This next adventure is one that I've dreamed of doing for a long time - to journey to Kenya and volunteer in an orphanage. Not only would this allow me to make an impact of a few of the 700 kids who are orphaned everyday in Kenya, but I'm hoping it will help me redefine what it means to be a mother - something important to me, as someone who cannot have her own kids.
In an effort to make this dream a reality, I've begun an online campaign to help raise the funds I need to contribute to Project Abroad's CARE project in Kenya. I realize that not everyone is in the position to help, but I'm hoping that I can get a hand in spreading my story, journey and campaign.
Asking for help, as I mention in the video, is not something I generally like to do, but in this case it is necessary in order to be able to support Project Abroad's mission and lend my assistance as a volunteer.
If you'd like to learn more about my campaign, please check out my video or click on the campaign widget below. Any assistance you can provide (sharing, funding etc.) would be so fantastic! I plan on capturing my journey every step of the way so that you, too, can be a part of making a difference.
As many of you know, I've made it a point to help others change the way they view and live their lives. Since my accident and my POF diagnosis, I've put an emphasis on accomplishing my goals - no matter how far-fetched - being healthy (mentally & physically) and dabbling in as many new experiences as possible; I'm focused on taking risks and living life the the fullest (cliche, I know)! As a part of this mission and journey, I've decided to embark on another new and exciting adventure that I'd like to share with you every step of the way!
By Kristen Adamson
Over the years and as a result of my various struggles, I’ve grown to become an advocate for living a strong, healthy and positive life. I’m not perfect, but I still strive to attack each day with gusto, determination and fearlessness. I’m focused on moving forward towards the life that I want – ‘fiercing forward’, if you will.
Aside from the fact that we’ve never actually met, Ashley Johns is someone that I consider a friend. Ashley and I have been in virtual contact for probably over three years now and it all started when we connected on bodybuilding.com.
I can’t remember who reached out to whom, but I’m so delighted we started messaging each other. We seemed to be facing similar struggles, chipping away at similar goals and sharing similar beliefs, and so we found comfort in consulting with one another on occasion.
To this day I still virtually follow Ashley and she still virtually follows me. I’ve watched her blossom into not only a strong and healthy role model, but also a successful business woman! It’s so inspirational to see how far she’s come.
“Fierce Forward” is Ashley’s mantra which, if you’re like her 12,000+ Facebook Fans, resonates well with people. Not just those interested in bettering their physique and health, but also men and women facing non-fitness related struggles. It appropriately highlights what Ashley believes in and what she’s working hard at sharing with the world.
From conquering her own fat-loss journey, competing in bodybuilding, working admirably through what she calls her “rebound” and beginning her own Jewelry company, Ashley continues to blow me away. So, it is with great honor that I share with you this exclusive interview with not only a beautiful, confident business woman, but also a great friend – Ashley Johns.
What's the name of your company & what's your mission?
Fierce Forward. My mission is to encourage and empower individuals to move fiercely forward towards the life they want.
Why did you decide to start your Fierce Forward Intention Bracelet company?
After walking away from dieting, I had to let go of the control and find my balance again. It was a tough year for me in doing so and it seemed like no one else had experience a rebound like I had, or was openly sharing about it on social media. I needed something to remind me to never give up, because there were many times when I began fighting with my own body image issues that I just wanted to throw the towel in, but it's not in my spirit to do so. I had been thinking about this idea for a year and then began writing down what I thought the most important words were in moving fiercely forward, towards a goal. What was it that my community of Fierce Fighters, that anyone out there, has to overcome to achieve a goal? I then began my search for African Trade Beads. I first saw these many years ago and remember being captured by how unique they were and that they were more than just beads, they had a story. The beads I use are all hand made by women in Africa and go back to supporting their Trade and supporting them as women trying to make a life for their families, where opportunities for work are scarce. It took me months to find the right beads after creating the Limitless Collection [first collection]. Things just began coming together, but still, it took some time finding the right resources that could help me execute my vision. I went to Peru to volunteer with disabled and poor families and climb Machu Picchu all in three weeks. It was there that I realized how much opportunity I have back home and how lucky we really are. I became very grateful those few weeks and my mind raced at night thinking about what I wanted to do for others with these bracelets, what they would mean. I got home and finished piecing the last parts of the puzzle together, and in November 2012 on Black Friday, launched the Limitless Collection!
What are some obstacles you've faced while getting your business started? How did you overcome them?
At first, I created Fierce Forward as a mantra for myself and wanted to help others so I created a space to share the things that inspired me on my fitness and health journey. The first three years, I worked at it and it was and will always be my passion, so it came naturally. As soon as my community began growing above 5,000 Fighters, people were asking for hats and shirts, so I delivered! I realized that I had a faithful community of women and men who were LIVING this Fierce Forward Lifestyle I was projecting and teaching them about. I realized then that this is more than just a "page," that this is a lifestyle and a brand and it has meaning to others. It's interesting to look back on something you've built because at the time I was building it, I had no idea it was under construction to become this beautiful creation and way of living!! I just was following my heart. My mind never stops moving forward....I'm always in tune with my inner voices and dreams. With growing a business and a brand comes a lot of trial and error, a lot of falls and rises and a lot of risk. Sometimes I wonder if tomorrow everything I've worked for will go away. I don't ever want it to because I've worked so hard at building this and love what I do; genuinely, love what I do!!! But so that idea, that fear, is always there and I've spent a lot of mental energy working to combat that and turn it into fuel for my passion to continue carrying out my visions. I have grown in this respect and keep my "worst case scenario" thoughts in check and focus on everything positive that is in my life. I know I have more work to do and no matter how many obstacles stand in my way or pop up week by week, I continue moving forward toward what I want.
