One Mindful Tribe: Q&A with Nancy Werteen and Kim Howie of The Wisdom Coalition
Grab a cup of tea, read on, and learn from these two wise, inspiring women.
Nancy Werteen is an award winning television news reporter and anchor with WFMZ TV-69 in Allentown. Kim Howie is a Certified Health Coach, author and designer of her signature Pure Energy Program. Together, Nancy and Kim created The Wisdom Coalition, a collaborative community built to help women flourish, thrive and find joy in every aspect of their lives.
What does the word empower mean to you?
Kim: To me, empower means to take control of your own life. To recognize that you, and you alone have the power to dictate your attitude and your actions. In other words, don’t let the outside world control your inside world. Know your personal why, be strong and be YOU!
Nancy: It’s interesting how this term strikes a cord with so many people and is interpreted in so many different ways. For me, being empowered means being self confident. It means thinking enough of yourself that you can allow yourself to unleash your power instead of stifling it because you don’t feel what you have to say or what you can do is good enough. I really think it starts there-at the core of what you think about yourself. When you are full with self pride and confidence, that’s powerful!
In what way(s) do you empower yourself? Others?
Kim: I empower myself by maintaining a wellness plan that includes healthy eating habits, daily exercise and meditation, ample sleep, stress reduction and self care. As a Health Coach, I empower others by providing guidance and support to help them reach their health goals. At The Wisdom Coalition, we empower others with the knowledge that joy is an attitude and a choice we can make each and every day. My ultimate mission in life is to help others take charge of their health and happiness.
Nancy: I work at telling that negative voice in my head to basically shut up. At The Wisdom Coalition, we talk a lot about taking a pause and listening to how we are speaking to ourselves. Some of us will say things to ourselves and about ourselves that we would never tolerate from other people! I think challenging those thoughts and changing them to something else has tremendous power and impacts everything we say and accomplish. When I hear those negative put downs, comments and predictions, I stop. I breathe and I work to change what I’m thinking.
What is your favorite way to be mindful?
Kim: Meditation and breathing exercises help me connect my mind and my body through my breath. I find that taking mini meditation and mindful breathing breaks throughout the day helps me to be more mindful. Nature is my favorite mindful trigger. When I see birds or flowers or beautifully colored leaves, I immediately stop what I’m doing and/or thinking and take time to be mindful and grateful for this wonderful life; remembering to breathe in the universal energy.
Nancy: With music. I find music brings me to the present moment and anchors me in my body. I can have a million things running through my head but somehow music tends to drown it all out. A loud, upbeat song helps me focus on this one moment and the joy it can bring me, Everything else just melts away.
What’s your go-to phrase/mantra for empowering yourself?
Kim: “Everything is unfolding perfectly.” I say this because I truly believe it. When things don’t work out the way I had intended, I find that this mantra helps me keep a positive attitude. My life, like everyone else’s, has had its challenges, but I chose to see those challenges as opportunities for growth and expansion. There’s always a gift, a silver lining or a lesson in every experience.
Nancy: I don’t have one particular phrase, it depends on the situation and usually involves the worst curse words I can think of! But no one hears it but me so that’s okay. I think it’s personal and depends on whatever works for you.
Who are your role models/people you look up to?
Kim: I look up to people who live an authentic life. People who don’t compromise their values in order to get ahead or to fit in. People who know their truth and live it every day regardless of life’s circumstances.
Nancy: I really admire people who are whole, who can show up completely as themselves without any masks or phony personas. I admire people who have done the work on themselves so they can be this way with themselves and in their relationships. These are people whose names you wouldn’t know if I said them. They’ve not famous in any way but they have a measured confidence that seems to come out in the way they speak, walk and conduct themselves. I admire people who work hard to understand themselves and the world around them.
What advice would you give to your younger self/someone just starting out?
Kim: I would tell my younger self what I tell my children, be YOU and love the skin you’re in. Don’t compare yourself to others, as comparison is the thief of joy. And don’t try to please everyone because you’ll end up miserable. Just be kind, compassionate, empathetic and respectful to others and don’t accept anything less in return. Practice discernment and surround yourself with people who truly love you and champion you for being your unique self.
