her company then, Fit Mama Training which is now I Am Erin Brown. That turned into connecting again in 2014, chatting on the phone about the power of purpose, finding your voice and owning your power. I love this chick and all she is working to teach the world.
About Erin Brown: It was when Erin was very young that it all began. She compared herself to the other girls, she saw herself as the big girl and didn’t feel like she fit in. This comparison and self judgement ran deep as she began purging her food, yo yo dieting, losing weight and then gaining it all back. Fast forward through adolescence to her college years, when she hit rock bottom. Erin knew, that for her self, she had to make a change and so it was the first time she did physical activity and she realized what a big difference it made in both her physical and mental state. At the same time, she met her husband and started to gain “happy” weight and those beliefs about herself crept back in to her self worth home and she hit bottom again. She thought, as long as she was fat, she would never be worthy of love, but her husband did not believe this. Erin and her husband had a healthy baby girl and this changed everything for Erin, including her beliefs and how it tied to her self worth. She wanted to be a positive, healthy role model to her daughter and as she began looking through her daughter’s eyes, she knew she wanted her daughter to love herself and know that she is beautiful just as she was created. So a new journey began, a journey towards healthy self worth and a fierce love for who you are, not what size you are. And this time, this time it was different. This time Erin found along the way that it’s not the size of her jeans that determined her legacy, her worth or her ability to be loved, it was HOW SHE LOVED that mattered most. She understood that to teach empowerment, you must embody it yourself and love yourself first. Erin Brown is a Writer, Activist, Feminist, Intuitive. Believer in self-care, autonomy. She is unafraid to be big, in presence or in thighs.
Without further ado, here is Erin Brown and her Golden Rules for living life her fierce way…
My favorite quote from Erin, “I am a woman with a body. For that I offer no explanation, shame, excuse or apology. In a culture obsessed with women shrinking, confidence is controversial. It is courage. I am taking my peace back.”
How Erin Fierces Forward: I Fierce Forward by paying attention to and walking toward what troubles me. My fears, my darkness, I explore them instead of deny them. I find so much peace in that, but it does take courage.
Erin’s favorite piece of Fierce Forward Armor: Badass, because it speaks to doing any number of hard things outside the notion of good girl.
#1 ASHLEY: Was there one pivotal moment that made you change the course of your life to what you are doing now? What did that moment look and feel like and how did it change you?
ERIN: My life changed when I found out I was having a daughter. As her same sex parent, I knew I would be her primary role model. But all I had to teach her about being a woman was how to hate herself, how to silently endure and how to martyr. I knew I couldn’t tell her what I wanted for her, I had to show her. I got to work immediately on living the kind of empowered life I wanted my daughter to look up and see is possible.
#2 ASHLEY: We have been following one another’s journey for quite some time and for a short time, you disconnected from your online presence to “find your voice” as you told me. What did you mean by that and how did you find your voice?
ERIN: I just got clarity about it. I built a platform around empowering women through fitness but that wasn’t really what I was doing at all. I was talking about autonomy. I was talking about feminist issues. I was talking about a new way forward. Embodiment. I rebranded as “I am Erin Brown” because all of those things is who I am. I was getting a lot of questions at the time like, “Who do you think you are” (usually pertaining to my saying body or my appearance gives me no authority on the topics I covered). So that was my answer. Who do I think I am? I am Erin Brown.
#3 ASHLEY: What are your top three things you prioritize every day that you give your energy to no matter what? What are your Golden Rules?
- Self care first. Obviously if there is an emergency in my family, I don’t say “Sorry, gym first.” But that’s not really what everyday looks like. I take care of me before I do anything else with my day. Usually some sort of workout unless the work from the day before demands rest.
- I only do work I love. If it’s not work I love, if it’s not working with people I love, I’m not doing it. Full stop. Life is too short to be planning meetings I’m not completely stoked about. If I’m doing it, I’m all in. It has to be love.
- Slow down and connect. I can keep pretty busy. There is always more to do. So when my baby is telling me about her day after school, I slow all the way down and listen intently to all the details. I want to make sure she has my full attention. I make sure I give the people I love loads of undivided attention. I can always work to do more, but it’s always on the docket.
#4 ASHLEY: How do you conquer fear?
