The Courage to Become | Alex Zeplain
I am a woman who really wants it all. I want a career, I want a personal life, I want my health, I want to be a present mom, and I want happiness. I have come to learn that I can have it all, but it won't all be at the same time. AND, that I am in control of defining what having it all means to me.
This way of living is a constant work in progress for me. Currently, I am the mother of a soon to be 3 year old boy; a wife to a hard working, entrepreneurial man; a caregiver to my mother; and founder of Hello My Tribe (to name a few of my roles).
In a past life, I was a “professional” volunteer and founder of a nonprofit that promoted philanthropy and had great success. For years, this work was my identity, and when I stepped away from this career, I went through a huge life transformation becoming a wife and stay at home mom. Identity crisis…ding, ding, ding!
Due to my roles in the community and my career choices, most people are surprised to find out that I have social anxiety and am much of an introvert. I am learning to say “no” more and to choose activities that fill my cup, rather than empty it. And I am constantly striving to live a more balanced and honest life after experiencing Postpartum Depression and being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2016.
I find my journey to be full of blessings. And to be present calls for me to simplify life, to slow down, and to do what makes me happy.
What was one thing you always dreamt of doing, were afraid to do, but did anyway?
I share a lot about my ideas before getting started. I think doing this is part of the process, but also out of fear. I often look to others for validation. Is this a good idea, or am I crazy? I spent a little over a year talking and researching my idea for Tribe before taking the first actual steps to get it off the ground.
How did it feel getting started?
I tend to jump into things pretty quickly, but sometimes it’s just what you have to do to finally take that leap. With Hello My Tribe, our Austin, TX fitness/childcare studio is not a business I can turn on and off on a daily basis, or really speed up or slow down at this time. The problem with this is that in the beginning, I became quickly overwhelmed and didn’t have opportunities to play catch up. There was such a strong response to our pop up studio —600 unique women came through our doors over a 6-month period.
Absolutely fantastic, proved the idea, and a great learning experience.
But what also happened was that I didn’t have the proper tools or team in place to make the studio sustainable. Therefore, I was doing work that I wasn’t good at and that I didn’t enjoy doing. So guess what? I made a very hard decision to close the pop up studio so that I could take a step back to re-evaluate and make a better plan for the future.
Tell us about some of the obstacles you faced when you got started.
The BIGGEST obstacle I face over and over again is creating a sustainable business. My ideas take teams of people from the start. And this takes funding, which I don’t have outside of my own personal investment. I often feel alone, overwhelmed, and frustration that I can’t move any faster.
What motivates you?
I always have very clear missions with my work. With CharityBash/Cititzen Generation, my goals were to create the habit of giving and to provide opportunities for people to give back to the community. I was able to see these goals come to life every single day. And with Tribe, my goal is to help women and mothers lead healthy and happy lives. Again, I get to see this happening on a daily basis.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Public speaking of any kind…in front of people, a camera, or microphone. I have major anxiety when it comes to this. I push myself to participate in these activities, though, and then take long breaks in between. I have learned that facing my fears head on is where I will grow the most.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Probably how open I am with my struggles, although this is somewhat of a new thing for me.
What is your motto?
Be selfish in the right ways. Love yourself. Put yourself first.
What are some things you are proud to have accomplished?
Admitting I suffered from Postpartum Depression. When I first shared this in May 2016, it was a small snippet, but it ripped the band-aide off. I felt a weight lifted. Since then, I share more and more as time goes on and as I heal.
What keeps you going when you feel like you are knee deep in mud?
I feel so much better when my current to do list is cleaned up. Doesn’t it feel good to cross items off?! But then I also sometimes just say fuck it and stop. I’m overwhelmed, I’m exhausted so what good is it going to do if I keep on going in that very moment? The last thing I want to do is get depleted and not be able to move forward at all.
Treat yourself to hope, sisterhood + solidarity by grabbing a copy of
The Courage to Become tonight!
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"Catia and I have almost nothing in common. She is Hispanic, I am not. She wears regular sized jeans, I wear plus sized jeans. She has dark skin and an olive complexion, I have blotchy, white skin. She is shorter than I am. She is skinnier than I am. But her story mirrors mine in so many ways, it is uncanny! I couldn’t believe how much this girl, who I had known many years before, who I had literally almost nothing in common with, could be so on point with how I felt. It is an awe-inspiring read and I highly recommend it. Courage is something we all have, just like the Cowardly Lion… it just needs to be brought out. I appreciate Catia’s courage to bear her soul more than she knows. " - Review from The Brown Eyed Lady Blog