Nancy: I remember when my older daughter was around 8 or 9 and we had some professional pictures taken of her. We were looking at the proofs and when I told the photographer which one we wanted, my daughter said, “No, I like this one better.” At first, I felt put out. It was one of those places where you could pick one pose and get a million and one photographs for $9.99 or something like that. But then I realized she was finding her voice. She was speaking her mind. She was someone with opinions different from mine. Now I tell her all the time; find your voice and use it! Be passionate about whatever you do, even if someone else doesn’t agree with you. Excitement and passion are contagious. Give it and you get it and then some.
How do you deal with fear?
Kim: I tell myself that fear is a sign that something beautiful is about to bloom. I acknowledge the fear, as I know that we need to feel our feelings, but I try not to let it hold me back. I do my best to dispute any thoughts of failure by reminding myself of examples when I took on a similar challenge that resulted in a positive outcome. I think that hope and joy are the antidote to fear. So I try to imagine myself feeling really good after tackling the source of fear and coming out the other side better and more joyful than before.
Nancy: I think it’s a daily balancing act. A certain amount of fear is good. It shows me I’m challenging myself. But I have to be careful not to let fear get the upper hand, which can happen very easily. I find talking about what I fear helps and having a plan, a few “what if” scenarios. If this happens, this is how I’ll handle it. That makes whatever I’m fearing seem much less powerful.
How do you balance it all?
Kim: I think balance is a relative term. For me, it’s not about living every moment feeling balanced, but rather about trying not to allow myself to become overwhelmed and burnt out. Following my wellness routine helps me be proactive and stave off stress before it becomes an issue, but when I am feeling overwhelmed, I find that putting life into perspective helps me regain balance. I like to stop and rate a moment of stress on a scale of 1 to 10 in the overall scheme of life. This helps me to recognize that what may feel like a 10 at the time, really may be a 2 or 3 when put into perspective.
Nancy: Good grief, I wish I knew the answer to this question!! I’m lucky I have Kim who knows me well enough to call me on my bad behaviors. She reminds me to take care of myself, to stop racing, to get enough sleep. I really have to actively guard against the scales tipping in the wrong direction. I try to prioritize, delegate if I can, and realize I’m not Superwoman-even though I wish I was!
What is one of the most valuable lessons you have learned from motherhood?
Kim: I’ve learned that every person is unique and precious just the way they are. Being a Psychology major, I was under the belief that it was nurture and not nature that determined a child’s personality. Then my daughter was born, and even though she spent 90% of her waking hours with me, she was a carbon copy of my husband. When she was younger, she would call herself “Daddy 2.0; the new and improved version!” I tried to nurture her to be more like me, but it was clearly not working. It was then that I realized that she was her own person, not a mini me or someone who I could/should mold into anything other than her perfect self. I now know that we are all born to live our own truth and to follow our own journey in life. She is no longer a carbon copy of my husband, she is a perfect version of herself!
Nancy: After my first child was born, on a particularly difficult afternoon, I was whining my head off to my mother on the phone and she said, “Don’t forget to take the good.” What she meant was to recognize the miracles and the moments and savor them. I tried to live this advice by slowing down at times to snuggle with someone a few extra minutes after a nap or looking for four leaf clovers with a tiny hand in mine. Savoring the good moments made the trying ones more manageable.
What does your future self want you to remember/know?
Kim: Slow down and enjoy the journey! Life is full of wonderful moments to savor. Don’t miss a single one of them!
Nancy: You’re doing the best you can and that’s enough.
Thank you, Nancy and Kim, for taking the time to chat with us! To read more from these awesome women, pick up a copy of The Power of a Pivot today.
The Power of a Pivot: How changing your mindset can bring you more joy in every aspect of your life. Available at amazon.com
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One Mindful Tribe: Empowered Women’s Leadership for Business and Home
Through my mindfulness work with women — moms in the trenches with little ones, leaders in the business world, artists honing their crafts — I have come to appreciate that we all share similar struggles regardless of life phase or occupation. We all profit from mindful awareness, learning to be authentic, empowering ourselves and our voices, and uncovering the power to lead. Whether managing a corporation or a household, mindful leadership teaches us how to be the best possible version of ourselves — benefitting our families, our businesses, and the world.