ERIN: If it’s unfounded and not keeping me safe? March right toward it. I just finished leading my first retreat which was entirely based on a huge fear of mine. It was about women and power. We tackled it from all different angles. My wheelhouse was emotional power. The women I put it together with were fighters. I was terrified of what they do. That’s how we met. Me marching toward it. It was amazing to work with them. To find I do have a fight in me. As a result of trauma, I was afraid it wasn’t there. I’m infinitely curious and compassionate toward myself. If I’m afraid of something that isn’t hurting me, I want to know why. I want to look at the story I’m telling myself about it, and I want to move on. The only way forward for me, is through.
#5 ASHLEY: If you could tell women of the World one thing to empower them to live their fiercest life and be their fiercest self, what would you tell them?
ERIN: Be the example you want your daughters to see. These can be literal daughters, figurative daughters, your younger self. You don’t have to be a mother of a girl to live by that tenant. Do you really believe little girls should focus on the size of their thighs before anything else? Do you want them to shrink themselves for other’s insecurity? Do you want them to be quiet when their silence is deafening? It’s my compass.
#6 ASHLEY: Do you have a mantra or manifesto for living your life?
ERIN: “It’s fine. If it’s not fine, it’s perfect.” My mantras change all the time. It depends on what I need at that moment. But right now it’s that. “It’s fine” because it always is. Little, stressful things come up and I just tell myself “It’s fine.” Because in the end, things almost always turn out fine. So why not jump to that right away? And then if it’s not fine, I figure it must be “perfect.” A growth opportunity, the next hard thing to stretch me. Right now, that’s keeping me chugging right along.
#7 ASHLEY: What are your Golden Rules of your day?
- Take care of me first.
- Necessary things next. Bank? Laundry? Dishes? I’m not super excited about these tasks. So I cross them off quick and first so I can move on.
- Work with my whole heart. Is a thing too scary to say? Start there. I put my whole self into things, even though it terrifies me. But I believe authentic is best. So I don’t hold back.
- I rest my butt off. At the end of the day I curl up with my husband and enjoy being still. I don’t work all night. I don’t push myself too hard unless I’m running on adrenaline and pumped before an event.
#8 ASHLEY: How do you define success?
ERIN: It’s important to me that I’m leaving a legacy. That I made an impact and stood up for what I believe in. And that I had a damn good time while I was here. I feel successful by those terms, but I’m always striving to do and be more.
#9 ASHLEY: What is the one thing you need every day to show up fully and be your fiercest self?
ERIN: My feet. Grounding is so important to me. In the way I handle difficult emotions. In the way I carry myself. I know that may seem like a completely strange answer, but as long as I can ground myself, I have everything I need.
#10 ASHLEY: You empower women to love their bodies for what they are right in this very moment. You, yourself have challenged through body image issues (you and me both) and I know how difficult that can be. Do you believe you have challenged through this so that you can help other women through these issues?
ERIN: Absolutely. I know that the saying “everything happens for a reason” is super annoying when you are “in it.” But I believe that. It gives me great solace as well. I’ve been through a lot of trials and I know that it is from the very fires that almost broke me that I found my strength. I give voice to a lot of struggles that have long been silent. I don’t think there are any mistakes here.
#11 ASHLEY: What would you tell a woman who beats herself up for not being skinny enough or pretty enough?
ERIN: I would ask her to consider what she wants for her life. What she wants to look back and be proud of. If she’s passionate about her goals. If she’s in love with her life. I just think there are better questions than “Am I pretty enough?” I really believe if we are honest about our own values and not those that are handed to us, if we get more clear about what we want for ourselves, there would be less of us focused on the sole pursuit of shrinking. My life changed when I stopped asking “Am I beautiful” and started asking “Am I living a beautiful life?” I think it’s worth considering.
Erin, tell us 5 facts about yourself that play into your success.
- I march toward unfounded fear. I want to know what is there for me.
- I’m not jealous of other powerful women. I befriend them. I learn from them. I’m better for knowing them.
- I’m as independent as I am pack oriented. I roll solo and with power I respect. Both serve me well.
- I know I’m powerful. I stand in it. That has zero to do with being bigger or badder than anyone else. I believe we are all capable of finding our power. I’m not shy about owning my space.
- I have support. From my husband to my family to my friends I can hardly believe also chose me, I have incredible support. I do my best to be self-sufficient- not calling someone whenever anything is hard. But when I need it, I have so much support.
Erin’s Website: I am Erin Brown
Follow Erin’s Witty & Insightful View on the Daily: Erin Brown Facebook
Thank you Erin for being a powerhouse of a woman, for standing your ground, for taking the time to find your home, your voice and your ground so that you may show up fully for everyone else in the world as Erin Brown.
Soul Sister, Ashley Johns