Can you give some advice to those who might be hesitant to take a risk, of any sort, in their own lives?
Two words: Fierce Forward. I think before you choose to move forward, you have to really decide if there's passion behind your purpose. Do you really want to live the life you envision? Envision it and then you have to lean in, plunge forward and go to battle with your "hesitant" voices if you want something bad enough. You will always have to fight for that which is exceptional and there is always risk in going to battle. The good news is, you will not lose your life in this day and age going to battle; you will simply fall and then choose to remain down or get back up and continue your work moving forward. To be a business owner, an entrepreneur, a fighter, a strong woman, you have to move yourself in new ways every day. Falling, standing up, breaking then learning how to bend and rebuild are all a part of the journey of something bigger in your life. Above all, be passionate for what you give to the world.
Do you have a favorite motivational quote/book/blog/movie that inspires you?
I always find myself returning to A.C. Ping's books: Be, Do, Faith. They are transformational and they will always bring me back to my purpose.
How can people reach you?
email@example.com www.fierceforwardforlife.com or my Facebook page I'm very active on with healthy recipes, motivational ideas to stay passionate about moving forward: facebook.com/fierceforward
Inspirational Quotes of the Day
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. - Henry David Thoreau
Success is getting and achieving what you want. Happiness is wanting and being content with what you get. - Bernard Meltzer
For more inspirational quotes, click here.
By Kristen Adamson
Since I started blogging and capturing my journey online, I’ve met some pretty amazing people. Granted, I haven’t met any of them in person yet, but I can tell they are incredible! I just love how they deliver messages, encourage others and write so openly and honestly about their passions, fears and challenges.
One of the truly inspiring women that I’ve “e-met” over the years is none other than Anna Sward. You may not know her by her full name (she doesn’t give herself enough credit if you ask me!), but you probably know her by her recipes – especially if you’re into weight training and/or bodybuilding. We’re talking about the legendary PROTEIN POW(d)ER Chef!
To be quite honest with you, I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon her Facebook Page and Blog, but I was flippin’ ecstatic when I did. Anna is one of the kindest, bubbly, smartest (hello PhD!) and most-successful bloggers I’ve ever seen! She’s got over 31,000 Facebook Fans, a crazy delicious Pintrest page (you have to see it!) and she’s a regular columnist now for Muscle & Fitness Magazine and Bodybuilding.com - two of the biggest names in the industry!
If you don’t know her, this genius-of-a-lady develops mouth-watering, high-protein recipes that are out of this world unique! Between her amazing food-photography (yup...food porn!), her cartoon drawings and her brilliant use of protein powders to create everything from cakes to pizzas to sandwiches, it was hard not to get all starry-eyed when I found her online. In my mind, I yelled “JACKPOT!”
Well, I’m super excited to let you know that Anna granted me an online interview to pick her brain about her countless successes! Between the launch of her recent cookbook and her continuing cooking classes in the UK, I’m surprised she even had the time to answer me! So I felt super special when she responded.
Here's my inspirational interview with Anna Sward of PROTEIN POW(D)ER.
Why did you decide to start Protein Pow(d)er?
I started proteinpow.com when I was still doing my PhD (I've since graduated!) The blog was a hobby really, a way for me to release some creative energy while writing up my thesis which was heavy in sociolinguistics and cultural theory. I felt like I needed something totally different to take my mind off Foucault so I turned to food. I thought my protein cooking would be really fun to blog about because everyone I know has always been intrigued by my 'unique' way of cooking and my experiments in the kitchen, so that's how it was born.
It wasn't until last year though that I turned Protein Pow into a business and started really building it into something bigger. I now work full-time doing what I love! So I feel incredibly fortunate, even though it's kind of odd to be working in food after doing both a Masters and PhD in the humanities.
I mean, they understood my drive because they know how crazy and motivated I am by Protein Pow but a lot of people didn't really think it was the wisest of ideas. Just in the sense that I have the credentials to get a university job teaching and/or doing research. But I just held on to this dream - to this vision of how far I can take it, all the while fully aware that when you LOVE something, when you have a PASSION for what you do, you work hard and you get better and better and better until KAPOW! You're in the stars, reaching for the moon :-)
Can you give some advice to those who might be hesitant to take a risk in their own lives?
It probably sounds cliche but I'd say to people to chase their dreams and to do it without fear. I mean, fear is unavoidable - it's a quintessential side of risk taking, but a lot of people are scared to take a risk and later regret that they never took a single step in the direction their heart was always pounding towards.
I'm an ardent believer in the quote that says that. "When you choose a job you love, you never have to work a day in your life." OK, you DO have to work - you have to work HARD and sometimes you get battered by trial and error, by things that don't go like you wished, or risks that backfire and get you down. But, the rewards you reap at the end of each day are invaluable and you walk every day knowing that you’re giving it your all and you’re pushing as hard as you can and you're one step closer to where you envisioned yourself one day being.
To be honest though, it's not really quotes/books/movies that inspire me the most, it's people. It's people who've given their all; who've loved with all their hearts and fought with all their spirit. People who've overcome challenges and even those who've faltered. People who dedicate their time - their lives - to make the lives of others a little bit (or a whole lot!) better.
How can people reach you?
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me at facebook.com/proteinpow
Hit by a car & diagnosed infertile. Kristen made a comeback, transforming her body & life. This is her blog about exhaling struggle and elevating towards greatness!
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